Make a Difference!

This past week I have been stretched way outside of my  Buckhead  bubble.  Last Thursday night, I attended a fund-raiser for a ministry that houses unwed teenage mothers.  It was heartbreaking to hear stories of fourteen year old girls being thrown out of their homes for their unwanted pregnancies.  One lady who felt called by God has opened a loving Christian home for these teens where they are safe and loved.  This woman is an interior decorator who said she was tired of just having her nails done once a week and lunches with other women.  This was and still is extremely out of her comfort zone.  She feels totally unequipped for the task, and that I believe is just what God wants.  He calls the unqualified and equips them for the call.  I believe that He does this so that He can get all the glory.  Over and over in the Bible we see examples this:  Abraham, Moses and a young unwed teen who was given the greatest call of all.  I am thankful she said yes.

On Monday night, I attended another fund-raiser, that to be perfectly honest, I was dreading more than anything. The fund-raiser was hosted by a ministry called Street Grace and was held before the premiere screening of a movie about human sex trafficking.  I love children and I am a very visual person, so I had many people praying for me that I could handle this movie.  The title is Stop the Candy Shop.  The Candy Shop is the demand for child prostitution, and it is more prevalent than you would think.  Right here in our beloved city, a few blocks down from my shop, is one of the main corners that our precious young children are being exploited!  The movie was brilliantly done. It was a 30 minute fairy tale film about this sordid issue. I know what each of you are thinking now, how can there be a fairy tale about this?  You need to see the movie and can go to their website, StoptheCandyshop.com, but I will  tell you the reason for the name.  The men view these children as candy and treat them as objects and in the movie it shows precious little girls being lured by this disgusting man who represents the industry and are taken into a business called The Candy Shop and inside the shop they are turned into candy that looks like lollipops.  One of the convicting things is the shop is right in the middle of the town square where people walk by it everyday conducting business as usual.  And that is just what is happening here, and to be fair many people just don’t know.  I, for one, was one of those ignorant people.  Five hundred girls are raped for profit every month in Atlanta, and the average age is thirteen,  with some as young as ten.  I pray as you read this that it will break your heart. The shocking statistic was that 42% of the calls for these young children comes from the northern suburban Atlanta neighborhoods. We must eradicate this horrible crime from our city.  I am asking God what my part is.

And the final stretch came yesterday in Texas while I was attending the Texas Conference for Women.  I spoke to a group of young public school girls about dressing appropriately and then to corporate women on dressing for success.  The Conference is hosted by the First Lady of Texas, Anita Perry, whom I am honored and proud to call my friend.  This was the eleventh year, and there was a star-studded line up of keynote speakers.  Just a few examples are Judge Hackett from Atlanta, Dr. Jen Arnold, who is the three foot tall TV show icon of the Little Couple.  She also is a pediatrician, neonatal specialist, and assistant professor of pediatrics.  Her story is so inspiring and she told us to think big.  Marion Jones, who was the Olympic Gold Medalist who served time in prison talked about second chances and redemption.  The final speaker and inspiration for the Oscar winning, Blind Side was Lee Anne Tuohy . Her story was incredible and truly remarkable. She said two words changed their lives forever: turn around.  She was referring to the day they were driving in the car and saw Michael Oher walking down the street by himself.  She had her husband stop the car and from there the rest is history.  She challenged the five thousand women attending the conference to turn around and look.  It could be our sanitation workers that need an encouraging word, or perhaps we could mentor an inner city child.  There are so many opportunities that we face everyday where we can make a difference, if we so choose.  But the sad fact is for many of us, we are too caught up in our own little world to even see the need that is sometimes right in front of us.

I got home at two am this morning and am utterly exhausted physically and mentally.  In a span of a few days, I have been confronted with so many needs.  There are children getting pregnant with no where to go and scared and frightened and unloved.  There are children being sold for sex and no one to give them a voice of help.  There  are plenty of Michael Ohers out there who are waiting to fall through the cracks of our society.  Who am I and what role do I play with all of this information?  I know God wanted to to hear about all of this or I would not have been invited to these events.  It only takes one, one person to make a difference in someone else’s life. Carol Covington answered the call to help unwed teens, Judge Hackett answered the call to help juvenile delinquents.  Lee Anne Tuohy answered the call to help a homeless young black man and invited him into her heart and home.  What is God calling you to do?  What difference can you make in the life of a child or person or city, state or nation?  Ask Him, but be very careful, the answer just may change your life forever.