The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
In the smallest way I have chosen to be a slave to a gray piece of cloth. But "choosing" and "slavery" are rarely in the same sentence and can hardly be thought of as companions. And how dare I compare sex slavery to fashion for 6 months - but I will also not diminish the truth that it was this cloth that was the vehicle to help me learn about the brokenhearted that need bound, the captives that need to be free, the prison doors that need opening.
After I spoke briefly on my gray dress project at a BGSU's women's studies program, I have a vivid memory of hearing from a women's advocate who does "street ministry" with Second Chance in Toledo. She was forced into sex slavery at age 10 by her father and was rented out until 18. After being told there was a way out, she was able to take it and be free. Now she helps women on the streets with harm reduction and provides them with medical aids, condoms, whatever they need to reduce harm and to give them a chance to take a baby step out.
Baby steps. This project has been all about them. One day at a time wearing one dress, learning one new overwhelming fact at a time, hearing another horror story. Each step brought me to a better understanding of this complex, dark and evil issue.
Baby steps. Mid-project finding out we were having another baby! What a road.
Baby steps. A friend of a friend shows my blog to Fox News. I'm on CNN the next day. If I wanted awareness for The Daughter Project, I got it. One word passed to another.
Baby steps. Hearing of answered prayers for the building of The Daughter Project house. Of red tape cut through. Of this house finding all of it's House Moms and needs being met one after another.
Baby steps. Learning that in faith, doubt is not the antithesis. Doubt is a part of faith and useful in it's own way when we question the evils and horrors of those enslaved and where God is in it all. Counting on 2 steps: Step One - God is well acquainted with suffering. Step Two - He has come to open up the doors of prisons that have been shut by the choices of free will-bearing humans.
Baby steps. Trusting that each word that came out of my mouth during my CNN interview with Colleen McEdwards was what God wanted me to say or not say. Enjoying the whole day of celebrating 181 days and the interviewing.
Baby steps: One foot out, and another. Off with this ragged cotton. Resting on the Sabbath.
Rob took some production shots for me during our interview today:
A Big Thanks:
Goes to...my Mom and Dad. Robby started puking around midnight throughout the night last night. I called them at 7:30am (woke them up) and asked if they would be willing to drive down to stay with their sick grandson so Rob and I could host CNN at our church service. Yikes. The LOVE of grandparents. They really made this day happen.
There were some great, funny moments for camera time and shooting B roll. My favorite was after Kevin, the camera man, came out of my closet, with a saucy piece of clothing hanging from his camera. Lisa Cohen asked him what was hanging there and we all realized it was a piece of my lingerie! Embarrassing and funny all at the same time. Ahhh.....being classy with CNN. :)
You, my community, have been a gift through this Project. Thank you.
"Would I do it again?" Answer: Nope. I'm up for challenges and competition - but not wearing one piece of clothing for 6 months for a cause again. I'd train for another marathon for a cause. I say this with all smiles and no regrets.
"What will you do with the dress?" Answer: Not wear it tomorrow! From here, no idea. Suggestions? I've gotten - auction it off for The Daughter Project (but who wants my stinky, unraveling dress?) or make it into a quilt for the House, shadow box it, burn it.....
"What is your next step from here?" Answer: I am going to stay informed about The Daughter Project and want to be a link to the community on how we can get plugged in. I want to actively look for ways to support the ending of this trade.