Dear Redeemed family,
Believing it was fitting at this time, Bobbie Mark has decided to repost a favorite blog post from January 22, 2015. Please note: The anonymous quote in the original posting has now been correctly attributed to Bill Bennot.
Confession time – When I was a kid I had the biggest crush on Donny Osmond. I mean I had a HUGE crush on the guy. My room was painted purple, my bedspread and canopy were purple, the hand made (by my Momma) frame on my wall held a prized 24” x 36” poster of him, I waited on pins and needles each week to watch the Donny and Marie show on TV and I sat for hours listening to or dancing to his albums. I knew most of his songs by heart. I knew his birthdate (December 9th, 1957), his full name (Donald Clark Osmond), his favorite color (purple), and the names of his siblings – in order of birth (I won’t bore you with that factoid, although I can probably remember most even 38 years later). I used to dream of what I would wear or do or say should (when) I had an opportunity to meet him. I reveled in the thought of the handshake, the smile (oh that smile!), the conversation (I would be so mature and eloquent of speech, you know), the smell of his cologne… I was smitten! To me and my 12 year old heart Donny Osmond was great.
As I grew (and he got married) I found others to label as great. My first real-life crush, the newer and cuter faces of Hollywood, the rich girls in high school, presidents, philanthropists, entertainers – the famous. Through the years there were times I wondered what I might say and do if I were to meet, say…the President of the United States for example, or Mother Theresa! What would I wear, say, do if I were to meet someone labeled by society (or my own heart) as great? For one thing, I would be excited! I would be on my best behavior and would bring my best table manners and conversational grammar. I would curtsy or nod my head or shake my hand just right. I would take great care in preparing for the meeting.
In 1998 I got to meet Donny Osmond (eek!) and since then I’ve met many, many people labeled by society as great. Each time I prepared for the meeting accordingly and acted appropriately. Sometimes I was super excited (like the day I met Donny) and other times I was curious as to what meeting them would be like. Looking back, each experience was unique and noteworthy and memorable.
I sit here today and wonder how those encounters compare with the work we do with Redeemed Ministries and the women we serve. All of the broken, the brokenhearted, the used, abused, worn out and worn down women we have met. If I’m being completely honest in my confession today I must say when I was 12 I didn’t dream of meeting or working with prostituted women. I didn’t even know what prostitution was back then. Now I know what it is and once I lifted that rock and learned about sex trafficking I knew I would never be the same. I knew my life would never be the same. My service to God would never look the same.
Days, sometimes weeks will pass without a call from law enforcement or other anti-trafficking organization with a referral. Then some days, like yesterday, multiple calls come in. Let’s see… yesterday I spoke to a woman referred to us by law enforcement in Austin. We made an appointment to meet tomorrow. I spoke to an organization in Houston who had just dropped a victim off at a domestic violence shelter. I gave my cell number and began awaiting a call from her. I received a call from the FBI who had just conducted an operation resulting in multiple victim extractions. Most wouldn’t admit a need for help but a couple seemed interested in learning more about opportunities offered by Redeemed. Today I spoke to our Austin Director about a victim in desperate need of services and we talked about setting up a meeting with her.
All of these calls left me wondering. What will I wear if I have an opportunity to meet any of these victims? What would I say? Where will we meet? What will she think, say, need? Will she trust us? Will she run? Will she open up and cry out for help and come to our Safe House if qualified? I find myself realizing the prospect of meeting these precious, broken women are causing my heart to stir with excitement – excitement at the prospect that we may be able to serve them, love on them, be the hands and feet of Jesus to them, walk through life with them. I’m reminded constantly of the value our God puts on the broken and the brokenhearted.
Psalm 34:18 reminds me that “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 147:3 reminds me that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Lastly, Isaiah 61:1 reminds me that “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…”
I find it ironic that as a child and young adult I sat in wonderment and amazement at the thought of meeting someone great and now as a mature adult I sit in even more wonderment and amazement at the thought of meeting someone broken. I’m excited at the thought of what their future might hold, of the healing that awaits them, of the joy I know is hidden deep within their broken spirits. I read this quote from Bill Bennot “How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great.” and I know in my heart of hearts the excitement and anticipation I feel prior to each meeting with one of the women we serve exceeds any excitement and anticipation I may feel were I given an opportunity to meet someone deemed great by society. In fact, I would even go so far as to say if I had the choice between meeting with a broken woman or the President of the United States tomorrow I would choose that woman – UNLESS I were meeting with the President to speak on behalf of that woman and the hundreds of thousands of others like her.
I have not been called to sit with the great – I have been called to walk with the broken and I am honored to do so. I believe these women we walk with are great in the eyes of God, therefore they are great in my eyes as well. I believe it is an honor and a privilege to walk with the broken for in doing so means they are trusting us and allowing us to join them in their journeys. One of my frequent prayers is this “Oh God – thank you for allowing me this opportunity to walk with these women. Please equip me and the Redeemed Ministries team to love them well. Please draw them close to you, hold them in the palm of your hand and allow them to feel the presence of your Holy Spirit.”
One last thought on the day I met Donny Osmond. It was a fun day. My niece and I waited in line for a photo and an autograph then raced to a 1-hour photo booth to have the roll of film developed. We then went to his next scheduled appearance, waited in line again to have another photo and an autograph of the photo we had taken a couple of hours earlier (he joked that I was a stalker!). Yes, that day was a fun one full of laughter and happiness and one I will remember for all time BUT that day did not change my life. Meeting my Tween crush Donny Osmond did not change who I am as a person. He remained great and I remained ordinary.
Please know meeting the Sparrows of Redeemed Ministries has profoundly changed my life. I am not the same person I was 9 years ago when God called Dennis and I to this ministry of service. Each and every beautiful, broken woman I have had the honor of walking with has taken part in making me a better person. I walk humbly with my Lord and these women for I know Donny Osmond is not great, I am not great, these women are not great. We are ALL broken, ALL of us. Only God is GREAT and only God is GOOD. And God is GREAT and GOOD all the time!!
I invite you to join us on the journey. Dare to forget those society deems great and dare to walk with the broken and prepare to have your world changed forever.
Update from Bobbie:
As I read this old blog after it popped up on my Facebook memories feed, I was moved by the fact that what I wrote then is still true today. In 2017 we received 59 referrals for our residential program and were able to offer opportunities to 13 of those applicants. As I went to meet each applicant I felt the same excitement and wonderment as I felt back in 2015. It reminded me that God’s love is constant and doesn’t change and the passion God deposited into my heart is the same passion today as it was back then. I’m amazed at the love God has for each of us and for each of the precious women in our residential program knowing He has plans for good for their lives.
Click here to read the original blog post.