Monday, February 11, 2013

How Are You Using Your Power?


How Are You Using Your Power?

Article I wrote for Fulfill magazine 
http://myemail.constantcontact.com/How-are-you-using-your-power-.html?soid=1102624391863&aid=5m-cPQxg9vo


I am an abolitionist.

Three years ago I would have never said this.  I, like my 8 year-old daughter, thought slavery was abolished hundreds of years ago.  I knew injustices occurred and that there was still a problem of inequality and racism woven into our nation’s fabric, but I had no idea that millions – a well accepted estimate of over 27 million - are currently enslaved in our world today.

Three years ago my son was just starting kindergarten and my daughter was in third grade.  I was entrenched in suburban motherhood – grocery shopping, playdates, workouts at the gym, and coffee with friends.  Sure I had experienced the same undertone of restlessness that many mothers I knew had, but no gym class, book club, girls weekend or family game night could remedy the heartbreak my soul was experiencing over the realities of modern-day slavery. It changed everything.     

I devoured every book I found and signed up to receive email updates from nonprofits on the front lines of rescue and rehabilitation.  While my anger boiled over the horrors of injustice, hope also began to whisper as history pointed to the action of women hundreds of years ago who changed the cultural norm. With limited education and little influence outside the walls of their homes, these women patiently, fervently and creatively began to push back, calling for the end of slavery.

I also found like-minded friends who could share my heartbreak.  I connected with a small group of local women, as well as with my old college friend, Shayne Moore, who would eventually become the coauthor of a book about finding your power to create change, in this case for modern-day slavery. Having trusted friends gave my wobbling feet security as we stepped out together, using our own voices to make a difference.

My influence started slowly – one conversation at a time, one invitation at a time. While I was unsure of the difference each step was making, momentum began to build and I saw firsthand the power of collective action.   

Like the women of the first abolitionist movement, we too have the power to create change, even for issues as looming as modern-day slavery. Here are some actions you can take to influence your world for change: 

            Be aware. We need to understand and educate ourselves about the realities of injustice in our world. 
           
            Pray.  Everyone who works directly on behalf of the most vulnerable in our world acknowledges that divine intervention is necessary to shed light in the darkest places of society. 
           
            Speak. We may not all speak publically, but we can share what we know with others in our sphere of influence, including neighbors, employees, kids,  teachers, pastors and spouses. 
           
            Act. Action for change comes in many forms but could include raising funds, advocating with political leaders, speaking at your city council meeting, volunteering your time or sharing information at your church or place of business.

As a woman living in the United States today, we have more power and influence than any women who have gone before us. The problem often lies in that we don’t always use the power God has so freely given us. Using that power starts with you and me, then in finding others, then taking action one step at a time.

The question is: how are you using the power God has given you?

2 comments:

  1. Dear Kim, I am so thankful to find your book and blog. I am an InterVarsity Press author of two titles. Our most recent book, Forgotten Girls, is from firsthand interviews with girls throughout the developing world in high risk countries. Kay Marshall Strom, a few others and I also started a Christ-centered organization, She Is Safe (SIS), to work with local Christian women to rescue, restore and disciple girls and women from abuse and slavery. We're now in 8 countries. I often speak at women's events, churches and to other groups, and will be pointing people to your book and blog. I would love to connect by email and phone. Please check out our website SheIsSafe.org and email me when you have a moment at mrickett@sheissafe.org. Praying for you and yours, Michele Rickett

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  2. Popped over from your guest post on Natasha's blog. SO EXCITED to read your book. I'm passionate about this too. So so passionate!!

    My story is similar to yours. I had no idea about any of this 4 years ago or so. And now, wow. My husband and I spent a week in Cambodia in 2010. Then took our 3 girls for 5 weeks in 2011-2012. We're praying about going back full-time to help young people make a sustainable living.

    http://hardplaces-community.org is an amazing group of Jesus-loving people helping fight human trafficking in Cambodia. And we're involved with some great people fighting slavery right here in Ohio too.

    So excited to meet you!

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