Last fall, about 700 of us threw caution to the wind and raised $62,000 so that 62 Ethiopian women could leave sex trafficking, get job training, a new home, and a new life. It was thrilling, stunning, and breathtaking for me. It changed my life. In fact, it has launched me on a whole new adventure that I can’t wait to tell you about (but you’ll have a to wait a little longer). Perhaps the greatest part of Rim to Rim was that it didn’t stop there. Read the story below from my friend Meridith, a mom-turned-lunatic who has decided to create some ripples of her own. I simply can’t believe this stuff. God is actually making all things new, and inviting us along. Utter lunacy.
by Meridith Foster
Sometimes a rock gets dropped in the pond of your life. When Steve ran Rim to Rim and shared about it with us, it was a bit more like a meteor shower. I’m learning when that happens, it’s good to look up and pay attention.
Scanning the radio one day in August, I heard a program about a group of hostages in the Sinai Desert. They played audio of their phone calls and pleas for help. I had heard stories of the millions around the world who are enslaved, but this brought it to life. By the time the program ended, I felt overwhelmed at the thought of those who were suffering at that moment. I said the words that maybe you’ve thought too. “God, I don’t know what I could do. But if I can help, show me what to do.” A rock had dropped in my pond.
I’m a wife and a mom, and two days later I was right back in the middle of momville. But the people in the story stayed on my mind. The young girls trafficked in India, the children lured into sex trafficking here in the U.S. What was happening to them while I was making beds and cleaning bathrooms? The phone rang and it was a friend from WBGL, the radio station where I work. She had an idea, something we could do to help victims of sex trafficking. And she wondered if I would lead the project.
It was weird. I felt atypically emotional. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence. This conversation was directly connected to what I had prayed two days before. She started to explain something about running in the Illinois Marathon, raising funds, and helping restore sex trafficking victims. I just said, “Whatever it is, the answer is yes.” This was a God thing. Another rock in my pond.
Even knowing it was a God thing, I felt scared. What could I do? I get overwhelmed getting dinner on the table. I started doing the math. What would fit in my schedule? What would be doable? I could walk in a race and talk my kids into walking with me. And we might be able to raise $5,000. That seemed pretty safe.
And then I opened up my email and saw Steve’s blog, and read about Rim to Rim. I started to feel uncomfortable when I got to “What feels a little unreasonable? What are you pretty sure you can’t pull off? Who might you be able to help?”
This time, it was a boulder. I felt the same feeling I’d had in the car two days before. Suddenly, it wasn’t enough to figure out what I could pull off in my own strength. Steve was running the Grand Canyon. The. Grand. Canyon. If I really wanted to honor those who are suffering, I needed to be willing to do something unreasonable. Maybe even something that involved a little lunacy.
You can probably guess what’s happened since then. More than 400 fellow lunatics (400!!!) have signed up to walk and run various distances and races during the Illinois Marathon weekend on April 24-26. Moms, dads, kids, cousins, co-workers, and grandmothers who’ve never run before. A state senator is running with us. My 6, 7 and 9 year old daughters are running. My youngest even wrote to The President to see if he could squeeze the 5K into his schedule. We are hoping to raise $50,000 to help Abolition International build a unique restorative care facility outside Nashville, TN. It will be a place where young girls rescued from sex trafficking will experience the love and intensive care necessary to heal. After-care providers from around the world will come to this facility and learn the skills needed to bring restoration to victims in other countries. The ripple effect of these rocks is literally reaching around the world.
I am so grateful that Steve ran Rim to Rim, and shared about it with us. He dropped a big rock in the pond, and it doesn’t have to stop here. You can be a part of it. You can donate to support my daughters and me as we run by clicking here. Don’t stop there, though. Ask yourself some questions: What rocks has God dropped into my life lately? What am I pretty sure I can’t pull off? That thing might be the next rock that needs to be plopped in the pond. There’s no way to know how far the ripples will go.