Growing up Catholic-Italian, I always had an awareness and reverence for the Lord, and a heart for His people on the Earth. As far back as I can remember, I would lie in bed and pray for all of the sick and needy people of the world, longing for this earth to be touched by Him. Yet in those same nights, my heart would often be struck with fear, sifting though the countless “what if’s” and uncertainties of life. Being cautious, hesitant and anxious I lived within the confines of fear through much of my childhood and adolescents. I can see now the war for territory over my heart began back in those sleepless nights as a little girl.
At age fifteen I gave my life to the Lord, and I would love to say that my fears and anxieties instantly vanished, but that wasn’t the case. However as time went on, my heart was awakened to the character of my Father in heaven. I realized I belonged to Him long before I belonged to any earthly family, however amazing or dysfunctional they may be. Through this heart revelation, every fear and every worry had become for me an opportunity to know Him in a deeper way. And when fears arose, I ran to Him like any child runs to their parent seeking comfort and peace. For me, bravery was never equated with the absence of fear; however, this journey of deep intimacy with Him was causing me to be brave where I never would have been before.
And so I continued to put one foot in front of the other, not void of fear, but with an eagerness to know my Father better. At age 25 this lead me to quit my job as a high school teacher and move to South Africa. I knew that I might fail, I might get sick, I might be lonely, I might encounter horrific suffering, and I’d probably feel regret at some point, but louder than all of those fears was the truth that He said He would never leave me nor forsake me. He had me by the hand and I knew He was leading me. I had no control over what the future might hold, and I actually didn’t want it.
Upon arriving in South Africa, I was fairly quickly ushered into counter human trafficking work. Before I knew it, I was speaking to crowds of hundreds and sometimes thousands of South Africans bringing awareness and prevention to the countries’ most vulnerable. Fast forward two years and I was assisting Cape Town’s Organized Crime Investigating Unit with raids and the countries’ lawmakers in developing protocols for rescued victims. He was using me in places and ways I never would have imagined. If you had told me, the little girl laying in bed at night full of fear, that I would one day be working to set modern day slaves free across the globe — I wouldn’t have believed it. When I look back and wonder how in the world I got here, I am honestly not quite sure except to say that I try to live each day, moment by moment, relinquishing control and trusting in Him. It’s so freeing to realize that being brave looks a lot like absolute surrender to Him — our kind, loving, and gentle Father.
This post was taken from our friends over at Brave & Wild — Be sure to visit the link and check out their other tales about cool humans being brave and wild.