I cannot stop talking about commitment. Partly because when we begin dealing with victims of trafficking, they need commitment from the volunteers and staff they will eventually encounter with BRANCH. Having commitment means that a person will go to the mat with these future survivors. Survivors need to learn to trust, and they do not trust easily. So I want to share my personal experience with the cost of commitment yet again. I want you to see that sometimes commitment is painful and costly.
When we look at the scriptures on commitment, we know that Jesus paid the ultimate price for us with His life. That was love at the highest degree. We look at the story of the prodigal son and the father never gave up on his son. Look at when the son came home. His father had a feast waiting for him. For BRANCH, we want our soon-to-be-survivors (STBS) to feast on safety, trust, commitment, and peace. Well what does that mean for each of us? I am going back to the story of our dear friend/contractor. It is probably the best example that I can give at this current time.
Frank contacted me about a month ago stating that due to some personal issues (that he did discuss with me), he could no longer work on the BRANCH house or for us personally. As much as I wanted to be devastated about that…. when he told me what was occurring, the BRANCH house meant nothing. In reality it became about the person. My husband and I told Frank we would be there with him through this. In almost ten years that we have worked with Frank and he has become a part of our family, it was evident that he was definitely hurting and we were going to stand by him. Being that he could no longer work on the BRANCH house was devastating news for sure, but in true Frank style, he said that he would work along side the new contractor to pass the torch. It was probably not going to be easy and as we are coming to find out, it has a bit higher price tag then we were prepared for. However, the jewels that have resulted in coming along side him and picking up some of the mantle for him has far exceeded the cost that we are paying out of pocket.
To be honest, I don’t like some of what is occurring one bit while supporting Frank and his family during this time (I’d be a liar if I said different), but I have looked at the fruit in Frank’s life. He committed to BRANCH in so many aspects that many will never know or understand. There are many things that he did behind the scenes beyond what any normal contractor would do. Some of you know them, but what I can say is that Frank is definitely a God-send in our lives. He has been huge in the development of many things that you now experience with BRANCH. Commitment is painful at times. Commitment sometimes means sacrifice. Commitment has good times and bad. But commitment = covenant. We are in this for the long haul and that means whatever Frank needs and whatever time that is, we can offer it to him and welcome him back with open arms, just like the father did for the prodigal son.
Believe me when I say, it has left me questioning a lot of things, but I have to chew on scripture verses like Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” and also Matthew 22:39 “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When I experience certain times where things are costing me more because of what has happened, I immediately run to the worship CDs to start worshipping in the midst of what I feel coming on. Those scriptures mean something and its time the body of Christ starts living those out in excess. Choosing to live out our commitments are the things that make us stand out as Christians. Frank has sacrificed for us in so many ways. So that commitment back to him is something that is also a sacrifice. But that is what we are commanded to do as the body of Christ.
And what others witness due to our commitment to Frank, speaks volumes as well. It leads us as a testimony of God in the lives of those who are not Christian. We have built some new and great relationships because of what is occurring. It is not intentional, it was just doing what is right. God steps in and fills in the gaps in our lives. That means that things are now accelerating a bit more because of the choices we have made to come along side Frank and cover him. Commitment is vital in our lives. So is commitment to our STBS and we owe them nothing less than that.
To be able to practice this level of commitment means that when we are able to have survivors under our roof, we will do it without question and without flinching. We will know and understand what it means to go the distance. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but in God’s economy if you know in your heart what you are to do, be faithful to that. Don’t let people talk you out of it and make sure that your actions and words align with what God is whispering in your heart. It may be really painful, but it will help you in life and in your commitment to helping survivors on whatever level God has called you to work.