So far, this weekend has been humbling and special. I could not have asked for a better birthday weekend! Tomorrow I turn 33 years old. 32 was a fantastic year, it's hard to imagine 33 being even better, but I hope it is!
On Friday night I sat through a training with The Justice Project (http://www.thejusticeproject.net) which is an organization who's mission is to abolish human sex trafficking in the Charlotte area. When you read that sentence, it's doesn't sound like a fun way to spend a Friday night; and it was in fact very overwhelming and difficult content to learn. But, as you learn about just how big of a horrible problem this is in our city, it becomes humbling to think you can have just a small impact that could be huge for a young girl in the midst of it. Human trafficking is a huge industry in the US and around the world and it is sickening. I think probably many of us (I was one) thought that this kind of thing happens in other countries but not here...we were wrong. Once you know about it, I can't imagine sitting around and doing nothing! I am not sure exactly how I will be involved as a volunteer, but I do know that I will be involved somehow.
That brings me to today, which was a fantastic day. While my official birthday is tomorrow, I celebrated today, and I started the day with an amazing group of ladies hanging out with another amazing group of ladies!! It has been years since I have been a part of an Easter egg hunt so it was ridiculously fun to hide a bunch of eggs and watch adults and children alike race to find them! The Easter Bunny showed up and we had food and singing and dancing. Such a special time with the ladies of The Dove's Nest. (http://charlotterescuemission.org/our-programs/doves-nest/). I have been at UpsideDown Church for 7 1/2 months and already it has openned up my eyes to so many opportunities to impact the lives of others. There is nothing more important. This is Christ in action. Showing people God's love, not just talking about it.
This afternoon some of my favorite people joined me for bowling and dinner to celebrate my birthday. As my friends from different times and places in my life converged to be a part of my special day, I was overwhelmed. 10 years ago I made a choice to move to the south. I didn't know what for as none of my initial plans worked out, but what a ride it has been. I've been through many ups and downs, changes, challenges, growing experiences, great times, hard times...and all of my experiences have brought me to where I am today, with so many awesome people in my life that I can learn from and be encouraged by daily. People from 6 different churches around the area were represented at my party, which truely is an example of the body of Christ. There were friends that I've had for years and friends I just met. There was friendly competition and a whole lot of laughs!! I am blessed. I don't know what the next year of my life holds. I hope there are great things to come. I have dreams and desires I would love to see become realities. I have friendships I'd love to cultivate and see grow. I want to learn how to love people better and serve with my whole heart unselfishly. I want to give more because so much has been given to me.
Thank you Andy, Rachel, Hanna, Webster, Beth, Sarah, April, Brian, Rhonda, Kim, Makeba, Nick, Tameka, Cameron, Kennedi, Tamer, Heather, Matt, Matt, Melody, Josie, and Allyson for being a part of my day.
-The Real Me