One of our survivors at the HER Refuge confronted me about our social media pages the other day. “You make this journey seem easy, but you need to share the hard stuff that happens at the HER Refuge too,” she said. I tried to reason with her that in a world full of darkness, we always want to share a message of hope. “You don’t understand what I’m saying. Stop listening with your ears and start listening with your heart.” This girl is a deep well of wisdom. When she calls me out, I know I should listen.. And apparently not only with my ears. “You need to talk about the things no one else sees. Like the time (another survivor) was struggling and A stopped to pray over her before he went outside to play. Or the time you were holding E in your arms while trying to convince me not to run away. Those are the moments that mean something to me. People need to hear the real story of what it’s like to run a safe house as a family.” As a family. It hit my heart. The Light shines brightest in the greatest darkness. When we focus only on the good without acknowledging the battles that have been won in the dark, we are missing the true story of hope and freedom. Those stories are the ones that carry the power to restore lives.
...When God gave us the vision of starting a safe house, I couldn’t have imagined what the last three years of our life would look like. I couldn’t imagine the moments of watching the most intense wounding and pain manifest before my eyes, grabbing hold of every fiber of a woman’s being - mentally, physically, and spiritually. I couldn’t imagine the times sitting on the floor of the closet trying to help our girl out of the imprisonment of her mind while panic attacks took away any sense of reality. I couldn’t imagine the consuming thoughts of fear and paranoia - every creek of a door, car driving by, or side-wards glance - as proof of impending danger. I couldn’t imagine the days of struggle to run - run back to the worst of the worst, because real family and true love hurt too much, was too foreign, too risky, too scary, too unknown. I couldn’t imagine the hours and hours of sitting in the ER and hospital rooms as broken bodies, enduring years of trauma start to fall apart and break down. I couldn’t imagine the sleepless nights as Sammy and I cried out to the Lord, praying for relief and healing and peace for the precious women stepping through our doors. I couldn’t imagine living in the home with our three children and watching them love on and care for these women as easy as it is to breathe. I couldn’t imagine the breakthroughs and miracles and deep relationships that would be born out of the most broken of places as the pieces start getting pieced back together. I couldn’t imagine the resources and community that would surround this place, fighting in the trenches with us for these women every day, expecting nothing in return. I just couldn’t imagine... But looking back on the last three years of unbelievable highs and heartbreaking lows, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s time we start sharing the stories of this place. Not just the good ones but the ones born out of the dark and hopeless places, because I believe we are stepping into a season where the voice of the overcomers is going to bring the biggest revival our world has ever seen. It’s time that voice is heard. - Britney, HER Campaign Founder