I’ll be brave in the waiting,
As I hold hope for those I don’t even know.
I’ll stay brave,
even as my faith shakes,
I’ll keep believing.
A few days ago I received notice that we were denied another grant opportunity for The Anchor House. It’s hard to hear “no” or “not yet.” It’s especially difficult to hear no when it’s not the first no we’ve received. In the Spring, we applied for foundational grants that our fundraiser researched as promising opportunities to fund our first year of operation. Our budget is meager, and our mission is compelling. Yet all the grantees responded to our proposal with a no. No, not yet. No, too high of an ask. No, not towards The Anchor House. No, not for boys. No.
I hear other nonprofit ministries tell me to wait until you get boys in the home then people will feel more comfortable giving. Since when did comfort become a need or concern?
Do we need to feel comfortable to give of our time, money and heart?
I find statements like that equally astounding and heartbreaking.
I’ve felt little ease since founding Restore One. The journey has been risky and full of heartache. Yes, there are moments of glory and redemption but the majority of the work is onerous. I’ve sat with boys as they wait for months in agony for a safe place because our home is not yet open. These incidences bring tears and cause me to wrestle with God. I’ve been inflicted by hateful protest towards Restore One that seemed to rise higher than the walls of The Anchor House.
I’ve witnessed firsthand the darkness of spiritual warfare against my husband and me, our team and our loved ones. I’ve felt scorned for speaking truth and shamed when I’ve been silent. Often I do not feel brave or strong, yet there is an inner tug to remain steadfast. I keep waiting in hope. Other survivors need to know that there are people who will hold on for them and people who will be brave and battle on their behalf. They need us to step outside of our comfort. Yet, it’s in the place I push people towards that I find my battle. I long for comfort as I wait in discomfort.
Waiting is an uncomfortable feeling. Angst and fear are the wolves that run in the pack to attack the posture of my heart as I struggle to believe that God’s promises to open The Anchor House are true. I question, “Will I grow bolder as I move through my discomfort in the waiting? Can God shape my character and hold my heart in a season of unknowing? Will desire for comfort trump my compassion? Or will it bridge the gap of my prayers and resources to lands of lacking?”
I’m no saint or heroine, just an average woman carrying a mission that God gave her. There are days where the longing to be free from hardship feels stronger than my pour over coffee. The allure of the easy life mirage catches me in daydreams and fantasies of other carriers. Yet, the path of life is not feathery for anyone. We all carry our cross to the extent that our mission and calling require of us. Our costs and gains are different. As for me, every ounce of discomfort is worth the price of someone knowing freedom. So, I must choose to grow braver. In hope that others will too, grow braver and say yes to boys.
Anna Smith is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Restore One, where she works diligently on their chief project, The Anchor House. The Anchor House will be the first shelter in the nation designed to meet the needs of sex trafficked and sexually exploited American boys. Anna has a resilient passion to see sex trafficking victims experience true healing and restoration. In her spare time, Anna enjoys biking with her husband Chris, reading, cooking, throwing pottery, running and yoga. Learn more about Restore One here.