"Empowerment means the freedom to be myself."

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"A Ground Breaking Woman is an overcomer who holds the same fears as everyone else, but walks through those fears into a higher purpose. Who finds a purpose in her pain. A woman who is a warrior in her own life, as well as the life of others. One who is humble yet simultaneously courageous. One who fights and knocks down walls."

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"I was in Connecticut fighting for an abusive relationship. I believed for so many reasons that I was supposed to be with this person. I don’t know if brainwashed is the right word, but I was definitely manipulated to the point I felt I no longer had control of my own thoughts. We met in church. He was the one on the stage with the microphone, prophesying over the 1000-member congregation. I fell in love. When I tell the (very few) people I have told that I have been a victim of abuse, generally they are dumbfounded. Some make offensive comments, “I didn’t think you were one of those types of girls.” People have no idea how to wrap their heads around the fact that a pretty, smart, caring, funny girl could get tied up in this type of relationship, that somehow I must have chosen it. When I hear these things, my reaction is not one of retreat. These are the moments that give my pain purpose. I will never, ever look into the eyes of a woman who has been abused and tell her it was her fault. That she should have left or that somehow she deserved it. Thank you Jesus that you work all things for the good for those that love you, because these dark moments are when I can find the light in my situation. What I have been through has made me a person of compassion, beyond anything second hand experience could contribute." 

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"When I was little I told my dad I wanted to be the person that got to rip the lotto tickets off at the gas station. I moved on quickly from this (after a lot of family laughter) to travel agent, teacher, and landed on nurse for several years. Ultimately by the time I started in retail and decided not to continue school for merchandise buying, I was mentally on the track to working my way up to high level management. I usually know what kind of day you’re having before you open your mouth. I have a natural ability to teach & motivate people & bring them together. I set very high standards for myself.  I became a district manager at the age of 22 and was DM of the Year at 24. I started with my company as a key sales associate and now am an associate buyer. But, also, I am a very good rapper. I love seeing people’s reactions more than anything else."

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"I do not want to be with someone unless they add value to my life in more ways than just good emotions. I believe in being humble and courageous. I am inspired daily by the quote “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” from the book 'Who Moved My Cheese?'"

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"When I was a toddler, my dad had back pain that nearly paralyzed him. Because of this, he would sleep on a mattress on my bedroom floor. When I wouldn't sleep, he would build a "soft cage" around me with pillows and blankets. He told me that when I would wake up during the night, he would feel a little hand reach over and slap his face. He said as soon as I felt his beard I would fall back to sleep. His back pain was so debilitating he could barely stand, with doctor after doctor saying they couldn't find anything wrong with him. He was prayed for one day and told that he had a spiritual knife in his back. The pain was rebuked and my dad was instantly healed.

Last year, I was standing in the Target bathroom when he called me from the hospital. He had checked into this hospital just days before, all the way across the country. After telling me that he had late stage cancer, I stood in this public restroom shocked, numb and broken with silent tears streaming down my face. His words that day ring in my ears and rattle my chest ... "Do you want to reach out to feel my beard, to make sure that I am still here?" Within a month he was rapidly declining. 

I spent his last few weeks lying beside him all night, while he slept in his own soft cage. He needed help turning over because of his pain every couple of hours. I would lay awake listening to him breathe, and waiting to hear his whisper... "Anna, you awake?". 

I cherish those hours I got to spend sitting there next to him in the dark, playing with his beard while he fell asleep."