When we step into the realm of asking God to speak into and through our art, there is no way of telling where He is going to take us, or take the work which we create.
“Sparrow” was my own stumbling attempt to respond to the dark reality of Human Trafficking, and the stories I hear through some of my co-workers who are involved in anti-trafficking and Justice ministries. A friend was setting up the prayer room for one of the Freedom Challenge events, and brought along several pieces of art to help people as they sought to hear the Father’s heart for the mostly women and children who are trapped in these situations. One of the prints which she included was my photograph of this sculpture.
During the event, one of the speakers came into the prayer room. She spent a very long time just standing there and looking at this photograph. When my friend approached her to ask what she was seeing, the following story began to pour out. Later, my friend asked this woman, Ginger, if she could tell me what she saw in this piece which I had created. This is what Ginger wrote:
Total nakedness began taking place in my home when I was eight years old. That is when my mother married my step-father and he insisted that all three of us remain naked after my mom returned home from work. I was told to keep this a secret and that it was normal behavior. I began feeling emotionally imprisoned. This was a daily occurrence. A few years later my parents began acting our sexually in front of me and made me watch. I was regularly shown pornography and forced to read books that were explicit. After school I was not allowed to hang out with friends. I had to come home and remove my clothes and stay in my room or watch my step-father sexually act out.
When I turned 16 they pulled me out of school and told the school I was choosing to quit. We moved to Ohio where I was kept in my room for two years. During those two years I was naked 24/7. My step-father and my mother physically and sexually abused me. I had no contact with the outside world. No TV, no radio, no telephone. I was emotionally put in chains and physically locked in my room, which metaphorically was me being chained. Fear kept me from attempting to slip out of my window and run away. The chains of fear were immobilizing. The little bird represents the hope that I found as I read the Bible, hiding it under my sheets so that they would not find it. It was the Psalms that provided this hope even though I did not know God.
Even when I was able to leave the home, I was still chained emotionally to the lie that the only thing I could do was be a prostitute or a dancer in a bar. I lived out that lie for a year until I found Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Slowly that lie disintegrated as I began learning God’s truths and became involved with a body of believers. It has taken many years of Christian counseling and discipleship to get to where I am today. I am free from the chains and the lies!!
When I saw the picture of the young naked girl with the bird, I saw myself. I immediately emotionally connected with the young woman who was always naked and chained. It just took me some time to learn to fly which was all due to the help of loving Christians, my heavenly Father, the forgiveness of Jesus, and the teaching of the Spirit from the Word of God.
Thank you for making this sculpture and picture. Sexual abuse almost always involves nakedness. Women who are sexually abused are also chained to the secrets that are made to keep. I have never seen anything so perfectly and literally describe my past experiences.