By HER Refuge Resident & Human Trafficking Survivor
When I first came to HER Campaign, my heart was heavy. I was defeated. I was broken. The car ride here I remember feeling nervous, excited, and sad at the same time.
My first day flew by fast. It was overwhelming but as the day winded down I was tired and ready to sleep but then came the “bugs.” One crawled up called “doubt” and another one was “fear.” Doubt that Sammy and Britney really wanted me here. Fear that my trafficker would find me.
My first night here just two hours after going to bed and trying to fall asleep, I wanted to run. But when I sat up to get out of bed, I saw a reflection in the mirror of the sign above my bed. It said “Be Still.” I didn’t understand how I was supposed to be still in a still-less world but nevertheless I felt like that was the clue to stay put. I rolled back over and went to sleep. The next day, I was filled with constant doubt and fear but slowly I began to see this was a different place than all the others.
Come Sunday night, I remember being angry. I took off. I left. I don’t remember much about it except it was cold when Sammy and Britney pulled up. I went back into my shell. My mind went into fight or flight or freeze mode. I froze. I was afraid of their reaction. I was prepared and guarded and ready for action. I was ready for the yelling, the hitting, complaining of how I’d ruined their night or something worse. I tried to close my eyes then maybe I’d be somewhere else warmer and safer, but then I felt a warm touch on my arm. It was Britney and she wasn’t yelling or mad or frowning. She had that same warm smile she always has. She encouraged me to go back into the house and I accepted only because it was cold and I didn’t want them to be stuck in the cold because of me.
When we got back to the house, we talked. I kept waiting for the yelling but no, Britney wanted to know if I was okay and what was wrong. I remember being upset cause I didn’t like being treated like a child. I remember feeling like I didn’t belong. I felt lost but she told me I was worthy of love and we were a team. We’d get through anything together as long as we kept God first.
While she was talking, I remember thinking back on the days in the past where I threw in the towel and the shelter advocates or whoever didn’t really seem to care what I did, but here, Britney was trying to value my thoughts and my opinions. I felt like I had thrown in the towel and she gave it back, which reminded me of a quote I once read that said “I threw in the towel but God threw it back and said, ‘Wipe your face, you’re almost there.’”
I felt like God was talking to me and telling me to “Be still, you’re almost there.”