High school is a time of growth and setbacks, laughter and pain, a time of making new friends and losing old ones, and for many, a time of heartbreak. At age 14 I was struggling and growing, wrestling with my faith and navigating insecurities and depression.
At the time I was with someone who was also struggling in certain ways. Because we were both dealing with our own issues, our relationship was messy and colored with pain. Over the next four years I experienced a few highs and many lows, often correlated with the state of our relationship. The on-again, off-again relationship left me, quite simply, broken.
Upon graduation I had it ingrained in me that I was worthless: Not worth, or worthy, or any love. The past two years have been a journey of healing, and a beautiful time of falling in love with myself, discovering my passions, and embracing this person God has created in me.
In part through my experience in high school, I've developed a heart for all women who live with the pain men can so easily inflict. Although I have only experienced a sliver of the pain many women endure, I can still empathize and begin to understand the wounds they carry deep within.
One night my mom and I watched the documentary Girl Rising, and were discussing the hardships women face, when I ended up sharing a bit of my story with her. As we were talking, she came up with the idea to take my past, the brokenness I experienced and still deal with, and to turn it into something beautiful; that beautiful thing would be this: sponsoring a girl in Romania. (My mom is awesome, isn't she?!)
In lieu of my pain we would sponsor a girl, so that whenever I look back I will only see the joy and support I am able to offer a fellow sister. So we started sponsoring Emma, an 11 year old girl from Romania.
I knew I wanted to sponsor a girl from Eastern Europe because it is a region often forgotten about in the fight against poverty. Europe especially suffers from human trafficking, as it has the highest levels of sex slavery in the world.* For example, in Moldova, a shocking 1 in 10 people are trafficked.**
So when I saw Emma's picture on World Vision’s website, it stopped me in my tracks. Emma has a fire and a spark in her eyes that instantly drew me to her. I’m a very driven and motivated person, and I saw that drive in her eyes. Whatever dreams and ambitions she has, I believe that she will reach them. Having the ability to help her reach them is an honor. Bringing Emma into my life has already healed a piece of my soul; my story is now a part of her story, and her story is a part of mine.
This part of my journey has shown me how truly the Lord turns our ashes into beauty and uses our brokenness for His good. We make decisions in life that we can't go back and change, decisions that sometimes we aren't even aware we're making. Decisions that have consequences and decisions we regret. The beautiful thing about walking with Christ is that when we give everything to Him, He takes our burdens and mistakes and transforms them into something new. He has redeemed my story and has created something beautiful out of it; something that will help Emma pursue her dreams and reach her potential, which is more then I could ever imagine or hope for.
Investing in a child through sponsorship is a powerful way to make a difference in the world. If you want to talk more about sponsorship, contact me, or click here to sponsor a child through World Vision.
"He has sent me... to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
*Source: Nefarious: Merchant of Souls
**Source: Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara