Over the past few weeks, I have used social media, interviews, and emails to get the word out about the No More Shame project. March 30 was the first Day of Giving to raise funds for our efforts in El Salvador, and I look forward to learning how much money came in to help make more washable feminine hygiene kits to hand out in schools there. I am passionate about this work, and it is a pleasure to lend my voice and do what I can to bring hope and empowerment into the lives of these precious girls.

But it’s not just about them. Full disclosure – it was first about me. Nearly four years ago now, I was standing in my kitchen, fighting tears as I learned about the high number of girls who drop out of school. Many drop out as a result of missing days each month because they are not able to take care of their menstrual flow. The days add up until they are no longer able to manage their studies successfully. As I felt the undeniable stirring of the Holy Spirit, I distinctly remember shaking my head and asking God for two things. First, please let this not be true. And second, please send someone else to speak to it.

It’s tough for me to admit uttering that second request knowing everything God has done since that evening in my kitchen. It took a while, but He did open my heart and open doors for me to be a part of this issue. God has done amazing things, both locally and globally, with this still-new outreach effort, and I celebrate the way He has provided opportunities and stirred hearts to join with me. But that’s only part of the story.

As I have wobbled out in attempts to advocate for these girls, God has strengthened me as I worked to strengthen them. I am an abuse survivor. Survivor. I was groomed into a romantic relationship with a teacher when I was in high school, and it changed the entire trajectory of my life. I tried for so long to get over it, but this work has taught me that a survivor doesn’t get over it. She survives it. She lives with it. She gets back up again after something has knocked her down. Some days she takes tentative steps and keeps her head low because that is her best that day. But she keeps moving forward one foot in front of the other, and in doing so, she communicates, “What you did to me is not what defines me.”

I do this work for young girls in part because every time a kit gets made with money we donated, together we say to that girl, “You matter. We see you. Don’t let this obstacle define you. Keep your head up. Walk tall and strong. Someday you won’t need our help. You can do this. We believe in you.” I want that to be what they hear because it was what I needed to hear and didn’t at seventeen years old. And it’s what I still need to hear today. Maybe your heart needs to hear it, too. Let’s keep saying it to each other.

I believe the best is yet to come in what we can accomplish together to draw a line in the sand and say, “no more.” No more will we sit by while girls let go of an opportunity to be educated simply because their bodies are behaving exactly the way their bodies are designed to behave. They deserve so much better than that. And so we will share our resources to offer them a future that is a little bit brighter. I’m proud to be a part of that. I’m proud you are a part of that. I thank you for your interest, prayers, love, and support for this project. And I thank you for every single dollar you’ve donated. We are using them all to send a message of hope and love.

Peace.

To learn more about the No More Shame project, visit livesteadyon.com/speaking.

This post is chapter 3/6 on Spiritual Habits (Giving)