If we agree on one thing, perhaps it is that we’re all human?
Since nothing else approaches unifying these days. Perhaps there is that?
A fearful mama writes a post that goes viral. Protecting 3 small children in Ikea, she fears a stalker and tells her Facebook community she is a target of human trafficking. The machine explodes, one side spreads her sincere warning while the other side blasts her misinformed reactionary response.
Mistakenly, she assumed her community was safe.
The same media blamed for not addressing the issue is now blamed for sensationalizing it, fueling stereotypes, spreading inaccuracies. If we didn’t have those shows we wouldn’t have these mamas: hysterical and wrong.
The #Ikeamom is not unlike #alllivesmatter and #weareallimmigrants. Well-meaning folks, learning about injustice, trying to synthesize newfound knowledge with lived-experience. Trying to be compassionate. Trying to engage. Trying to support. Doing what they know to do with the understanding they have.
But the machine is ruthless. And there is no space for wrestling truth, stumbling around justice, and just stepping on toes.
What if we all decided it was okay to step on our toes?
These days, I’m working on a theory. Partially my attempt to integrate my passion for raising strong girls with my work to prevent domestic sex trafficking, partially my need to find some answers to this problem, I think I’m getting there. Two lovely groups of moms will soon hear my first rendition of this theory as I weave it into a talk.
But, oh I am so worried about stepping on toes!
My publisher has asked me to edit the copy for Amazon. My book will be visible soon, though not for sale for 6 more months! I can’t sleep. Far more than excited, I am scared. How many toes might I step on with these words?
I pray. In speaking and writing, I pray women would not hear what I am not saying. I pray they would hear what I hope they will hear. I pray they will hear what God has for them to hear.
And I’ve begun to add another prayer… that they might let me wrestle and stumble out loud and in doing so, be okay if I’m a little awkward and step on them.
I’m asking for grace.
Sisters, who would we be if we were women of grace? Receiving and offering, bruised toes and all? If we celebrated #Ikeamom’s vigilance and her desire to raise awareness in her community instead of slamming her misunderstanding? Lest you think I am free from blame, I too objectified this woman and used her as an example of why education is so important to dispel stereotypes. Forgive me.
A dear man I know says this, “Show up, speak from the heart, and let gift happen.” And I think, such grace embodies these words; namely, grace for oneself. Grace for oneself. Perhaps what feeds the machine’s insatiable bent on dehumanizing and discrediting and discouraging all of us is humanity’s lack of grace for itself.
Sisters, who would we be if we were a people of grace? For ourselves and for others?
Beth Bruno is founder and director of A Face to Reframe, a non-profit committed to preventing human trafficking through arts, training, and community building. She writes about women in ministry, girls becoming women, and exploited women. Her writing has appeared at Relevant, Today’s Christian Woman, InterVarsity’s The Well, and she is a proud member of Redbud Writer’s Guild. She can be found in the mountains of Colorado with her husband and 3 kids or at www.bethbruno.org.