Saturday, December 31, 2011

Walking Away

I wrote this a little over a month ago. I wanted people to read it but it felt too intimate at the time to let everyone read so I published it on my Facebook in order to share how I was feeling with friends and family. Yesterday was my last day at OM USA. After a three month transition, leaving  for the last time was kind of anti-climatic. However, in trying to process, this note still describes it best. So I think I'm ready to share with everyone:

"Walking Away"

It occured to me today that every time I've left somewhere I've been escaping.
Leaving my Mom to escape my step-dad,
Leaving my Grandma because she was too sick to take care of me anymore,
Leaving my Aunt to go live with my Dad (in hindsight, that probably wasn't a good move),
Leaving in the middle of the night with my step-mom, brother and sister to escape my dad (that is what is known as a rock and a hard place),
Leaving my step-mom to go back to my mom,
Moving in with the man who would become my husband,
Leaving the man who became my ex-husband,
Leaving Summerville and coming to Newnan for a "new life"

A lot of drama, a lot of running away. These are just a few...

Every job I've ever left has been to get away from something I didn't like or find something better.

I was escaping danger, negativity, conflict, boredom, difficult relationships...I didn't just leave...I To be honest there are probably times I didn't need to run but I did because by that time it was such a habit.

Fight or flight...means run unless there is something grabbing a hold of you. Then fight till it lets go. Then run!

Oh...sometimes I'm amazed at the work God has done in my life! Days like today when I look back, shake my head, and marvel He bothered! I'm overwhelmed.

However, I think I also figured something out.

It's easier to run. The need to escape means there are no second thoughts, no desire to stay, nothing to lose and everything to gain. And in this instance I'm not escaping fact, I really like what I have. My comfortable home, good job, community and friends. This has been stable and safe and wonderful. The people at OM know me and most of them love me. The others like me or put up with me! (lol) I love this place. I love this life.

So why am I leaving? Because God says so. Like He told Abraham to pack up and leave and He was going to show Him the land that would belong to his descendants for generations. Abraham at some point had to have gone "But I've got a good thing going here...why do I need to go there?" And God said "Cuz I said so" God had plans for Abraham. God has plans for me. For Bree. For Trey. And those plans mean we have to leave. We're not running. We're walking away. We're letting go. And it is so hard.

I think this must be what leaving home feels like.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Role @ Wellspring Living that I'm moving into my role at Wellspring Living, we've developed my job description. I thought maybe you guys would like to know more about what I'll be doing.

Volunteer Administration
So no surprise there...this was the main reason I was hired. I am the first point of contact for anyone interested in volunteering-whether long-term, short-term, group projects, etc. I help the store managers and logistic coordinators at both homes fill needed positions and potential volunteers find the right fit. So I spend a lot of time answering emails and talking on the phone. I've also spent a lot of time working on streamlining the process. I've had meetings with the homes and stores discussing a process for recruiting and placing volunteers that works well for them and meets the needs of the potential volunteer. I've created applications on formsite so that it's easier for the volunteer to complete the application, for me to get it to the right person, and-as a benefit-use less paper. I also changed the background check provider we use...getting more for way less! A local company was willing to give us a discount after seeing what Wellspring Living does. So, we now spend $12 for a more thorough oppossed to $35! Currently I'm working on improving the process for follow up (making sure volunteers were placed, etc) and tracking volunteer hours as well as ways to improve the volunteer information on the website and online training. A huge upcoming project will be follow up from Passion 2012. It's really exciting...we are the one of the organization Passion is sponsoring this year in their "Do Something Now" as they focus on trafficking both in the US and overseas.

In-kind Donations
Churches, individuals and other groups often want to help by giving something tangible to the girls or women in the homes. I help coordinate these drives and arrange delivery of the items. This week I worked with a group that made gift baskets for the girls, another church collected gift cards, Spelman college did a school supply drive and will be doing a "Winter drive" in January to collect gloves, scarves, etc. Paper goods and hygiene products are always a big need as well. Both the girls' home and the women's home have wish lists on Amazon as well. I don't handle donations for the stores, just the homes. Each store handles its own donations.

Database Management
As a continuance of my roles with volunteers and in-kind donations, I'll be spending ten hours a week entering donations/donors and volunteers into our database. Those of you who know me recognize that this won't be my favorite part of the job but it is really important/vital part of the job...and I have some great playlists on my iPod...good music will certainly make the job a bit easier.

Immersion Project
I am so excited to be coordinating Immersion Project it is ridiculous! Immersion Projects are short term trips for teams of 3-5 people. This is an awesome way to educate and mobilize people to getting involved in the trafficking issue in Georgia. Participants spend time learning about CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children), get a tour of and a chance to work with the girls and the women, work with one of our partnering organizations on the streets of Atlanta learning to spot CSEC and what to do and spend time praying through areas where trafficking is prevelant. The cost for each participant is $700. This money goes into the girls' home to pay for housing, education, counseling and other needs the girls' have. This is actually a fairly new project so I will be working to really promote it among churches and groups and making the vision a reality. I'll have my first meeting with a church interested in Immersion trips in a couple of weeks!

As part of the Speaker's Bureau, I have the chance to speak to different groups and churches about CSEC and trafficking in Georgia and the ministry of Wellspring Living. I spent two hours with Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta last Wednesday and it was amazing. We talked about the issue, their involvement, how they can partner with Wellspring Living, how they can mobilize their church to get involved...I can't tell you how thrilled I am to not only be a part of fighting trafficking but enabling and motivating others to use their gifts and talents...and their join the fight.

Working With the Girls
Once a week I get to go the the girls' home and spend time with the girls, teaching them a life skill class and building relationships with them. We just finished up a class on job hunting skills where they learned how to do resumes, look for jobs, prepare for interviews, etc. At the end of the class a volunteer helped me to arrange for three women from local businesses to come in and do mock interviews. The cool thing about the interviews and the feedback after was how the girls talked about things I'd said or things they'd learned during the classes, even stories I'd told! The girls really got into the was a great way to wrap up that session. I'm waiting to hear what we'll be doing next! I am loving getting to know the girls...two of them will be graduating the program in the next couple of weeks! I will miss them but I'm so excited for them at the same time!

I am raising support to help supplement my income. My goal is to raise at least 20 hours of my salary. I'm looking for supporters who are willing to give $25, $50 or $100 a month to partner with me in the work I am doing for Wellspring Living. I'm honored and excited by how many people have partnered with me already. I'm about 1/2 to my goal. If you'd like to give monthly or even give a one time gift, you can do it one of two ways:  Online: Go to Be sure to put "Cindy Battles" in the comment section. By Mail: Mail to 140 Howell Rd, Tyrone GA 30290. Again be sure to mention my name on the gift so it can be applied to our account.

Raising support means that more money can go to the ministry of Wellspring Living...

Mothers & Mentors

I'm a HUGE Indiana Jones fan. Except for the last one they made...the one with Shia LeBouf?

Last Saturday we were watching "Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade"...the one with Sean Connery as Indy's dad. Love that one! Always makes me a little sad to watch River Phoenix in the first part...

Anyway, Indiana Jones and his dad have a really interesting relationship. There is one scene where they are arguing. Indy's dad asserts that he was a great father. Indiana strongly asserts "You were a terrible father!"
The father replies "Did I ever tell you to do your homework, brush your teeth or go to bed?"
"No!" replies the son.
Somehow, the father had missed it. He had treated his son like a grown up. Assuming he knew that he knew he needed to brush his teeth, do his homework and when to go to bed. He thought his son would appreciate not being told those things. But the reality was the son needed someone to tell him all of that! He wanted someone to tell him what to do, to be the grown up so he could be the kid.

I mean, I could overthink this scene like I do so many other things but the reality is that it is just a fascinating look into a parent/child relationship and really reveals some things about how differently people can see things. I think the fact that I struggle with the fact my parents weren't able to be the grown ups that I can appreciate this so much.

The girl I met from the Women's Home Wednesday had a similar story. Wednesday was set aside for delivering "thank you" gifts to the donors in the area. We were going to carry candles and fudge the girls and women had helped make to those who had supported Wellspring Living financially. Each staff person would have one of the ladies from the women's home to go with her. In my case, I actually ended up going with one of our development guys and one of the ladies. When I got there Paul (the development guy) was stuck in traffic and running late, so I had some time to meet the girl we'd be riding with...for the sake of not calling her "girl", "lady" or "woman" throughout this, I'll call her "Rachel". Rachel and I hit it off almost immediately. By the time Paul got there we were laughing together like two best friends and it wasn't long after we got in the car she declared us to be long lost sisters. This seemed dad was a truck driver who "got around" and her mom has always had an attraction to men who were bad for her! I'm not going to tell all of her story because a) I don't have her permission and b) it isn't quite relevant to this particular posting.

She and I hit it off almost immediately because we had two very important things in common:
1) We both had parents who for whatever reason couldn't be the parent...we had-in fact-always been more the parent than the child.
2) We'd both been touched by a mentor in our lives.

One of the things Rachel said was "All of those mother/daughter things that I always said I didn't want to do...I've done most of them now." She wasn't just talking about the things like shopping but heart to heart talks and having a "mother figure" tell you something isn't a good idea. She's also talking about having a "Mom" that holds you when you cry. And a place to go for the holidays. She said her mentor offered to get her home for Christmas but she just couldn't handle it. She stammered "I want..." embarrassed to voice her hope and how her mentor finished for her "You know you are always welcome to come to our house and spend Christmas with us." Rachel was grateful...not only for the offer but for not having to ask. And she's really excited to spend Christmas with her mentor and her mentor's family. She's learning to be loved-unconditionally. To be a part of a family...and it doesn't matter it isn't a "biological" family.

I've been blessed with a woman like that in my life as well. Jane McAfee is more than just my supervisor at OM. She is my friend, confidant, mentor and "mother bear". I have grown so much as a person and a Christian knowing her. I have let myself be known-warts and all-and learned not to be afraid that she'd give up on me or just get fed up with me! She's encouraged me, held me accountable, and loved on me. And she gives some of the best hugs I've ever had. So much of who I am now and what I'm able to do, I owe to her. And I think she underestimates the impact and the level of gratitude...

I'm still sort of processing several things in this whole vein of mothers and mentors...and I think that a blog that included all of my recent musings would be too long. I think there are two take-aways I'd like for people to have from this though:

1) Be the parent that offers guidance to your kids. They need it. And I think it's perfectly okay to have a conversation with your kids that lets them know you try, that you don't always get it right, but its okay for them to let you know when or what they need.

2) Consider being a mentor in someone's life. For a kid, this could make a huge difference! If Rachel could have had someone speaking into her life's possible she'd still made some of the same decisions...but statistics say it is far less likely. I know the impact teachers, coaches, etc made in my life. I know the impact the men who are willing to invest in a relationship with Trey make in his life. I'm fortunate enough to have a group of teenagers who come and hang out at my house on Wednesdays. I make sure they get to church and I make sure they get home. It's not a huge chunk of my time but we talk and build relationships during that time. They call me "Mom" and I like to think I've impacted their life for the better. There are new wives, young mothers, new husbands and dads trying to figure it out, new Christians needing discipleship...and of course, the women at the Wellspring Living Women's Home. Be that someone for someone!

Moving & Other Adventures

Wow! So the crazy season is almost over! Thought everyone would love to take a look at the new house! So here is pic of outside...I might posts some pictures of the inside...once the boxes and the mess as a result of the boxes are gone! Actually, now that we finally have our tree decorated and the nutcrackers strategically placed, I'm sure to post a few pictures of the inside.

So...moving. That's been fun. In the midst of working two jobs, etc, etc. Moving week was the same as tech week for Best Christmas Pageant Ever so I moved as many boxes as I could and then three of our awesome, amazing friends came over after rehearsal one night (that would be 10ish...important to know since it shows the love!) and helped us move the furniture. Because there was furniture in the OM house when we moved in, we'd given quite a bit of our stuff away so we were able to use Facebook to its full potential. Thanks to friends and social media we've managed to get dressers, beds, etc for just under $50. We're still looking for a TV stand (smallish), desk, and a couple of comfy living room chairs.

Best Christmas Pageant Ever has been a blast to be in and be stage manager for...I'll admit to some frustrations but somewhere along the line I realized it was more my attitude that needed to be changed. A lot of it came from being tired, some of it came from not having enough grace. Once I adjusted the attitude and made some time for some sleep, I really was able to just enjoy the entire cast and experience. I especially love the kids...there is some serious talent standing on that stage. I also love opportunities to go into convenience stores and ask for the "longest, thickest cigar you have" or burn cakes on purpose at three in the morning...and of course there is the whole playing with fire thing. Working with Jennifer Dorrell was something I'd wanted to do for a while and now I can check that off my theatre bucket list. Interesting fact: the first show that the three of us did was BCPE and Dave Dorrell directed (Bree was Gladys, Trey was David and I was Mrs. McCarthy)...Dave is Jen's husband. One of those interesting "rhythm of life" things. Anyway, Saturday is the last two performances. You should definitely come see one of them. Grab tickets at

I realized today that I only have two weeks to go before I leave OM USA and become full time at Wellspring Living. I'm in this time of "lasts and firsts": last OM Christmas party, last Leadership Forum, tomorrow the HR team is going to take me out to lunch as a "goodbye party". We're going to Olive Garden because I love Italian food...and the carbs are sure to provide some comfort. On the other hand, at Wellspring I got to experience my first time driving around delivering thank you gifts to donors. It was a blast! I was riding with Paul Bowley who is Mary Francis' (founder/president of Wellspring Living) son and a development guy for the ministry and one of the girls from the Women's Home (more about that later). We had the best time! Paul is really smart and knows more random stuff than I do and is highly the three of us got along really well and had lots to talk about. Which is a good thing when you are in the car with someone for five hours...That same day I spent two hours with the "LCR Task Force", a group of people from Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta focused on ending CSEC in Georgia. It was pretty amazing.

A really critical need for both Embree and Trey is schooling. We've had to come to the pretty heartbreaking decision that we can't afford to send Embree to the Campus anymore. She's struggling with it and really going to miss her friends, but she understands. It's really hard to make the payments and Trey is not doing well at public school either. Which means I need to come up with a solution for both of them...preferably an affordable one. The way it looks right now, we're going to try Faith Academy online this coming semester and then a combination of Faith Academy and Elluminatus (a homeschool group for highschoolers) starting in the Fall. I can do that for both of them cheaper than I can send Bree to the Campus. They are both such amazing kids...I hate to see them struggle like this! Prayers are appreciated!

Thanks for your prayers during this transition! I will admit that some days I faced it like Abraham...and other days, more like Lot's wife. So many of you have helped us through it!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Let's be real...we hate Mondays right? Not sure why...guess because it's the first day you have to get back to work after a couple of days of "down time". But everything that can go wrong, for some reason, seems to go wrong on Mondays. Or maybe we just notice it more...not sure...whatever the reason. I'm not a big fan.

For this Monday, I'm willing to make an exception.

You wouldn't think any morning I have to get up at 5:30 AM would be a day I'd call "good" but I'd been looking forward to the A Future Not A Past breakfast since Kelly told me we'd be going. It started at 7:30 so I knew I needed to leave early to beat Atlanta traffic. The breakfast was really informative and interesting. It was great to learn that though Atlanta still has one of the highest rates of trafficking in the nation, Shared Hope International's newest study ranked Georgia #6 in the nation for dealing with the issue. To see Georgia's  (or other states) "report card", check out this link. You'll get an idea of what we've done well as well as recommendations on things we still need to do. The good news is, a difference is definitely being made!

After the breakfast, I went to the office and answered emails. I'm ecstatic that for the first time since I started at Wellspring Living my inbox was actually under 20! This was a short lived success but I enjoyed it while it lasted! (lol)

Around one, I headed toward the girls' home. In my Rav, I'd loaded gift baskets for the girls made by a local church, folders and other office supplies our Logistics Coordinator had requested, and a "stack" of gift cards a local church in Fayetteville had collected. Wellspring Living's ministry depends so much on volunteers and donations like these! And both those things fall under my job description!

This Monday was one of my favorites at the home. We'd spent the last six weeks talking about finding a job...resume writing, looking for jobs, preparing for job interviews, the do's and don'ts of job interviews, etc. Thanks to an awesome volunteer, we were able to wrap up the class by having mock interviews! Kem called some people she knows and we had three ladies-Debbie from Moe's, Patti from Dogwood Church, and Peggy from an affiliate of Delta-come in and interview the girls and give them feedback. The girls knew they were coming and most were really excited about it. They really engaged in the interviews and appreciated the feedback. My heart broke when several of them were open about the fact they struggled with what to reveal and what not to reveal during the interview. They are afraid of being judged...and don't want to be pitied. All of them agreed it was a good exercise and a great way to wrap up this class. And the three women had a good time as well.

That's that for job hunting! I'm waiting to see what my next "assignment" for the girls will be.

After that, I went back to the office for a bit, made some calls and answered some more emails. Then it was home for dinner and relaxation with the kids. And it was the first time in a long time I was actually in bed before midnight. I blame the 5:30 alarm for that one!

Thanks for a great day Monday...maybe I'll cut you some slack when you roll around next week.