Choosing BRAVE in 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I remember sitting at a desk, much like the one that I am typing from at this very moment, and staring down at a life-assessment of sorts. My heart was wide-awake with hopes and dreams stretched out in front of me as far as my imagination could take them. I knew that I KNEW with all of my 20-year-old conviction that I wanted to dedicate my career to speaking, writing and ministering to women. More specifically,  to the sexual healing and wholeness of womenSAY WHAT?! 

Truth be told, I was newly healed from a broken and wounded place. I had lived just on the edge of being a "good Christian girl" for the majority of my teens. My heart was crazy in love with Jesus, but I spent a few short years looking for something tangible beyond my blind faith in Him and to a comfortable acceptance with "him." The freedom that I found in walking away from the habit of "looking for love" ignited boldness to run out and change the world. 

Then life happened. 

College. Marriage. Career. Children. Youth ministry.

But something strange occurred throughout the last 13 years. Instead of mourning the loss of that twenty-something dream, my heart was filled with a new one. It was called "Contentment," and it was gloriously beautiful. 

Please don't pause here and jealously mistake "gloriously beautiful" for anything resembling "easy or peaceful." Far be it. As a family we walked through seasons when I was afraid that the sun might never shine again. Tomorrow felt like a lifetime away. I clung hard to promises that the Lord had a plan and a future {Jer. 29:11} around the bend. But those seasons stripped away dangerous ideologies that I had worshipped like a stone god and readied my spirit for a fresh breath of faith in Jesus alone. As I said, gloriously beautiful

At just the moment when life settled back into a calm sort of normal again, I came face-to-face with sexual abuse. No, not my own. While I tiptoed over the lines, I was never once abused. It was a former student-- more than that, a precious friend-- who opened up her life and heart and all of her wounds to share with me the abuse that she suffered at the hands of family who had sold her for sex for years. She was a victim of human sex trafficking. She never even knew that the circumstances of her life had a name. 

The moment that she bared her soul, it forever changed mine too. Closing my eyes isn't an option-- because I see countless broken children in my dreams. It was then that I felt the gentle but firm whisper in my soul once again to "pick up my dream" and let it rise from the ashes and grow into something powerful that can truly change the world by changing one life at a time.

So here I sit again, at a simple desk so much like the other, with a mandate imprinted on my heart to SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT and to CHOOSE BRAVE in 2014. I won't always talk or write about human trafficking, but I often will. I had no idea that maybe God was speaking truth to me back in January 2001 when I was compelled to speak about sexual wholeness and restoration. This looks nothing like I thought it would look, but I wouldn't choose anything else. 

Being honest, vulnerable and willing to act is hard. HARD, I tell ya!  If I'm honest, I'm terrified because it means being as unusually real. It means squirming a bit with discomfort as I sometimes choose words that might offend in their honesty. It means that once I put it out there, if I fail, you will all see it happen. But it also means encouragement from those of you who have given me huge high-fives along the way. It has even renewed friendships! I think that bravery is a character trait that I want my children to believe about me to their very core. I certainly hope that I can believe it for myself. 

If you are still with me, here are a few ways in which I am bravely stepping out in 2014: 
  • I will go to schools, churches, community groups, businesses, organizations or anywhere else that will have me and give presentations {or classes depending on the group} on sex trafficking to raise awareness in our community and surrounding areas
  • Jeremy and I are working toward filing paperwork to start a non-profit called "Love Stops Traffick." At this time my desire is not to run an NPO, but rather, to be in a position to collect the necessary funds in order to help girls and boys who are a) at risk for trafficking or b) have been trafficked. If we don't have a 501c3 we simply can't pool our resources as easily to help by providing for things like trauma-informed counseling or aftercare, clothing, transportation, food, or educational expenses-- it's the little things that we take for granted that they simply don't have available in their life.
  • I have been accepted into a year-long mentorship program studying and learning under the wisdom of Shannon Ethridge {whom I love dearly and could not possibly be more excited to sit under foot}
  • I am going to put myself out there to accept copywriting, PR and social media clients this year-- if you are a blogger, a business, and organization {or know of any} who needs someone to handle all of your writing and/or public relations, I would be thrilled to talk with you about how I can help. 
  • Blogging~ this is where I get a bit jittery. Weird, right? I know. I still feel that strong pull of self-censorship. It's wired deep down into my DNA. If I can't please them all, sometimes I would rather please nobody-- including myself. That's ridiculous, right? I know. Really, I KNOW. So blogging regularly may oddly be my biggest, bravest step of 2014. {If I go MIA, feel free to call me out on it this time around. I'm probably scared. Or tired. Or I have both of my children home with me. That kills my writing mojo every time.}
So that's it friends. Those bullets expose my fear and set a precedent for choosing "BRAVE." Does anyone else feel like they are supposed to be brave about something? If so, I would LOVE for you to leave a comment and share it. I really don't want to type to an "empty" room. Leaving a little love will certainly help calm my feisty nerves. 

Love you. I do.  


  1. You're brave. I applaud you. Sex trafficking is such a huge issue that no one wants to talk about. But it needs to be talked churches, in businesses, in communities. People think it only happens in foreign countries that may or may not be civilized, but they are wrong. It happens here in the U.S., as well. There is an organization local to me that is fighting to bring awareness to this issue as well. Go you!

  2. love you love you love you. and I believe in you. more than that, I believe in the God in you. this makes my heart incredibly happy, for so many reasons. praise God for seasons, specifically for His guidance throughout EACH of them. may your faith ride on the wings of His. may your vision be complete in Him. may your joy be found as your deepest desires are satisfied. incredibly excited for you, proud of you. you can do it.

  3. I have been waiting for an "announcement" on what you will be doing with this passion of yours & the stories/information you have been presented. I am so excited to see where this journey takes you & you will always have my support!! I love your heart!


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