As I reflect on the last year, I consider my journey that included cancer, COVID-19, kids, and raising domestic minor sex trafficking awareness.
The past year, I simultaneously battled and beat breast cancer during a pandemic, while homeschooling my four children under age 9. And I continued to fight against child sex trafficking because I felt none of those obstacles could stop me from exercising my God-given gifts, talents, and abilities. I had a calling and I knew I had to pursue it.
It started about three months before my breast cancer diagnosis. I read the book “Renting Lacy” by Linda Smith and felt compelled to become an Ambassador of Hope. Once I completed my online Ambassador training, I jumped on the fast track to raise awareness by becoming involved with local Anti-Trafficking committees, hosting an event at my church, and openly sharing my passions on social media. Knowing what I now knew, I had to act to take action. As I learned more about DMST, the more I wanted to stop it. It felt exhilarating serving with others who had a similar calling in life. It felt rewarding doing the work with a sense of purpose.
That’s how my journey as an Ambassador began. I felt a sense of satisfaction and purpose and passion again, beyond my role as a mother. I love my four children (ages 7, 3, and 18-month-old twins at the time), but I longed to utilize and exercise my gifts, and to share them with others. I embrace my role as mommy, but knew I had another calling in life – to do more, be more, say more. I knew I had to set an example for my kids, my friends, my community. I knew that children and other victims of sex trafficking needed a voice. I had that voice, and the faith and confidence to use it. I knew that I had to speak up and exercise my God-given gifts!
But then came a breast cancer diagnosis. Everything I wanted to pursue halted. I had to begin chemotherapy treatments and focus on my health and my family. The work had to go on hold and it devastated me. But the work didn’t really stop. My team of fellow advocates kept working and raising awareness and I stood by cheering them on. I couldn’t wait to get back in the game. Cancer couldn’t stop me, but it temporarily slowed me down.
I continued supporting the cause throughout my chemotherapy treatments. In between surgery and radiation treatments, I facilitated virtual meetings and events amidst the shutdown. I juggled motherhood and cancer treatments and covid craziness while continuing the fight against human trafficking. Victims of trafficking don’t have the luxury of taking a break, so I felt I needed to continue advocating for them, to the best of my ability, no matter what was going on in my own life. This is not to boast but to share with you what empowered me: it is a disservice to ourselves and the world to suppress our gifts and talents! I knew I had a calling from God and I couldn’t take that lightly. I had to live out my faith, one of my greatest and most treasured gifts in life. I had to show my friends and my community, that no matter my circumstances, the issue of child sex trafficking matters enough to keep talking about it and doing something about it. I felt God was with me to do that.
So now a year later, I have battled and beat cancer living the verse in Psalm 71:7 NLT: “My life is an example to many, because GOD has been my strength and protection.” I reflect on the chaos of the year and how God continued to give me strength for His Good and His Glory. I moved my faith to action by decisions, and as a result, He has produced in me perseverance, character, and hope as in Romans 5:4 NLT.
Can you think of obstacles in your life that have prevented you from using your gifts? There are so many ways that you can pursue your calling and exercise your gifts too. Take a leap of faith and see where it takes you.
- Consider and identify your talents and abilities. What gifts has God given you? How can you use them for good?
- Answer the calling, whatever that is for you, and it will show your faith through your actions. Shared Hope has so many ways to take action https://sharedhope.org/takeaction/
- Who can you invite to also become an Ambassador of Hope? This is a great place to start building a team. https://sharedhope.org/aoh/
I promise your gifts will be a gift to others.
By Grace Witchey, Ambassador of Hope