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Beauty for Ashes

Just a few weeks in and my understanding has deepened; my heart aches a bit more. Many compliment the sacrifice I made to be here, but my sacrifice is but a dim spark in comparison to the flaming fires of sacrifice I see all around me. Flames of sacrifice erupting into suffering, the pain of the heat reaching to the depths of me as I process the reality for so many women here in Uganda.

The oppression and objectification is uncontrollable. It is persistent and relentless. I see the sacrifice of dreams for subjection to a man’s satisfaction. I see the sacrifice of worth in a pursuit to somehow feel worthy. I see the cultural expectation confining a woman to obligation rather than encouraging her freedom to both love and be loved.

The sacrifices I have witnessed are unparalleled, but I can say I’ve experienced the objectification. As I walk around with a prayerful heart and pure intention, my spirit is often unsettled when the whistle intended for a dog is directed toward me, or when the eyes of men won’t leave the most protected parts of my body. Though my light skin won’t let me flee from the attention, it infuriates me to know that this behavior is fueled by a sense of entitlement.

As this righteous anger builds inside of me desiring justice to prevail and value and worth to reign in the hearts of the women here, I am reminded of my purpose. So I carry that calling to those who have compromised the respect and honor they deserve for the sake of the expectation placed on them. For those who carry shame and battle abuse, I’ll fight for them to love themselves and know the price that was paid for their freedom.

Though the fire is hot and uncontained, reducing value to ash, it cannot prosper forever. This land is thirsty, longing for redemption. So let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream (Amos 5:24). Let the people draw from the wells of salvation the living water, to never thirst again. For when confronted, the blazing fires will be swallowed up by the river of justice, a never failing stream of living water, Jesus Himself.

Please join me in prayer that opportunities arise for me to speak life into those who have not yet understood that there is a man who is in pursuit of their heart and not their body, and a man who gave it all to know and love them with no conditions. Not just any ordinary man, but the King of the universe made flesh. He’ll trade a crown of beauty for their ashes.

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