“The” List

A group of my friends pretty consistently make fun of me for becoming overly excited about the small things in life. Once, it was the funny way a water bottle flipped over on a check-out conveyor belt. Yesterday, it was pure pleasure to watch a thin rectangle of light bounce off of a my pen’s metal clasp. Often, it’s a bouncy ball or a hot cup of coffee on a freezing bench. I’m not a simple-minded person, but I do latch onto simple pleasures.

I’m currently reading the book One Thousand Gifts where the author, Ann Voskamp (Ann’s blog), talks about her journey of giving thanks. More specifically, she writes about making a grand list of what she’s thankful for as a way of moving on from trauma in her life. I’m not very far into the book yet but so far I see great wisdom in Ann’s words. Similarly, I’ve been keeping track of some “defining moments” in my life for a few years now. They’re scripted out on a worn back page of one of my first Bibles.

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home but my first exposure to a Bible was rather young.  A stranger gave me a little pocket King James during some kind of after-school outreach.  I had no idea what to do with a Bible and to me, it was just another book.  I loved to read though and so I thought I’d give it a try.  It was a simple as that.  I opened up my mini KJV to page one and read,”In the beginning…”  I furrowed my brow, “Well duh!” It seemed pretty redundant to say that the beginning of the book was the beginning. I worried that this book would turn out to be lame but Christ gently promoted me onward.

Now, I have a whole new appreciation for scripture and when I thought of a good place to store a list of my most pivotal life moments I could think of no place more precious than the back of my Bible. Something about it just felt safe. Besides that, this was never a list I wanted my parents to see and I was already in the habit of hiding this Bible at all costs. It merely seemed practical to worry about hiding as few things as possible.

So I began to list these defining moments.  I scribbled down both the good and the bad because it’s both which define the person we stand out to be…

The date I was first raped

The date I was first sold for sex

The date I came to know Christ personally

The date I felt a call to ministry

The date I graduated high school

The date I escaped

The date I was baptized

The date I first entered a courtroom

I could make it a point to practice daily gratitude and write out all the thing’s I’m thankful for. I could continue to make me list of defining moments, but the real key comes when these two lists are one in the same.  If I reach a point in life where I can genuinely  say that I’m thankful for every defining moment I write down (good and bad) that at that point I’ve won.  I’ve won freedom and joy.

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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  1. Wow…you are amazing..that is all I can say. I don’t think I have ever been so touched by some one’s honesty, insight and courage. I look forward to reading so much more of your journey. I am an adoptive mom of 11…most of our kids came through the foster care system and have greatly as well. You have renewed my compassion and understanding for some of what they carry with them everyday. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Julie – thank you for being a hero as an adoptive mom!! I’m so glad that some of my words were able to help you. I can only imagine how tough your role is but that you for taking on this challenge and loving your children through their pain!

  2. GG

     /  October 22, 2011

    People should be excited about things. It means they appreciate that the world is full of great stuff, funny stuff, beautiful stuff – and that our time here is brief. Just the other day I was walking in a park that was carpeted in golden leaves from 2 different types of trees and the colors flowed in a beautiful pattern. I know it means summer is over and winter is coming but how lovely the moment. You are very articulate (that is a complimnet, accept it!)

  3. I just came to your blog from One Thankful Mom and read through the whole thing today-I am honestly heartbroken and just wanted to thank you for bringing light to a situation that many of us try to believe does not exist. I knew that human trafficking happened in America, but I didn’t realize the magnitude of it. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your story. I definitely want to educate myself more on this issue and will look into books and resources in order to do so.
    I am a recently-turned 19 year-old-college student living daily by the Lord’s grace! My parents were foster parents for 10 years as I grew up, and ended up adopting 4 kids. So now, I have four very little siblings and am learning how to let go of myself and allow the Lord to bring healing to their lives. I am passionate about advocating for these kids!
    May I have permission to link to your site on my blog?

    • Kylee- what a wonderful response! Thank you- and thank you to your parents for fostering and adopting! I more people did what they did we’d have FAR less children in our country vulnerable to trafficking. I love you desire to learn more about this issue!! Thank you for that! If you need some good resources, please let me know. And yes, you are more than welcome to link your blog to mine.

  4. You. Are. Amazing.
    I wish I had something more profound to say.

    To see you using what you went through (go through even now) to bless others….selfless, sacrificial, beautiful, wise….Christ-like. Amazing.

    You go girl.

    • No profound words needed Holly- the “you go girl” was profound enough. Thanks for making me smile. 🙂

  5. Nik

     /  October 21, 2011

    Very wise…but if I may…” (When) I reach a point in life where I can genuinely say that I’m thankful for every defining moment I write down (good and bad) that at that point I’ve won. I’ve won freedom and joy.”

  6. Bethany

     /  October 21, 2011

    I wanted to voice my appreciation for your willingness to share your story with the world. I was sexually abused between the ages of four and twelve and although my experience doesn’t compare to yours, I can still relate to your feelings in the aftermath–the inability to accept compliments, depression, feelings of worthlessness, etc. A book that I read that really helped me through threw hard times was The Wounded Heart by Dan Allender. In the meantime, keep taking things one day at a time. Your story is so important!

    • Bethany, I’m so, so sorry to hear your story. Thank YOU for being brave enough to share it with ME. Thank you also for the Wounded Heart recommendation. I have actually gone through the workbook before and it was integral in the beginning stages of my healing process. So happy to hear it was encouragement to you as well! Stay strong and keep putting work into healthy relationships. 🙂


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