Cara Havlin with A21

When I think of the word rise I honestly think of the first piece of Scripture that really touched my heart as a new Christian and still makes me break into Praise. God intimately breathed Luke 13:12-13 over me. It says “When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free.” Then He placed His hands upon the woman and immediately she straightened up and praised God.”  I remember the moment I read this, I was actually in the bathtub, and I knew so fully what this woman knew…the kind of knowing you can never un-know. She was seen, she was called, she was known, she was cared for, she was set free by this Jesus, and she rose.  Although I’ve never met her, when I immersed myself in the moment of her holy rising I identified with her and was connected to her because I too have had those soul changing moments and seasons with Jesus that give way to a new and holy rising. I believe these moments of freedom are God’s desire for us to experience and then to share with others.

I am thankful for, oh goodness, so freaking much! In this specific moment I am most thankful for the women that God has placed in my life today. Vibrant, deep, honest, and passion-filled women surround me and it is a beautiful experience. I really hope that I’m not the only one that typed “freaking” in this blog.:)

What is important is kindness, even when you don’t agree or understand.

I have to be honest and say that I just don’t know where I see myself in 10 years.  I could come up with inspiring answers with hopes and dreams, and yes I absolutely have those, but when I think of who I was 10 years ago I see someone totally different now.  The woman that I have become would shock the hell out of that girl…in good and exciting and healed kind of ways…but still!  It reminds me of the Sarah Bessey quote “I always thought that I would be one sort of person; but now I’m someone else.”  So, cheers and prayers and Praise for the woman I am in 10 years!  May she be brimming with joy and freedom, and may she drip evidence to all around her that she is even more comfortable being who God created her to be!

People often, myself included, struggle with guilt when the choice to freely enjoy is right there.

How I want people to remember me is that when I got it wrong, I was trying. When I got it right, I guarantee that I felt awkward, unsure, and nervous.  Hopefully they saw some Grace either way.

Being witness to women saying yes to hard and healing things, and then watching God use that yes in mighty ways motivates me and gives me energy!  Healing isn’t easy. Relationships aren’t easy. This life isn’t easy. I get motivated and am so honored to witness and walk with women that are choosing to do the hard things!

If I could share one piece of advice with women younger than me it would be that you really can do hard things. Being uncomfortable won’t kill you…it’s just uncomfortable.

When I seek wisdom from women ahead of me it is simply by asking them questions on how they did the hard things. How did you get through the sleepless nights?  How did you talk to your kids about God, about sex, about purpose?  How did you forgive what felt like was unforgivable?  How do you sew on girl scout badges?  How did your marriage heal?  How do you take care of fish?  How did you know you were called to lead in the church?  How did you stay strong when you were shaking like a leaf?  These are all questions that at one time I have seriously asked wise women ahead of me.  So, for those of you ahead of me, I’ve got a lot more questions and they are gonna keep on coming!

If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life it would be macaroni and cheese.

A time where I have felt God’s presence is really a story about Trader Joes and salami.  Trust me, I have felt God at holy places and at deep dark-night-of-the-soul places.  But, sometimes Jesus touches you in such an innocent and exact way that it shakes you beyond belief.  My husband and I like to stick to a grocery list in the hopes of being budget friendly.  On this one particular Trader Joes trip at the last minute I told the check-out guy that I didn’t need the package of salami that I had thrown into the cart.  It was just for me.  Not a need, or for the rest of the family.  In my head I thought “it’s just a treat”.  So, we bagged everything up, loaded it into the cart, and as we started to walk away the beautiful Trader Joes man, that God used as a vessel just for me, pops the package of salami into one of our bags and says “you’re supposed to have your treat today”.  I looked up at him and then at my husband and then burst into tears.  Not because of the salami, because while I do love salty sliced deli meats, I don’t love them to the point of crying.  I cried because I knew that for no other reason than that HE loves me, God chose to show off and shower HIS love in such a pinpoint way that I would know it was just for me.

The best lesson my mother taught me was to seek and practice self-care.  It isn’t selfish to enjoy some morning quiet time or a bath or a massage or a nice meal.  It is necessary.  My mother taught me this not by only telling me, but by practicing it out in her own life and then encouraging me to remember this practice at hard stages of my own womanhood.

The worst thing is Trypophobia. Google it. It is real people.

A21 is a non-profit organization that seeks to abolish human trafficking and slavery.  A21 educates cities, states, and nations all over the world on how prevalent trafficking is and the misconceptions surrounding it.  They are also the boots on the ground kind of rescue organization that is needed in every single bit of our land.  I first heard of A21 last year and signed up for the annual worldwide Walk for Freedom that they run.  I was sparked by this walk because it is so different from your typical walk-for-a-cause event.  The walk is in over 300 locations on the same date all over the world and it is organized as a silent walk in a single file line honoring and remembering every single person around the world that is still suffering in silence.  Human trafficking is not only a third world problem.  This is a United States problem.  This is a Columbus, Ohio problem.  Human beings are recruited and controlled for their bodies and for their labor every single day right here in Ohio.  Last year I organized a team of 15 women to join me at the walk in Cincinnati, and I am so excited to be hosting this year’s A21 Walk for Freedom at Life Church in Columbus on October 14th.  You can get more information on human trafficking, sign up to join us on October 14th, and donate to A21’s fight for freedom efforts at http://www.a21.org/content/walk-for-freedom/gnkus8.  I know that as a church and as a collective body of women we can bring light and healing to our city.  I hope to see all of you at this year’s Walk for Freedom!