After the second Christmas party last night, I feel like I can finally breathe.
The excitement and anticipation leading up to those two events would keep me up some nights and make me very antsy during the day.
I was blessed to spend the evening speaking with a woman, again, about 40 years old, who was working two jobs to support her teenage son and her almost four-year-old daughter.
Her kind, gentle spirit drew me to her. She was not at all what I had ever expected a prostitute to be. She was sweet, genuine, and very open with me. We talked about her son and his plans to enter the Buddhist temple as a monk; she was so proud. We talked about her young daughter who loved to ride bikes and how she loved doing everything together. We talked about how her children’s father was still in their lives because he was a good father, but she was not with him anymore because he was not good for her.
I looked at picture after picture of she and her daughter going to the beach, riding bikes, visiting sites in Bangkok, and just hanging out together. I looked at pictures of some of the soap bars and fruit that she carved, both for friends and family and also for the restaurant she worked in during the day.
She showed me pictures of beautiful farm land in Isaan that she used to live on and work. I didn’t hear why she left, but I can draw a few conclusions that revolve around better opportunities that awaited her and her family in Bangkok. I sat with her as she reminisced about her days of farming rice and sugar. She hoped in the next year or two to have saved up enough money to bring her family back to her farm land in Isaan to live that simpler life again.
What drew me to this woman was her absolutely selflessness. We did not talk about the work she did at night; this would be shameful for her. But we both knew where she was picked up for the party. She was willing to throw away not only her reputation, but also her future job prospects, her health, and her emotional well-being to support her children and give them a better life than she had.
As an introvert, I had fretted over these Christmas parties.
How could I communicate with these girls? How could we overcome the language barrier? What would we have to talk about? What if they didn’t find me interesting?
The Lord calmed my nerves and instilled me with more bravery than I feel I have ever had in conversation. He blessed me with conversations with many women like this one, who have encouraged me. These women have shown me what it is to sacrifice everything for the ones they love, and they have shown me what losing one’s self truly looks like. These women showed me Jesus in a new and refreshing light.