There’s a familiar passage in the book of John that has been on repeat in my head lately. It’s when Jesus tells Peter to “feed my sheep.” I have found this to be simple and honest answer I’ve been praying for from the Lord. “Feed my sheep.” What do we do about the ongoing pandemic? Feed my sheep. How do we fight injustice? Feed my sheep. How do we protect each other from violence? Feed my sheep. How do we encourage women to push on in their healing and not give up? Feed my sheep. I long to express my love to God as a way of worship and settling my spirit when the ground underneath me is unstable. “Do you love me?” Jesus asks. “Then feed my sheep.” (John 21)
We discussed this passage earlier this month at NH. One woman, new to our program and recently out of the life of trafficking after 35 years, said this: “Jesus said if you love me then feed my sheep. It’s not complicated! If you love Jesus, then you will help others and be the leader that He has made you to be. For me, it’s time to get to a place where I can be the woman Jesus has called me to be. That’s why I’m here.” Can you image being trapped in the life of sexual exploitation and trafficking for 35 years and having such a wise perspective? This brave woman was recruited into the life as a teenager, she has nine children, she has overcome a substance abuse addition, and now she’s finally at a place where she can be still and heal. And the first thing she recognizes is that she’s ready to be a leader to help others? That’s powerful.
And I think she’s right. We must be taking care of ourselves so that we can in turn take care of each other. The idea of feeding others (caring, nurturing, leading) seems so second nature to the women at NH. There must be a correlation between people who have been so dehumanized by others that healing themselves has a restorative element which fills the gap left by the pain they endured. Is that maybe part of what Jesus intended? Feed my sheep and you too will be fed?
This is such a beautiful calling Jesus places on our lives – to take care of one another. In a time when the evil of the world is communicated to us in almost a live feed, I know that I feel overwhelmed by the discrepancies between good and evil. Even though I’ve been working alongside victims of human trafficking for over ten years, I still can’t believe that there are people who would buy and sell other human beings. But still it happens. So when Jesus says to feed His sheep, it serves as a the directive I need to keep going.
Thank you for keeping NH and the women we serve in your prayers. Your time, your prayers, your gifts are a way of feeding and blessing others. April is a new month, and we’re ready for it! Know that we are holding you in our prayers as well. We are in this together.
Grateful for you,