I Have An Altered Story. I wonder if you might have one, too?

I was a pretty “average” stay-at-home mom. I had a great life and a wonderful family.  I was even involved in meaningful volunteer work. But, to be honest, I had lost some sense of self and purpose. Can you relate?  I guess I just felt like there “must be more.”
Wow! I didn’t realize it then, but that discontented feeling was God’s way of getting me ready for His upcoming plans for my life. In that state, I was feeling open to whatever He had for me. I just didn’t know what that might be.

Then… I learned about the terrible crime of human trafficking for the first time. It affected me to my core. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting God to put before me. But, he was speaking to me about the need to fight it. And, I knew I needed to listen.

Sometimes our hardest things are God’s best things.

Back then, most people believed trafficking was happening outside the United States, far from home. A series of events (and, I believe miracles!) led me to Moldova, Eastern Europe. I interviewed workers on the front lines of this issue, in the country exporting the greatest number of victims. I saw and met children who were at a high risk of being trafficked for sex or labor. Poverty, abuse and addiction were putting these kids’ in great danger. And, I met survivors: teens and women who had been trafficked and were trying to pull their lives back together. Hearing their stories changed mine. 

After learning about human trafficking through extensive research and my experiences overseas, I asked God to use me however He might to make a difference against slavery, here in the US. Have you ever asked God to do His will through you? With a love for arts/crafts and all-things-vintage, I started repurposing old books and found objects into new artwork and handmade goodies. “Altered Story” began.  My goal was to make a difference against human trafficking by using what God had given me: a love for words, art and all things vintage. I began “Changing our stories to change theirs.”

I was surprised that my simple hobbies and interests – bright, beautiful, fun things could change dark, terrible, painful things for good.  I would never have guessed that my love for art and creativity would be used in such serious and important ways. How might God use what you care about and enjoy to benefit others?

I sold my art creations, organized fundraising events for the cause and began speaking to groups about the topic.  I wrote about my adventures on a blog and have started a young adult novel.  I’ve led writers workshops, bringing people together with a shared passion to write.

To raise awareness that trafficking is actually a local issue, affecting every county in WI, I wanted to unite people in efforts to fight it.  I co-founded the facebook group “Central WI Against Human Trafficking.” It’s exciting to see so many people, with their own areas of influence, uniting to make a difference in our communities.

I believe God led me into each fulfilling opportunity. Where might God lead you?

For you, it may not be the issue of human trafficking that grips you. But, I believe there are purposes waiting for you that only YOU can accomplish. And, I want to encourage you in those. As you hear bits about how I’m pursuing mine, I hope you will be inspired to pursue what you were created for, too.  Are you living with purpose? 

The stories of millions of slaves around our world have altered my personal story.  As I have pursued God’s purposes – as I have altered vintage books into artistic creations to benefit others-  I believe that stories around the world have been altered, too! I will never know the total impact, but I get excited to imagine it!   And, I have seen that as I live with purpose, it affects every area of my “good” life for the EVEN BETTER! My kids, my husband, my church, my family, my friends… they have been affected because of my altered story. I hope they are inspired to pursue their dreams and change this world.

Do you have an altered story? Maybe your “Altered Story” is still being written? Who might be affected by those changes? Please let me know about your story?

God bless you in the purposes YOU were made for.  May our own stories make for brave reading- those are always the very best!  I would love to encourage and inspire you, as you pursue what is important to you. And, my hope is that we can have FUN living with purpose, together!