My story with Adorned in Grace begins in a rough place. I met Linda and the Design Studio ladies at their very first event a few weeks after my mom committed suicide. They had set up in the community room of my apartments the day I was moving back home to a somewhat abusive dad to help care for my six younger siblings.
Meeting them felt like a God intervention: one of those things where God allows hard things in our lives, but He also provides us with the means to get through them. During this very crushing and confusing time I walked into a room full of fun crafty things, which I loved, and full of women who were ready to listen to me and love on me. It was a very real reminder that I had a lot of support and that God was in it with me.
I didn’t attend Design Studio events after that, (I don’t know if I even knew where to go), but I was busy with full-time school and part-time work. Also, because partly I didn’t think I deserved the help. I wasn’t a foster child, I was raised in the church, I was also 21 years of age at the time; but I very much needed the help, I needed to be loved on. But I really liked the organization, so I volunteered a few times for the Dress for Freedom events.
I specifically remember one of the events because one of the hairdressers did my hair also. The hairdressers were done with the girls and asked if I wanted my hair done as well. I felt a little guilty for letting them do my hair since I wasn’t one of the “girls”, but went ahead anyways. I chose this pretty, elegant hair style with a messy bun on the side, and when it was all done, I felt so pretty! It was the first time I had my hair done by a professional.
It has been over 5 years since I “met” Adorned In Grace, I have finished college and have an awesome job as an art teacher at David Douglas High School where I get to love on young people. I am married to a most wonderful man who loves me with Jesus love. And I have come a long way in learning to be kind to myself and know that I do deserve love. While AIG was not the thing that helped make it all better, it was one among many other small things.
I don’t have any personal experience with sex trafficking, thankfully, but growing up as a girl who very much needed to be loved on I have always had a big heart for Adorned In Grace for serving girls in need of Jesus' love. Now that life seems to have calmed down and I don’t live in a state of trauma and survival, I would like to be involved in volunteering to mentor girls at the Design Studio.
There are many different things that put girls at risk for sex trafficking, and the victims are not alike, but the common [loose] threads seem to be unmet needs for love, crushed dreams, and lack of support and deep human connections. I hope to have the opportunity to love on girls at the Design Studio, help them have dreams and take small steps towards them, and help young girls feel supported by the volunteers and by each others' friendships as well.
I am currently one of the Tuesday volunteers and it has been a slow start. One week we had no one show up, and now we have just one girl. And sometimes it feels like it might not be worth my time; girls aren’t showing up.
But I remember Linda talking about their very first Design Studio event, she mentioned that they had waited for hours before anyone came in. They waited for me! They didn’t call it quits because no one showed up as scheduled. So now as we work on getting girls to come I am reminded to wait and be available to whoever might show up.
· The first two photos are of me with the backpack I won as a door prize at the first Design Studio event. It’s the backpack I use now as an art teacher.
· The third photo has my little sister on the right; she is now a freshman at David Douglas.