A #BringBackOurGirls confession

Sep 19, 2014 by

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I am going to trust you with the truth.

I wish we could sit down, you and I, with two cups of coffee and a brownie split between us. I want to look hard, unflinchingly into your eyes, breathe deeply, and confess to you this ugly thing that I have seen in myself.

You heard about it too, of course: 275 Nigerian girls ripped away from their families, kidnapped in the middle of a school day. Disappearing into a tangled jungle until terrified screams faded into deafening silence.

I sat glued to my computer that day, frozen in horror as I read. When the world cried, “bring back our girls,” I added my trembling voice to the roar, my stomach churning at the thought of the little girls who left for school with books in hand being raped repeatedly before bedtime.

Little girls with a Mama and a Daddy. Little girls my sister’s age.

Not long ago, I saw an update on Twitter: “100 Days Since the Girls Were Taken. #BringBackOurGirls”

And this is the raw, aching truth: I did not click the link.

I didn’t because I had just read about people dying of Ebola and ISIS brutally murdering children and a broken ceasefire and . . . God save us the world is going mad.

Every day I am inundated with headlines that leave me breathless under their crushing weight. Somehow, the more I see, the less I see.

I forget that behind each of those sensational headline are names, faces and stories. I have the Western luxury of casually glossing over 100 days of hell that little girls have endured, 100 days of red-eyed, bone-weary, soul-crushed Mamas and Daddies keening with their voices hoarse, begging with empty arms outstretched for their precious girls back.

But they’re not really my girls. One hundred days later, I find myself more concerned with my grocery list.

Researchers call it compassion fatigue. But whatever it is, it makes me feel less human.

In a world where a wealth of information is a mere click away, the latest celebrity break up goes viral while stories of the world’s most broken are buried behind Kim Kardashian’s derriere. I fear my children will one day ask me where were you when 1.3 billion people in the world starved on less than $1.25 a day? Where were you when there were so many things that we could have done?

We have allowed people to become numbers.

I have allowed people to become numbers.

And so today, I confess. I want to be healed from this blindness, to see my brothers and sisters around the world who are hurting — from Ferguson to Iraq.

I will not turn away from their pain. I commit to praying fervently — as though ISIS were painting above the doorframe of my parent’s home. I will not dismiss the privilege of the country I was born in and the wealth that I have, but instead I will leverage my freedom, my dollars and my voice for those far less fortunate.

Today, I commit to living my life as a resounding response to the God that spared nothing to rescue me.

Today I lift my hands and beg the One who came to proclaim freedom for the captives and good news for the poor to break my heart. I repent of my sanitized, air-conditioned, comfortable Christianity and ask Jesus to keep me from becoming numb to the poor, the marginalized, the orphaned, the stolen.

I ask Jesus to show me how he would have me restore what sin has broken, to show me what it looks like to live a life that looks more like his.

His girls are my girls, and he has not forgotten them.

Ashley Dickens works for HOPE International, helping people invest in the dreams of those trapped in poverty.  She blogs at ashleypdickens.com. This blog post is provided thanks to our partnership with Red Letter Christians.


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