There comes a time in your journey when you have to stop, turn around, and look at the impact your life has had on the world. When I used to look back, I would see the devastation of an F-5 tornado a mile wide that would trail off as far as you could see from outer space. Now when I look back, I see art. I see poetry and beauty, ice and fire, crashing waves on the wings of butterflies, and through even the worst misery of my darkest moments, I see a mighty oak that stretches into the night sky as far as the eye can see.
The women I have chosen for today’s Wonder Woman Wednesday are no strangers to pain and sorrow. They have experienced it, seen their loved ones experience it, watched it, and heard about it every single day. It would be so easy for them to just run away and hide from it, to deny it’s very existence, but instead they face it head on hand-in-hand because they can see the beauty in the darkness as well. When they turn around, I’m sure they could choose to see a million paths of a million tornadoes just pressing down on them with nowhere to turn. The devastation they hear about and see on a regular basis would send even the strongest person running to the hills, yet there they stand together, unfaltering, just like the mighty oak they have planted in my path.
These women are wise beyond even their own knowledge and strong beyond their own bravery, and they might not even see it themselves, but I have seen it. Even trembling with sorrow, they continue to reach down and say, “Stretch out your hand, there is healing here.”
Stretch out your hand.
It seems so simple, but until you've tried to rescue a victim from the deep waters of despair you have no idea the peril it can cause as they pull your heart under with them like a drowning victim in the middle of the ocean. Yet they continue on.
Stretch out your hand.
It began with a friendship which turned into an idea that led them to the place where they are today. What they once thought was a business venture has become a mission encompassing both joy and hardship, life and death, faith and healing….the list could go on and on forever as you dive into the depth of their being.
Still, they ask you to stretch out your hand. There is healing here. There is safety here. You can leave your fear behind, shed the very skin of your old self, and be reborn anew. All you have to do is stretch out your hand. They will take it. Every time. Not only will they take it and pull you to a new level of being, but they will show you that we have all had to be pulled from the fire. Even them. We've all had to be pulled from the darkness and the shame, but in order to do that, we've had to do one thing.
Stretch out our hands.
The two women I bring before you on this night of revival are two of the most hard working, genuine, real women I have ever had the honor of sharing the same space with. They have shown me more about myself than I thought I could ever possibly be there. They showed me that I was strong and brave and shameless and filled with grace unlike the poison filled slug I used to think I was. They proved to me that I am worthy of a life worth living, and I promise you that if you are ever in their presence, you will see that you have a live worth living to the fullest of the word full, but first, you have to stretch out your hand.
Tonight we celebrate Bethany Hughes and Mindy Lin, the Co-Founders of Damsel in Defense. I have watched them take on the hardest mission, go to the hardest places, hear the hardest stories, and do the hardest things to build strong women. I have watched them wretch with sorrow, swallow it down, and turn around and make it into something beautiful, and I have watched them do it with passion, with grace, and with dignity.
Tonight I ask you, are you ready to stretch out your hand? Are you ready to see the mission behind this great company and let it reach deep into your soul where it will guide you to a place where you can see your true worth? What do you want to see when you turn around and take stock of the path you've left behind? Do you want to see a path of destruction, or do you want to see a mighty oak?
Stretch out your hand. There is healing here. I am proof of the strength in these women. I am a testament to their character. When I see them, I see sisters, warriors, teachers, and great leaders. I see Wonder Women.
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