I “met” Wanda Sanchez when she booked me to talk about my book, The Silent Seduction of Self Talk on her San Francisco radio show.
I guess I did a good job because afterwards she booked me to do a series of shows on my caregiving books.
We never talked, but why would we? I lived in Michigan, and she lived in California. She sent me emails about what time to answer my phone and asked me for interview questions. That was it.
Two weeks passed. A month, and the voice kept nagging.
Out of curiosity, I looked up Wanda Sanchez on Facebook—a woman who had a bazillion friends and certainly didn’t need another one. But I couldn’t find a shred of personal information about her except for one tiny fact: she had a heart for inner-city missions and broken people.
Since it seemed I wouldn’t get any peace until I called her, I decided to pitch a friend to be on her show: Steve Siler, founder of Music for the Soul. Steve is a Dove Award-winning songwriter who’s written hundreds of songs on all kinds of tough issues: suicide, breast cancer, special needs children, sexual abuse, pornography, and other things the church has a hard time talking about.
Even though Wanda’s emails told me she clearly wasn’t interested in chatting, she scheduled me for ten minutes. I could tell I was lucky to get that.
Without really thinking, I sent Wanda three songs by my friend Steve: Dead Hearts Don’t Cry—about the pain of sexual abuse, Every Single Tear—how God cares about our heartaches, and Renee is Fourteen—the story of a broken child who runs away from home and hitchhikes from Kansas to California to escape the pain of her life.
So I was surprised when an angry, defensive Wanda answered the phone without so much as a “hi.” Just a single cold question: “Why did you send me those songs?”
The only answer I had was the truth. “I read on Facebook that you have a heart for people in inner city missions. So I sent you Renee Is Fourteen because I figured you probably knew a Renee. And if you knew a Renee, I thought you probably cared about her.”
For the next two and a half hours she spewed her story like water from a hydrant on a steaming summer day.
And, then, the jaw-dropping fact that she’d hitchhiked across the country and back as a fourteen-year-old teenager. She was not only Renee, she was every song God had directed me to send her.
Wanda was planning to kill herself–soon.
She needed trauma treatment, and she needed it fast.
And God had a plan, even though neither one of us couldn’t quite see it yet.
To be continued
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