An Advocate Serving Those In Need
After 13 years of service to the persecuted, Immigration Lawyer Chantal Desloges finds the encouragement she needs.
In March, 2012, I had the honour of receiving a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal. Frankly, I nearly fell out of my chair when, in early March, 2012, I received the following e-mail:
This is an opportunity for us to express our deep gratitude and thankfulness for the great contributions to our country Canada and specifically our community, Please accept our nomination for "The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal".
This e-mail was followed by surprise news that I was chosen to receive the Canadian Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Pro Bono Award, news which, interestingly, I received on my Blackberry during a CLF luncheon.
"Somehow I’ve come to be known as the immigration lawyer that you come to with the impossible cases."
These two awards, which appeared to simply drop out of the sky, were a culmination of the past 13 years in which I’ve devoted myself to helping the persecuted, both people in other countries seeking to flee for their lives to a safe country, as well as people inside Canada facing deportation to certain torture and abuse. Since immigration and refugee law is my business, I got paid for some of what I’ve done, but a great deal of the work has been on a pro bono basis.
Somehow I’ve come to be known as the immigration lawyer that you come to with the impossible cases. I actually dislike that reputation because, while it’s certainly very flattering, it means I get all the complicated stuff that nobody else will touch. What most people fail to realize, is that I’m not exceptionally gifted, but simply I serve a God for whom nothing is impossible.
"Some days, it’s really hard to keep going."
There are many times when co-workers get on my nerves, clients are unreasonably demanding, and opposing counsel are unnecessarily aggressive. Even in my community work, sometimes those I help are ungrateful and hostile. Some days, it’s really hard to keep going. Whenever this happens, I try to keep it in mind that I don’t do what I do to please other people. I do it to please the Lord my God, because He sacrificed much more than this for me, when I didn’t earn it and I didn’t deserve it.
The following Bible passage has inspired me for many years: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Colossians 3: 23-24 NIV)
Recently, I was feeling that I had lost some of my zeal. I had a number of very discouraging interactions with people for whom I greatly extended myself, only to have them bite me in return. Sadly, all of these experiences were with people who professed faith in Christ, and I had trusted them because of that.
"No weapon formed against you shall prosper."
Recently, the Lord met me in my place of need and sent a prophecy to me, spoken by my Pastor. She said:
"Chantal, can you stand up for a second? I feel I have a Word for you. I just want to bless the anointing on your life. I just want to call forth…I felt Isaiah 54 for you. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper. And every tongue which rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. The righteousness is from Me, says the Lord” (NKJV).
I just want to pray over you right now. I just saw you getting the sword. You know how Carol [Arnott] has such an anointing and this message of the sword of the Lord. But I felt that you were getting a sword. You were getting a new sword, to cut strings and to cut ropes of injustice. To cut ropes and strings that have bound people, and even bound nations. That God has given you a new authority, a new sword of authority, to sever things that have held people back and have held nations back. And I feel like God’s saying that this is for you, this passage. And even as you continue to do that, God is protecting you. You have a supernatural armour. You have a supernatural shield around about you.
So I bless the warrior woman in you. I love it when I meet warrior women! God, I just bless this warrior woman Lord, the Deborah, not afraid to go into battle. In Jesus’ name, we just speak blessing right now over her. Fire of God!"
I wept as the Lord spoke to me so personally. My hurt melted away and I felt energized for the next 13 years of helping the persecuted. So I guess the simple answer to the question about what motivates me, is that it’s the knowledge that the Lord fights my battles for me, and He gives me the tools I need, and He strengthens me when I lose courage.
This article was first published in the Fall 2012 edition of the Christian Legal Journal, a quarterly publication of the Christian Legal Fellowship and is reprinted with permission.