Called Back for Good
by Monique Calderon
Isn’t it crazy when that one thing—the one thing you thought would surely be your demise—ends up being the very thing that God uses for good? I’m an Angelino through and through, so I was in great anticipation of being a part of the Downtown LA outreach because this is my city, these are my streets, these are my people. Several women on the Treasures team that night, myself included, had previously left the industry and now felt called back to share with the women we once worked alongside, that they are loved, valued, and purposed. There were also women on the team, who had never stepped into a strip club before but simply had heavy hearts for women they had never met. We were local volunteers and national trainees alike headed to the clubs of Downtown.
As I write this, I am reminded of a passage from the Bible, Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” This was a resounding theme for our night. The girls who had left the industry, were full of trepidation. Each had a story of brokenness that led them into employment in the clubs and coming back created a world of unknown even in this familiar territory. Would forgotten memories resurface? Would they see someone they knew? Would they be enticed to work in the industry again? It was then, that they needed to “Be still and know that He is God.”
For those who had never been in a strip club, they were nervous too. Not knowing what to expect, they were anxious—their minds were racing a million miles a minute. Would they be well received by the women working there? Or would they get rejected by them? Would they even know how to navigate such a foreign environment? It was then that they needed to “Be still and know that He is God.”
Since I left the industry, I’ve fallen in love with Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” For some of us, we were going into a foreign environment, for others, we were going back into the very thing that wreaked havoc in our lives. For me and for others on the Treasures team, it wasn’t something we just decided to do; it was a need in our hearts. God placed it on our hearts according to His purpose- to share with the women working in the clubs, that they don’t have to go through this crazy thing called life alone. They are loved with no strings attached—and there is a plan for their lives, an amazing plan for hope and a future, not for disaster. God can use even the craziest of circumstances for good.
And so, trepidation aside, we went into Downtown with high expectations. We visited eleven clubs and only one club declined the gifts. It happened to be the very last club we visited. It was then that we had to “Be still and know that He is God”—that there was a purpose for us not being able to give gifts to the women. One of the volunteers said it this way, “Maybe she just needed to say ‘no’ to someone.” God can use even discouraging circumstances for good.
Reflecting on the evening, there was a conversation that took place that will forever be singed in my memory. While we were in one of the clubs, we were asked, “What would you call us? What kind of industry would you call this?” I can’t help but think of when Jesus asked His disciples, “Who is it that you say that I am?” What the woman was asking us, and what Jesus was asking His disciples, was whether we label someone based off what society calls them or based on how God sees them. See, I know that the God that I serve, He is bigger than my circumstances. He showed me that in my own life when my whole world caved in around me, when it looked like I would never make it out of the dismal pit I put myself in, He came and He redeemed every single part of my life. I’ll tell you something, it wasn’t luck that got 400 gifts into the clubs, 400 opportunities for these precious women to know just how special they are. It was God at work, a God who so desperately loves them. So, in response to her question- “What do you call us?” We call you Princess, Daughter of the King, Sacred, Set Apart, Beloved, Cherished, a Treasure from Heaven, for that is what God calls you.