The Long Embrace

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The woman was moved. After opening her gift, a swell of emotions caused her to hesitate in her response. “I feel like I want to hug you,” she said to a Treasures volunteer. The volunteer flung her arms open, inviting this woman in. The woman savored the long embrace, clinging tightly as if to speak a depth of gratitude that her words couldn’t reach.
Hugs are a universal language of welcome and comfort and care and thanksgiving. We rush to our children, enveloping them in our arms when they are crying in pain. We punctuate our smiles and words of greeting by hugging hello and goodbye. We leap into another’s arms when we are overcome with joy and gratitude. And we hope for assurance and comfort by a friend’s wrapping us in their arms when they notice our need. Hugs speak love where words fall short.

That long embrace came early in our evening of outreach. As we gave gifts to the women working in every club in the City of Industry, we were hopeful that the gifts too would speak love where words were unconvincing. Before we loaded up the shuttle and took off for the evening, we dwelled on the idea of what it meant to do outreach. Rather than expecting women to knock on Treasures’ door, we go to where they are and meet them as they are. Standing where their feet stand and interacting with glimpses of their reality, we offer our services to meet their needs. It’s true that Treasures is a support group with excellent resources for women working in the sex industry, but that is only meeting a secondary need.

The women working in the clubs of the City of Industry need to know above all that they are loved, valued, and purposed. I know this is true because it’s true for every person on the planet.

We have a foundational need to be loved. The need is so etched in our souls that only the honest, selfless, pure, renewing love of Jesus is enough to thoroughly meet that need. His love reaches around each one of us, pulling us into an eternal embrace that assures us we are welcomed, comforted, cared for, valued, and noticed. Life in the love of Jesus is a long embrace that brings healing, assurance, and purpose that words could never spell out for us.

The Treasures volunteer remained in that embrace as long as the woman held onto her. She allowed this beautiful, precious, cherished woman to receive the most significant service we could provide: the truth that she is loved.

 

Article by Lindsay Hall

Featured Photo by Jessika Fuhrmaneck; Article Photo by Lindsay Hall

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