In today’s world it seems as though everywhere you look there is another reminder that everything is broken and nothing is right. Let’s be real, you don’t even have to go looking, it will find you. Some days I find myself so weighed down. It is easy to feel helpless in the face of some of the issues running rampant. It seems that if you don’t have money, or status, or power, there is very little you can do. I have been comforted lately as I remind myself that no matter how much hate or darkness or tragedy I see, whenever I choose to extend friendship, there is friendship. Wherever I express love, there is love. Wherever I offer comfort, there is comfort, and so on.
We don’t always feel like we can make a difference. From the outside looking in, I am probably the least equipped to make a difference right now than I have ever been. I’ve had a real long journey over the last two years. In July of 2016 I fell and broke my leg. I underwent five surgeries with numerous complications, one being loss of the majority of my eyesight and another surgery on my right eye. As I was recovering, in May of 2017 the house I was renting was struck by lightening and caught fire. I don’t have room here to share my whole story, but let’s just say the hits have kept coming. I have lost a lot. I have lost my independence, I have lost my financial stability, I have lost relationships, I have lost almost every tangible possession, I have lost my physical (and a lot of days my mental) strength. But hey, I’m still here.
We all know the cliche, gold is refined through fire. The hard things we go through force us to grow, focus, prioritize. Although I am still picking up pieces and trying to put things back together in my life, I can say that this couldn’t be more true. I have dwelt deeply in thought and prayer and asked myself very hard questions. What matters most in this life? What are things I want to be known for? Where is God when it hurts? What makes my heart swell up with passion? Do I have anything left to offer? I need many more posts to elaborate on these things, but as I have refined my focus and searched for answers there are a few things that have been brewing in my heart and mind.
For those that don’t know, I’ve spent extensive time working overseas in Uganda, as well as stateside fundraising for various projects over my 30 years of life. No matter the details of what I was doing or which country it was in my favorite aspect has always been helping people see how easy it is to make a difference if we do it together. Often times I’ve seen the stigma that only those with incredible talents or a whole lot of money can have an impact. Or maybe there is a huge issue like human trafficking, but it is so extensive and systematic that where could we even begin anyway? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “I could never _________ (travel, speak, raise money, teach, help, gather resources, lead…)”, only to be blown away at what their small effort ended up doing. I am incredibly passionate about this: If we all give a little, we can change the world. Giving may be money, it may be time, it may be creative energy, it may be a listening ear. I think the most prevalent lie of our time is that we are powerless to change things. I have seen incredible things happen when people link arms and come together.
Okay, Beck. So now what?
I’ll stop rambling. Here’s my idea: I want to utilize my contacts on the ground in Uganda to find young women who are in need, and link arms with my friends here in Mobile, Al to pull the money or resources together to meet that need. I’m not going to turn down help from anyone but I think there is something particularly powerful about having ladies from here link arms and reach out to lend a hand to ladies over there. Girl Power It Up. I know there are many systematic issues prevalent right here in our own country and city, but this is where my contacts are, this connecting people stuff is where I am most experienced, and this is how I am positioned to make a difference right now.
I specifically want to make a difference by focusing on one woman at a time, and finding women who are invested in caring for themselves and their families but need a little assistance to get on their feet. I believe strongly in equipping people in need to be self sustainable. I believe even more strongly in investing in women because women in turn invest in their children, their families, their community. Men are vital, but women are truly the backbone of these communities in so many ways. There are numerous issues specific to women, and particularly younger women, that systematically oppress them or cause them to be particularly vulnerable to abuse and poverty. From lack of health care to lack of educational opportunities, if we look at the big issues we may feel so powerless. But if we can get to know one woman at a time we can see how easy it is to make a difference.
How can you help?
Keep an eye out for the stories I will be sharing. I’m going to be looking for situations where as little as $50-$100 can drastically help. Give what you can, recruit friends for the rest. So maybe you don’t have $50, but can you tag four friends and challenge them to also give $10? Boom, need met. Woman empowered. Life impacted. A little more light spread in the face of darkness. It’s truly that easy.
I have a hundred other ideas, and maybe you do too (please share them!) But I want to start with one woman and one need. One of my mentors-through-writing, Saint (Mother) Theresa said, “If you can’t feed 100 people, feed just one.” Life has certainly seemed to want to take me out here lately, and although there are many things I can’t change, I want to fight back by reaching out and lifting some others up. If any of this resonates with you, lets get to it!
I’ll have details on our first opportunity together real soon. The best way to let me know you wanna be updated is to find me on Facebook, shoot me a text, or get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org