Yesterday I tweeted: “I’m such an extreme rule follower but I just parked at the restaurant next to the one I’m eating at that clearly states not to #IFeelSick”
If you spend enough time with me you will gather rather quickly that I love following the rules. But for someone who is a “by the book” kinda gal, you might be surprised by the fact that I’m not a crowd follower… at all.
Growing-up I marched to my own beat. If I thought something was fun or interesting I would do it regardless if others wanted too or weather or not I was good at it. It was never my intentions to not follow the crowd but for some reason I was too much of a dreamer (or maybe too naïve) to know I was suppose to follow in the first place. This is not to say I don’t follow the crowd from time to time but usually when I do it’s because it’s something important to me.
When Justin and I moved to Nashville, TN in 2009 to come on staff at Cross Point we quickly learned that a handful well known artist attended. Justin is bit of a star struck person. It’s both endearing and embarrassing at times. So when Justin realized that Natalie Grant attended our church he immediately asked our senior pastor Pete to introduce her to us.
I’ll never forget Pete coming up to me (Justin following close behind) saying “come here I want to introduce you to Natalie!” I quickly shot back “NO WAY! I don’t want to meet her.” They were both so taken back by my response that they started laughing “are you serious”, Pete said. “Yes! I don’t want to meet her!” Perplexed and still laughing he asked, “Why?” With a bit of fear and now my own nervous laugh I responded, “Because, what if she wants to be left alone? What if she’s a jerk?” Both now looking me as if I’d lost my mind, Justin blurts out, “Dude I still want to me her let’s go!” and go they did.
Natalie’s music met my heart when I was in a dark place. When I lost everything, somehow her music found me even when I didn’t want to be found. When we felt called back into ministry and endured a gut wrenching yet redeeming two year long restoration process there were days I wanted to give up she sang…
I’m not gonna hide I’m not gonna run away
I’ll uncover the scars And show you every mistake
Your love is mending my blisters And the bruising shame
Here with you I am safe
Although I had this connection with her music there was no way I was going to connect with her. It took almost a year but in God’s sense of humor when she joined my bible study I finally had to embrace that she was now a part of my life. It was only recently that I shared with her my version of the story over Justin’s. What I found in Natalie was much more than just an amazing voice but a heart and passion bigger and brighter than any note she has ever sang.
I have been asked on several different occasions to blog about certain hot topics that found their way into the news. Every time I have declined. Not because I didn’t feel it was relevant or needed but the non-crowd follower in me felt like I would only be writing because of the “ask” and not out of a conviction that would be helpful and not add to the noise.
Today I am choosing to add to the noise not because of an “ask” but rather out of a deep conviction and belief in not only Natalie as a person but in the battle she is fighting against human trafficking. Last year I ran a half-marathon with Natalie to raise awareness about her ministry Abolition International.
The Friday before the race I attended a dinner with her where women from the UNITED STATES shared how they had been trafficked for years in our country. One described how as a young teenager she would be put on a plane every week to land in a city where she would be sold for sex services only to be flown back “home” on the weekends and this went on for years. Imagine every week a teenage girl commutes on a plane and nobody notices and she is only one of the 27 million enslaved in sex trafficking.
Natalie is fighting to change that and even had the opportunity to take her cause to the President of the United States. She has chosen to take notice along with others like IJM who created a petition for anyone to sign to get the attention of law makers.
But it takes more than just a bill for change to happen. It’s just the starting line. It will take your voice, my voice and the voice of others to make sure that young girls no longer go unnoticed on the steps of Washington or on the steps to a plane.
To get involved it might not cost you anything but using your voice for those who don’t have one is priceless.