Overcoming! Part 4

 

This is the last of a four part blog series, inspired by the girls who have called Courage House home – a home for victims of sex trafficking – and all the courageous overcomers who fight for their healing. Author Jenny Williamson, who is a huge football fan, uses Tom Brady’s historic comeback win in this year’s Super Bowl to encourage us all, in not only dreaming big dreams, but in courageously pursing them when obstacles are thrown our way. Jenny is Founder/CEO of Courage Worldwide, an organization that builds restoration homes for victims of sex trafficking.

Overcome.

To gain the victory; to win; conquer: to prevail over; to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to defeat.

That one little word, whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year’s Super Bowl, held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you.

6. Play for Something Bigger Than Yourself.

Tom Brady plays for his team, his fans and the Patriot organization, but on that Super Bowl Sunday he played for his mom. His Mom and Dad had missed all the games this past season because she had been battling cancer. Her doctors only approved her attending the Super Bowl days before kickoff. I am sure as Tom Brady searched for his mom in the stands, his suspension and allegations of cheating paled in comparison to his mom’s diagnosis, chemo-therapy, and radiation treatments. Focusing on her battle allowed him to put his situation into proper perspective.

Photo property of: eonline.com

As I began to reflect on the word—my word, Overcome—my focus and perspective began to change. I changed my focus from my disappointments and pain to my adopted daughters, the girls who have called Courage House home here in the U.S. and the ones currently at home in Courage House Tanzania. I thought of the over seventy-five courageous young women and girls who had been held captive in sexual slavery where bondage, torture, and rape were their consistent, daily experiences and circumstances. (Please don’t think I am exaggerating what they have gone through. The words we now commonly use to describe their trauma – human trafficking – glosses over the reality of the brutality they encountered physically, emotionally, and spiritually.) When I remember what they have had to overcome and still have to overcome in order to obtain healing and begin a new life, my difficult circumstances and despair melt into oblivion and my resolve to continue is re-engaged. They are courageous overcomers.

As I continued to think about this word and its implications in my life, I remembered the over 375 phone calls we have received from social workers, probation officers, and parents who are desperately looking for a place or a person to help begin the restoration process for a young victim. Their despair and discouragement was much more than anything I had experienced. They were left feeling daunted and hopeless when they realized they had little to no placement options due to the severe shortage of homes and services here in the U.S., and around the world, for those who have had a history of being sold as a commodity. My passion to do something about that fact was re-ignited.

As I thought about the hundreds of thousands of children here in the U.S. and the millions around the world who suffer hideous abuse and torture to their bodies and psyche, who believe no one cares, that she has no value, no future, and that overcoming her present situation is impossible, my challenging year and circumstances are not even worth mentioning.

Quitting seemed much less attractive when I remembered all of this, as well as our tireless volunteers, ambassadors, donors, and supporters who continue to fight beside us and who encourage us to keep waging war against this evil.

Abandoning this calling and these children was completely taken off the table once and for all after I received a letter from a man who is a “lifer” in prison. He wrote to me saying that when he heard of the child sex trade he was appalled and he wanted to let me know that he started a “NOT IN MY PRISON: NOT IN MY LIFE” campaign in his prison to raise awareness and money for our organization, as well as to train “those lucky enough to parole; teaching them how big and evil human trafficking is and that no one should ever sell another human being.” He shared that he had entered prison for the first time as a juvenile when he was a foster youth. I learned he has never received a letter or a visitor during the entire time he has been incarcerated. However, he made no excuses for his life or his choices; he wrote simply to tell me he wanted to do something for these children. He wanted to rid the world of this evil and help these young ones overcome their circumstances. He wanted to teach young men who were incarcerated in prison that it was wrong to sell a child for sex. My resolve to overcome hardened as I read his vow to do everything possible for these children while locked behind bars for the rest of his life. My circumstances and obstacles could not compare to his.

Being a part of something bigger than yourself is a much needed requirement in overcoming setbacks, failures, and obstacles. Quitting isn’t an option when you are playing for others. The collective good, energy and joint commitment to a common goal propels you through your personal hurdles and hiccups in life.

7. Pick a word. Ask for divine inspiration. It may just change your perspective and maybe even your life. Mine did – especially this year. Overcome. To gain the victory; to win; conquer: to prevail over; to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to defeat. Here’s to all the overcomers!

Photo property of: lockhaven.com

Follow us on Facebook Page and/or Twitter page for a month of encouragement in overcoming the obstacles to your dreams.

Make a $50 donation this month to Courage Worldwide using this link and receive a free autographed copy of Jenny’s book Do You Have the Courage to Be You, an inspirational read about finding your unique purpose and destiny.

Announcement: Jenny’s newest book, a workbook and study called Uniquely You, published by PTLB, will be available online in June 2017.

Overcoming! Part 3

 

This is the third of a four part blog series, inspired by the girls who have called Courage House home – a home for victims of sex trafficking – and all the courageous overcomers who fight for their healing. Author Jenny Williamson, who is a huge football fan, uses Tom Brady’s historic comeback win in this year’s Super Bowl to encourage us all, in not only dreaming big dreams, but in courageously pursing them when obstacles are thrown our way. Jenny is Founder/CEO of Courage Worldwide, an organization that builds restoration homes for victims of sex trafficking.

Overcome.

To gain the victory; to win; conquer: to prevail over; to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to defeat.

That one little word whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year’s Super Bowl held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you.

4. Pursue Big Impossible Dreams.

It’s only impossible until someone has the audacity to do it; ask Tom Brady. He has the most Super Bowl rings of any NFL quarterback – 5 and he is tied with Charles Haley for most of any player! No one had ever won a Super Bowl in overtime until Tom Brady did. No one had ever come back from a 25 point deficit until Tom Brady and the Patriots did this year. He had the most passing yards in Super Bowl history (466 ) and broke Jim Kelley’s record of 58 completed passes. Who dreams of a 5th Super Bowl win, when you were benched the first four games, and becoming the MVP – for the fourth time? Tom Brady did. He had the audacity – not just to dream – but pursue a dream,  in spite of the obstacles that many would call impossible.

Photo property of: chieftainpress.net

I have always been accused of dreaming crazy, big dreams or wanting to change the world. When I was young that embarrassed me and I hid from its implications. Now as an adult, over halfway through the time line of my life, I realize that is what I was made for – it is what YOU were made for. Each of us is created on purpose, for a purpose, and that unique purpose is designed to change our world!

For those of us who profess a faith in God, impossible is not in our vocabulary! We often need to be reminded that we serve the God of the impossible.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

What would we attempt if we really believed this? That is worth pondering in prayer.

Grab a piece of paper or your journal. What big, audacious, impossible dreams are you pursuing? What steps are you taking today to make them a reality? What obstacles are standing in your way? Maybe you have a dream of going back to school and your obstacles are time and money. What will you have to do to overcome them? Maybe your dream is changing careers; what do you need to do? What obstacles do you have to overcome? As you dream on paper don’t let the obstacles discourage you from taking a tangible step towards them. This process requires discipline, sacrifice, passion and mental toughness to overcome all obstacles between you and your dream. But your dream; your destiny is worth it! The obstacles we overcome make the victory sweeter.

It is not enough to dream or imagine a goal; you must take steps to pursue it and courageously overcome each obstacle in your way. Combine your faith with the God of the impossible and you will overcome any mountain in your way!

5. Prepare & Practice — even when you’re benched. When I was going through my difficult season this past year, I felt like I was benched from the game. I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. There was a huge temptation to quit before I worked through the three steps above. However, as I made the choices outlined above, my energy returned and my faith increased. I decided to use this time – this lull – to get better, to learn from the situation, and to focus on the things in my life I had control over and leave the rest in God’s hands.

I’m not sure Tom Brady gave his situation to God, but I do know he practiced as if he was playing on Sunday instead of riding the bench. He did the same daily three-hour workout, he ate the same healthy foods, and he threw the football over and over again as if he was in a game. He prepared to win. I went back to the gym (which I had stopped doing because I was so busy). I attended conferences and trainings that would make be better at my job. I focused on my family, and I prepared for the day when I would get back in the game – when we would have girls back at Courage House Nor Cal. This preparation was key in moving me forward and kept me from dwelling on the difficult and unfair.

Part 4 of this blog series will be sent on Thursday, March 23th.

Follow us on Courage Worldwide’s Facebook Page and/or Twitter page for a month of encouragement in overcoming the obstacles to your dreams.

Make a $50 donation this month to Courage Worldwide using this link and receive a free autographed copy of Jenny’s book Do You Have the Courage to Be You, an inspirational read about finding your unique purpose and destiny.

Announcement: Jenny’s newest book, a workbook and study called Uniquely You, published by PTLB, will be available on Amazon in June 2017.

Overcoming! Part 2

 

This is the second in a four part blog series, inspired by the girls who have called Courage House home – a home for victims of sex trafficking – and all the courageous overcomers who fight for their healing. Author Jenny Williamson, who is a huge football fan, uses Tom Brady’s historic comeback win in this year’s Super Bowl to encourage us all in not only dreaming big dreams but in courageously pursing them when obstacles are thrown our way. Jenny is Founder/CEO of Courage Worldwide, an organization that builds restoration homes for victims of sex trafficking.

Overcome.

To gain the victory; to win; conquer: to prevail over; to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to defeat.

That one little word whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year’s Super Bowl held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you.

Photo property of: cbssports.com

“To win the Super Bowl, nothing is negative about this,” Brady said. “I just want the focus to be on positivity and that’s just kind of how I am and how I’ll always be.” —Tom Brady

1. Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself. (That was supposed to feel like a bucket of cold water thrown in your face or a swift kick in the butt.) I certainly needed to hear those words when I was struggling through my own difficult circumstances. In order to overcome the obstacles in life that will be thrown our way, we must stop feeling sorry for ourselves when they come.

Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, was publically accused of cheating – something he said he didn’t do. He fought it in court and lost. When the decision went against him, he didn’t spend energy on blaming others or feeling sorry for himself. Whatever internal battle he was going through, he did not let it propel him into quitting. In fact, it seemed this obstacle caused him to re-double his efforts to overcome the failure and proved everyone wrong by winning his fifth Super Bowl!

When we get hurt, disappointed, or face, what we believe, are insurmountable odds, we tend to start navel gazing. Our view and lens goes from outward to inward, thus it becomes incredibly easy to be hyper focused on ourselves – our pain – our circumstances. This is so dangerous. When we feel sorry for ourselves we begin to convince ourselves that we have the right to be bitter, angry, and unforgiving. We begin to feel justified in aligning ourselves with these emotions, wrapping them around us like a comforting old blanket. Stop! They are not going to make you feel better. Quite the opposite, actually. These feelings you may believe you are entitled to are energy robbers and motivation stealers. Left unchecked, they will embezzle your health and hijack your destiny. These feelings are sinister whispers trying to convince you to quit.

2. Think Different Thoughts. You have the internal power and personal choice to take every thought that pops into your head captive, and then decide if you will come in agreement with it. I can’t pretend to know what Tom Brady was thinking when he was accused of cheating or when he was 25 points behind and just minutes away from losing the Super Bowl. But I can tell you what he told his team at halftime. We will win this game. He told the reporters after the game he knew they were going to win. He referred to his team as being “mentally tough.” That is what I mean by taking every thought captive. They focused on the goal of winning, not the scoreboard, and took control of their thoughts and emotions, which in turn produced winning actions. Do you?

When you experience random, negative thoughts birthed when you have been hurt, disappointed, and/or experienced failure, do you change them, or do you come in agreement with them? Enticing thoughts such as, “How dare they do that to me after all I have done for them!” “I deserve better!” “It’s not my fault.” “It is not worth it – I’m quitting,” conspire to enslave us.

If we come in agreement with these negative, self-serving thoughts, we give them power – power to influence our emotions, produce our actions, and control our outcomes. To overcome, we must hijack the destructive, arbitrary thoughts that originate from pain, unfairness, or failure. To overcome, we must not only capture them but kill them off before agreeing with them. It is a discipline. Winners think winning thoughts. Overcomers think overcoming thoughts. When these types of negative thoughts pop into your mind after you have been hurt or are struggling in the middle of difficult, impossible circumstances, you must shift your focus from the difficult to the divine. Ask for a heavenly perspective on your situation. Pray. Focus on your goals and dreams – not the man-made scoreboard. Our thoughts ultimately produce our emotions, which in turn generate our actions; therefore, it is critical we decide which thoughts we are going to align ourselves with if we are to overcome.
“… We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:5)
3. Don’t take it personally. In order to overcome, we must become less offended. Yes – less offended. We also have this power. We need to view every circumstance as a test or an attack, not a personal assault. A test is to win – an attack to overcome – both make you stronger. When you continually experience offense, hurt feelings, and/or blame others for your circumstances, you make them the author of your story – you give them power over your dreams and goals.

Tom Brady wasn’t happy about being accused of cheating and his subsequent suspension for the first four games of the season, but he didn’t waste time and energy blaming NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for handing down that sentence. He remained focused on what was good and positive in his life. He didn’t let the temporary obstacle ruin the entire season or re-write his story. He retained that control. Though the Commissioner had power over this one particular decision, he did not have power over Tom Brady’s life, his thoughts, or his actions.

For those of us who profess a faith in God, we need to take our hurt, pain, and discouragement to Him for perspective and comfort – not other people. Often when we are hurting we seek validation from people we love or whom we know will agree with us. We start forming a team with our names on the back of the jersey, whose sole mission is to agree with us and make us feel better. But often what we really need is that cold bucket of water or the swift kick in the butt telling us to get over it and move on. To overcome we must stop taking “it” personal.

Part 3 of this blog series will be sent on Thursday, March 16th.

Follow us on Courage Worldwide’s Facebook Page and/or Twitter page for a month of encouragement in overcoming the obstacles to your dreams.

Make a $50 donation this month to Courage Worldwide using this link and receive a free autographed copy of Jenny’s book Do You Have the Courage to Be You, an inspirational read about finding your unique purpose and destiny.

Announcement: Jenny’s newest book, a workbook and study called Uniquely You, published by PTLB, will be available on Amazon in June 2017.