“You have no IDEA the IMMENSITY of how much I DO NOT CARE about school right now.”
Some girls in our home are not able to verbalize their emotions. Gina does not have this problem. While she doesn’t always understand her emotions, when she has a moment of clarity (or just wants to be left alone), Gina knows how to tell you what she’s thinking.
These are the waters I get to tread every day as a teacher at the Wellspring Living Girls Program. There are days when everyone works the entire day without an emotional outburst, acting out defiantly, fighting, or sleeping, but those days are rare. Gina and the others are typical teenagers in many respects, an age that comes with it’s own set of hormones and boundary pushing that challenges even the best parents. But on top of that they’ve been through multiple traumas beyond even the wounds their sexual exploitation has caused.
Some were raped as small children.
Some were abused by various family members.
Some were exposed to drugs at an early age.
Some became addicts themselves.
Some have grown up in extreme poverty.
Some have watched friends die on the street.
Some have been used in pagan rituals.
And some had parents die or just abandon them.
Again, these traumas are in addition to the repeated rape, kidnapping, physical abuse, emotional and mental intimidation, etc., that are a part of many of their stories of being sex trafficked… sometimes for YEARS.
No wonder Gina can’t sit and focus on Algebra 2 and World Literature for four hours a day. No wonder she tells me I remind her of someone she cares about one minute, then tells me to leave her the heck alone the next. She has wounds that run deeper than I can fathom and has covered them with a hard emotional shell out of necessity to survive. When life feels good, she can handle the stress of school, but as she works through therapy and begins to imagine life out of the home, she gets scared, frustrated, or angry, and can’t always handle school.
At my best I feel like I ‘get’ these girls and connect in meaningful ways, distracting them from their pain long enough to focus on a different future. That’s why I do what I do. God did not intend for these things to happen to them and God promises that in His time He works all things for the good of those who love Him. I know these things; yet, I’m not always at my best. Sometimes I get frustrated, tired, and wounded. I carry my own brokenness, anxieties, and worries into their world. When I fall out of balance, I forget the work of God and just want Gina to stop being dramatic and do her stinkin’ Chemistry.
However, even when I get it wrong, I look back and see God still working out His purposes in both of our lives. God is helping me to trust Him with my own life as well as with the girls’ lives. As much as I strive for them to graduate high school and be successful, I mostly just want God to heal them. We see this process of healing beginning to take place in each of them in unique ways. I see it in Gina. She trusts God more than I do sometimes and her life preaches a message I can’t to the other girls. So I let go and trust God to break through the walls and work as only He can.