For some Christians, suffering can be hard to acknowledge, let alone talk openly about. For women like Gaye Clark, though, pain isn’t a problem to flee from—it’s a call to action.

As a cardiac nurse, an anti-trafficking volunteer, and a widow, Clark has witnessed her fair share of sorrow. She hasn’t buried that hurt, though; instead, in her role as a writer for The Gospel Coalition, she’s shone light on areas of suffering that often get overlooked—issues like the loneliness of worshiping in the wake of a spouse’s death, the seedy underbelly of online prostitution, or the anxiety of feeling that your work doesn’t matter to your church.

Back in August, CT associate editor Kate Shellnutt sat down with Clark to learn more about what drives her work. On this week’s episode of The Calling, join Clark as she opens up about her writing, her burdens, and what the church can do to create a space for sorrow as well as hope.

On how the church can end sex-trafficking: “You don’t have to be this gutsy, edgy person who would snatch a little girl from a pimp. Being a foster parent is fighting sex-trafficking. A lot of these women are running from their abusive homes to somewhere safe. What if the church got more aggressive about foster care, and more and more families said ‘Yes, we’ll take one. We’ll take two. We’ll take three’? There’d be a safe place for them to go.”

On mourning her husband’s loss: “Grief can overwhelm you. It can exhaust you. It can impact the way you think clearly. And while the local church can come alongside you, bring you casserole, comfort you, send you a card, and pray with you—there’s always that immediate triage that happens right when someone passes a way—there comes a point where people have to get on with their lives. There comes a point when you as a widow have to trust on the Lord for your strength and reinforcement.”

On her first big article: “I started in writing because when I was young, I didn’t like confrontation. When I wanted to tell my mother or dad something difficult, I’d write a note. That seemed easier. I remember I wrote a note about my mother’s biscuits being like hockey pucks.”

On succeeding in ministry: “The thing that scares me about ministry and calling the most is that we can do it in our own strength. I do have gifts. I am talented, and I can pull all those things together and use them in a ministry, see a harvest, get those pats on the back—and be very, very far away from God at the same time. That success can inoculate me against the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

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The Calling is produced by Richard Clark and Jonathan Clauson.

Theme music by Lee Rosevere, used under Creative Commons 4.0.