♥ I Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself ♥

I use the hand upon my arm,
To write of your intended harm…
The hand you tied to torture me,
But see, your torture set me free….

I use the mouth upon my face,
To share your act of such disgrace…
The mouth you gagged to torture me,
But see, your torture set me free….

I use the ears upon my head,
To listen to others, feeling lost and dead…
The head you struck to torture me,
But see, your torture set me free….

I use my God , Who died for me,
He carries me when it’s hard to see….
The God I questioned when you tortured me,
But see, your torture set me free….

You intended me harm, and you could have won,
But, my life is MY journey, and I’m not yet done.

I’m sharing my story, I’m spreading THE WORD,
I’m winning the battle, in case you’ve not heard…

I’ve gone from victIM to victORY,
Because see, your torture set me free!!

 ♥ Stacie Lewis

April 28, 2011

April 28...Is there anybody else out there that thinks of April 28 as significant? Is there anybody else out there that counts the days in April until the 28 is upon them?

I used to think of April 28 as a day of mourning. I would mope around all day feeling sorry for myself. I would think about all of the directions my life might have taken if only I had stayed home on April 28, 1991 instead of taken that infamous bike ride. If only I hadn't gone off on my own that day, then maybe I wouldn't have been kidnapped. If only I had listened to my gut when it tried to warn me. All of the "if only"s used to focus around me and how what happened to me could have been avoided "if only".

Well, it's been 20 years since April 28, 1991 and I have come a long way since then.

While today is still a day of reflection and sadness for me, it has evolved into a day of joy as well.

A day of joy because I am no longer that broken little girl who cowers in corners.

A day of joy because I have learned how to deal with my pain instead of suppress it.

A day of joy because if this never happened to me I might not have turned to God for help.

A day of joy because I have finally learned how to forgive.

Twenty years is a long time for someone to hide their pain. If you happen to be one of the millions of people in this country who are hiding their pain behind a smile, I want you to know that you are not alone! I spent half of my life hiding behind a smile and I do not recommend it.

Let's transform April 28. Instead of it being the anniversary of the day I was kidnapped, raped and almost murdered, let's make it a day of transformation, hope and forgiveness. We could think of some clever little name for it and years from now we would hear people say "Happy ___________!"

I don't know.

What I do know is that I will not mope around on April 28, 2011. I will instead chose to remember my jurney and all of the things I've learned along the way. I hope you too take this day to reflect on your life and remember to count your blessings.

Happy Jurney Eve!



Frivolous Facebooking

Today I would like to express how grateful I am that Facebook wasn't around when I was a teenager? 

I couldn't even imagine the statuses and comments I would have left, not to mention the pictures I would have posted. 

Words and images forever immortalized and always retrievable on the internet. 
Remember that!

Now, I'm not saying that all teenagers post things that they will regret later in life.  I know a lot of great kids that are very responsible with the internet. Also, for me to imply that it is only teenagers that are irresponsible, would be wrong. I'm just saying that I have a strong hunch that I personally would have been irresponsible.

Everyday I log onto Facebook, there's always one or two people on my friends list who remind me of this. Whether it's through their status updates, their arguments that they post publicly for everyone to see, the thousands of quizzes they take that end up revealing so much personal information that it seems like the quizzes were written by actual identity thieves, or their pictures they post...It is all a small glimpse into what my Facebook page would have looked like if it was around back in the day.

Now I'm sorry if you think I'm coming across as pompous, arrogant, a little condescending, a little cheeky. I'm not writing this to be disrespectful to anyone or to make them feel stupid. Chances are, if you're one of the people who are reading my blog that centers around my faith, then you're probably not one of those people who Facebook frivolously anyway, but just in case you are...I apologize to you. If it makes you feel better, I just spent the last hour skimming through my Facebook page, all the way back to 2007, which was quite humorous by the way and I totally recommend it if you have time. But I came across quite a bit of one or two things that I regrettably posted in the past. I know I'm not perfect. 

The point of today's blog isn't to condemn anyone. It is to simply rejoice in the fact that when I was at my weakest point in life; when I felt alone and broken; when I was "looking for love in all the wrong places"; when I was bitter and angry at the world; that I didn't have the option of posting my pain on the internet like people do today. 

Emotions are very powerful and are, at times, hard to control. I know because I have a hard time controlling my emotions. When someone cuts me off on the highway, or someone is rude to me at work, I have to constantly remind myself to take a deep breath and relax. I cannot let my emotions affect my actions. (Which is so much easier said than done.) Asking God for help when it comes to controlling my emotions is something I do everyday. But I am so much better at it than I was when I was younger.

God gave us emotions. Without them we would never experience love, friendship, happiness. But He designed us with a will that is stronger than our emotions. Imagine a world where we all allowed our emotions to control our actions. 

No thank you!

I don't think that Facebook is a bad thing. I think it's a great thing. I think it's wonderful the way it brings people together. The way we can encourage each other and stay connected even though we are all scattered across the country...and sometimes the world. And while I am grateful that Facebook didn't exist when I was a teenager, I am extremely grateful that it exists today. 

I ♥ Facebook




These last two weeks have been quite eventful for me. 

My husband left for Florida to start a new job, leaving me and the kids behind to finish out the school year on the complete polar opposite side of these United States. But before you all go...

"What?!? How could he do that?!?"
...and everything, let me tell you it wasn't his idea for us to stay behind. He wanted us to come with him but the kids and I, didn't think it was a very good idea to start a new school district towards the end of the year. 

Speaking of my kids and starting a new school district next fifteen year old is NOT dealing with the move very well. I feel bad for her because even though I'm an old lady, I still remember what it felt like to be fifteen and to think that your friends were your whole world.

Shout out to my BFF Leigh who moved away when we were fifteen. 
I remember thinking that my life was over and I feared I would never see her again but that was, like, 
23 years ago and we are still going strong. We talk almost everyday...except these last two weeks because things have been so crazy. 

So, if you want to say a little prayer for my daughter I would appreciate it. 

But these last two weeks haven't been all bad. 

Last week was National Crime Victims' Rights Week, where the nation remembers all the crime victims of the past and present. This year, the focus was on the many different victims' support groups that have developed over the last 30 years and I had the privilege to share my personal story of healing at a college in upstate New York.

It was such an amazing experience. 

It was my first time speaking outside of a Christian environment. All of my other speaking engagements were for women's church groups so I was worried that the criminal justice students would think I was a "Jesus Freak" or something and dismiss me...ha ha ha...but they didn't. In fact, everything went really well. Not only do I feel like I reached a lot of people with my story, but I feel like I gained a lot of insight into how I can help more people. I'm so grateful to have gotten that opportunity. I look forward to creating new bonds with all of the wonderful people I met there.

I'd like to give another shout out to Becky, John, Paul, Ree, Veronica and Joyce. 
Thank you for your kind words and your support. 
Each one of you were an inspiration to me and I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart...Joyce-Keep me updated please. I really do care. :) 

Other than that tid-bit of good news, I learned that our offer on a house in Florida has been accepted and we are scheduled to close on it by May 19. 

This relieves a lot of stress in my life. I hated the "not knowing" phase of relocating. Were we going to find a house or were we going to be crammed into another tiny apartment again? It was very stressful.

 But, right now, I'm fighting the "Sand Man" so I better get going. I'll try to keep you updated more often. I'm sorry.

♥ Jurney Eve


Crime Victims' Rights Week April 10-16th 2011

Bradley's Blessings

So, yesterday was Sunday, and you know what that means...I received another insightful message at church that I feel compelled to share with you today. I'm going to start calling these posts of mine that are inspired by my Pastor as Bradley's Blessings.

Sunday's message was about a subject that I've talked about a lot over the years with my friends but have never spoken about publicly. I'm kind of a "tread-lightly-without-offending-anyone" type of person. I'm a firm believer in acceptance. It is not my place to judge you. As a Christian, I feel that I am a representative of Christ and because of that, I should strive to conduct myself and treat others the way Christ would have conducted himself and treated others. 

Something that I will be working on for the remainder of my life. :)

Woah! I can already hear some of you saying stuff like, "But as a Christian you're supposed to lead people to God. You're supposed to spread the news and tell everyone you see about Him. You'll never grow as a Christian if you don't fight for Him..." and I agree with these statements.

I know that God wants us to tell people about Him. He wants us to share our testimonies with people and tell them how God has worked in our lives and how He has changed us for the better. But I think some people misunderstand this and end up pushing people further away from God in the process. Telling people about Jesus isn't "a high pressure sale," nor are "we meant to be political activists." Just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I think I'm better than you if you're not. I don't look down on you. I don't judge you. I'm not going to stand outside a soldier's funeral with picket signs, or bomb an abortion clinic, or burn Korans.

Jesus would NEVER do those things!

If you really want to reach people then you have to get to their hearts. You have to love them, and you have to mean it, even if you don't agree with the way they live or the things they do. And not in a "I love you because I have to because Jesus loves you!" kind of way. Jesus loved/s the unlovable. Jesus loved/s the people that no one else would associate with and He did it without judgement...even though He's the only one who can judge us.

There is a quote, "Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying."  If what we do doesn't reflect what we say or believe then why would anyone listen to us? 

We have to learn how to practice what we preach and how to accept and welcome people who are different than us. But most of all, we need to remember that we are representatives of Christ and we need to conduct ourselves as such.

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit." Matthew 12:33

♥Jurney Eve


God Works in Subtle Ways

The Revolve Tour was amazing! 

I'm so thankful that I got to bring my daughter and her friends. I hope the weekend, with all of the inspiring messages and music,  meant as much to them as they meant to me. I honestly didn't expect too much this weekend for myself because the last time I volunteered for The Revolve Tour I had so many responsibilities that I didn't get an opportunity to listen to any of the speakers or musicians.

A small price to pay for my daughter and her friends. :) 

But this year, I had very few responsibilities, one of which was to sit with our girls once the show started. It was a much different experience than the last time. The gentleman in charge of the volunteers told us he wanted us to remember that this is a ministry that is trying to reach people and encourage and inspire them. And while we already knew that, of course, it was so nice to hear it coming from him. As a volunteer, I was used to just hearing the facts...learn the layout of the arena; learn where the elevators are; learn where the mens' rooms are; learn how to keep the crowd controlled...It was nice to be reminded of what and why we were really volunteering. You know?

Plus, if I hadn't been sitting with my girls I wouldn't have been ministered to. God works in subtle ways. This year, I applied for the volunteer position of "Talent Runner", which if I had gotten it would've meant that I would work behind the scenes with the speakers. I thought it would be an amazing opportunity for me to see what it's like for them to prepare to speak in front of thousands of people. It would be a great learning experience for me since I'm so new to public speaking. But I didn't get it.

Aww! Boo hoo!

But don't cry for me yet. Instead, I got to relax and really listen to what they had to say. There were two new speakers this year and I think God brought me to that seat next to my girls just so I would hear their stories .

One of the new speakers was Jamie Grace. Jamie's story is different than mine in many ways but in some ways it is similar. Jamie struggles with Tourette Syndrome. Tourettes is a neuropychiatric disorder that begins in childhood, characterized by multiple physical "tics" and at least one vocal "tic". The "tics" are sudden, repetitive, stereotyped, nonrhythmic movements and utterances. Tourette's was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome, most often associated with the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks, but this symptom is present in only a small minority of people with Tourette's. In Jamie's case, her "tics" involved her legs and arms. They were sudden, frequent, repetitive and she couldn't control them. She spent most of her life trying to be "normal". All she wanted was to fit in instead of stand out. Until one day she realized she was sick of trying to be "normal". She decided she didn't want to fit in.  Why fit in when she could stand out for God and be an inspiration to others who are also struggling with Tourettes. So she started speaking out and she became an activist and now she's on The Revolve Tour.

She tells it way better.

Not only am I inspired by her decision to accept her condition and her passion to help others, I'm encouraged by her because she started out just trusting that God wanted to use her to help others and now she's reaching thousands of people. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be in a position where I can reach thousands of people too...and maybe not. I'm just going to trust God and accept what ever He throws my way with as much grace and humility as I can. 

In the meantime, you should check out Jamie Grace. Maybe she will inspire you as much as she has inspired and encouraged me. 

♥Jurney Eve


The Revolve Tour presents DREAM ON - The Event for Teen girls

I'm so excited because tonight I get to go to The Revolve Tour!

Since 1996, more than 4 million women have packed themselves and their friends into sold-out arenas across North America for 2-day events that are inspiring, encouraging, and fun. Every year, they come back for another weekend with Women of Faith, and for many of those years, they said (in pretty much these exact words), “This is awesome! But what about something for my daughter?”

In 2005, Women of Faith created The Revolve Tour as a response to those requests. The result is a one-of-a-kind inspirational weekend for 6th– to 12th–grade girls that combines award-winning bands and speakers with real, relevant messages in a high-energy event.

There’s way more to The Revolve Tour than just a fun time with the girls. Since it began, more than 35,000 girls have indicated they made first-time decisions for Christ at a Revolve Tour event. In addition, more than 16,000 children have been sponsored through World Vision as a result of The Revolve Tour.

And I'm going! Not only am I going but I am volunteering as a usher, like I have been for the past 4 years. I love to volunteer for Women of Faith events. I get to meet a lot of great people, watch the show and I get to bring 3 teenage girls with me too. For free!

So, I thought of a fun challenge for my readers...all 9 of you...ha ha ha...If you will be attending the Revolve Tour this weekend in Hartford, CT then I challenge you to find me. It shouldn't be too hard. There are only about 12 volunteer ushers and we all have to wear khaki pants and black tops. If you find me then I have something for you. 

I hope to see you there.

♥Jurney Eve