I'm giving up a FREEDOM every month for a year!
It’s the 20th Jan, 2019. I’m home from a lovely summer holiday after a very busy Christmas period and ready to enjoy the rest of the long January summer days at home doing the things I love - watching cricket and digging into my pile of newly acquired jigsaw puzzles. Joy!
But it’s the 20th Jan and that changes things…
You see, as we approached the 8th anniversary of The Freedom Project on the 20th Nov last year, I felt strongly that I wanted to challenge myself to identify in some way with those whom we are ministering to and serving – the vulnerable, trafficked and enslaved. As I reflected on the unlimited freedoms I enjoy, I decided that denying myself some of those freedoms over the next year might help me remember, identify and pray. Small sacrifices I know, but it’s something.
So, each month (starting on the 20th) I deny myself a very personal and important freedom that I abundantly enjoy. The first month, I denied myself the freedom to DRINK anything my heart desires except tap water. Second month was sacrificing any and every form of CHOCOLATE (which I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to!) And now as I hit the 20th Jan, I will be denying myself the joyful passion and pleasure of doing any jigsaw puzzling. (To help understand the significance if this sacrifice… I have had puzzles going on my table continuously for the last 3 years – no kidding).
So, 10 more months, 10 more freedoms to deny myself.
I realise that these are tiny sacrifices and not to be compared in any way to the freedom(s) that are denied those who live in the cycle of slavery. I’m just doing SOMETHING to remind myself of the enormous privilege of FREEDOM and to daily remember those precious boys, girls, women and men who by no fault of their own find themselves in dire and dreadful circumstances. Stuck in the hideous cycle of slavery.
Anniversaries are good. They help us to reflect and to acknowledge all that has been achieved, all that went wrong and all that we want for the future. I’ve been reflecting on our beginnings…When my husband, Michael and I launched The Freedom Project in Nov 2010, we really had no idea what we were doing or where this ‘thing’ might take us. All we knew was that God had placed a burden on our hearts for those who were trapped in some form of slavery. That burden was soon followed by a vision to play our part in changing some lives. As we enter our 9th year, we are amazed and in awe of what God is allowing us to steward. Our vision has never changed, God’s heart for the vulnerable and oppressed never changes and so we forge ahead. Things look and feel different now, but that’s the way it should be. Morphing, growing, changing.
I always remember hearing the words, “don’t despise small beginnings”! Pioneering something, especially when you don’t feel qualified is terrifying and daunting and there were MANY days (and sometimes even now there are) when it would have been so easy to just shut up shop and go back to what was comfortable and manageable! However, God in His kindness, gave us strength, ability, support and most importantly partnerships with kindred spirits who would help us establish and build life changing programs in areas of the globe most impacted by slavery.
So, 8 and a bit years on, we keep going with great people alongside us - most of whom are much more talented, gifted and capable than me leading the way and carving out new paths. Please stay with us as we fight for the oppressed, and speak up for the voiceless. One of the aspects to this slavery issue that tugs at my heart the most, is the fact that those in a brothel, or a jungle, or on a factory floor have NO voice. Their silent screams the most haunting sound of all. One thing I do have is a voice and so I will use it to speak on their behalf. The bible tells me I should. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes speak for the poor and helpless and see that they get justice.”
I wonder if one of the freedoms I might surrender is my voice. What a challenge that would be!! But what insight and understanding it would bring to my freedom-filled life.
This blog was written by Liz Newton-Brown, Co-Founder of The Freedom Project.
Stay tuned throughout 2019 to follow Liz’s journey of sacrificing different freedoms each month. Follow us on Instagram & Facebook to see the latest updates. Perhaps you will be inspired to do the same, or support our work by donating here.