We are not too big and we are not too little.
This was the theme that came up for our team before we headed to East San Fernando Valley for our monthly strip club outreach. As is often the case on outreach nights, the theme that came up during prayer ended up permeating the rest of the evening.
During our time of discussion and reflection, we were reminded that we are not our story. What happened to us or what we did in the past certainly has a part in shaping the opportunities that made us who we are today, and our story certainly matters, but the past doesn’t define us. We are more than our story because we have a God who redeems and makes gardens out of deserts. Believing otherwise makes us too small and limited for who God intended us to be.
At the same time, Isaiah 51 reminds us that even though we strive for justice and goodness around us, we ourselves are not the agents of change.
The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. ~Isaiah 51:3
We are not the ones with the power. Anything good that comes out of our efforts is because of God in our DNA, His power and goodness working through us. If we look at God throughout all of history, we see that God often starts His great plans through just one person, but at the end of the day, when change happens, it’s not the power of the person that made the change; it’s the power of God through the person. Buying into the idea that we alone are the ones with the power to bring restoration and justice makes us too big for who God intended us to be.
Like Goldilocks who settled on a chair and a bed that wasn’t too big and wasn’t too small but was just right, we are just the right size for God to use us—not too small and not too big.
Even though our list of clubs to visit that night had a long string of zeros in the column indicating how many we left during our previous visits, we were not intimidated. We felt confident that if we just showed up, God would do the rest.
And so we sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the drive, watching from club to club as God opened the way for the gifts to make it into the hands of the women. One manager was so eager for the women working in his club to receive the gifts that he led the Treasures team through the club himself and actually interrupted each woman from whatever she was doing—even if she was with a customer—to make sure she didn’t miss out on receiving a gift.
He even went up to the stage and asked the woman dancing to step down and get a gift…in the middle of her routine! The Treasures team was concerned that she might not appreciate being interrupted while she was working for tips, but she looked up at the team with a huge smile.
“Best tip ever!” she said.
Despite previous difficulties in getting the gifts into the hands of the women on the East Valley route, all but one club eagerly welcomed us. All in all, we reached 182 precious women.
God is able. He cares so much for each woman we encountered that night. The Treasures team was honored to be a part of what He was up to that night… honored to be just big enough to share God’s love and watch Him do the rest.
By Lindsay Hall
Photos by Jessika Furhmaneck