Struggle Strategizer: Emily Rice
If there is one thing I’ve learned in my life, it is that ONE person is worth it.
If you stop ONE person from committing suicide…
If you help ONE person start a business…
If you give ONE person advice that changes their life…
If you get ONE girl off the streets…
If you tell ONE waitress that they are worthy of love…
If you save ONE person from addiction…
It’s worth it!
We are all God’s creation, every single one of us. No person is “less than” another.
These people were all worth dying for, and they are all worth living for. We live to love God and love others.
We cannot love others without loving God. He is LOVE. He shows us what laid down; sacrificial love looks like. He demonstrates how to be compassionate and how to leave the ninety-nine to go after the ONE.
I’ve seen a lot of brokenness throughout my life. I’ve seen kids who have lost parents, parents who have lost kids. I’ve seen divorce, disease, homelessness, addiction, abuse and suicide. I’ve seen so much hurt. There was one thing that I knew existed, but I never saw it in person. I never saw a teenage girl sold on the streets. I never saw a twelve-year-old whose mom died of cancer whose dad is selling her to strangers. This girl doesn’t know anything, but to be loved by these men, you have to do exactly what they say, no matter what. All she wants is to be loved. Isn’t that what everyone wants? Four years later, she’s sixteen. People drive by her and shake their heads because all they see is a rough girl hanging out with a bunch of men with needles everywhere. She’s addicted to this man’s trap. People walk by, and she makes eye contact. She’s desperate for someone to tell her there’s a way out. She’s desperate for someone to come in and rescue her.We are supposed to be those people. We are supposed to stop and help the broken. (Luke 10:25-37).
If perfect love casts out fear, I’m not sure if we’ve learned how to love perfectly yet. We can’t be afraid to love those who are different than us.
We can’t be afraid to love the girl wearing ratty clothes, walking alone in an ally.
We can’t be afraid to love the homeless man starving on the side of the road.
We can’t be afraid to love the person who looks done up on the outside but is constantly bulling you.
We can’t be afraid to love the women drinking and yelling at her kids.
We don’t know these people. We don’t know their story. We don’t know the circumstances that got them where they are.
These people are God’s creation, JUST LIKE YOU. They are worthy of love. They are worth your inconvenience. Their life is worth you pushing past fear and loving them fully. They should be welcomed with open arms. You might be the answer to their prayers. The church is the hands and feet of Jesus, and He had compassion on these people. He went out of His way to love the outcasts.
God reminds his people, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
When I found some of these statistics, my heart broke.
- The average age of a young girl who’s trafficked in the U.S. is between 12-14 years old.
- Every day, approximately 3,287 people are sold or kidnapped and forced into slavery
- The average lifespan after being trafficked is seven years. (Victims are found dead from attack, abuse, HIV and other STD’s, malnutrition, overdose, or suicide).
Like any other heartbreaking crime, it can be normal to read facts like this, be upset for a minute, and continue about our day. I was guilty of doing this until I met some of these girls face to face. I am a youth pastor, and I have a HUGE heart for broken teenagers. After meeting young girls, who were rescued, I cried for weeks. Sex-trafficking became real to me.
You can give your money, time, and resources to help stop this crime. There are organizations that you can partner with no matter where you are.
My church is in the middle of renovating a building in downtown Columbus that will serve as a home for women who have a background of trafficking and have already completed a one-two year recovery program. We’ve found that often women that go through a recovery program get clean, but then they end up back on the streets because they don’t have a place to live, and they have no job skills. The program is handcrafted, and teaches women practical skills and provides one on one mentoring. I fell in love with this approach.
During this process, I had an encounter that changed my life. I was reading my Bible one day and heard God say to start a business. I laughed at that thought because I knew NOTHING about business, let alone starting one from scratch. But I said, “Yes, Jesus. If you show me what to do, I will.”
I launched Live Ivy in November of 2019. It started as solely a t-shirt shop, and I gave a portion of the profits to the Normandy Project. Since then, it has evolved to not only t-shirts but a place to get tools to help you achieve your wildest dreams. Live Ivy offers digital products, blogs, and more to demonstrate that you don’t have to settle.
Growing up, most people around me settled for average, accepted jobs to pay bills, and live for the weekend. Life is too long only to enjoy your weekends. So, I’m finding ways to help others decide what their dreams are and how to make small steps to achieving their dreams. It’s selfish to only live for ourselves. There is a world that is desperate for hope, truth, to know who God created them to be.
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