Marlene and Hillary sat in the parking lot, putting finishing touches on their faces. Deep red lipstick, exaggerated eye liner, and a final teasing of Marlene’s blonde coiffure and Hillary’s red mane. They had to look the part, or they would never get past the bouncer; and word on the street was to be on the lookout for these two phonies. To accomplish their mission, Marlene and Hillary must look authentic.
After entering the club, the women maneuvered their way to a table near the front. Marlene, having once been a professional in this environment, confidently strolled through the surly crowd, ignoring the cat calls and flashing ‘Jacksons’. Hillary followed close behind.
What am I doing? Me? In a gentleman’s club? Ministering to strippers?! God, I don’t understand why, but I know you put me here. Please protect Marlene and me, and help us reach just one girl tonight.
An hour later, in the safety of their car, Hillary removed her painted-on face. After scrubbing her skin until it was pink, she began vigorously brushing her hair.
“Careful -- you’ll pull your hair right out of your head.” Marlene pulled her Honda out of the LaTouche parking lot.
“I can’t help it. I feel like a tramp.” At the realization of her last word, Hillary turned apologetically to her friend.
“I’m sorry, Marlene. I didn’t mean …”
“It’s okay. My past isn’t a secret. That’s why this ministry is so important to me. No Christian ever set foot in there to help me. Some came for lap dances, sure, but not to help me find a way out; and certainly not to tell me about Jesus. You’re brave to do this. And it amazes me that you get girls to pray with you at every club we go to. You’re a natural.”
“Thanks. I guess.” Hillary had prayed long and hard before joining the Saving Strippers ministry. She heard Marlene’s testimony at a singles conference, and, although Hillary was a ‘good girl,’ something about the ministry drew her in. She knew she had to be involved … but she didn’t know the price.
Hillary was a beautiful woman, in her late twenties, though she could easily pass for a college co-ed. While her striking looks had always attracted offers for male companionship, Hillary had few real girlfriends. During high school, when she blossomed from gawky to gorgeous, Hillary learned the hard way that female adolescents destroy their own. Her so-called friends turned on her when she started receiving all the attention from the popular guys.
The situation didn’t change much through college and beyond. Jealous teenage girls became envious, back-stabbing women. Because she spent endless hours alone, longing for true friendships, Hillary vowed to minimize her attractiveness.
Her new strategy seemed to work when she found Christlike Community Church. The singles group eagerly accepted her, and soon she was a regular at the monthly girls’ night out. For the first time since she was a gangly pre-adolescent, Hillary wasn’t sought-after, or shunned, because of her looks. Finally, people accepted her.
Until the conference. After Marlene’s testimony, Hillary told her friends she had to be part of the ministry.
“You’re not like those women.”
“What will people think of you?”
Despite the protests, Hillary met with Marlene. When Marlene told her that she had the right look for the ministry, Hillary winced. Flashes of rejection played in her mind. So this is what my good looks are for, God? A stripper ministry?
My daughter, I created you perfectly … for such a time as this.
Hillary’s church friends were tolerant -- at first. They savored every detail Hillary shared about the clubs; and they were amused when they saw her ‘in uniform’ one evening. But when Hillary invited two exotic dancers to a girls’ night out, her friends confronted her.
“Hillary, we can’t have girls like that here – it will give us a bad name. And you shouldn’t be seen with them either; people are starting to talk.”
“Some of the guys are saying you look too much the part to be pretending. You don’t want that kind of reputation, do you?”
“Russell said his friend saw you, um, performing a while back. I know that isn’t true, but is this ministry worth it? Do you really want to be associated with these sleazy girls? You’ve got to choose, Hillary – the church, or the strip clubs. You’re either one, or the other.”
For such a time as this.
“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b NKJV
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