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  • Pamela J. Lantz

Seeds of a story

Looking back, I recognize I've been a bit of a Gretal. Unwittingly picking up breadcrumbs; storing each experience in the pocket of my soul, only to pull out and write about later. One such encounter took place over fifteen years ago.

I'll call her Amy. She came into the gym, "I need to put my membership on hold...but...I'm not sure when I'll be back." She started to cry. I still remember how her peacock-blue eyeliner clumped and then pooled in the corners of her eyes. Tears streaked down her face and splattered on her white cotton shirt. A watercolor painting resulted- of slow-motion grief. I handed her a tissue, "Can you visit for awhile?" I asked. Thankfully the gym was quiet. We sat down for a chat.

"I'm going to prison, a minimum of four years, maybe longer." She blew her nose and handed me the tissue. I threw it in the trashcan and gently said, "may I ask why?"

As her story unfolded, I tried to remain calm. I knew I was speaking to a sister in the Lord. We had already established this fact a week prior. The anguish on her face was not fresh, for she looked much older than a nineteen year old woman should look. She had only lived in Ludington for half a year. She had moved to the women's shelter to escape her southern Michigan home. She was drug-free, happy, getting an education, and even had a job she enjoyed.

"My mom called. She said she was sick and really needed my help. The staff at the shelter begged me not to go. They said it was a trap. They were right. I should have listened."

I sat in stunned silence. Her life sounded like a movie script. The kind of movie that you turn off because its too gruesome to watch. "My mother is an addict. To pay for her habit she used me. I was about four years old when it started."

Men would come to the apartment, hand her mother either drugs or cash, take Amy to the bedroom, and have their way with her. By the time Amy was twelve, she was an alcoholic. Her mother prodded her with alcohol to keep her quiet as the trafficking increased. She would be sold yearly to "Deer Camps" to keep the hunters entertained. That brought her mom a lot of cash.

Amy turned to drugs as well, a staggering amount. It was a miracle she was still alive. She ran away when she was fifteen, sixteen and seventeen years old, but she was always found. Finally, at nineteen, she located a shelter so far away she was certain she could remain hidden.

She met Jesus there. "He bandaged my wounds and dried my tears. He forgave me. I know I will live with Him forever." She looked down, sniffed, and lifted her head to look me straight in the eyes and whispered, "my mom found me again. She was sick and said she needed my help. I know I shouldn't have gone home. But, you know, my mom needed me. So she said."

It turns out her mom needed her to do a drug run. The little, four-year-old girl inside of Amy, still couldn't say no. She was arrested, sentenced and would be leaving to serve her time in a few days. We talked until her ride returned to take her back to the shelter. I gave her a hug, and told her I wouldn't forget her. I haven't. I just wish I knew where she was. Her story was an important seed planted in the series- The Trinity Promise. I would love to tell her that she mattered. I want to thank her for reminding me that Jesus came to set all captives free.

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