“What is a prostitute, Mom?”
With my passion for anti-trafficking advocacy, my kids probably hear mature terms that would make you blush. Our dinner table is very open with robust conversation that runs the gamut. But, driving home with my four kiddos, only beginning at age five and capping off at the tender age of twelve, they asked me this curious question and in all openness, I sat there stunned. It brought up so many thoughts from the past.
So, I swallowed hard and prayed. I left their question hanging in the air as my mind pinpointed and replayed one historical moment so vividly it was like I was there.
I know there is much debate on both sides with some claiming that a woman choosing to sell her own body is her “right”. The other side sees it as demoralizing, recognizing women are usually controlled by either substance or pimps without any “choice” at all, and that truly, they would rather die than live another day like they are. I step out of the ring all together on this argument, because I see a third consideration - which is why my kiddos’ question jarred me.
I have quickly thrown out the mantra that “Jesus sat with tax collectors and prostitutes” when explaining the magnanimous love of God to my children. But sitting there I began to think what that really meant. I saw in my mind the faces of so many women I have spoken to or driven by; strung out, hungover, exhaustion in her eyes, sometimes just hollow, empty, lifeless bodies going through the motions. I know how to spot her pimp and I usually see him not very far away. I ache at the thought of having another human being’s days controlled by another. Of waking up every day in the muck of an existence that is no life at all just to do it all over again. What must it feel like to get undressed in front of a total stranger? To allow them to do unthinkable, painful, and harmful things to your body playing out fantasies they could never perform on someone they may have to look in the eyes of again - especially their wife. And when it’s finally over, what must it feel like that any shred of self-worth, confidence, or self-preservation is swallowed up by the money or beating she collects after her most vulnerable labor; an almost out-of-body mental experience just to get through it. Can you imagine with me the utter despair?
Even someone tending to high-end clients in expensive hotels I have only had the pleasure of staying at a handful of times, have it no better. Whether a seedy or classy space, the situation is the same finally ending the same way as she walks to the bathroom. What does she think to herself immediately afterward when looking at her face in the bathroom mirror?
In that moment, this is what I would want to say to her - exactly what I had to go back and tell my four kids and nothing to do with “rights” or popular arguments that aren’t remotely limited to feminism and freedom. I would share the story of a woman who lived thousands of years earlier, who probably shared the same pains and circumstances that led to the same outcome; selling what she had, her body. Jesus sat with this woman. And when I think about her days in the graphic terms I just described, this was a messy place for Him to sit. We hear about the mockery, the questioning, the rejection, and the gossip that took place when Jesus’ willingly loved on a woman who felt unloveable looking into her mirror.
But behind His back wasn’t enough and these mockers, rejectors, gossipers, and religious hypocrites took the argument to the streets. John 8 says they pulled this woman out from the actual “act of adultery” (NLT). As if what she did in private wasn’t humiliating enough, she was publicly harassed with the growing crowd demanding death as payment for her sin - brought out for all to see. I imagine Jesus as he bent down. His drawing in the sand may have been a statement to the crowd of His resilience. But knowing Jesus' character, I like to think His posture was to meet eyes with a humiliated and half-dressed, scared, and vulnerable prostitute. One who moments before was in, at the very least, spiritual pain. The tenderness she must have felt when God in the flesh calmly came low - to where she was. Meeting her at her lowest, as the crowd chanted with hatred, he became her rescue and protection. The gauntlet was thrown, the shouting fell silent, and his unwavering eyes never left hers as He demanded the sinless be the first to accuse this sin-riddled lifestyle.
“Throw it. If you are sinless, go ahead and throw the first stone.”
Squinting her eyes and gritting her teeth in anticipation of her death, she would hear the thud of the rocks into the very dirt Jesus was just scribbling in. She would not be stoned to death with the last few hours of her existence being horrid. But, she instead would be left to have an intimate conversation with love, God Himself, wrapped in flesh. Jesus asks her (vs. 10) a question that demanded she speak out the redemption of her story.
“Where are your accusers, ______________________. (fill in your name)
This woman responded, “No, Lord.” Not one condemned me. My accusers left.
And with this, Jesus accomplished what He came to do. This story lives on in eternity and because of this story, I can tell my children what a prostitute is in the context of who Jesus was present with. Jesus does not overlook or turn away from the messes. He bends low and looks us in the eyes in our unworthiness, our brokenness, our shame, our sin, our guilt, and our pain and He embraces us with what is the real justice of this true narrative.
“Go then.” But, let my love change you and stop this sin.
He came for this. For the people like me who know their life needs a Savior. The real argument for me is here; not what does or does not justify prostitution, but what can lead her out of it.
“What has hindered the intimacy and faith you want to live in?" page 183
"Unraveled is an indispensable resource for every intentional mom I have met while serving in this industry. Amanda not only brings awareness to child sex trafficking, and in an approachable, peer-to-peer manner, but she preemptively addresses the concern every mom has for her child's safety
and points them back to the truth necessary to combat evil. Five stars!"
O.U.R. Jump Team Member
“This is an incredibly important book for all moms to read. Amanda has done a beautiful job of helping us ponder questions in our own hearts, while also giving us an honest look of her own family’s experiences. Her story helps to equip us so that we can better protect our children in this fallen world. You will be riveted.”
CEO of And Then There Were None and inspiration for the major motion picture, Unplanned
“The crimes I have seen against children makes Unraveled a necessity for today and
Florczykowski’s bold voice draws parents to both truth and triumph.”
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