Crowned One | by Stephanie Sparks

My name means “crowned one” yet for most of my life I was unable to grasp that. I walked around in my younger years filled with the need to apologize for everything. The way I looked, the way I spoke, the way I felt and yes — I even apologized for just being born. No one really meant to make me feel bad and in fact, if not for a grandmother who loved and encouraged me, I’m not really sure what I would’ve become.

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I Am Not a Victim | by Lisa Poduska

Well, I'm not sure where to start. As a young child, my mom couldn't afford to take care of us, so my sister and I lived in a children's home. From time to time when we were actually at home, I was molested by my mom's husband at the age of seven — all while going back and forth from the children's home.

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My Crown of Perseverance | by Avery Gee

I've walked many miles. I have lived many lives but as Maya Angelou once said, "Still I rise." As a seed planted in unwanted soil many years ago, I have been fighting against the darkness to rise. I was the secret child of a married man and a beautiful young woman with a mental illness. I was such a secret that out of four children, I was the only one put up for adoption. To this very day, some six decades later, I am still the family secret. But, I wear my crown of perseverance because I still rise.

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Why Weight? | by Gwen Winters

"Why weight" is my story because it represents waiting for the perfect life, job or experience. This title also means something that has held me back in taking chances or the way people see me. My weight has influenced my life and given me pain. As an almost 50-year-old woman, it has taken me years to realize God has given me the ability to succeed and create my own life — and experiencing it without worrying about waiting for something that may not be best for me.

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