She said, “I didn’t want people to see how dirty I felt inside, so I made myself beautiful on the outside and studied how to be as attractive as possible.” I began our lunch meeting by asking her what made her choose to begin a career as a stylist?
As a young child, every Sunday her parents would take her to her grandparent’s house across town to visit for the day. Her grandfather, a minister, would take her into his camping trailer in front of the house to read Bible stories to her as he molested her and then warned her that if she told anyone she’d go to Hell and so would her parents. I sat there horrified fighting back tears as this beautiful woman with a thriving career as a Hollywood stylist related how she had found true redemptive power in her life. It never ceases to amaze me the depths of evil Satan goes to in order to destroy lives and it amazes me even more how miraculous the power of God is to redeem us.
It’s truly amazing grace.
In our media-driven culture, the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have continued daily to dump the ugly facts and fallout onto our digital screens in oversize portions since it broke in Fall 2017. The movements might have begun in Hollywood, but it’s long-reaching tentacles reveal that it’s a global infection leaving few unscathed and affecting all walks of life from athletic coaches, to medical doctors, to priests, pastors, nonprofit leaders and politicians. It continues to be painful to watch but perhaps this recent purging will result in a positive re-examination by the Church on how God views women not only sexually but in leadership positions as well. My hope is that the Church can be a source of healing and not further wounds.
Sexual misconduct and injustice have been with us for thousands of years as the Biblical stories tell of Samson and Delilah and King David and Bathsheba. Males and females have been guilty. The sinful lusts for money, fame, fortune, and knowledge has a bedfellow – power. Power is at the head of the pack and the injustices that result from excessive greed won’t cease until Jesus returns and conquers evil once and for all.
Until then, God left us a guidebook – the Bible.
If we choose to use it, the Bible’s wisdom will show us how to function when we’ve been abused, battered, and left on the side of the road. Jesus mentored us, teaching us “when at all possible … choose to live in harmony…. choose to live at peace…. and do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” as outlined in Romans 12:14-21 (NIV). Then, Jesus willingly gave His life so that our broken, suffering and tormented souls could find eternal peace and forgiveness. The life-giving blood of Jesus cleanses and mends all wounds and conquers every evil but we first have to trust Him.
For one Hollywood stylist, her journey involved a whole family suffering and the ongoing courage to forgive. Her career began because of horrific childhood incest and the misuse of power by a trusted adult, but God the Father and the source of true Power turned it to good and into a blessing. She chooses to tell her story whenever she teaches on how to be a well put together woman and it’s brought many to an understanding of who God is and how He heals and loves us.
As she grew up, she tells of seeking power to protect herself – the power of outward beauty, but instead, she found the real source of power – the power of God. She had to give up her own claim on power before she was able to find the true power. She’s first to admit that healing for her has been an especially difficult journey. In her case, the Bible had been intertwined with the incest. But when we seek Him His grace, mercy and redemption are found. As Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery and caused irreversible suffering and hardship to him in the Biblical story, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV).
How do we find real beauty and dignity when sexual injustice – or any injustice strikes? How do you find true power? Through Jesus. Give Him whatever little power you think you have, and discover the source of real power.
“… in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NIV).