Freedom Day 2018 — Part Two

Freedom Day 2018 — Part Two

Earlier this fall as I pondered how to celebrate my upcoming Freedom Day, the thought occurred to me that I had never had professional photos taken — not ever. What better way to document my journey than with pictures of some of the things that have had the most significance to me?

Thank you so much, Britny Calton of WonderWood Photography for capturing my journey thus far with your magnificent camera skills!

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The Umbrella: An umbrella illustration became the cornerstone of the cult’s teaching. It was a symbol of bondage for it taught that I could never have a direct relationship with God since I was a woman. And so, I decided to throw it away and trample it forever. 🙂

Courage Notebook: Journaling has been essential to my healing. Over the last few years I have filled notebooks with heartfelt prayers and lessons learned. The Courage Notebook was a custom made gift to me from a fellow survivor and is by far my most treasured journal. #Courage has also been my word for 2018.

Kia Kaha Bracelet: “Kia Kaha” is a Maori phrase from New Zealand that means “Be Strong”. I wore it on my wrist every single day the first 2 1/2 years of my journey. It connected me with dear friends and reminded me that I was never alone.

Hula Hoop: This is a fun one. 🙂 Part of the cults teaching forbade any dancing or physical expressions, and it also taught very strict music rules. One of the most therapeutic and healing activities for me has been to learn Hula Hoop Dancing. It’s somewhat like ballet with a hoop. 🙂 The act of dancing to contemporary Christian and secular songs has helped to connect me to my physical body and has become one of my new favorite ways to worship. On days when the stress and pain became overwhelming, I would grab my hoop and pour out my heartbreak and anger through this sacred circle, and each time, God used that time to bring about a new bit of healing.

“Grace” and “Rest” Pictures: These were made by a talented fellow survivor and are reminders to me on my bedroom wall of two incredibly valuable lessons that I’ve learned. First: Grace frees us from a heavy bondage. Second: because of Jesus’s sacrifice, I am enough; I don’t have to earn God’s approval or love.

My Freedom Day photo shoot was one of the happiest day I can remember.  The joy was indescribable and I couldn’t help but think Jesus was smiling down on me saying, “Atta girl!!!”  🙂 

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