The last quarter of this year has been an unexpected season of great pain and sorrow.
In September we were hit with hurricane Irma.
The beginning of October I had to have a complete hysterectomy, which I was mentally prepared for, but it still brought up several emotions and left me feeling like I was less of a person due to having the surgery. A few days before Thanksgiving, during an interview with Karla Ray from Channel 9 News, Karla helped me find my strength that I lost in the days and weeks following my hysterectomy.
Three days after Thanksgiving my father suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, which literally took my breath away and made my heart physically hurt. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would have handled this if Karla hadn’t helped me find my strength again just days prior.
On December 7, 2017, in the midst of this season of pain and sorrow, I was the recipient of The Freedom Award from Florida Abolitionist. God couldn’t have timed this honor and event more perfectly. Being honored with the award at the Gala was reminder that God is doing amazing things through me and the pain I’ve endured. It’s not always easy to get up and speak, but the impact it makes is amazing. Awareness is being spread, victims and survivors are coming forward for help, victims and survivors are receiving more effective help and people are recognizing just how real human trafficking is.
I’m thankful to have been accompanied to the Gala by my amazing friend, Traci Smith. Traci’s excitement about the Gala and being there to watch me receive the award helped me to be excited in the midst of my sadness.
2017 ended with receiving the Freedom Award and I’m ready to start 2018 in full force. I have the honor of speaking at 6 different events in January, including speaking at The University of Florida at the end of the January. One of the events in January that I just committed to, I will be speaking at, will be to an audience of 3500-4000, which will definitely be the largest group I’ve spoken to.
I’m thankful for the amazing people I meet at these events. I’ve met some of my closest friends by speaking at events and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
No matter how hard it gets or who tries to discourage me from speaking, I will not stop now!