“In an instant, I was pinned up against the side of the wall, 15 isolated floors above the crammed city of New Delhi, with more force than I’d ever felt before. His dark, dry lips hammered against mine, one hand holding my shaking palm against the hotel window, the other on my breast.
Time froze.” ~Kim Galgano, The Chance to Choose
It’ll take 21 years for me to get to that part of my journey, because our lives are the sum total of a thousand choices. Like a tapestry, our story is woven together with tiny threads, and a small choice here and there can change the trajectory completely. It is only after we look back, as the tapestry grows, that we see how God has worked in the weave and how what we have done in response matters. I am stunned by how decisions that seemed small at the time had life changing impact as the paths of my life played out.
As I write this, I must fill you in on my first secret: walking places that I should not was a theme in my life for 21 years, but it wasn’t until the third revision of this book that this truth really hit home for me.
While writing the first version of this manuscript, and while teaching The Jeremiah Method™ to the Chicks, my eyes failed to see the word “Stand” in Jeremiah 6:16. Until a dear friend, who helped edit these pages, pointed out the single, powerfully profound word which begins the Jeremiah verse, I had not faced my own failure to stand in life. Awareness now causes me to ask: how many times have I simply walked without first making a choice to stand and examine the crossroads before me? The word stand can be used in different forms, so I must also ask: how many times have I not taken a stand for something or someone? As we take this personal journey together, the answer to that question will become quite clear.
Because I did not stand for anything, but walked aimlessly and without direction, I found myself up against that wall, completely vulnerable and exposed. Now that I’m at a different part of the road, looking back, I am silenced by the astronomical wreckage which could have defined my life. Walking down the wrong road in America is one thing. There are rehab facilities for those stupid decisions, and based on my upbringing and stubborn pride, I may have come out of that adolescent foolishness, although there are no guarantees.
Blundering aimlessly through the streets of India is quite another story.
What leaves me shivering in my seat, 25 years later, are statistics that reveal what could have happened to me had my choices been taken away, alone, on the other side of the world.
I quote from Carolyn Custis James’ book, Half the Church, “Research indicates that worldwide around three million women and girls have been kidnapped or sold into the sex trade, which in effect, means they are, ‘the property of another person and in many cases could be killed by their owner with impunity.’ Put more concretely, ‘far more women and girls are shipped into brothels each year in the early 21st century than African slaves were shipped into slave plantations each year in the 18th or 19th centuries.’”1
How could a homespun Pennsylvanian like me nearly be sold into the sex trade? To answer that, we must examine the multitude of seemingly unimportant decisions that came before. For now, let us remember that every judgment (or lack thereof) shapes our lives; every decision shapes who we are today and where we are going tomorrow. While I regret many choices I’ve made, and take pride in others, it wasn’t until I explored the depth and breadth of my crossroads that I realized how important my choices—your choices—really are. Even little things can add up to freedom or slavery later. How we face our crossroads and make choices today can have deep, primitive roots. It wasn’t until I thought back on the earliest crossroads I can remember that I began to notice a theme in my life and just how rooted those early tendencies can be…
We are only four days from the launch of The Chance to Choose, the above excerpt taken directly from her pages! I truly feel numb over the reality of this and thank you again for the pre-orders which continue. I now have boxes of books in my possession and if you want to begin reading this story in full, on or just after November 8th, today is the day to place your order. As a reminder, however, I am still scheduling book signing locations in the greater Seattle area, if you wish to receive your signed copy personally. I will inform you of each location as those details solidify, but also feel free to email me at email@example.com if you’d like to gather a group for a location of your choice.
As exciting as November 8th will be, I’m moved to bring our attention back to the shocking statistics surrounding human trafficking as I close this post.
It has been my prayer for over ten years to have the financial means to contribute to a cause through the platform of Chicks with Choices™, and although I’m not in the position to do that just yet, I have found the organization I’d like to focus attention toward.
I am pleased to announce that once our financial accounts move from red into black, it is my prayer to donate a percentage of my proceeds to Jesus Economy.
I have researched many noble non-profits, but this is the first one to settle into my soul, for several reasons:
1) Jesus Economy has extended their reach into India. Their current focus is in Bihar, India, but this is prayerfully just the beginning. India holds such a special place in my heart, which solidified this choice for me, especially since the focus is in training and empowering women, not just providing for needs. There focus is in developing productive economies.
2) Jesus Economy is creating jobs, not just teaching the gospel or providing necessities. Through job creation, women in particular, are faced with choices that will empower their life with increased opportunity!
3) Jesus Economy offers us choices! We can shop here. A wonderful Christmas theme could be a copy of my book for your favorite teenager, with a stylish pair of earrings taped on the inside. Check out their Fair Trade Shop for a variety of items.
4) Jesus Economy is dedicated to holistic community development. As I look to grow relational community through CoffeeHouse Chats™ within the States, I hope to contribute toward the development of basic necessities like clean water, bicycles, or a sewing machine, somewhere like Bahir. But what excited me most, is their focus on training women in business (with Jesus as the cornerstone to their success). Please visit this page for more information on how you can help renew homes through the training of women in marketable skills.
Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)