I sat in silence in my apartment at some unknown hour of the morning. My roommates slept in the next room, oblivious to the fact that I was awake, that I had not come home last night. I stared at my laptop thinking.

Should I tell anyone? Don’t cry, Chelsea. It’s fine. Slowly, I pulled my laptop onto my legs.

“Hey, can I talk to you guys? Something happened last night.” Send. I waited. Within minutes, Ashley responded.

“Sure, Chels. Do you want me to come to your room?” She said. I said yes, trying to mentally prepare myself. Soon, I heard a knock at my door and as I opened it, a tall, brown-haired girl appeared.

“Hey, what’s going on?” she said. I rushed into her arms and let myself cry. Within seconds, I heard the door down the hallway burst open as my other best friend ran towards us.

“I’M COMING!!!” She said, joining the hug. After a minute or two, they asked me what happened.

“I broke up with my boyfriend,” I said.

“Oh, Chels…are you ok?” Abigail said. I fought back the tears unsuccessfully.

“No,” I said. “Last night…he…we were just watching a movie…” I couldn’t finish the sentence. “You were driving away when I realized my phone and my ID were in your car.”

I don’t remember the rest of that conversation except for the fact that I cried and they held me. I spent the last few weeks of the semester waking up in tears, emailing professors, and avoiding people. And yet, people still reached out.

“What’s going on, Chelsea?” a friend of mine texted me.

“I don’t want to talk about it. But please pray for me.” It wasn’t much, but it was enough.

Eleven months later…

I found myself at the front desk of a non-profit that ministers to women in the adult entertainment industry. I didn’t know why I was there, a twenty-two year old college graduate with a writing degree. And yet, out of all the places I could have served, I chose Scarlet Hope.

One late morning in March, I was monitoring the front as usual. The number of women entering and exiting the building began to pick up as lunch neared. Brittany, the other intern and I went to the kitchen to grab our lunch and sat down at a table in the hallway. We sat down, rambling about our mornings through bites of food when one of the women in the CDP program asked if she can join us. As she sat down, I asked her about her day and she started to talk to us about her life: her truck, her new diet, her boyfriend. Brittany and I listened as she told us about ordinary things, all the tiny details of her existence which are so precious to God. The conversation didn’t last long, but as she stood up to head back to class, she thanked us for letting her join us for lunch. I smiled at her as she walked away.

I don’t know where she’s been. I don’t know about the trauma of her past life or the pain that she’s been through. But I do know her name. And I know the God who sees us and every tear we shed. I still don’t know why I am here at Scarlet Hope. But I know God has placed me here for a reason: with a story, with time to listen, with the ability to hug and offer the hope of Jesus to those that need it. Somehow, this is enough.

Submitted by Chelsea Kilburn, Intern

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