When Jessica came to pick up her pictures we had an unexpected talk. At this point, I think if you got Jessica and me in a room together we'd find a way to have some sort of long talk. Jessica talks about all the things that make my heart sing.
She talks about personal struggle but overcoming.
She talks about the value of oneself the journey that takes.
She talks about grace and faith and how they heal.
Most valuable to me, Jessica talks from a place of experience. She's walked the long and lonely road that leads to self-value. She's cried the tears and said the prayers that are needed to have a forgiving heart.
She's been there and she talks from understanding.
"After this whole thing," Jessica said as she held her box full of portraits. "I realized I want to help other women. I see myself in this place of becoming and I want to give other women hope."
How beautiful is that? Turning what was once a battle, a heartache, into service is no easy task. Quite frankly, it's easy to be a victim of life. It's easy to sit and cry in your cup of tea as you curse the world for your misfortunes and woe. It's easy to be bitter and angry and unforgiving. Honestly, I'd say that's a type of mentality that women are encouraged to develop. You're strong if you hold onto your bitterness, The World says. You are wise to be unforgiving. Others owe you validation and if they don't they are the villain in your story.
I don't believe that for a moment and neither should you.
You know what's strong?
A woman who says this: "I live by faith and grace. It helps keep me strong. If I can be whole I can attract what I need. I can make myself whole by having grace and keeping faith."
I bet you can guess it was Jessica who said that. I'd never heard that before, that we can make ourselves whole by allowing ourselves to heal.
I cried with Jessica as we talked about her past. But they weren't tears of bitter sorrow. They were more like tears of mourning- mourning a life that wasn't what she wanted or deserved and saying goodbye to that past hurt.
That sadness never stayed with, Jessica. Every time I meet with her it's like encountering a wise, beautiful friend who freely hands out wisdom and hope with a whole heart.
Jessica is going to do great and beautiful things with her story. I imagine her speaking to a large audience of women, sharing her story as she inspires hope and healing with every word. Best plan on booking a seat now.
I see her continuing to live with the fullest heart and a soul full of grace.
I see Jessica continuing to grow in her divine beauty . . .
a beauty that is radiant and whole.
If you have tips or concerns about human trafficking happening in your area call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. #OUR #SaveOurChildren