As I sit down to think about the many words that could fill this page, one theme stands out the most. One question I can’t shake. One thought keeps me awake at night.
Who will carry her burden?
What does it look like to carry her burden? How can I carry her burden when it has to be her choice to walk away from the lifestyle? This has been answered for me in various ways this month. One was through a girl in the Valley who reached out to us through our website. One of her friends dances at a club we go to and she noticed her Jesus Loves Strippers shirt. She was intrigued by what we do, but unsure because she’s “not a religious person.” She is in nursing school, works full time, and has an Autistic child that receives therapy 5 times a week. She is a single mom, and on top of all that she has just suffered a tragic loss in her family.
Her burden is immense. She carries it daily and, might I add, with a strength and grace. She never gets to walk away from this pressure. How do I carry even a small part of this burden for her? You would say, “Encourage her with scripture! Tell her Jesus will never leave her or forsake her! Tell her He loves her!” I mentioned God one time and was quickly shot a, “Don’t mention God to me” type of answer. So now what do I say? How do I carry her burden and not mention Jesus?
I simply listen. I sincerely listen. I check on her the next day. I remember details of what she said and slowly but surely she opens up about the abusive environment she grew up in. The abuse was followed by religion. No wonder she is “not religious.” Can you imagine the confusion and pain that comes from connecting abuse with God? Her burden is too much for one person to carry. All I can do is take the pieces she gives me and lay them at the feet of the only One who can handle them: Jesus. It is enough. Ravi Zacharius says, “You will never lighten any load if you don’t feel it in your soul.” The first step to lightening her load is to feel it in my soul.
On the other end of the spectrum is a girl who also reached out through the website. She recently gave her life to Jesus and is really seeking a relationship with Him. She is working to help save for a house and pay bills while also in school. She knows God wants her to give all of herself to Him, including dancing...but she’s worried about her dream of being a homeowner. She’s concerned that the financial strain will affect her relationship with her boyfriend. Carrying her burden looks like discipling her in her walk with Jesus, encouraging her to lean into Him and trust Him for provision. Her burden is heavy. It is a huge leap of faith to walk away from a job without knowing what the other side will look like. I have to feel it in my soul….
This is what I remembered as we headed into the clubs this month. Although the amount of girls was significantly less than we usually see (because it was Halloween), we were able to have great talks with the 1 or 2 girls we saw in each club. They were girls we usually see, so we could connect on a deeper level in our relationships. I love our outreach nights! It is the reason I came on board with JSL. It is the core of who we are. To love these girls where they are, to lighten their burden, to awaken a Hope in them that can not dimmed.
A HUGE thank you to Summit Christian Center for donating the candles for our outreach! Also to all our friends that helped decorate the candles. We could not do this without everyone who volunteers or donates special gifts. You are all so appreciated!
If you would like to get involved please reach out! A few places we need volunteers are: bag team, prayer team, club team, and security team.
Michelle | San Antonio City Team Leader
Contact Michelle here: firstname.lastname@example.org