Here Is The TLDR: Strength To Fight is continuing. I’m still heading up Strength To fight. Somehow this ends up with me needing employment. Hire me?
Ok, here is the long version.
4 years ago some friends ambushed me. Straight up lied about a meeting we were having. Said it was about something else. Then halfway through the meeting they changed the subject and said “We actually came to Ottawa to convince you that you should quit your job and run a full-time anti-porn organization”.
As most of you know. That’s what I did.
For nearly 4 full years Strength To Fight has been my full-time job. I’ve travelled all across the country. Given over 100 presentations. Made friends and allies from every background across North America and even beyond.
Most importantly I’ve had the incredibly ridiculous honour of speaking face to face with thousands and thousands of Canadians impacted by our work.
Tearful stories of lost love, ruined careers, broken families and homes. Tearful stories of healing, restored marriages, hard-fought freedom.
And I listened to stories that I never ever imagined I would hear. Personal stories of being trafficked, abused, arrested for child-pornography, being used for child-pornography. The first year it nearly broke me. Vicarious trauma they call it.
But I got better at handling it.I talked to every therapist I knew or met, every cop I knew, anyone who had to deal with trauma every day and I learned a lot about how to handle the day in day out darkness of the fight.
It still wore on me though. But that wasn’t reason enough to quit,
Then there was the financial side. Running any type of small business is pretty stressful. I have a lot more appreciation for all the people out there that are doing just that, it’s …..(Hang on, there is a women outside walking her dog by carrying it in a baby carrier…..Not like a small dog, a good medium sized dog, in a baby carrier….that’s….odd.)
Anyhow. It’s been 4 years of getting the amazing experience of getting to see the amazing work of pulling drowning people out of the water, but simultaneously furiously bailing out the boat. And last year was the most extreme. Reaching more people, doing bigger events including the absolutely incredible Strong & Free conference. But we had by far our worst financial year. Donations tanked and after the conference we basically were sitting looking at the odd juxtaposition of this flood of testimonies coming in telling us how we were impacting lives and looking at the bank account and saying “well, that doesn’t look great”.
But we had been in a financial crunch before. And we always survived. It definitely wasn’t reason enough to quit,
But this time we had a different thought then the other times we’ve been in a crunch. Were we fighting for something we didn’t need anymore? As I took time over the summer to think and pray about everything, I saw that a lot of what I had been fighting to accomplish was completed. Not that Strength To Fight had “arrived” and was everything I/we wanted it to be. But a lot of what I had been doing the last 4 years, making the connections we needed, meeting with other organizations and ministries so that we could work together, pounding the pavement to get the word out, it was in a pretty solid state.
And my thoughts were confirmed this summer. After the birth of our 4th child this summer I took some time off, but that didn’t stop the testimonies from flooding in. I came back to piles of stories of people impacted by Strength To Fight over the summer and I hadn’t had to do anything myself. In other years if I took time off it seemed as if things ground to halt, but not this time. We had actually hit that critical mass where the organization kept having an impact without me being in the office.
This makes me feel two things.
And a feeling of loss.
Relief that the burden really and isn’t truly on me to have to deliver “results”.
Loss, because I’ve loved this. I am passionate about this. I hate pornography and it is my great joy to spend 40+ hours a week making sure that porn has a bad day in Canada.
But it confirms to me what I thought. Strength To Fight is in a place to be able to strip back some of the back-end and see how much we can grow by refocusing on the front lines. And excitingly and terrifyingly to me “How fast can this boat go without me in it?”
Let me address three things really quickly. Because I’m NOT quitting. And I want you to understand what that means.
Strength To Fight is continuing. This doesn’t mean we are shutting down, but we are dividing up the remaining responsibilities and working on some pretty exciting partnerships to make us more streamlined and efficient on the back-end. From an outside perspective, very little will actually change, in fact it will probably look like our staff is growing not shrinking.
Strength To Fight still needs financial support. Under our new workflow, every dollar will go farther. We are taking this time to make sure that we are taking an honest look at everything we’ve been doing. We want to make sure that there is nothing that we are doing just because it’s what we’ve done before, but that we are being as effective as possible. And as we strip things down, we are going to build even more into what Strength To Fight can do.
I am still working for Strength To Fight: In fact I’m still the director of Strength To Fight, but now as volunteer. I’m still doing speaking, helping build the team, future projects, but more of the grunt work that I took on myself is being spread out to other volunteers.
Which is all to say, this is a time full of transition to me. To healthily let go of things I’ve been doing for years but need to let other people take the lead on. I need to find a job. (Looking for work is the worst). For the past couple of months I’ve actually been applying for jobs and I’ve had some interviews but so far nothing has worked out. And by “not worked out” I mean the people hiring are like “How about you work out there and not in here.”
This was a long explanation. But a lot of you have supported me in various ways along this journey and the journey is not over, but things are just very transitiony right now and I’ve already heard some confusion from people about myself and Strength To Fight, so I wanted to try to clear things up and share with you what is up with me.
I appreciate you all.
*If anyone who is supporting Strength To Fight financially, would like to talk to me more in-depth about how this affects STF etc. I would be very happy to talk with you personally. Or if you WANT to support financially in the future, I would happily talk with you too.