The Courage to Change

The Courage to Change:

Everyone’s got a story. But not everyone is willing or has the power to make that story change.

Recently, a group of us participated in a local shop hop put on by the Hillcrest businesses. The event was terrific and certainly exposed me to a wide variety of shops and restaurants available. But the highlight was an employee who blew me away with her strength and courage.

We were at a business that I was not too impressed with, so I was going to wait outside for the rest of my group. But walking towards the door, I noticed an employee with elaborate tattoos on her arms. I thought I could go outside and wait in the chill (being from Ohio I just can’t call this SoCal weather cold), or I could engage another human being. I am so glad I chose the latter!

One of Chelsea’s tattoos was a long stream of Roman numerals. That was the day she decided to make her life better – to live differently. Problems with alcohol had put her on a downward spiral and eventually landed her in jail. When she got out, she decided that she wanted to change the way she was living.

Now, a lot of people make a lot of resolutions. But covering the police beat and other human experiences have taught me that addictions and habits are hard to break. We build behavior ruts, and physical and psychological cravings, and good intentions are not enough to change those.

But Chelsea fought for what she wanted, and told me she was a different person standing there. She was almost five years clean, loved her job, had a good relationship with her family and just had a vibrancy about her. Her arm held a story board of tattoos related to her sobriety and life-altering choices, such as a dove and an intricate tree.

The next day was her 29th birthday. I got to shake Chelsea’s hand and proclaim that her 30’s are going to be bright and clear! I told her your 30’s are going to be so good, the 20’s will just be a distant memory.

It was such an inspiration to meet someone whose life was going on a destructive path, but made a choice and followed it through to be the person they truly wanted to be. Chelsea never said it was easy, nor that there’s never a struggle, but the peace that emanated from her testified to the changes she had made.

May God give her the strength she needs when trials come, and rain blessings down on her life and heart!



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