To Write Love On Her Arms
What is TWLOHA?
TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) is a non-profit organization spreading hope and love. It all started when two people met a 19-year old girl named Renee. She had not slept in 36 hours and wouldn't sleep for another 24. It was clear she was doing pot, cocaine, coke, pills, and alcohol. She said she'd go to rehab the next day but currently she wasn't ready for the big change. The starters of this organization and Renee prayed together for the night.
She had lead a terrible life so far. Had been felt by dangerous naked men, haunting nightmares, near-constant presence of evil. She has arms that will never forget sharp, painful razor blades. Fifty scars she made on herself. Six hours after meeting her, she already has a feeling as if she's trapped with two groups of so-called "friends" offering her two completely opposite ideas. Early in the morning when everyone is still asleep, she's awake with the waking sun while drinking a bottle of liquor. She takes a razor blade and locks herself in the bathroom carving the words "FUCK UP" across her left forearm.
Only several hours later a nurse from the treatment center found the wounds. The center doesn't have any detox, and her name is too great a risk, that they don't accept her. It's terrible how those treatment centers care about their name rather than actually taking care of the patient. For the next five days, they become her caring hospital, and the hope of helping her brings their living room to brightness. It's not a real hospital, there are only a few number of people, and the chances aren't great. However, they will try their best to be her hospital, church and for her to write love on her arms. (If you aren't following, she wrote FUCK UP on her arm because that's what she feels. To write love on her arms means she feels love and her arms no longer need to feel the sharp, cold pain of a razor blade.)
She is unbelievable. She can be more alive yet be so close to death than anyone they've ever known. She's a lot more mature than the average 19-year-old. When she tells them her story, she is kind, humble, and soft in voice, created by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. They think it's God reminding her when the prettiest girls in the room call her beautiful. :) <3
They have never done this before (set-up a home rehab center) so they start with the basics. As days went by, she seemed to get a lot better. On the Sunday, there was a gathering special for Renee at the church, and a lot of people came (some were strangers, but all were considered friends that night) and all the prayers are very moving. From broken to bold, all extremely encouraging. One who knows her best, named Ryan is in the corner sitting there while strumming his acoustic guitar, singing songs Renee has inspired.
After the church ceremony, their house fills with friends for a few more moments filled with goodbyes. Everyone has a little something for her. Whether it's a hug, a letter of encouragement or some note. She pulls one of them aside and hands over her last razor blade. She states it was the one she used to cut herself the other night. She's had it with her ever since those five nights ago. The person thanked her, and instantly knew that the gift will stay with them forever. The person wonders if this feeling is the feeling of Christ knowing we surrender our hearts and trade death for life.
As she arrives at the treatment center she says, "The stars are always there, but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope."
The person watched her get better every step of the way. When the whole thing started, someone suggested taking shifts but they declined because it sounded like business plan. Love is a different plan. It is a plan which is much better. They have then been reminded love is the simple answer to so many great and hard questions in life. Don Miller says we're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. They agree.
We tend to ask God to show up. To rescue us from pain. God wants us to be that rescue, to act for him, to help with things that matter. God works in love, speaks in love, and reveals in love.
That week was a simple lesson for them: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she's known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.
All we are asked to do is love. To give hope to the hopeless. To help those who need it most. We never get to choose our endings, but do get to help shape a better one. We won't understand everything, and we will get our hearts broken in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best option. We were created to love, and heal broken places, trying again and again until we have a true place called home.
Renee is alive now, in the safe community of rehab. She is still covered from old scars, but choosing to believe n God already makes a better start. He means hope and healing in the stars. She wants everyone to remember that.
Will you take part in TWLOHA Street Team?
© 2013 Dancia Susilo