Standing, In the Place I’m Supposed to Be


“With them, my self-pity gets washed away as I find healing in this messy place of believers. They believe in me and in the redemptive work of Christ in my life.”

here_800I stood in front of thousands of people and shared my heart; talking about my faith and the ministry that God had called me to, when I met them. They were that attractive pastor-and-wife couple—trendy, well-dressed and super friendly. We shook hands, they asked a few questions about my work, and then the good-looking energetic young pastor slipped his arm around the shoulder of his beautiful wife and said, “It’s amazing you are doing this work on your own, without a husband.”


For a second, the little feminist in me got fairly irritated and the sensitive heart in me (which longs to find a good man) got a little wounded, but the polite face of tolerance for dumb comments prevailed and I quickly made a joke about how he can totally set me up with any hot guy he knows who wants to fight human trafficking.

I am sure some of my girlfriends would love for me to find a good man so that I stop texting them with the words, “Are you still up?” because I have seen something really upsetting at work in the red light district. And of course, when you are a single girl surrounded by men who buy women, you can quickly lose sight of the fact that there are still good guys out there.

Sometimes, after being exposed to the rough parts of society, I’m just longing to put my arms around someone stronger than me and have him say that everything is going to be alright. But I’m busy right now, elbow-deep in other people’s sorrow, and I don’t think God wanted me to wait to get married before I could get all messy in ministry.

I Googled that pastor land is wife and read that she always dreamed of being a wife and stay-at-home-mother and I guess I can’t really fault them for being better at the (North) American dream than I am.

Why didn’t I just get that kind of life? 

That was the question I kept asking myself last week when I got knocked off my feet by the news that one of the girls I interacted with weekly took her own life. It was a punch to the stomach making it hard to eat for more than a week. Her death reminded me how much this area of sexual exploitation makes you tired in the very deepest part of your soul. Suddenly it made me feel very much alone.

And while I was down, the whole week was conspiring against me. I was sad, tired, self-pitying, irritated and, well, still so single. All the sadness of the last few years of working entrenched in the messy world of human trafficking started to surface.

Finally, I buried my face in presence of God the Father and I admitted defeat.

It’s amazing how our pain and vulnerability, as much as we don’t want to walk through it, has a way of stripping away all the distractions and bringing us back to the place that really matters.

At some point, in the midst of my aloneness came the hands of comfort. Some were physical—those friends who both kick your butt and hold you close. Others were the far off digital kind that matter just as much when you are away from home—hands that texted and called and emailed.

In the midst of being down, I was being lifted up.

So, on Sunday I put on a pretty dress and let my hair do its wild thing and went to church. Here in this place is community worth fighting for. The ones who won’t let me feel alone. The ones who never question my relationship status or my calling. The ones who let me be broken and vulnerable, but also change the subject when my defeat is the last thing I want to talk about. Here there are warriors in the singleness struggle and there are warriors on the front lines of raising a family and all the in-betweens. They believe in the work of kingdom, even when it feels like it is costing everything.

With them, my self-pity gets washed away as I find healing in this messy place of believers. They believe in me and in the redemptive work of Christ in my life.

I have been bitter and I have been hurt. I have been broken and down and filled with sadness. And, man, I have been over being a single-girl-in-ministry.

But today, I am still standing. In the place where I know I am supposed to be.

And that has to count for something.