Monday, January 14, 2013

me. being brave.

Today has been a day of bravery for me. Fearful, knee-shaking, thrilling at every turn bravery. When God calls you to something big, when He deposits a dream in your heart, it is a beautiful, scary thing. I start to dream about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be raised with this project. I start to dream about standing alongside so many different organizations and getting to be a small part of their work in the world. I dream about the girls that could be protected, rescued, restored and reintegrated through this. I dream about Him using my crazy little brain and these crazy little campaigns that I dream up to really make a difference in the world. 

Then....the what if's start flowing....what if it's a failure? What if no one gets this vision? What if I can't do it? What if I let people down? What if I get all excited and then it falls flat? What if..... 

(truthfully, I even got scared WRITING out those dreams in this post! What if you thought I was crazy? Or dreamed too big? What if you thought I shouldn't think so highly of myself that the God of the Universe would want to use ME? What if....

this is where trust comes in. A whole heap of trust, a big dash of hope, a crazy amount of courage and the choice to be brave.

It was a choice to be brave today as we launched I had this idea in early 2010 and it is now coming to fruition. It's my baby and it's being born :) I get excited. I start dreaming. But then the what if's start in. The fears that I will bring this baby of mine into public and end up falling flat on my face. Is that a possibility? sure. always is really :) But I'm choosing to be brave anyways. To walk forward in what I believe God is calling me to. To live in the dreams that He has given me. To try. To "chance". To take a risk.

Because I know the heart of the God I serve. I know the truth. This project doesn't define me. If it falls flat on it's face, I still have my Jesus. He loves ME, not what I do for Him. He delights in my heart to serve, not the number of FB shares I get. This is His deal anyways. If He wants to use this little idea to raise money for His work around the world, so be it. If He chooses not to, that's His choice too. This is about HIM. He gets the glory...and He would gladly take the fall too. 

Because of the strong shoulders of the one who carries me, I can be brave. Because of the unconditional, crazy love of the God I serve, I can dream big dreams. Because of Him, I can walk forward in trust, courage and a whole lot of HOPE. 

Am I still afraid? yeah...probably ;) I realize, however, that this life of bravery that I'm living, is the life I want to live. I want to be the kind of girl who loves big, dreams big and steps out on crazy limbs with her God in grand adventures. So today. I will be that girl. I will be brave because of who He is.

How will you be brave today? How will you scoop up all of that trust, hope and courage and choose to live the brave, beautiful life that He has for you?

PS: let me know if you want to join our brave adventure with me? :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

You're Invited

I ALWAYS want to get invited to the party. always. I love a good party. It doesn't even have to be all that exciting. I just love people. I love being together and laughing hysterically. I love being invited. 

There is something special about being included. Someone calling and saying "I want you here. I want you to be with me. I want to spend time with you."

Consider this your invitation :-)

You are hereby invited to what I consider the greatest adventure on earth, the best party and the most beautiful journey I've ever been on. 

You are invited to join the adventure of God's heart for justice on this earth. 

Yes, the journey includes some ugly, messy parts. It includes journeying to what appears to be the depths of hell on this earth. It is a journey into death. It is a journey into ashes and darkness. But it's worth it. I promise. She's worth it. He's worth it. YOU are worth it.

I skyped with Saskia this morning. She runs Not For Sale Amsterdam and lives and breathes the work of rescue and redemption from the streets of the red light district in Amsterdam. We talked about the horror and the chains of injustice that these girls experience. But then....we talked about the joy. We talked about the dancing. We talked about the LIFE.

THIS. This is what we GET to be a part of. We get to watch experience the Lazarus story over and over every day. 

In John 11, word is sent to Jesus that Lazarus is sick and dying. He stays where He is. Lazarus dies. (oh the questions that brought up for Mary and Martha! Oh the questions it brings up for me when Jesus seems to just sit by while injustice wins). Mary and Martha confront Jesus. They question why He wasn't present. They cry. Jesus cries. The whole town cries together. 

....then.....the miracles happens.

Jesus calls forth life. Jesus calls Lazarus out of his tomb and into life. 

Sigh. I just love the idea of life conquering death.

We get to live this. We get to walk with people into injustice. We get to hold them while they cry. We get to walk people through the questions. We get to walk into the questions that injustice poses in our own lives. And the middle of the death and darkness and mourning....we get to see Jesus call forth life. 

I am amazed. I get to watch Jesus call forth life. Saskia gets to watch Jesus call forth life. We sat back amazed. We prayed together with tears streaming down our faces. In wonder. In amazement.

Is it hard to walk into death? Yep. Is it worth it? YEP. She's worth watching come alive. He's worth watching come alive. YOU are worth watching come alive. 

When you watch someone come alive, you will realize that somehow, you were just a part of the greatest adventure on the face of the planet. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

An Open Letter to a Sex Trafficking Investigator

Last week, the team for Indian Rescue Mission went for a "routine" rescue of a girl they had seen during investigations. They could not find her. This routine rescue ended up being an 8 day search through every brothel in this Indian town searching high and low for sweet Rekha.

Today's post is an open letter to every investigator on James' team, to every investigator working with Exodus Road in SE Asia, to every investigator throughout the world who is tonight searching a brothel.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I must simply start with thank you. What you do, what you dedicate your life to - it is for FREEDOM so that each of these girls may live in hope and freedom all of their days. From a girl who once lived in oppression (though not trafficking), I can tell you that freedom is priceless. The ability to live and breathe and HOPE again is a gift that no man could put a price on. It is life. Your job really is about bringing life to dead places. It is about seeing the Lazarus miracle happen every single day.

In Ezekiel 37, he is told to prophesy over dry, dead bones and tell them to come to life. I believe we are given that same command as believers in the world today. We are supposed to be the kind of people who speak life into a dead and dying world. Unfortunately, being around the "dead"....being in places full of death and despair is hard and most people RUN from those places. Not you. You are going into the darkest places on the planet to speak LIFE. You are speaking life and hope with every single rescue. Actually, I bet you are speaking life and hope in every single catch of the eye. I bet these girls, even the ones who are not rescued, see a difference in you. They notice that you look in their eyes instead of at their bodies. They see your care, and HIS, in your eyes. You are a modern day Ezekiel, going into the graveyards of the walking, breathing dead and speaking life.

I also know that it's not all fun and games. It's not miracle inducing beauty where you watch the dead spring to life, hugging and thanking you and you all grab hands and dance in a circle. It's hard. It's gut wrenching on a daily basis. It's painful as you look around at the pain and terror on their faces and know you won't rescue every single one of them. It's even more painful to see the ones who have no terror because you know they have resigned themselves to that fate. At times you must want to punch a "john" in the face. You must want to storm the brothels and turn the tables and beat the life out of a man that you know is taking away the innocence and the life blood of a precious daughter of God. It's overwhelming as you count the brothels and wonder if you are even making a dent.

Rekha's face haunts me. I have her picture on my phone. I wonder how she is today. I wonder if she's ok. I hurt. I ache. I weep before my God. They didn't find her even after days of searching. Instead, they got word that the brothels in this area were rotating the girls every 17 days. She is gone and we don't know where. Not only that, but she is the "new girl" - the new underage girl at another brothel right now. This fact brings about questions in my faith that have no answers. They cause me to wrestle with God. They bring me, weeping, to His feet as I slam my fists against His chest and ask "why?" with a broken heart. And I didn't even look into her eyes. I simply have her photo. I cannot truly imagine what goes through your mind and heart as an investigator when a girl does not get rescued. And keep going. You keep rescuing. You keep investigating. You keep going into the dark places to speak life and hope.

Today, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are hundreds, thousands of us who stand with you. We ache with you. We love you, though we don't know your name. We pray for you. We pray for your rescues and investigations, but we also pray for your hearts. For your faith. For your families. We pray that He will sustain you through the questions. We pray that you will feel His presence and His pleasure as you serve Him on the frontlines. We pray for every girl that you lock eyes with, that they will see His adoration of them. We pray for every John that you lock eyes with, that they will see the possibility of being free from these chains. We pray that you will be sent out into this world as a mighty warrior who fights against the darkness and who brings LIFE and HOPE. We thank you.

From my heart to yours, all I have to offer is my overwhelming thankfulness and my prayers. I am heading to SE Asia in 3 months and I know then I will know a piece more of your heart and of your pain and I pledge to use my voice to walk into the darkness with you whenever I can and to lift you up always,

Brandi Lea

PS: If you want to write your own letter to an investigator, go to for details! Also, I'd encourage you to follow Indian Rescue Mission and The Exodus Road on FB and twitter!!!
IRM - find "James IndianRescue" on FB as a friend. Follow him on Twitter @indianrescue
Exodus Road - Friend them on FB and follow twitter as @theexodusroad

Friday, January 4, 2013

My One Word For This Year (you have to read it to know what it is :)

I wrote a few days ago on how I don't do resolutions, but I do have some high hopes for you and for me. After reading She Loves post on a NEW resolution movement: one word 365, though....I was inspired. Inspired to ask Jesus to lay ONE WORD on my heart for this year. A hope. A challenge. An inspiration. A guide. A foundation to come back to throughout the year. All of this wrapped up in ONE WORD.

I wrestled all morning with the Lord as I sought out my ONE WORD. I wanted something beautifully that told me that Jesus planned on this being the best year of my life. The last few years, my themes have been freedom, healing and hope. I was sorta hoping Jesus would whisper "jubilee" or "fulfillment of everything I've ever promised" or something equally as thrilling. I was staying away from words like "patience' because, well, we all know it's just plain crazy to pray for patience :)

Then....He spoke....and with a rush I knew what my word was:

It's equal parts thrilling and absolutely terrifying to me!

When I got out of the shower (because as we all know, that's where Jesus speaks to me :), I looked up the definition of this word. Here's what has to say about the word "soar":
soar  (sôr, sr)intr.v. soared, soar·ing, soars
1. To rise, fly, or glide high and with little apparent effort.
2. To climb swiftly or powerfully.
3. To glide in an aircraft while maintaining altitude.
4. To ascend suddenly above the normal or usual level
 Two things struck me about these definitions. Firstly, the inclusion of the phrase "with little apparent effort". Sigh. I release my unknowingly held breath as I realize I don't have to strive. Nothing. Just soar....and let Him do the work. whatever that means??? :) I guess He will have to show me! The other thing that stuck out to me was the last definition "above the normal or usual level". Another sigh. I love this. For me, these definitions put all the emphasis on HIM. This is HIS work. No work from me. No striving. It's not about my adequacy or ability to soar. My "flying" skills don't even factor.  "Above the normal or usual level"....this has to be supernatural.

The terrifying part? I feel so inadequate. It seems to me that soaring means walking into my gifting in a new way. This terrifies me to the core. What if I'm not really gifted? What if these big dreams, visions, even the prophecies that others have spoken over me are just pipe dreams? What if I'm like the ugly kid who tells everyone she's going to be Miss Universe one day? What if everyone hears my dreams, my plans for this new non-profit, the ideas for She's Worth It and my trips to SE Asia and Uganda this year and thinks "awe....that's cute, little girl. But get real, this is a grown ups world and you are not cut out for this." I wonder secretly if I will put myself out there only to be shot down? I wonder if I will fail. I wonder if I will be accepted by others.
I'm a little like a little bird watching the air....wondering if I can do this. Wondering if I can fly. If I do, will the other birds accept me? Will there be birds who fly with me? Will I be flying alone?

And then, I remember. I remember that this is about HIM. All I have to do is take the next step...or the next flap of my wings? (how exactly does that analogy work? :) It's about following Him. It's about being who I was created to be and living in freedom and in beauty. He is the one who accepts me. He is the one who will fly with me. There are no guarantees that anything I do will be successful....but then again, who says what's successful? Successful is following my Jesus wherever He may lead. Success will be soaring into who I am, unashamed - no holding back - utter abandon to the one who created these wings.

I want to soar into the fullness of my freedom. Free to be me. Free from wounds and lies. Free from the boxes I have created or others have shoved me into. Free from control. Free from the bondage that comes from living for others' approval. Free to fly with my God.

We will see how this word plays out this ministry, in relationships, in further healing, in my spiritual life. All I know for now is that I am called to SOAR.