Valentine’s Day at Cherished Support Group
Each Tuesday night for the past 6 years, women from all over the DFW Metroplex have gathered for a night of fellowship and encouragement. Women who have seen darkness, lived in shame, fear and disappointment about where their journeys have taken them. Women who share one thing in common; each have experienced the sex industry firsthand. They were prostitutes, escorts, strippers, sex trafficked or involved in the porn industry.
But when they show up at the Cherished support group, they are no longer labeled by their past. They are identified by their true value as ones who were made in the image of God. They are experiencing a transformation process of becoming powerful overcomers! We refer to them affectionately as Butterflies.
Last night, we gathered with our Cherished Butterflies to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Our devoted volunteers provided an incredible meal, roses and gifts for each woman. We spent an evening together watching the latest Cinderella movie while eating lots of chocolate, dressed in our pajamas for added fun! As we watched the movie, I could not help but feel the desire in the hearts of our women. We all have this desire to be seen; to be found worthy and valuable. We desperately want to believe that we are special.
The words that have been spoken over these precious women are unthinkable. The labels they have worn have been so heavy they seemed paralyzing. Yet, these brave women grabbed onto HOPE. They mustered up enough FAITH to walk out of the doors of a strip club and into the arms of Christ. They are being transformed by His love for them. I love the scripture in Psalms 45:11 that says: The King is enthralled with your beauty; Honor Him, for He is your Lord.
These precious women have changed my life! They have incredible courage and determination to run after God, to find their true identity, and then in turn, help other women just like them do the same. It never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Every Tuesday night for the past 6 years has been my favorite night of the week. The Cinderella story, as inspiring as it is, has nothing on the real life stories of our Cherished Butterflies!!!
I have been on the battlefield of sexual perversion fulltime since 2014. I have seen the scars on the individual lives of those who’ve been exploited up close and personal. I have felt the shockwaves of sex trafficking at its worst in places like India and Iraq. I have come face to face with the effects of sexual addiction and pornography in our own city and in my own home.
I remember the day in November of 2015 when I sat with God and began asking Him what could be; what should be. In that moment, He began showing me a pathway to restoration and freedom for all who have been impacted by sexual addiction, sexually exploitation, and pornography. That pathway is now known as Valiant Hearts. In January of 2016, we began putting the pieces into place in order to support a much broader vision. God blew our minds with His provision, divine connections and partnerships, new team members and board members.
As I am preparing to launch into 2017, I have been spending some quiet, undistracted time with the Lord asking Him to prepare me and speak to me for this next season. I am also spending time reading Bill Johnson’s latest book, “God is Good: He’s Better Than You Think”.
I read this section and then reread it, then underlined it, then copied it into my journal. “What God does for us is beyond the reach of our biggest prayer on our greatest day with our highest level of faith. It’s beyond our most well-thought-out dreams, plans, goals and imaginations. His commitment to us is to function beyond the limitations of our imagination and perform the unthinkable on our behalf.”
So… God, I’m going to pray my biggest, most audacious prayer. I am going to dream as big as I possibly can using all my imaginative powers. Show me in 2017 how small my prayers and dreams are in light of what you are capable of doing!! There is none like you! No one can stand in your presence. No enemy has ever had a victory over you. No request is too hard. No vision is too big. Nothing compares to you!!!
SHOW US YOUR GLORY IN 2017. BLIND US LIKE PAUL. FORCE US TO COVER OUR FACES LIKE MOSES. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES, BUT SHOW US YOUR GLORY!!!
Have you heard? Valiant Hearts (formerly We Are Cherished) is expanding! If you’re anything like me, the idea of change makes you cringe. But even I can’t help getting excited about the new name and vision of this organization. Over the next four weeks, I’ll be talking about this expansion in more detail, and I hope you get just as excited as I am!
First of all, the things we have been doing as We Are Cherished will remain as one segment (titled “Cherished”) under the new Valiant Hearts name. We will continue to host the weekly support group and provide a home cooked meal, childcare, and gas cards, and we will continue to provide counseling, mentoring, career, interview, and resume coaching, and more. We will also continue our quarterly outreach to the 40+ strip clubs in the DFW Metroplex.
Next, in addition to providing support to women affected by sexual exploitation, we will now offer support to families who have a loved one affected by the industry. Often, families of a dancer feel as though they have nowhere to turn for support as they cope with the realities of a sister, daughter, or mother in the industry. They don’t want to tell their church for fear of the loved one being shunned while she’s working in the industry or even if she decides to leave the industry. The shame that keeps them from talking about it will make them feel isolated, unable to reach out for support because they don’t know where to find it.
The “Courageous” branch of Valiant Hearts seeks to change that. So named because of the courage it takes for these families to reach out and walk through this struggle with others, this program will provide encouragement and support for families struggling with the effects of sexual exploitation of a loved one. We will provide a support group specifically for these families, and offer a care plan that includes a designated ministry team, qualified family counselors, resources, and intercessors. Our hope is that as these families heal and find empowerment and restoration, they in turn will be able to share their experience with other families, and healing and restoration would spread.
Finally, as we expand, there are more and more opportunities to get involved with what we’re doing. Just a few of these areas are: providing meals for Cherished Support Group, helping with childcare (Cherished Kids) for Cherished Support Group, mentoring Cherished butterflies, Basket stuffing night, Outreach teams, Courageous Support Team, and Courageous couple mentoring.
We would so love for you to join us as we expand! Stay tuned over the next several weeks as the official transition begins!
Email email@example.com for more information on how you can get involved.