All week I’ve been feeling like God has been calling me to write a blog post, but I’ve been putting it off. I didn’t think I was strong enough. I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t think I was in the position to be giving any advice. I felt like I was a fraud and needed to have my sh*t together before I could lead, or do anything like that. I tried to hide from it, but God kept showing me through visions and dreams how He uses broken people to do His work and spread His love.

On my refrigerator there’s a picture of me. It’s my “ safety picture”. It's the picture that brings me back to reality when I’m upset, overwhelmed, or feeling unloved. I look at that picture. It's a picture of me riding on a 4 wheeler. I'm riding with 2 boys who I call my brothers, J and A. They were standing right behind me on both sides, which is my favorite, because it somehow reminds me they have my back.

I chose this picture as my safety picture because it was one of the times when I felt brave. I’ve never gone riding on a 4 wheeler before, but I was brave and did it because I knew the people who were around me would keep me safe. It was one of the times I felt loved, safe, and a part of a family. The picture was taken in the backyard of a house that I call home, my second home, where I feel the most safe because the people there love me and want me there.

I used that picture all week to bounce back from the cracks I fell in between.

I allowed my traffickers to make me believe that sex and money was all I was good for. It broke my heart when I “came through'' and realized what was happening. I first tried to pretend this wasn’t happening, but the more I did, the more reality hit me then I started to do what I always do… I got mad at myself and said “C.C. you’re stupid, how could you allow this to happen?” I beat myself up about it, but then I remembered, GRACE!!

I tried to forgive myself, but it was hard. I thought I wasn’t worthy of forgiveness. I didn't think I deserved it, but guess what? God forgives us anyway and he gives us grace, and grace is getting forgiveness that we don’t deserve!

It was a hard few days as I felt myself retreating to the same shell/space that has kept me safe all these years. The same space and walls that have kept the world out but it also kept God out. I tried to hide and run from this but God had a plan. I asked myself, “what’s the point of staying here?” I decided to leave. When I got to the airport I felt God tell me to be still C.C.! I asked what I always asked: “how am I supposed to be still in a still-less world?” But then I remembered one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received: “when it gets hard, remember to surrender and if you forget how to get there just sing, it’ll be your weapon in any trail”. I knew I had to surrender, so I went to the bathroom, put my jacket on the floor, and buried my head in it. I said, “God, I surrender! I need you.” I felt like God said to me “I’m already here. I never left!” I said meet me where I am, tell me what to do. I can't do this alone. He said “Go home! Surrender and go home!”

I didn’t want to go home, I was scared to! “Surrender, go home, the battle is not yours!” God said. When I got home, I looked at my safety picture and I thought that sometimes we have to do hard things and trust that God has our back. I had to trust Him to do the heavy lifting. I know God has my back and there are more times than I can count on my fingers where God has protected me.

I decided those bad people are not going to win, and they don’t get to. I don’t feel 100% safe yet, but I know I just need to keep riding my 4 wheeler and trust that God has my back just like my team does and I’m safe and loved more than I’ll ever know.

I’ve looked in the Mirror and forgiven myself. My advice to you is whatever battle you’re fighting, let it go. It isn't yours. Step out of your comfort zone and watch God do miracles!