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.
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.
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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!
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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.