what I have learned from my time in the strip club

My mind  filled with so many thoughts and words as I prepared to write this post.  I have desired to share my experience in the strip club for almost two years now, but from fear of exploiting the women I have grown to deeply love, I remained quiet and even defensive.  Words that would hopefully bring God glory were silenced with fear.  Fear can be crippling. At times in my life, suffocating.  Even as I write this post I battle the enemies lies and with everything in me focus on the truth he has pressed upon my heart.  Obedience follows true faith and comes before radical living.  I want to walk in faith with great obedience in a life that screams radical love to the Father.  And as I began to write what started as an emotional and personal response to a very controversial approach to sharing Christ, my thoughts were quickly shifted to God’s word and His truth of hope.

Immediately Isaiah 52:7 floods my mind and I am drawn to this passage.  But it is the verses that lie before and after that stir my soul…

Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength!  Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city.  The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.  Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.  Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive…

…How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion “Your God reigns!”

Listen!  Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy.  When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.  Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.  The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

WOW!  Wow!  Do you see it?  Oh!  That those would leave their sin, respond in faith and find their purpose and salvation in the Lord.

Listen here.  I have read articles and posts on Jesus and the strip clubs.  Would Jesus approve…  So many opinions, I just had to turn it off. This is what I want to share with you…

It isn’t easy.  This is messy ministry.  It isn’t for everyone.  But, I believe it is for me.

Preparing your heart and mind to walk into a place that has always seemed forbidden, wrong and even evil. Asking the Holy Spirit to give you Kingdom vision.  And by that I truly mean eyes that are not distracted by the flesh but only sees His creation.  It’s hard but it is what He has put on my heart.

The confidence required to know who I am in Christ as the world begs to tell me differently.  The enemy desperately claws for this foothold.  My foot has been torn apart and nearly limp from repeatedly knocking him down.

To walk in their world with humility and absolutely no condemnation.  Only love.  Only Christ can do this.

To share life and womanhood and motherhood and dreams and Jesus and then walk away.  Literally, every time I leave and pass through the darkness I leave a piece of my heart.  And hopefully, a piece of Jesus and the lingering aroma of Life.

To know what I know.  To know His truths.  To have felt the weight of heavy chains and to have once believed the lies of the enemy.  To have been radically changed by surrender and grace.  To know where freedom is truly found.   And to know not everyone chooses His Way.  It isn’t easy.

But just like Abraham walked up that hill with his promised son, his only son and declared that THEY would walk back down.  I go to a place that most won’t and through my faith, I believe one day I will not walk out of the darkness alone.

You want to know what I have learned, what I have really found in the dressing room of the strip clubs?  Kindness.  Dreamers.  Believers. Moms.  Granddaughters.  And the recipe for the best cheese pound cake I ever tasted.  Acceptance.  Love.  Friendship.  Real friendship.  Help with homeschool.  Encouragement.  Determination.  Strength.  Sisters.  Wives.  Neighbors.  Laughter.

I would be foolish though if I didn’t tell you that I have also seen pain.  And pride.  Hurt.  Lust.  Shame.  I am not sure which of these categories that continues to draw me back more than the other.  But I will tell you there is one thing that I choose to always see and look for.  Every time I walk through those doors.  Every time I serve a plate.  Every time I share my heart, my life or a gift.  It is Hope.  Hope.

Hope is what I clung to in the deepest of valleys.  Hope is what shined the brightest in the darkest of my night.  Hope is what I have to offer because I believe Hope is what lives in me.

Over six years ago I heard a prayer that rocked my soul. From that moment it became my cry…

Dear God.  Please break my heart for the very things that break yours.

And He has.

You know our chains may look different.  But the weight of the burden is the same.  One night I experienced surrender and freedom like never before.  It radically changed my life.  That is the Hope, the Light I must take into the dark.

I have learned that if we seek Christ with our whole heart, we will find Him.  He will meet us exactly where we are.  No need to clean things up.  And actually He prefers it messy.  Listen.  He will radically transform lives and put a desire within our hearts to live in such a way that brings glory to His Name.  Let’s set our eyes upon Him, seek holiness in such a way that our lives will speak ONLY of Him.  May we bear witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

How beautiful are the feet…

xo,

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July 27, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Natalie

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