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In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month – I am sharing how the one act of obedience to share my story became a full circle moment for me.  I had the amazing opportunity and pleasure of hosting a workshop for women being temporarily housed in the domestic violence shelter I was in during one of the lowest points of my life.  Not only did I start a party during the workshop – I shared three keys to being able to celebrate you victory – victory over trauma, pain, guilt, shame, loss in style.

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Hey beacon, welcome home to your bounce back blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to be do and have God’s best. As you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it, and shout out to God, ever since I was courageous enough to share my story myy life and the lives of women around the world have been forever changed. And as a member of the bounce back blueprint community, I’m called to teach you to do the same. So grab your journal, and let’s build this blueprint.

Hey, beacon before we start building this week’s blueprint, I have an announcement or two. The first is that I want to invite you Yes, this is your personal invitation to join me and a group of amazing other beacons. Like you in the bounce back blueprint community Facebook group, this is where you are going to be challenged and equipped to reclaim your life, find your voice and build a business or ministry with your story, you can grab the link to join us below in the show notes. And secondly, I want to bless you with this week’s review. And of course, before I do, I want to remind you that if you haven’t already now is a great time to leave a review because when you do you create an opportunity and a space for another beginner just like you to get connected and find the show and community. Now let’s get into this week’s review. This week’s review comes from Ryan Chanel. And she says “Tiffany is so encouraging. I love Tiffany she is real and provides practical tips. I especially loved the episode where she talks about digging deep into our why it’s always deeper. And that was such a great exercise. For me. It especially encouraged it’s especially encouraging how she looks to God and trust him.”

Thank you so much Ryan, shout out to you for that awesome review, and for creating an open up opportunity for other beacons to get connected to their guide and community as they build their bounceback blueprint. Now, let’s get into this week’s blueprint. As many of you may know, in addition to October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And if you’ve read 30 days day, or if you listen to Episode 25, about my journey from setback to impact, then you know, I am a victor, not a victim of domestic violence, and that I pride myself in being an advocate and creating awareness by sharing my story and encouraging other women to do the same. And so I wanted to share with you this week, what I shared with a group of women who I had the opportunity and the pleasure to share space with and why it was such a pleasure and a full circle moment for me is because the women who I want to share with were sitting in the seats around the same table in the same conference room that I was in when I was in the same emergency domestic violence shelter, right I was in a shelter that you could be in for up to 30 days following a domestic violence situation. And the goal of the shelter is to get you into some other secure permanent or longer term housing within your 30 day time frame. Hence the name of my award winning book 30 days day shameless plug. But I want to share this message with you. Because whether you are in a domestic violence situation, or you know someone who is in a domestic violence situation, or any other personal pandemic, any other traumatic situation, that they are either knee deep knee deep in or working diligently and trusting God fervently to bring them out of and grow them through, then what I shared with these women, I believe, will be a blessing to you as well. And so I’m going to just share verbatim what I shared with the women. And I’m going to try not to cry and I’m going to pray that it blesses you the way it blessed me and the way that many of the women share that it was able to bless them. And this is why this is why it’s so important for us to be willing To be courageous enough to share our stories, right, because when someone is in the midst of or knee deep in something that you’ve already grown through something that you have not only survived, but you are now thriving after it is encouraging for them, right? That is why the Bible is full of so many stories of the miracles of God and overcoming and growing through and the power of prayer, because God wants us to know that we are not alone, that testimonies are powerful. And this is why I do the work that I do. Because when you move from test to testimony, when you find your voice, you have no idea of the impact you will have on others by being willing to trust God, and share your story. So here we go. This is what I shared with the amazing women who welcomed me into their safe space. I am so happy that you all decided to join me in this celebration. About eight years ago, I was sitting where you are right now, only I was in a wheelchair because I had been shot. I had crutches at the time. But since I had an infant son, I was encouraged to use the word wheelchair so that he could sit on my lap as we moved through the facility. On many of the days I spent here, I would hear the word victim a lot. unconsciously, I took on feelings I thought I was supposed to feel as a victim. I felt like a victim of domestic violence of victim of failed love, a victim of the happiness that I longed for and tried to force that would never be a reality. For me, the way I envisioned, envisioned it at that time. I was tired, embarrassed and frustrated. I just wanted to run and hide. Or better yet sleep until things were different. Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe when you woke up this morning, you were tired, disappointed that you are in this place, or that things are not going to get better. The truth is, the fact that you were sitting here today is cause for celebration, your presence here today shows that you are in fact the victor, not the victim, you have already won. And that is a reason to celebrate, to celebrate you. Trust me, I know it is hard to think of celebrating right now. I had the same struggles on the mornings when I wanted to walk over to the crib and take my baby out. But I couldn’t because I had to stabilize myself with my crutches, there were three things I had to do before I could fully embrace my victory and begin to celebrate. And I encourage you to do the same. The first is move out of your own way. There are plenty of days when you wake up and you hear the announcement for a workshop, a therapy session, or maybe an activity and you’re like, I don’t feel like it. I don’t need that. I just want to lay here. But the truth is you do, you do need that you’re in your own way. If you want to celebrate in style, you have to be ready to dance, that can be hard to do when you sit there the entire time saying I don’t like that song, get up and get moving Anyway, you never know who will be at the workshop, or what you might learn that will make your celebration bigger and better Turn up the music.

Second thing is let go. When I dance, I like to raise my hands up in the air. And I noticed some of you do too. If you have a bunch of stuff in your hands, it’s pretty hard to wave your hands in the air. And really party right. Give yourself permission to let go of some things. So you can start to get your groove on. I had to let go of the fact that my life had changed temporarily. It was hard because I wanted to hold on to how I had lost so much loss so much materialistically and I felt like I had nothing. But that was only in preparation for me to receive better. Maybe unforgiveness is keeping you from putting your hands up. If you have not forgiven the person who harmed you, it will make it harder and harder for you to celebrate. And I know this to be true because while I laid in the hospital, high off morphine drip. I tried very hard to hate the person who had harmed me. But the reality is that God was calling me to celebrate, not hate, celebrate the fact that I was victorious even as I laid in that hospital bed. The same is true for you. And the final thing is, tell your story. This is the fun part. Because as you move out of your way, and let some things go, you are able to get your dance moves down packed, you won’t break out with that same old two step that’s over. That’s in the past, when you are ready to tell your story, you do your dance, not what everyone else is doing your dance, you are fully embracing who you are, without any concerns about who others thought you were, or who they think you should be. You don’t have to write a book, or literally tell your life story to everyone you meet, you just begin to live the life that is yours, the one that God has created you to live, the one that is a reflection of all he has called you to be and do and have. You recognize how awesome your authenticity is, your story is best told when you are true to you. What I have learned during the course of this journey, and what God taught me as I celebrate it with the women, was that we don’t always understand the whys when God takes us through different storms and seasons. But he is always working it out for our good. And for someone else’s, I am constantly reminded that my life is not my own. And it is never really about me, I am but the vessel, the messenger, the living testimony of the ultimate victory of God’s mercy, Grace and presence in our lives. And after I shared with the women, I had this boombox with me, and we got up and I turned on the music and we had a celebration, we did a Soul Train line, and everybody was able to just let go get out of her own way and begin to tell her story through the way that she moved. And I’ll be honest, not everybody was excited to get up and dance. It is a really challenging space to be in physically, but also mentally, when you are trying to heal from the trauma that comes with physical or mental or emotional abuse. And at the same time, you are being forced to rush through the process to re establish stability for yourself. And in many cases, most cases, your children as well. And so it’s not easy. And I know that you may not be in a shelter right now. But domestic violence is a personal pandemic. And we are all in the midst of are recovering from some sort of pandemic. And I just want to encourage you today that if you’re feeling stuck, I want you to look in the mirror and get honest with yourself. Do you need to get out of your own way so that you can celebrate your victory? I want you to get honest with yourself, are you carrying around and harboring unforgiveness or anger or bitterness that is keeping you from being free and being able to move through and fill the music and celebrate? And then last but certainly not least, are you in a position where you’re being courageous enough to tell your story, because here’s what I know for sure one act of obedience can change everything. And so if God has been nudging you, right, if he has been chasing you down, if he has been sending sign after sign that now is the time that I want to encourage you to be bold and courageous enough to celebrate your victory. I pray that what I have shared this Saturday morning is a blessing to you and is impactful for the way that you move through this self care Saturday. And the way that you begin to live through every day celebrating your life, releasing the things that no longer serve you and being willing to share your story to be a blessing to others. If you’re ready to do all of those things, then I again, once we invite you to join us over in the bounce back blueprint community, you will be embraced, you will be encouraged, you will be welcomed, but you’re also going to be challenged to grow through, you’re going to be challenged to elevate your voice to share your story and to release all of the things that are keeping you from doing so. I always leave you with this and today will be no exception, that God is not going to play you but if you refuse to celebrate your victory, specifically so that God can get the glory I promise you, you are playing your self. Be blessed.