Broken, But Not Destroyed

I’ve been here one year, one whole year since moving to Chicago and totally starting over.

I came with a lot of hope, but inwardly carrying so much pain. So much pain from a betraying relationship in my personal life, and a verbally abusive power in my work life.

But even in my walk of hope into the future, in hopes away from the past, I had no idea the amount of resistance I was about to face.

You see, previously at one point in all my hope as I left to start a new season in my life, I thought I could do anything, accomplish whatever I set my heart on.

But instead of encouragement, I faced the betraying, abusive voices: “Who do you think you are?? What do you think you’re trying to do? You are nothing. You are completely unvaluable.”

The people of power and influence in my life had bullied my spirit almost into the ground.

I feel like I’ve lived with the humiliation of my hopes being dashed, and ashamed I was ashamed.

And yet– how can I say this– I knew.

I knew that I was supposed to step into a role of helping businesses be successful. I knew it was also time to partner with non-profits to build sustainable business models for them to help provide work opportunities for trafficked and abused women, to teach these beautiful women that they are more than their bodies, that they are full of potential and skills and opportunities within business.

This kind of work, this kind of “helping businesses” is otherwise known as consulting. And I thought this was it, this was my calling.

But the oppressive cloud hung over my head all year, and I couldn’t get the ridiculing, scoffing voices out.

“Who do you think you are? A consultant??”

At times this past year I have felt that all was lost.

I have had total meltdowns more than I care to recall.

I have felt like I’ve been on the verge of complete disaster continually.

I have faced very real injustice, betrayal, and brutal insensitivity.

I wanted to walk away. But I didn’t quit. I couldn’t quit— how can I explain it? I knew that I knew I was supposed to pursue this calling.

For so long I knew that God’s love was for me, and I was down with that. But I really didn’t think his justice applied to me.

Oh, but little did I realize that justice is love in action.

It’s really powerful love giving really powerful purpose. It’s hope wrapped in a gift.

It’s real. It’s received.


Here it is. A kind way God has worked justice for me.

Today I started a job as a small business consultant for a reputable consulting firm in Chicago.

Who… me??

How was I to know that they would need a consultant that specializes in marketing and non-profits, which are both my favorites and my passions.

And folks, that’s when I knew that the only voice that matters is the one that created me.

Others can point and scoff and even in pious judgment say to God, “Who does she think she is??”

And he simply smiles and answers, “The best. The most awesome. The biggest world changer. You see, she’s with me.”

It brings to me to tears, that it all had a purpose, that following a very small seed of struggling faith was much bigger than any other opposition.

Sometimes it takes being broken to realize that you can’t be destroyed.


Break The Rules

Why is it we can’t say, “This is what I’m passionate about and this is what I believe in and this is why I do it?” 


We go to jobs and churches and volunteer at organizations where we’re told what to do and believe in and have vision for. Then, of course, the moment we step out of the boundaries of the regulations, it’s “eh eh eh, don’t do that,” and the reprimanding ruler is slapped across our hand.

And then meetings progress and programs are created to solve the problem of “Why aren’t we effective? Why aren’t people doing excellent work? Why are our people hiding from us and not being transparent?”

Because when no one can break the rules, then forward motion, excellence and effectiveness are killed.

We tell people to be extraordinary then give them average limitations. 

Leaders, please stop doing that.

Dear employers, bosses, pastors, teachers, elders, coaches, and presidents, stop telling us to be great within the boundaries of your leadership perceptions. Quit controlling our dreams and passions for fear it will break your mold of perfection.

We can’t be great when you don’t trust us.

And then when we do try to be great and step outside of box, assuming you trust us because we believe you to be good leadership, you drop the hammer on our passions and crush us under the weight of “Who do you think you are? This is not all about you. Where did you come up with this? You are totally selfish.”

Oh, I forgot that all along this was never meant to be my passion. It had to fit inside your perception of permissible.

Let’s all just be clear and open right now, ok?

Leaders, when you tell us to be great, you have just given us permission to break the rules, because my ability of greatness is going to look different from yours, but it’s going to help you be greater in the long run as well.

So if you don’t want your people to be great, just be honest. Tell us that you just want us to do our jobs and be robots. It will help everyone all around. And there are some people that are ok with being robots. Find those and surround yourself with them.

But for those of us that want to change the world, you’d better be prepared to be uncomfortable. You can lead us, but you can’t manage us. We’re going to break the rules.

Because when you want breakthrough in the world, you have to break through rules and preset regulations.

To those who have found that seed of greatness within youself and want to live out awesome, realize that many leaders will not be ok with that. You’re going to face bullying, degradation, opposition, and hatred. You’ll have to walk away from those people and it’s going to hurt very much.

Because all you wanted to do was help. You just wanted to make a difference.

That’s the price of thinking, of believing in owning passion for yourself and not reciting it from some creedal mission statement.

I was drafting an email yesterday that I started off writing, “I’m on the Young Activist Council of an anti-trafficking organization and we are seeking to bring awareness of trafficking to Chicago.” And then I stopped, erased the whole sentence, and instead wrote, “I’m passionate about ending sex trafficking in Chicago and I was wondering if you’d like to help in bringing awareness of this problem to our city.”

It’s much more difficult to take ownership of passion. Because then you open yourself up to criticism.

Who do you think you are?

What credentials do you have?

Where’s your experience?

Who are your references?

What’s your education?

What’s your plan?

Why would you want to do this?

And sometimes all you can answer with is, “I believe in it. It’s my passion.”

Most people like rules instead.

Because passion is way too dangerous.


Let’s live dangerous.

Give people a reason to be afraid of you, then leave the religion behind, and walk into passion living.

There’s not many people walking that path of passion living. You’ll face a lot of fears and abuse and being vastly misunderstood. But it’s worth the freedom and joy that comes from actually living a life that means something, that has a point, that has purpose and intention in every action.

I’ve realized in my own life that the moments that I’ve had the most impact and purpose are the exact times when I’ve crossed the lines of rules and expectations at work, church and other organizations. And reality? I’ve faced opposition each and every time. But oh so much reward and fruit.

What rules do you need to break today that will allow you to live on purpose instead of robotically?

How Good Is Today!

Today is good.

I am sitting here in a lovely, local coffee shop looking outside the window at gorgeous old houses listening to soothing classical and jazz music in the background, seeing the sights and sounds and people dropping in to get their morning coffee on their walk to work.

I have the freedom to sit here with warm clothes on, writing on a computer that was given to me, money in my bank account, work for me to depend on next week, good health, and an apartment to go home to with a roommate I like living with (who by the way just texted me that I need to go move my car before the street cleaners ticket it. What a gem, people). I’m in a city that reflects everything I enjoy about life and people and living. I am intrigued every day and my sense of adventure always has an outlet. Shoot, I even enjoy this cold and snow. It’s something different and reminds me of how I can adapt to different seasons with flare!Coffee shop

It’s a good day because I have heart dreams and desires that are shaping into reality, even if it isn’t exactly in my present. My heart for the broken ones and my community– I have clarity of going full-heartedly after that and what that looks like today (for instance, Thanksgiving party tonight at my place. Come if you want!). My work and business passion– I have a much clearer direction of what that looks like and I’m walking forward to it. I have work with businesses who believe in me and pay me because they believe in me. I have such a supportive loving family who laugh like I do and stick together. I have friends nearby who understand me and take a real interest in me. I have friends far away who still love me and remain faithful to me no matter where I’m at, where I go, or what I do.

But above all, I have someone vast and indescribable and powerful and wise who I get to call Father.

He is so great and awe-some, yet he is so aware of all the details in my life and cares about each tear, each laugh, each care, each hope. He has led me and stayed near me every step of my journey.

And he is the only one that has.

At times when everyone has left me or disappeared, when life itself rejected me and threw me to the ground, when I couldn’t even muster the will power to look up or even say his name, he never left me. Not for a moment. He is my only hope when all hope is gone, when darkness is all I can see, when I’m all alone with no one to pour my heart out to.

And this, my friends, is why I can sing and bless the Lord. Because my hope is totally outside of myself. It’s actually IN him. When I’m in that hope inside of him, then my whole being and actions in life actually have peace and not bitterness. I am purpose-driven, not tossed around by every emotion or unstable circumstance.

This is not a fake reality; this is who I really am, and that’s not about to change. Because when I’m with the One who never changes, I can be steady when changes and injustices and wounds and surprises and rejections and loss swirl around me. They tell me to move, to change, to react, to punish, to withhold.

But I can turn and look at those things in the face and say, “You have no control over me. Get out and stay out!” and then walk into my life, of which I’ve only been given one shot. And there’s no way I’m going to allow something else to control it and say what is or isn’t possible.

Because everything is possible. Which includes my attitude.  So that’s why I can say, “How good is today!”

Psalm 103: Bless the Lord my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name! May I never forget the good things he does for me.

Work and prosperity

“Daughter, by you working hard and excelling in the talents I’ve given you, that is how I will provide for you and cause you to prosper — and not just for you, but your church, your relationships, your city, my people, my kingdom. Pray hard to this end. Even if you don’t ‘get it’ right now, or out of fear wait, I will still provide. I am rich, I am love, I am your Father. Yet I want to use you and perhaps in order to spur you to do this I need to shake up your life so that you don’t feel secure anymore. Because if you felt secure, you would never do anything. Comfort is a dream killer. When I want you to move, to do something, to prosper, I will make you very uncomfortable. And the end purpose of all this is my glory in your joy. If there’s no joy, it’s probably not for my glory.” – God

This also is what the Lord Almighty says:  

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”