Finding Freedom and Purpose,
No Matter Your Circumstances
Next year it will be the 75th anniversary of the death of a young girl who penned her experience living a life independent of her circumstances. In The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne shared how she stayed strong even while in hiding from the Nazis during WWII. She wrote,
“Be brave! Let us remain aware of our task and not grumble.
A solution will come, God has never deserted our people.”
Anne’s vitality and grit live on today as her diary has inspired readers with more than 30 million copies in over 60 languages. Anne Frank knew her worthiness, purpose, and strength were not based on her captivity.
Like Anne, do you strive to live full of worth, purpose, and strength independent of your circumstances? Or do you feel “less than,” trapped by the insecurities and instabilities stopping you from living your life to its fullest? Surprisingly, the foundation for living a meaningful life is knowing true dependence.
You see, we live in a world that screams for independence. Yet, when our dependence is on the One who brings about freedom in our life, we can live a life independent of our circumstances. When Jesus is the One in us we can…
• in Christ, be secure in our identify (2 Corinthians 5:17)
• in Christ find our significance (Colossians 2:9-10)
• in Christ have the strength to be stable (Philippians 4:13)
Here’s the deal: Jesus is the defender of our freedom in every situation we face. We can be independent when our dependence is in Christ. And in Christ, we can find freedom and have the power to say no to the negative forces that may affect our lives.
When we stand tall in the freedom and power we have gained through Christ, we are in a position to help those around us whose freedom and power has been unjustly stolen. We know it is every woman and girl’s desire to feel worthy and to realize the potential within her. Yet people’s freedom, significance, and hope are being robbed by human trafficking, the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. It is a crime against humanity, particularly womanhood.
A21, founded by Christine Caine, aims to eradicate this modern-day slavery and bring much-needed justice. A21 invites us to mobilize our faith and shine hope on the lives of people who feel forgotten, dehumanized, and discarded. To do so, A21 has created resources to expose the traps used by traffickers, while providing tools for protection.
ShineHope is one such resource designed to equip girls with a healthy identity and an understanding of her intrinsic worth, strength, and purpose. ShineHope is divided into three foundational concepts:
Worth- Worth is the very essence and nature of who we are, and does not need to be earned. Yet, we know for many girls, this foundational concept has been violated, causing them to feel worthless. All girls need to know they are priceless and to be able to demonstrate the power of their meaningful life story.
Strength- When a girl is trafficked, her ability to make many choices is taken away from her. Our goal is to equip girls with the power of choice, empowering them to make strong, healthy decisions based on wise counsel and a solid identity.
Purpose- As Archbishop Desmond Tutu says “We humans can tolerate suffering but we cannot tolerate meaninglessness.” A trafficked victim is not free to be all that she can be due to the control of others over her life. Purpose allows her to establish hope in her heart and mind, giving her life story significance.
Just like Anne Frank’s life story touching millions, we can take action on compassion by mobilizing our faith. Everyone has a story. However, no one writes his or her story entirely independently. My story can change your story, your story can change my story, and living a life in Christ can be your answer to a meaningful life story.
P.S. You can help women and girls find their worth, strength, and purpose by becoming a ShineHope facilitator. A21 is looking for women who will commit to gathering a group of women and girls between June and August. By joining this nine-week journey, you will be provided with a free copy of our ShineHope starter pack which includes:
• A Facilitator Guide
• Facilitator Training
• 5 ShineHope participant journals
• Access to our A21 ShineHope Facebook community
• Individual support as needed
Your participation and feedback will help enable A21 to continue to create resources to fight against human trafficking. Click here to participate and receive your free copy while supplies last.
Valerie is a wife, mother of four adult children, grandmother, ministry leader, and best-selling author who has dedicated 30+ years to the field of education. She is currently serving as A21’s Education Curriculum Specialist. Valerie has authored and co-authored over a dozen educational and ministry resources, including A21’s Bodies Are Not Commodities and ShineHope in collaboration with Hillsong as self-worth and human trafficking curriculums; Equipping the Warrior Woman: Strategies to Awaken Your Purpose, Strength, and Confidence; and Creating Strategic Readers Series for Educators. In both church and educational venues, she has traveled the globe to inspire, encourage, and transform lives. You can connect with Valerie at www.ValerieEllery.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.