I write this as I prepare to leave in the morning on an 11am flight to New Mexico. My flight will first take me to Denver, CO where I will get on a connecting flight to Farmington, New Mexico. I will be speaking at the community event called Take Back the Night. I have spoken at these events before including my very first every public speech back at my University in Oct. 2004. The event is taking place outdoors. The weather looks perfect sunny and in the 60’s the entire time I am there. It will drop down to 45 in the evening but that isn’t too bad. I am wearing one of my past Take Back the Night shirts to the event. I will be speaking for 25 minutes.
The next morning Good Friday I will be speaking at a conference. It is a two day event Thursday and Friday and my keynote speech will be Friday morning from 8am-9:15am. If you have never heard me speak before I share my story especially my experience in a Children’s Advocacy Center. Then I talk about letting go of anger and healing through forgiveness. I share how forgiveness transformed my life and how everything in our lives happens for a reason even when we do not understand. There are still things in my life right now that I know I may never understand from the outcome of what happened with my extended family but I know in my heart I cannot judge them instead lift them up to God and pray for them. Something I will continue to do the rest of my life. God put these people in my life for the first 21 years for a reason. While I have lost a chunk of family through sexual abuse I have seen God’s amazing grace in his purpose through this pain of the lives he is allowing me to reach in the process. I used to say my first question I am going to ask God when I get to Heaven is “Why, why did he allow this to happen?” That is no longer a question I will ask him He already answered it and has given me my answer. God has shown me how I can help others find their voice and the ability to forgive. I feel so blessed to share that with people.
I guess what is so incredible that no one can truly understand the way I can is the transformation I have experienced inside of me. Words cannot describe it. Once a prisoner in my own body screaming to be heard to suddenly waiting at airports to board planes to address audiences of hundreds of strangers God has brought before me to hear my message of hope and forgiveness.
The gift I walk away with is the stories I hear after I speak. The lives I have touched that approach me when I am done. I just look up to the skies and say “Thank You!”
I look forward to what tomorrow night and Friday morning will bring and the stories I will share that will come from that experience. I will close with another letter I received back in May 2006. All letters I post I do not edit except for the name of the person to protect their privacy.