Celebrating the Big Things!
When I think about our RISE ladies, the first word that comes to mind is strong. These women are strong, and so are the people standing alongside them.From Net advocates to service providers, the room at our recent RISE Graduation Ceremony was full of people from the various steps and programs our women have to go through along the way (most of which I can’t even tell you what the acronym stands for). All I know is that each person in the room felt a joy similar to mine because they’ve all been deeply touched by our ladies.
The NET loves providing people and opportunities like the RISE Ceremony for our survivor-leaders to celebrate! No step forward is small, so getting to cheer the big, and even bigger, victories is impactful. However, it’s not always roses for anyone on the road to graduation. There is hard work and sacrifice on both ends.
Like at our last Purchased Training – it was the third one I’ve been to, but man this one was on fire (literally and metaphorically). Literally because of the building having no functioning A/C on an 80℉ day in Fort Worth, TX. And metaphorically because Jesus was speaking some major truth and sparking a flame in our speakers that I haven’t seen before.
Through clips of many documentaries, we saw images of sexual exploitation that contradict the ones that society shows us: that these women are not happy, have not chosen this life, and do not always have an easy way out. Because I’ve seen these clips multiple times (and because I was working the slideshow up front), I look at the audience; I love seeing their heart strings pulled and how their eyes look on fire to make big changes in our world. Thankfully, they can make big changes, right here in Fort Worth.
One of my favorite things about Purchased Training is that we get to see the truly incredibly reach in our community that God provides for us. When looking around the room, I saw very few people that I knew and it hit me just how awesome that really is. These 80+ men and women showed up to our building to sweat with us for eight hours and learn about how Jesus can work through The NET in our city.
At the RISE Ceremony a few of our ladies got up on the stage and held the microphone while speaking about their struggles in life, as well as their struggles in the program. These women are brave. They all mention how they started out struggling (to put it lightly) with the program because of Judge Carr’s rules, but they also mention how thankful they end up being for those loving rules. While I chuckled along, this was my biggest takeaway: we’re given these commands by Christ (to love one another, to serve the poor, to feed the hungry, etc.), not so that we are burdened. No, we are given these commands to bring us joy! I have SO much joy seeing our women in sassy yellow caps and gowns (much like my purple ones will be wearing in a few short weeks) because I know that they’re moving on to such better things that bring us, and Him, joy because they’re truly seeing Him. From an advocate’s first Purchased Training to watching her friend in RISE walk across the stage years later, there is joy and hope in the darkness. What a blessing that is (and what a day it truly was)!