Facing Fear and Finding Freedom Archive

Keep on Going

Posted November 5, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

IMG_2536I awoke to the sound of rain beating down on the roof of my truck. It was three in the morning mountain time and since I was in no hurry, I decided to wait until the sun rose to head out to Utah. The trek over the mountains would have to be gorgeous, even in the rain. 

That turned out to be one of the wisest decisions I’d ever made. Within twenty minutes, the rain turned into snow and in less than an hour, six inches dumped on an unsuspecting Cheyenne, Wyoming. When I pulled into the truck stop the previous late afternoon, it was seventy degrees.

I watched as the eery dark  parking lot-and the hood of my truck-piled up with snow. A couple of hours later I put on my waterproof IMG_2538boots and made a path in the newly fallen winter wonderland and into the truck stop. I grabbed coffee and began to tackle every person who looked like a seasoned truck driver. I picked their brains. I admitted I was a greenhorn rookie from the deep south and didn’t have any experience driving anything in the snow. I also told them I had to go over the Pass to Salt Lake City and asked one question, “Do I go or do I stay put?”

Each and every one of them said the exact same thing, “Go. Just take it slow and you’ll be fine. Don’t get in a hurry. Take your time, watch what you’re doing. The roads are open and they will be freshly plowed.”

I bought a CB radio to have on hand, just in case and called my fleet manager. “Steven, I’m in snow.” We’d already had the conversation about my inexperience in frozen precip, so he was very surprised when I said, “I’ve listened to the weather reports and talked to several drivers and I feel the best thing for me to do is to roll.”

IMG_2547“I understand. Oh wait! You’re going to ride?”

“The storm is supposed to blow through by eleven. The roads are open and this will probably be the closest I’ll come to snow driving in a controlled environment.”

He was stunned. And elated. And proud. 

I was jittery.

I’d been driving Austin for a month. I’d pulled that particular trailer since Lousianna. I knew how it reacted. I’d be fine. Right?

I prayed and remembered all the conversations about winter driving I’d had with my trainer. Then I pulled into the slush and onto IMG_2567Interstate 80. I watched. I checked. I kept a football field between me and everything. But, I was moving forward toward the customer who was expecting the chickens I had in the back.

I climbed the pass between Cheyenne and Laramie. I was scared. And cold. My windshield froze and I had to stop to clean it off. I pulled into a truck stop in Laramie to regain my wits. Then I called my trainer. He asked me a series of questions and based on my answers, Dave said, “Set your four-wheel-drive and stop playin”– his way of saying I’d be fine to continue.

IMG_2660“You’ve already come through the highest point and you’re running through the storm. I honestly think you’ll be fine. Just keep going and you’ll drive out of it before long.”

I knew at that moment I was at a pivotal point in my truck driving career. My fleet manager had made it clear that the decision to roll or shut down was 100% my call. I could sit and wait it out. Or, based on the expert advice of those who’d been at the a lot longer than me, I could go. 

I went.

The snow got worse before it got better but, just as Dave promised, within an hour the snow stopped. Two hours later the sun was out and there was no evidence that I’d ever been in a snow storm. I enjoyed a beautiful drive through western Wyoming and Utah.

Making the decision to drive in snow was one of the most frightening and difficult ones I’ve ever made. Had I thought I would truly IMG_2620be in danger, there would have been no decision. But, if I’m going to be a trucker in the US, I have to learn to drive in snow. If I decided to live in Kentucky or Missouri or Kansas, I’d be faced with the same thing. So I did it.

I can’t say I enjoyed the experience. Far from it but I learned so much. I learned about maneuvering an eighty-thousand pound missile through ice and snow. I learned about myself and what I’m made of. I learned how the psalmist felt when he wrote, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

I would love to say that I’m Mz. Supa Trucka but that would be a lie. God drove Austin yesterday through the ice and snow on Elk Mountain in Wyoming using my hands. I made it safely through to the other side and am a more confident driver for it.

Here are some things I learned that I want to pass on to you. Perhaps they will help you driving through your own snowstorm in life:

IMG_2670At some point, you’ll always face something that is bigger than you. Face it anyway.

Even if you don’t follow their advice, get input from those who’ve done what you need to do. Listen to them and gain wisdom.

The storm usually will get worse before it gets better. Keep moving forward anyway.

In the midst of the storm, somebody will tell you to “stop playin”, believing in you and your ability to master the task.

If you keep moving forward, you’ll ride out of the storm and what awaits is breathtakingly beautiful.

So no matter what snowstorm you’re facing in your life right now, keep on going. What’s on the other side is worth whatever you endure to get through the storm. I promise.

 

 

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Thirty Seconds to Live

Posted November 7, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

While on my six day bus trip into the wild, wild west, I met Clara. She was a runner who had spent years under the fist of an abusive husband. A broken jaw and two missing teeth were the final straw and the catalyst that caused her to flee. 

Wyoming

Wyoming

I sat in silence as she recounted year after agonizing year of abuse. She told me of near death encounters with her husband. She suddenly stopped, cocked her head and asked, “What would you do if you knew you only had thirty seconds to live?”

Wyoming4

I knew that should have been a pensive moment. I should have paused to reflect on my fifty six years that had come and gone. I should have waxed eloquent with wisdom my silver crown had given. 

But, without hesitation, I blurted out my response. “I’d be right here with you, walking this path with you, even if it were only for the last thirty seconds of my life.

Clara’s eyes welled with tears as she took my hand in hers. “You really mean that. I know you do.”

Can't Life Your Dream Because of Fear? Get my book on Amazon!

Can’t Life Your Dream Because of Fear? Get my book on Amazon!

Curious, I asked her why she’d asked. I also wondered what she would do. Clara told me how she’d been faced with that very half minute before she fled. Her husband held a gun to her temple and told her she had only thirty seconds to continue to be alive on this earth.

“What did you do?” 

She took a deep breath and let it out. “I kicked him where it counts, punched him in the nose and ran like the dickens! The way I figured it, if I was going to die anyway, I might as well go out fighting!”

I high-five’d her right there on the Greyhound bus! 

It took a lot of courage to do what she did. I learned a lot from her story:

  1. A finite amount of time to live brings things in to perspective and gives you a sense of urgency.
  2. If things are going to happen anyway, you might as well follow your gut.
  3. Being faced with a violent end produces courage you might not know you possessed.

I wonder, if you knew you only had thirty seconds to live, how would you spend those last precious moments of time? Would you kick and punch and not go down without a fight? Or would you keep on doing what you’re doing, knowing you’re making a difference? Perhaps you’d use those ticks of the clock to turn back the hands of time, giving you more of it.

For Clara, as she exited the bus in a western town, she knew she had more than thirty seconds. In fact, a whole new life was just beginning for her. 

Clara faced her fear and found her freedom when faced with thirty seconds to live. What about you? Share it here!

 

 

 

 

 

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Six Days…

Posted November 6, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been this last week. Well, I slept for forty-eight straight hours. Why? Because I was up and traveling across the country for six days without any sleep.

Me on a Mission

Me on a Mission

I left Florida, crossed two states and did something I had not done since 1971. I boarded a bus heading west. I had to go to Salt Lake City on very important business and I decided to meet women on the way. So I went Greyhound and left the driving to them. I was not prepared for what I encountered.

During my six days (that’s 144 continuous hours of consciousness), I met 128 women who were on the run from their significant other. One by one I sat next to them, or they sat next to me on a bus. They told their stories of abuse. The were literally running for their lives in the cheapest way they could find.

Wyoming. That White Stuff is Snow

Wyoming. That White Stuff is Snow

One women, Sabrina, had just been discharged from the hospital after a three month stay. Her husband had run her down with the family car, breaking both legs, several vertebrae and leaving her in a coma for weeks. The surgical wounds still had staples in them. She was in tremendous pain and riding a bus was the worst thing she could have done… except staying with her spouse.

She was such a trooper. My heart went out to her, particularly at 3am when the agony was so great, she called out for anyone to help her. I went back and prayed for God to ease her pain. Thankfully, He did.

I Discovered in Wyoming Why People Wear Coats!

I Discovered in Wyoming Why People Wear Coats!

I met Henrietta in St. Louis. She boarded the bus with two children in tow. I couldn’t help but hear them asking mommy why daddy couldn’t come. She had no answer. Not wanting to say anything negative about their father, she opted for a vague answer and quickly changed the subject. 

Two hours later, the bus made a meal stop at a local McDonald’s. Who knew they did that?! Fortunately, a convenience store was right next door. I ran over there and found a coloring book. I grabbed it and ran back to the bus and took out a pack of  colored highlighters from my backpack.

Mountains in Utah

Mountains in Utah

 

When Henrietta and kids returned to the bus, I gave them to her. She and I talked while the children colored in their book. 

During my six days aboard public transportation, I saw country I’d never seen before as we made our way through Wyoming and finally Utah. I also saw a part of society that is hurting in a way I’d never witnessed.

Sure, I’ve seen people running in airports, at rest stops along the interstate, at hotels and in restaurants. But never before had I been so close to hurting women who did not have the means to flee in style. They didn’t have money for meals, even the value menu under the golden arches. Their eyes mirrored hearts that were empty and without belonging. I ached for them.

Me After Five Days and 120 Women's Stories

Me After Five Days and 120 Women’s Stories

 

I prayed for them and thanked God that I saw this underworld of women who are more courageous than the brave souls who pushed west to settle the once wild land we rode though on a smelly bus.

If I ever am tempted to complain about sitting in a plush airport waiting for a late airplane that will take me from one end of the country to the other in a matter of hours, I’ll remember my six days on a Greyhound. I’ll remember Atlanta’s bus station that was locked down while all passengers were searched and guns, knives, blades and brass nuckles confiscated.

I’ll remember cries in the night as wounds tried to heal, and children who didn’t understand abuse. They only missed their daddy.

Six days…

 

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Tribute to the Godmother of Cyclo-Touring

Posted October 18, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Dakota, Bob (my new trailer) and I set out on a shake down ride of sorts today. I met BiknJeanne Hargrave for one final ride before I set off again for parts unknown on the Road to Freedom Tour.

Dakota and Bob

Dakota and Bob

We reminesced about our tours together. She is responsible to getting me into touring in the first place. After two nasty crashes three weeks apart while riding a ill-fitted road bike, Jeanne suggested I try touring. She really thought I’d like it. She even offered to loan me gear to go on a tour.

We drove to Indiana and spend a week riding around the hills, camping and seeing the country the best way possible: on the back of a bicycle. When I loaded the panniers she loaned me for the trip, put the on the bike and started out, I only had one thing to say: I was born for this!

Jeanne taught me everything I know about touring. I watched and listened. I asked a ton of questions. I’m sure she got tired of answering them but she never let on. I am riding the Road to Freedom Tour today because Jeanne took the time and energy to introduce me to cyclo-touring. 

BiknJeanne and me putting Dakota back together after shipping.

BiknJeanne and me putting Dakota back together after shipping.

My custom-built Waterford touring bicycle was Jeanne’s recommendation. As I click off mile after mile, not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for her wisdom. I comfortably ride every day on a bike that’s made precisely to my body geometry. It’s amazing.

Yesterday we stopped at Grumpy’s for lunch and talked of plans to continue our rides. And of course, I asked her a ton more questions. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. 

The Godmother-BiknJeanne Hargrave and me

The Godmother-BiknJeanne Hargrave and me

There are times in a person’s life when in just being themselves, they change the world. Jeanne, or the Godmother of cyclo-touring as I like to call her, did just that. I shutter to think what my world would be like without her. The Bicycle Lady would not have appeared on Kayleedean’s front porch in the middle of an Illinois corn field. Seven year old Hazel in Tennessee would still think God was mad at her. 

As I pedal mile after mile, it is riding on the back of a tandem with Jeanne pulling the weight. If I reach more women and set them free from the fear that binds them, it is because the Godmother gave me the keys. 

The Godmother of Cyclo-Touring, Jeanne Hargrave (Sorry for stealing your photo from Facebook)

The Godmother of Cyclo-Touring, Jeanne Hargrave (Sorry for stealing your photo from Facebook)

Godspeed on your journey, BiknJeanne. May you always have the wind at your back and open road up ahead. May you always have blue skies and someone with a great stove to cook your dinner in camp after a ride with a breathtaking view. 

Thank you for making Road to Freedom Tour possible. 

 

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Blending into Nothing

Posted October 16, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Yesterday was a dreary day where I am. Clouds and drizzly rain with the temperatures in the upper 60’s were hardly the perfect photo op for a postcard. So I walked three miles to a local bagel place, pulled out my I-pad mini and got lost in a book.

Geese on the bike trail on a rainy day

Geese on the bike trail on a rainy day

After a while I noticed that I was being ignored, which isn’t a bad thing if you want to be lost in a book, but it got me thinking. What if I was needing help? What if I wanted people to see me? 

So I walked home, changed into my bicycle gear, hooked up my new trailer and pedaled back down to that same restaurant. I wheeled up right in front and leaned Dakota against the window. I walked in, ordered a bagel and sat in the same seat. 

Suddenly, folks began to notice this alien in spandex. Looks turned in my direction, many of them from the same people who’d ignored me moments before. 

What's not to notice!

What’s not to notice!

It seems I came out of the wallpaper to become a conversation piece. Men and women approached me. They asked where I was headed, how hard it was to pull a trailer, why I was doing such a crazy thing.

I was invited to join a group of women who took up most of a side room. They marveled as I told them about Road to Freedom. Interestingly, many of them had walked right by me without even a nod moments before.

It’s all about the spandex. Well, and loaded panniers, bicycle trailers on a rainy day doing what anyone in their right minds would never do. 

As I said farewell and headed back out to the dreary day, one woman followed me out. She had not been with the group. I’d seen her come in and tuck away in the corner on my first visit. 

Packing up, preparing for a Sunday departure.

Packing up, preparing for a Sunday departure.

“Are you really riding your bicycle around the country helping women who have been abused?” 

Did I detect a quiver in her voice? “Of course I am.” I handed her one of my business cards. “You can follow along on my journey if you’d like.”

“How do you get people to listen?”

“I wear spandex,” I said chuckling. “Would you like for me to listen to you?”

For the next hour we sat outside in the drizzling rain as Beverly told me the story of her abuse that started as a child, and continued to this day. Just like me on my first visit, the world passes her by without even wondering whether she was hurting.

I prayed with Beverly and recommended she take the bold step of getting some help. 

Through tears, she hugged my neck and said, “You’re the only person who’s taken the time to care and listen.”

As I rode off with cold drizzle hitting my face, it was a sobering reminder that women who have been victims of assault or abuse blend into nothing. They make it a point to not be noticed, all the while secretly pining for someone–anyone–to pay attention to them.

That’s why I pour my middle-aged body into spandex, pack all my belongings onto my bicycle and ride on a rainy day. Road to Freedom continues.

Trying to figure out what to pack is tough

Trying to figure out what to pack is tough

I’m putting the final brush strokes on my book proposal to get that off to those who have requested it. Then it’s off again. My departure date will be Sunday! Where I’m going only God knows but to be sure there will be women just like Beverly who need an alien in spandex to listen, to care, and to help.

God blesses the broken road that leads me to hurting women.

 

 

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Quest for Freedom

Posted October 14, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

On Saturday, I rode Dakota to a nearby eatery and met one of my favorite people in the world: Jane Young Hill. We embraced in a long awaited reunion and grabbed a table outside. Not only was the weather breathtaking, but it was much more quiet than inside the restaurant.

We caught up on each other’s lives over pumpkin bagels and regaled each other of our adventures, Jane with her family that is growing up too fast and me with the Road to Freedom Tour that has taken on a life of its own. 

LCSW Jane Young Hill and Me. What a Joyful Reunion

LCSW Jane Young Hill and Me. What a Joyful Reunion

The conversation naturally turned to the reason Jane and I met. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Jane and I worked together for a couple of weeks but she soon realized I needed intense help. She arranged for me to be admitted to Focus by the Sea, in St. Simons Island, Georgia. 

Once stabilized, Jane continued to work tirelessly with me to overcome the terror I faced. I found my way to freedom thanks to her expertise and willingness to see me through my quest… the quest for freedom.

We sat in the morning sun reminiscing about those weeks together and I admitted I know full well I would not be where I am today if God had not placed Jane in my path. I’d been to another therapist who, even through she was young and vibrant, fell asleep during our first session together. It was also our last.

I am happy, emotionally healthy and whole today because of Jane and Saturday morning, I wanted her to bask in the sweetness of the fruits of her labor. 

Dakota and my new Bob Trailer. The men in my life!

Dakota and my new Bob Trailer. The men in my life!

I asked her if she ever got discouraged or felt she was not making a difference. Of course she does. We all do. I told her the next time she felt that way, to think of me and know she’s doing a good work.

Two hours passed like a flash of lightening and all too soon, she went back to her therapy world and I mounted Dakota and pedaled west. The memories of our days together and the gravity of Jane’s efforts tugged at my heart. She gave all she had to contribute to my personal quest for freedom. Now it’s my turn. 

Can't Life Your Dream Because of Fear? Get my book on Amazon!

Can’t Live Your Dream Because of Fear? Get my book on Amazon!

Helping women along the Road to Freedom Tour is just my reasonable service. It’s my way of paying it forward. To show others the way to the freedom I enjoy and have had for several years.

Thank you, Jane and so many therapists, social workers, doctors, nurses and others who dedicate their lives to helping others find the way to freedom. May God multiply blessings back to you for your labor of love for humanity. 

 

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When the Storm Rages

Posted September 10, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Ohio River4Yesterday I spent the day in downtown Henderson, Kentucky with a new friend I just met. Debie Michael and I made arrangements to meet and spend the day together. We only met two weeks ago and saw each other for the second time on Sunday at church.

She invited me to be part of a special church program at Zion Baptist Church as they celebrated 160 years of service to this community. We were destined to be friends. 

Debie has a very special story. She is a survivor of breast cancer, not once, but twice. She underwent chemotherapy, surgery, surgery and more surgery. She had every complication a woman could have with breast cancer… and then some.

She’s been through so much. She was sick from the chemo. She was mishandled by physicians handling her case. But that was not to be

As she made her rounds to her doctor and hospital appointments, Debi put the word out about this new support group. It would quickly be recognized in the community as a lifeline to women who were facing horrific challenges. With all the medical services in their town, there was no place women could go to get loved on, encouraged, anchored in hope and built up in faith. 

Debi didn’t face the storm that raged inside her body by cowering in the bottom of the boat. Instead, she jumped right out of the boat Coastline, Irelandinto the raging sea, kept her eyes on Jesus and was used by Him to encourage others who were faced with the same storm.

I wrote in one of my books once that, “True wisdom is forged on the anvil of suffering.” If you meet someone you know is really, truly wise, you don’t even have to ask whether they have suffered in their life. You know they have. That’s the only way you obtain that wisdom. 

After being in Debi’s presence for only a few hours on a Monday filled my spiritual change purse to overflowing. She’s gracious, yet attacks life’s challenges ferociously. Her ear is tuned to Heaven and her legs walk out what she hears. 

You can find Debi staying all night at the local Relay for Life, or sharing her faith and healing with anyone who will give her an audience. Her zest for life is only shadowed by her tenacity to keep every gift God has given her, including life.

 

Debi Michael and me

Debi Michael and me

If you passed Debi on the streets of Henderson, you’d never know she faced anything more serious in life than a hang nail. Her smile melts you into joyful bliss. Hearing her story after witnessing God’s glory radiating from her draws you into the light of His embrace. 

Debi is a mighty warrior for the Lord. She’s out there every day singing God’s praise and inviting others to enter in. She approaches each new day with courage, fervor, faith and gusto. I am in awe of what God has done in her life and what He continues to do through her. 

She teaches us that when the storm rages, get out of the boat and walk on the stormy seas of life. As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, she can do anything… even walk on water.

Thank you Debi for the privilege of spending time with you yesterday. It was truly a blessing I won’t soon forget. 

 

 

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Things are Black and White?

Posted September 5, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Fountain in Downtown

The Fountain in Central Park

Yesterday I spent the day in the park in downtown Henderson, KY. It’s a great place to prop my leg up… and to meet the local people. It was cool and sunny. I simply could not resist.

After lunch, I moseyed back to the gazebo and met a very interesting character. Pertis Cosby (no relation to Bill, he was quick to point out) is a 73 year old man who was born and raised in that area. One of 17 children, he told story after story from his childhood.

I hung on every word.

He also gave me the historical account of growing up in Kentucky as a black man. I looked in the direction he pointed when he referred to “the white funeral home” or “the black church” in town. I could almost understand why some churches were primarily segregated.

The Ohio River

The Ohio River

It’s more of a cultural than racial thing. But dead people? Seriously?

I could not resist asking him why they had different funeral homes for different races, he replied, “Well, I’m gonna tell ya. White folks just didn’t want black folks coming to their funeral homes.”

“Why?” I just didn’t get it. After a person draws their last breath, their body is just a shell… an empty house.

Mr. Cosby took a deep breath and ventured, “well, it’s cause when a black person dies, we black folks loves to eat. And the white folks just don’t like all that food in their funeral homes.”

I sat in silence as I let it sink in, realizing that I had just assumed it was something racial. Before having the facts, I incorrectly concluded it was about black and white, something with prejudice. And all the time, it was about food. 

I looked around and didn’t see black and white. In this small town, I saw all the colors of the rainbow (at least I think I did. I’m color blind). 

Pertis was surprised when I shook his hand and called him Mr. Cosby. He said no stranger had ever shown him respect like that. He’s my elder and that was the way I was taught. I never thought twice about that. 

Ohio River4

Railroad Bridge Over the Ohio River

Many of the displays of prejudice from him and from me in our lives was not out of hatred at all. There was no malice in his going to the “black only” juke joints and I had no hatred at all towards an elderly black woman when I, at the age of five, willingly showed her the way to the “colored only” restroom.

On both sides of the color wheel, we innocently accepted things saying, “That’s just the way it is.”

I hope I enriched Mr. Cosby’s life yesterday. I know he did mine and I will be forever grateful that I learned a better, more respectful way to treat other human beings God created. Hearing his perspective of the world in the south was amazing. I’m so grateful that I got to share it and hope I see him again before I leave.

Godspeed, Mr. Cosby. 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Failure is, and Isn’t

Posted August 29, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Illinois State Line

It wasn’t Oregon

I have had such an outpouring of love, friendship, caring, concern and overall well wishes from so many when I released the news yesterday that I’d suffered two serious, ride ending injuries. I am so grateful for all the emails, calls, texts, voicemails and personal visits as I move toward restoration.

Interestingly, I’ve had some individuals try to encourage me in “my time of failure.”  That word took me by surprise because not once did I ever consider that I’d failed. I began pondering that and realized that many of us have a distorted view of failure.

The Road to Freedom hasn’t stopped. In fact, rather than pedaling to where the ministry took place last night, the ministry came to me. I sat with a house full of amazing and courageous women who have lived hard lives and have amazing stories of overcoming and triumphantly taking their lives back.

No failure there, just courage, tenacity, and victory.

Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

As I pondered, I discovered what failure is, and what it isn’t. I’d like to share that with you:

What failure is:

1) Never attempting what you would had you followed the leading of your heart.

2) Not daring to dream.

3) Being led by excuses to not live your dream.

 

What failure isn’t:

1) Following your heart and winding up in a different destination.

2) Attempting to live your dream and it doesn’t work out.

3) Giving something your all but not reaching your goal.

 

From the Farm in KY

Thunderstorms began at sunrise

There is a clear difference between failing and being a failure. On any given Sunday, two teams suit up and take to the gridiron. Both want to win and give it their all. Only one team can walk off the field with the win but they all are victorious. Do you realize how many successes it requires for a single player to make it to the NFL? And yet, one team loses.

The recent injuries I sustained that caused me to have to look at Dakota rather than ride him made me keenly aware that many of us have become laser-focused on the outcome rather than the journey. If things don’t turn out exactly the way they planned–and the never will–many will lump that into the failure file.

On my bike, I could plot out a route I would take in any given day. Not once did it turn out the way I planned. But, at the end of the

Planned to vid

Plans to visit my parent’s graves were washed out

day, it had been a gloriously successful one. Never did I consider that day a failure, and yet, there are so many who will. The feedback I’ve received bears witness of that.

Failure is NOT having tried and ended up somewhere other than where you planned. Failure is never having tried and ending up where you were. 

What is YOUR definition of failure? When was the last time you felt like you failed? Share it here!

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It’s Not About the Bike

Posted August 28, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Heading Out at Sunrise

Setting out at sunrise

Since I began this Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour across America, I’ve said that it’s not about the bike. It’s about getting into the lives and hearts of the women who I come in contact with day after day whose lives are changed.

They have been liberated, healed and have gained courage to face their fear and find the freedom they were meant to enjoy. I’ve met such incredible people on this trip. It’s been amazing and I’m so grateful to God that He chose me to ride my bicycle for women who don’t have a voice.

While the Road to Freedom will not end, it appears the bicycle portion is completing its course. I injured my shoulder on day four of the tour. It’s been up and down but I’ve been nursing it back to health. While pushing my bike last week through ten miles of soft gravel, I apparently completed tearing what was only a partial tear to the rotator cuff. I received a diagnosis of a full thickness tear.

My original  plan was to ride back to Evansville, Indiana Monday, stay for a couple of days and slowly meander northeast to arrive in

Farm Road in Illinois

Farm Road in Illinois

Indianapolis on September 11th for the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference. That would give it a chance to calm down and begin the healing process. Five more days there would be just what I would need to complete the rest of the tour. 

I set out on Monday morning at sunrise heading back east, careful to avoid the soft gravel road. I’d covered about 55 miles of a 70 mile ride when I tore the medial collateral  ligament in my knee. I was on the side of the road for about an hour sitting and praying. Every time I stood up, I would get dizzy and nauseous, a clear indication it was more than just a tweak. I had a serious injury.

Thankfully, I was close enough to my destination that my two new friends, Clydean and Melody, were able to come pick me up. I rode safe and sound in the comfort of a vehicle for the remainder of my journey.

As word began to spread of my injuries, I have received an incredible outpouring of well wishes, concerns about how disappointed I must be not being able to continue my ride. Although I am so grateful for the outpouring of love and support,  this recent turn of events has done nothing to deter me from my mission. The Road to Freedom is alive and well, and soon to be well traveled.

Though I can’t get on the bike right now, it’s not about the bike. Every mile I’ve ridden has been filled with challenge, ministry, hardship, fulfillment, excitement, fatigue. God has always led me to minister to others. That’s who I am. That’s who He’s called me to be.

My friend Melody said it perfectly, “well, if you can’t go to them, we’ll just have to bring them to you!” We already have ministry scheduled in her home for tonight!

 

The Ride back east to Indiana and Kentucky

The Ride back east to Indiana and Kentucky

The Lord is showing me that the Road to Freedom began on the bike, and will continue as a foundation to help women who have been the victims of violent assault and sexual abuse. That will be the direction Road to Freedom takes. What began on an bike in the vast wilderness of country roads in America will reach more people than I ever thought possible.

The bike gave birth to something that the country has hooked on to and will be used for years to come to minister to women who have suffered in silence far too long.

I will remain in the Henderson, Kentucky area until September 11th writing, planning and preparing to take Road to Freedom to a greater level. 

I will continue to blog about the experiences, adventures and truth God reveals to me through this amazing journey. I need you more than ever to help me spread the word about Road to Freedom. Though it began on two wheels, it was never about the bike, but rather about the 1 in 3 women in our country who will be violently attacked or suffer sexual abuse in their lifetime.

I will also work on the book that is coming out of this amazing adventure. I now have the time to do it!

Through your help, encouragement and prayer support,  I’ve been able to reach thousands of women, some–like Kayledean–we’ve met and shared the celebration of

Oh, that hurts!

Oh, that hurts!

triumph. Some we’ve wept with as they poured out the stories, finally having someone who would listen and understand. Others we may never meet but they are being touched nonetheless.

We have momentum and it didn’t come from the bike. It came from you helping me get the word out. And the word continues to spread. We have to keep it going. I may be shipping Dakota home but the Road to Freedom will continue to be the path I take. Please continue to take the journey with me. I’d miss you terribly if you didn’t.

Women need us. We need to bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free.

 

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