Happy Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to share a story with you. It's one of those stories that is so rewarding that it makes you want to least it made me cry.

But then again, I cried while watching Justin Bieber's Never Say Never movie so who knows. 

It isn't anything too amazing. It's just one of those stories that makes you feel like all the things you teach your children really does make a difference. A story that makes you realize that they are listening to you after all.

Anyway...As most of you know, I have three children. For their entire existence I have taken them to church, taught them Bible stories, prayed with them, and tried my best to lead them to the Lord. Some are more receptive than others and others...well, they prefer video games. As a mother, I constantly worry whether or not my kids are really hearing me; do they pay attention in Sunday School; why don't they want to read the Bible the way they want to read the latest book series; am I being the best role model I can be for them? I'm sure most mother's can relate. Well, something happened earlier this week that made me see that even my video game lover is in fact listening to me.

My husband and I decided to do something crazy and go out to dinner...just the two of us. We left our 16 year old in charge with all of the instructions of what to do and what not to do and who to call and who not to call. It wasn't her first time babysitting. She's done it before and we were confident that everyone was in good hands with her. It got to be around dinner time so she was preparing a delicious meal of frozen Salisbury steaks and mashed potatoes when she accidentally spilled hot gravy on her arm. In the heat of the moment she calls me. Now, I don't know if you've ever received one of these phone calls but let me tell you, they're not for the faint of heart.

I'm sitting at dinner when my phone rings. I see that it's my 16 year old daughter but I don't panic. She calls me all the time when she's babysitting, but this time when I answer the phone I hear incoherent, high pitched weeping. I can't understand what she's saying because the restaurant is loud and she's upsets. Worse case scenarios start playing in my head and for one brief second I think about abandoning my husband at the table without a word and racing for home as fast as I can. Instead, I regain my composure and start calming my daughter down and giving her instructions. After a few minutes, everyone calms down. She's got ice on her arm and all is good again in the world. My husband and I come home shortly afterwards to see our 16 year old on the couch, still icing her arm.

Now here's the good part of the story. My 16 year old told me that after she got off the phone with me and all the chaos had died down, my video game loving 11 year old son took my 7 year old daughter by the hand, walked over to my injured daughter and said, "Do you want us to pray for you?"

I KNOW!!! 

I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about it! What a great feeling it was to hear that. It made me see that just because he seems to only care about video games right now there is still hope. Someone should invent some exciting Biblical video games.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." 
Proverbs 22:6

♥ Diana
(aka Jurney Eve)


April 28, 2012

April 28, 2012...The 21st anniversary of the day I was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and almost murdered by a stranger while riding my bicycle.

Every April for me has been a time of reflection. Usually I end up spending April 28th by myself. It's kind of become a tradition for me. I know that must sound sad but it's not...well not anymore. During the early years after my assault, I would sit around and feel sorry for myself. Sorry for everything I had lost that day. Sorry for the person I once was. Sorry for the person I would never be. Just sorry. Sorry and sad.

But in the last few years, when April rolls around, I've had new feelings. I no longer feel sorry for the person I once was. Instead I embrace the woman I've become. I'm grateful for what I have and I appreciate life so much more now.

I've told you before that every April I think about something I could do to help myself heal a little more. Usually I say, 'This year I'll ride a bicycle.' In fact, I've said that every April up until 2011. The thought of getting back on a bicycle would create such anxiety for me that I couldn't work up the courage to follow through with it. I didn't know what emotions it would trigger inside of me. But this year I didn't have to say, 'This year I'll ride a bicycle,' because that's a milestone I have already passed. Last December I bought myself a bicycle and I rode it.

 So what did I say I would do this year? This is actually the first year that I didn't make any resolutions, which I think is a milestone in itself. Nope, I didn't make any because it wasn't necessary. Every year I made those resolutions because there was a part of me that I felt was missing but not this year.

This April 28th was very different from the last 20 April 28ths. I didn't make any resolutions and I didn't spend it alone.

This April 28 was the Victim Service Center of Central Florida's 1st annual Ride to Reach event, which was inspired by my story.

I spent April 28, 2012 with 200 or so people bringing awareness to sexual violence. I spent it on a stage where I spoke to the crowd. I spent it with some of my family and friends. I spent it decorating a t-shirt for The Clothesline Project. I spent it riding my bicycle for 17 the bike lane! And, what I consider the biggest milestone of all, I spent it with Renee and Tara, the ex-wife and the daughter of the man who kidnapped me!

That may sound strange to you and if it does I only have one thing to say...BUY MY BOOK! IT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING!

Meeting Renee and Tara was amazing! We had been communicating with each other for a little more than a year but we had never officially met. I was only a little nervous about meeting them. Mostly I was just excited. I knew from our past communications that I would feel completely at ease with them. I won't lie. There were tears, but they were tears of joy. As Tara puts it, "It was a big cry fest!"

So how do I top this years' April 28th? It was such a phenomenal day for me. I'm still having a hard time thinking that it was real - Just kidding! Of course I know it was real. That would make me crazy! - What I'm trying to say is...I cannot believe all of the milestones I've overcome this April 28th.

I am so grateful to everyone who made this day possible. All of the people who came out to support me. All of the businesses who sponsored the event and who set up booths. Everyone who bought my book, Intended Harm. Renee and Tara for flying down all the way from upstate New York. Avalon Park Group for providing us with the best location I could have asked for and the Victim Service Center of Central Florida, for which I couldn't have done this without them.

But in truth, none of this would have been possible without God's help. Was it my idea to move to Florida or was it God's? Was it my idea to connect with the Victim Service Center or was it God's? Was it my idea to create a bike-a-thon based around my story or was it God's? Was it Renee and Tara's idea to fly to Florida to be a part of Ride to Reach or was it God's?

I believe it was all God's. God has His hands in all of this. I can't wait to see where He takes me next.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the lord, "plans to prosper you and 
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future." - Jeremiah 29:11-14

♥ Jurney