We all have a purpose, mine was shown to me five years ago. I heard about an event happening at my church called the Global Leadership Summit. My then-boyfriend, now husband, was interested in hearing one of the speakers so I surprised him with tickets. Now, mind you, at that time I had just moved to Knoxville, I was living on the money from selling my Nashville home and though I had an associate’s degree I couldn’t get a call back from Taco Bell for employment.
In my eyes, I was a jobless tag along to a leadership seminar my employed boyfriend would enjoy. However, God had other plans. During those few days, God revealed His vision for what would become Bridge the Gap Ministry and how He would use the restoration of my past to help others experiencing abuse know His love.
Slowly, God started to move things into place. Shortly after the Summit, I enrolled at Liberty University to study Social Work. During my second semester, we were required to shadow a social worker for a week. I found my social worker earlier and was all set to go. Until, a few days before I was set to start the person I was supposed to shadow had a family emergency and had to leave town. Seeing as not completing the assignment would be an automatic F in the class, my fear outweighed my faith, and I went into full-on panic mode. Isn’t it funny how even when God has shown us His plan, we still think it coming to fruition is on our backs and not His?
After frantically emailing every social worker Google could list and declaring I would scrub toilets if they would sign off on my paperwork, the YWCA agreed to take me. To me it was a last-minute save of my assignment, little did I know God orchestrated it all and the YWCA would play an intricate role in preparing me for His calling. My week there was wonderfully eye-opening and extremely encouraging. A couple of weeks after shadowing a front desk position became available and God told me to move. I applied, got the position, and waited for God to speak. In the waiting, I got to know the women who lived in the transitional housing above the YWCA. I heard their stories and watched change take place in their hearts.
Several months later a Domestic Violence Advocate position became available. Again, God told me to move and apply. Which I did, but because I couldn’t fully let go of my doubt, not in God but in myself I applied for another available position not believing I was capable enough to get the advocate title. Despite my uncertainty, I got the job and spent the next year in court, coffee shops, and parks advocating and supporting men and women dealing with domestic abuse. I ran a support group, created safety plans, and got to be a part of bringing awareness and education on the subject of abuse. I remember every client and I remember every person who worked alongside me. I am so thankful for how much each of them taught me.
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral sciences from Liberty University shortly before giving birth to my first son. Leaving the YWCA to stay at home and raise him was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I am comforted though in knowing God is not done! Since leaving I’ve had another son and spent countless hours pouring into Bridge the Gap. Something I heard over and over as an advocate was how so many were afraid or disinterested in the church because they didn’t feel welcome. These words have torn apart my heart and are why my ministry’s mission is “to make the church a safe, inviting, and accepting place for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.”
Everyone needs Jesus, especially those who have gone through abuse and trauma. The world cannot heal your wounds, complete restoration and peace can only come from God. It has become my life goal to make sure that survivors realize their identity in God and how much He loves them. Thank you for supporting me in this journey!
– If you or someone you know is struggling with abuse, please visit our resources page for help. –