If there is one thing I know, it’s this:
We all have a calling.
When I was eight years old, my calling came in a fit of passion and manifested itself in the make believe “radio shows” I created as a little kid. It was the tail end of the 1980s and I was growing up in a rural Southern town, witnessing injustice against people of color and bullying against friends who didn’t quite fit the status quo. I needed to speak up against it. I needed people to listen. To care. To see. So I raised my lips to my tape recorder and I spoke my little heart out.
It’s all so simple when you’re 8 years old, isn’t it?
Later, I would find that many forces and people would aim to stifle my calling. At times, they were successful.
I was sexually assaulted twice as a child. First when I was four, and again when I was twelve. Two unrelated, but equally tragic experiences. As a young adult, I spent eight long years of my life married to a man who was emotionally, sexually, verbally, and on one occasion physically abusive.
When I reached out to my church community and certain family members for help, I was told that divorce was always wrong and was urged to stay in my marriage. Their response was confusing and traumatizing because the people I thought would support me were judging and blaming me instead.
After I finally gained the courage to leave my ex-husband, I was still caught up in a web of doubt about who I was and what I had to offer. I felt frightened and small and the only ways I knew how to cope were through my shopping addictions (which I have written about here), and through an unhealthy amount of good old fashioned partying.
My journey of recovery and renewal was not an easy one, but as I have healed, I have learned to use my pain as a catalyst to continue speaking out and speaking freedom for others who have been oppressed. Whether that oppression comes in the form of human trafficking, police brutality, or domestic violence, my aim is to fight against it in whatever way I can. To guide the broken hearted to a place of renewal. Just as I have been guided myself.
My own journey of renewal has been ongoing and ever unfolding, but here are a few highlights that I pray will bring you hope as well:
* After working through the shame and trauma of my past, my newfound confidence and courage led me to a staff position with International Justice Mission, the largest anti-trafficking organization in the world.
* Once my heart began healing, I met a good man – the true love of my life – and have been married to him for 5 beautiful years.
* In 2016, I co-founded a nonprofit whose mission is to empower victims of domestic violence and educate their surrounding communities to create a pathway toward healing.
* In 2017, I gave birth to the other love of my life – my daughter, Lila Vienne.
* In 2018, I began writing a book! Further proof that our calling is rarely ever static, but often morphing in new and unexpected ways.
This book is still in process, but it will be a memoir delving into the details of the narrative above. I cannot wait to share it with you.
In the meantime,
I pray this blog will be a space that will inspire you to find your calling.