Friday, September 16, 2011

2nd Annual Walk for Freedom

I'm writing with a heavy heart tonight.

On Sunday. I am participating in the 2nd Annual Walk for Freedom in Toronto. I've been praying about this event for a few weeks now, and the time is fast approaching. I'm so excited about it and am looking forward to meeting some fellow abolitionists, so please don't get me wrong when I say that it makes me really sad to have to do this.

I started college last week. I'm taking the Assaulted Women's and Children's Counsellor/Advocate Program. We're learning all about the blatant human rights violations that women are encountering today, and we're learning about the different ways that violence is perpetrated against the ones most vulnerable.

It is exactly those people that I am walking for. I'm walking for the ones who are so stuck in the cycle of violence that they see no way of escape - no hope for a brighter future. When I think about what I'm learning, and I put it together with the faces of all the girls and women that I've encountered in my life who are dealing with these things, my heart literally hurts.

I think of the little girl that I dreamed about when I was at Mercy. I think of one of my closest friends. I think of the women in my program who have been abused in ways similar to this. It makes me feel so small.

Sometimes I wonder how I, a young almost 19 year old girl, could make any sort of difference regarding trafficking and abuse. What can I do that will have maximum impact? But then I remember that it's not about me saving the's about God moving in the lives of individuals through me.

As I walk on Sunday, my hearts cry is that God would speak through me. That I would been a voice of change. A voice of love. A voice of hope. A voice of freedom.

Also, I know it's last minute, but if you see this and you feel like you want to donate towards the cause, pleace check out the link that I'm going to post and feel free to donate. All your money goes towards setting these women and children free.

"We join together to raise our voices on their behalf, we join together to stand for freedom and justice, and we join together to say that human trafficking is slavery and that it needs to stop!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Faith in the Midst of the Unknown

Can you believe it's September already? I can't. I'm sorry it's been so long since I posted a blog, but we didn't have internet all summer, and I was just taking some time to process and think about what is ahead. Our internet was reconnected though, so here I am!

Where to start...where to start?

Well, I'm going to George Brown College this fall. I start on Tuesday. The program I'm doing is very specific...very intense. It's called the Assaulted Women's and Children's Counsellor/Advocate Program. I applied for two programs three weeks ago with this one as my top choice. However, I just found out that I was accepted this past Tuesday...after I had already confirmed at Mohawk and spent the day there for the Smart Start sessions.

I'm kind of nervous about going to college. George Brown is in downtown Toronto, and I live in the suburbs of I'm definitely going to be commuting. Basically, what that means is that I have to wake up at 5am to get ready at catch the GO bus at 6:20am in the days that I have 8am classes. Please allow me to inform you just how NOT excited I am about that...but hopefully I'll be able to organize it so that in the remaining semesters (it's a two year program) I won't have any early morning classes.

It's so surreal though. I mean, I was reading back over some of my last blogs and I remember that at the time, college in Canada wasn't even a possibility. I was going to Trevecca. I was moving to Nashville and that's all there was to it. Clearly, however, that didn't happen. I didn't get the money in time to get my student I had to defer enrollment. It is still an option for next year, but we'll take that as it comes.

This summer has honestly been one of tremendous personal and spiritual growth for me. God has taken me on the journey of a lifetime that has included forgiveness and truly surrendering my will to Him. This summer, I learned what it means to trust God in the fullest. To trust that He has better plans for my life than I do. To trust that He will provide financially. To trust that He will open the right doors and close the wrong ones.

I've had some really hard, discouraging experiences this summer...but in that, God revealed His faithfulness ever more. As soon as I stopped fighting God every step of the way, He made it easier to get through each day. I had to die to myself every time my fleshly desire to control everything crept in...which was like...every minute. I'm not going to lie and say that I'm perfect now, because I'm not...but I do know that I have experienced true growth this summer. I can't control every aspect of my life, and I'm beginning to be okay with that.

The closer that it gets to Tuesday, the more my anxiety keeps going up. It's a constant battle for me to allow peace to reign in my life. I have this crazy intense fear of the unknown, so I like to prepare as much as possible. I like to have advance notice for any drastic change or transition that is taking place in my life. And by advance...I'm talking 3-6 months notice so I can meet people who've been where I'm going and research the place to the point where I haven't even been there yet and I could answer all the questions for people thinking about going. I make myself into an expert and that alleviates most of the anxiety surrounding the situation.

I had done that with Trevecca. I had done that with Gordon. I had not, however, done that with George Brown. I only applied three weeks ago. I was accepted less than a week ago. I haven't even had a month to plan. I don't know all there is to know. I've never talked to anyone doing this program. I only know what I could read on the website. It's a whole new level of...I don't even know. Life, I guess?

One thing I do know for sure though is that if I hadn't gone through everything that I have this summer, I wouldn't be handling this nearly as well as I am. I'm not having panic attacks, because every time I start to feel my heart beating faster and my thoughts start racing, I take the anxieties to the foot of the cross. No, I don't feel ready for this...but clearly, God opened this door. I know that because it's not something that I ever would have done on my own. Never in a million years.

Because I'm so confident that it is God who led me down this unknown path, I have faith that He will go before me and prepare a way for me. It's going to be hard. A huge adjustment is going to take place, but I know that I'll get through it...and I'll grow even more because of it.

So as I wait in nervous anticipation for 34 hours and 42 minutes to pass, I'm going to praise God for working behind the scenes to make everything come together at just the right time. I know that He will continue to work behind the scenes as long as I live, and I am so, so grateful for that.
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