Yvonne Ellis

 

COURAGE

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Last Saturday I shared my story of childhood sexual abuse and gave my testimony of how I was able to recover from its effects on the streets of Brixton. It was an amazing experience; I believe God has been preparing me for a long time to do this, because in my own strength, of my own accord this is not something I would naturally choose to do. For the last year I have felt led to do this. Crazy thoughts and promptings to buy a megaphone to share my story in such a radical way crossed my mind a few times, but because it seemed quite extraordinary, I dismissed any notion of attempting it. But over the last few months I had a change of heart and instinctively knew this was something God called me to do, so I shared the vision with a dear friend, and as they say the rest is history.

I never thought I would have the boldness to see it through, but over the last few months I felt an inner change within me, which has led to my newfound confidence. For a long time I had a crisis of confidence about myself that I struggled to pinpoint mentally where it stemmed from. I have achieved amazing things- but I always felt a little inadequate, unsure that I was the right person to help others in this complex and difficult calling. But time spent talking and praying to God about the issue of confidence- where it comes from and how to walk in it has birthed within me a new acceptance of myself. I know now that courage and confidence comes from God and because he has predestined and chose me for this, I can step out under his protection and do bold and brave feats in Jesus name.

This project, ‘Testimony to the street’ is a great personal achievement for me. Those close to me know I am person who likes to keep to myself. If I had to choose between a room full of people and the solitude and comfort of my own company, I will always choose the latter but because of nature of the work I do with Daughter Arise, I have had to learn to put myself out amongst people. It is amazing to me that God continually helps me to step out of my comfort zone to find innovative ways to connect with and help some of society’s most vulnerable and broken people- in which I am one. I believe it is because of the passion I have in my heart to empower women and men to seek healing that I am willing to take risks and embrace new challenges.

Five wonderful, amazing women gave up their precious weekend time to encourage and help me. They too stepped out of their comfort zones for the first time to interact with the public to give out leaflets. They all did so well and displayed enthusiasm and passion for the cause, and their belief in me as a Leader was so appreciated; I was honoured. We worked great together as a team, most of the ladies had never met each other before but knew me through different relational connections. All of us from different ethnic backgrounds; Asian, black, white, coming together was a powerful visual reminder to the public that sexual abuse effects people from all walks of life; an epidemic problem that affects families, communities and societies across the world. I spoke for nearly two hours; the ladies gave out over 600 leaflets, and we all had interesting conversations and encounters with the public. I am still reflecting on this experience; I will be sharing more in a You Tube video I will be posting on the Daughter Arise Channel at the weekend, but for all of us this experience has had an impactful effect.

By sharing my story the aim was to raise awareness and show people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, a picture of what life is like on the other side of disclosing the secret. A large majority of people still live burdened by guilt, shame and fear, never telling anyone for fear of rejection and denial. There is something powerful about seeing someone who has broken the secret, like I did all those years ago as a 19-year-old girl when someone gave me a book by Joyce Meyer. Seeing someone who has lived to ‘tell the tale’, someone who has not only survived but also thrived is a beacon of hope in itself.

Many people commented that I was “brave” but in all honesty I am just a woman who has found my voice. Anyone that can manage to face what has happened to them and find their voice is also “brave”.Courage and bravery is something every survivor displays even without speaking out. To battle through the dysfunction, heartache and injustice sexual abuse leaves behind and still try to function through each day with the pain is not an easy task.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage

This event was automatically a success because us ladies at Daughter Arise got to raise awareness on this subject and if one person finds their voice because of our endeavours, then it is a personal victory for them.The motto of our campaign was ‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage’. I believe my view of what I can achieve with my life by stepping out with courage and faith has been defined in the most profound way. The very thing that use to cause me to hide, to feel ashamed, I now fully face and embrace with boldness and confidence. Life indeed starts when you step outside of the confines of conforming; I can tell you that now I am on the other side. Whether that is to go against the family tradition of covering up incest and generational sexual abuse, to speaking out in new environments, new ground and new horizons can be found. It may be of personal cost; to go against the grain always has a price. But to do achieve great things whether overcoming personal obstacles or standing for a cause brings new depth to living life. Courage can be found in facing the smallest of challenges.

Yvonne

 

One Response so far.

  1. Andrena Palmer says:

    Another brilliantly written piece Yvonne. It was a pleasure and privilege to be alongside you and your team, and I pray that you see fruit from your labour xxx

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