Second Chances

What a wonderful feeling it is to know that I have been set free from a life filled with bitter and painful memories, hopeless partying, a distorted mindset, and an endless search for love, friendships, and a sense of belonging that I could never find.  It was a vicious cycle that left me feeling empty and repeatedly cheated, realizing after each failure or betrayal that I had been chasing lies… again.  Now I live free of the addictions and distractions which used to keep me prisoner.  I need nothing more than that which God provides for me through my relationship with Him.

Unfortunately, I’m on the other side, knowing there are people still caught in this trap… but instead of feeling hopeless for them and keeping my freedom to myself, I’m determined to reach out to anyone willing to grab a hold of my hand.  I’m positive there is a way out for everyone who wants to get out, and I know without a doubt that there is hope.  The possibility of a miraculous transformation is possible, no matter who you are!  I know it’s possible because of my own miraculous story and because of countless other beautiful stories that God has presented to me.  These stories show me God’s desire to see us come to know the great love He has for us.  He wants us to know that through His love, we can be set free.

So, what did I do with my second chance?  What happened inside me once I received the revelation of God’s plan that unfolded before me as He told me all those stories of transformation?  I recognized the hope that I found was a gift.  I realized that the freedom I received was also a gift given to me when I fully accepted that Jesus died for ME.  These gifts birthed a desire deep within me to share them with others… I made a promise to God that I would bring this hope to others around the world, starting with my own city.

At one time, this promise to God was just a thought in my mind… a secret dream shared only between the two of us.  It came to fruition when I met Amanda in early 2012, and was set in motion after my baptism on November 19, 2012 when I announced that I was dedicating my life to leading people to freedom and healing through Christ.  Soon enough, God’s vision manifested itself in the form of a non-profit organization through Amanda and I… just two young women passionate about testifying to God’s greatness and following Jesus wherever he leads.  In preparation for this work, I have grown through some tough trials and tribulations, and I look forward to the many lessons God will continue to teach me while I am on this Earth.  God’s refinement can be painful but displays much beauty when completed.  Healing and spiritual training is constant and under way.  Divine relationships are being formed for me throughout the city, state and the world.  God continues to mold my friendship with Amanda, my ministry partner, and He shows us the importance of love and grace.

After all the praying, studying and preparation, it became official as Amanda and I embarked on our new journey into uncharted territory.  This weekend, I accompanied Amanda and two volunteers, Sara and Jackie, as we made our way around the Cleveland area and into five strip clubs.  Armed with the supernatural love of Jesus and fun items stuffed into gift bags hand made by our volunteers, we delivered our transforming message of hope.   It’s amazing to dream about the ways that we will be able to show the women in these clubs love… and what’s even more amazing will be their amazement when they realize the giver of that love is God and they also have a place in His Kingdom.  It’s so exciting to think of the relationships we will build as we visit them regularly, and the stories that will be told by many of these women to attest to their very own ‘soul makeovers’.

In many cases, with many clubs and most management, we were received well.  In some cases, we were not.  Our Lord Jesus was not always well received and was often rejected, but that didn’t stop him from loving people and carrying out His Father’s will.  He continued on his mission and spoke truth to people, who were sometimes set free as a result.  Other times, people refused to acknowledge the truth and he was persecuted for the message he delivered… but the message was delivered either way.  I clearly see this will be a long process of building trust with the women and establishing a presence throughout the city that gives people a sense of peace about our mission.  It may take time for many to hear the message we are bringing, but that is only in God’s nature to take His time.  I am convinced that while dramatic changes may not always be visible as a result of our outreaches and the awareness we raise, the culture of the city will be transformed and God’s purpose will prevail.  I am simply overwhelmed and most definitely grateful to play even a small part in it.

I am certain that God’s plans for the women we reach involve new life, transformation, freedom and hope… and our UnChained Love outreaches will serve as a vehicle to bring all of this to the women.  Scripture tells us that God’s people’s names are engraved on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16).  Knowing this, my confidence lies in Him.  Whether the women come running to us with open arms or refuse our gifts and close themselves off to the message we deliver, God’s chosen ones will eventually end up in His arms where they belong.  There is freedom in knowing that this has nothing to do with me or anyone else… it is all based on the simple fact that He is the author of all our stories, and He alone will save lives through the power of the cross.

So get ready Cleveland, because Jesus is on the move…