Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker

S4 E8 | How Love Rescued Me From the Streets with Dorris Walker-Taylor

March 09, 2021 Dorris Walker-Taylor, ambassador for Thistle Farms Season 4 Episode 8
Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker
S4 E8 | How Love Rescued Me From the Streets with Dorris Walker-Taylor
Show Notes Transcript

Is healing possible for women coming out of abuse, addiction, sex trafficking, and prostitution? Thistle Farms ambassador, Dorris Walker-Taylor, tells her story of loss, drugs, life on the street, and the healing power of love that she found at Thistle Farms.

Dorris Walker-Taylor is an ambassador for Thistle Farms. Follow Thistle Farms online:

On the podcast:

“You can’t tell me that love is not stronger than fear—because it is. You can’t tell me that love is not the most powerful force for change in the world—because it is.”

“I always thought it was me against the world. This organization [Thistle Farms] loved me back to life.”

“This whole world is in an uproar. And the only way we are going to be able to live in peace and unity is for love to come into the picture.”

“I could have responded to my father’s death in a lot of different ways, but the way I responded to it was not the right way because I thought I could cover up the pain with a chemical, and it manifested itself into just a horrible life. But God has brought me out of that, and I have done more living in these past 11 years than I did in the first 50 or so…the first four, five decades of my life were in ruins, but God has forgiven me of all my sins, which are many, and now he has blessed me to be able to go back out there and to tell women that there is a way out, that we do get our lives back.”

“God chased me until I found him.”

“Come to Thistle Farms…and you’ll see, it’s as clear as night and day, the difference that love has made in our lives.”

Thank you to Breaking Ground, the co-host for this podcast.

Head, Heart, Hands, Season 4 of the Love Is Stronger Than Fear podcast, is based on my e-book Head, Heart, Hands, which accompanies White Picket Fences. Check out free RESOURCES that are designed to help you respond to the harm of privilege and join in the work of healing. Learn more about my writing and speaking at

Note: This transcript is autogenerated using speech recognition software and does contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

0 (6s):
I thought I was getting a ride back to the street, but I got a ride into the will of God. And my entire life has changed. Ain't tell me that loves is not stronger than fear because you can tell me the lugs, not the most powerful force for change in the world, because it is

1 (32s):
Hi friends. I'm Amy Julia Becker and this is love is stronger than Fear a podcast about pursuing hope and healing in the midst of social division. In this season, we are talking about how we can respond to the brokenness in our own lives and in our society with our heads, hearts and hands. And wow, does today's guest talk about how love can enter into brokenness and really, really heal us in a minute. You are going to get to hear from Dorris Walker Taylor Dorris is an ambassador for the organization that Thistle Farms, which is a social nonprofit. I'm going to let her tell you a lot about it, but just as a way of intro, this is a Farms offer as a way of healing for women who are survivors of abuse, addiction, prostitution, and human trafficking.

1 (1m 18s):
I'm so glad that I get to share Dorris this story and the beautiful work of Thistle Farms with all of you

0 (1m 24s):

1 (1m 27s):
Well, I feel incredibly honored to be sitting here today on zoom with my new friend Dorris Walker Taylor Dorris is an ambassador for an organization called Thistle Farms. And I'm going to have her tell you about that in just a minute. But before I do that, I do want to just remind us all, anyone who's listening, that the name of this podcast is love is stronger than fear. And this particular season of the podcast, what we're talking about is ways that we can engage our whole selves, our heads, our hearts, our hands in the healing work of Love in the world. So here on this podcast. We were talking about the power of love and the power of love to heal us and D this will Farms is really doing that work.

1 (2m 9s):
The work of love heals. And we're going to hear more about that as we progressed through this conversation, but that's really why I've invited Dorris on the show today, because we're going to get to talk about the power of love to heal us. And so Dorris, I do want to say welcome.

0 (2m 25s):
Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to be here. Thank you so much. Amy bye.

1 (2m 29s):
You are very welcome. And I'm going to assume that our listeners do not know anything about you or about thistlefarms. And I want to introduce them both through the organization and to you personally, but let's start with this big picture. Can you just tell me what Thistle Farms is as an organization?

0 (2m 45s):
I can't, I can, I'll be happy to. So there are some Farms is an absolutely amazing organization. We are a five Oh one C3. We're a non-profit. We are enterprise, and we have a lot of different entities. We have like the cafe and this farm. This is located in Nashville. This ran by the survivor. We have this amazing a manufacturing facility for all the products are made by survivors' products are made with the essential oils. There is kind to you to scan. If there are two of the earth at the heart of the program. For me, I say that because I am a survivor myself at the heart of the program for me, it's the residential program. We have a two year free to the survivor therapeutic setting for women to come in and leave for two whole years, free a place where they can rest from all of their brokenness to get treatment and then go on to have a job.

0 (3m 33s):
So those are Farms. It is a whole thing is the whole thing for the average coming off the street. And I love it. So now we have over 46 sister organizations around the country where people have heard of what we're doing and they decide to open up. So there was a Farms for me, it was a whole ball of wax with this as well. And it's a whole thing.

1 (3m 52s):
So within that, I definitely want to ask more about this whole Farms how it operates, what you're doing, but could you tell us how you came in to thistlefarms, how you got involved in what your life looked like before you were there?

0 (4m 6s):
Oh my goodness. I can. I can't. You know, so there are some women who have come into the field, so Farms community because they grew up in homes where addiction was prevalent. They thought that was an okay way of life, but that wasn't a part of my story. And then there are some women who come into the field. So Farms community, because they were sewed into human trafficking at a very early age. It in the beginning, that was a part of my story either. And there are some women who come into our community because they were touched by a family member or a stranger. And that molestation started a cycle of trauma in their lives, actually had an amazing childhood. So my mother and father were humble, but he was in God.

0 (4m 47s):
I was the youngest on the family and my mom and dad taught me all there was to know about the word of God. And my dad used to tell me the music is food for the soul. And he would carry me to church with him. And he pushed me up front. And I was seeing when I was a little girl, I had an amazing childhood. I landed at this as far as with all the others, we call ourselves. So it's just for life because our stories are more likely than different So yet I landed right there. It goes to the farm. So my life was perfect. I live in Whitehouse, Tennessee, which is a lot of time in North of Nashville, Tennessee, a little town, much like maybe very, you know, everybody knows everybody. Okay. So I'm talking back in 1968 because this happened when I was 12 years old.

0 (5m 30s):
So, but I still remember that particular day as if, as if it just happened. So out of the blue in the month of may, 1968, a very troubled family member came up to our family home, severely injured. My mom had shot. My father had never in my life experienced anything like this. I never been around balance and I can remember screaming. And I ran over to my dad. And just as I got there, he failed. Hm. Which resulted in my, with my dad died the day my mom was severely injured and I immediately began to live in denial because I did not know or understand what then in a year.

0 (6m 13s):
And it was all about So after that happened. And my mom became the sole bread winner. So I started hanging out with what I thought it was a cool kid at school. And I will sit in class and I would play that dread is seeing you in my head over and over again. But once I started smoking marijuana, it made me feel better for, just for me, marijuana was a gateway drug. So it was not taken care of my problems. And it was just masking my problems. Right. But it became a gateway drug for me. And all the time I was an adult Amy I had a full blown cocaine addiction that made me to the streets of Nashville, Tennessee. And that's what I began to live with truly inhumane lifestyle.

0 (6m 57s):
I can remember walking down the streets of Nashville and have a tray myself just to get out of the blister in hot weather. And I would Trey myself to get out of the cold weather. I remember that my mom and dad, my, my dad used to tell me the Lord will make our way somehow. And I knew about the power of prayer, but I would be so high. And so in liberated, I could not form a prayer, but I would walk down to the streets of Nashville. And I would recite the 23rd song because I had recited that every day of my life, it was like, yes, yes. I walked down the streets of Nashville and I would be like, the Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want, he made it to me. The line down in green pastures end and at the end of the 23rd Psalm and says, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

0 (7m 40s):
And I knew I wasn't dwelling. So I said, God, if you just please come get me. I promise you, I dwell in your house. I say the prayer every day, I'm using drugs everyday, but a lot of living in God's will at all. But right after I said that prayer, I went to jail again. So my life was full of going to jail and getting out of jail and going to jail and trading myself as though I was some type of a commodity and I had lost everything in my life. It was good and decent. So I went to jail again, and I had been on the street and I had a friend named Regina and Regina had just disappeared. And I thought Regina was dead because our lives didn't hold any value on the street.

0 (8m 25s):
So when I get to jail, I'm sitting there with my spirit broken and I get my head down and I've gotten on this ugly orange jumpsuits. 'cause they are, these are the jails. And I went to were design just to break your spirits even more than, than it was broken. So I was sitting there and I happened to look up and I saw this girl across the, across the way. And she was glowing from the inside out. And I'm thinking, this is that Regina. So Regina was there, but she was not. There is an inmate. Regina was there at the jail to bring a word of hope, to let the women know that we didn't have to keep living in the way we were. So I saw a Regina and she turned around and looked at me and she said, I guess what, I got my life back.

0 (9m 8s):
I'm like, how did you do that? She said, I found this program. And now I can't do that. I have gone to so many 30 day programs with what was the 30 days going to do for me, but I have an addictive the bathroom Jordan in my life. She said, no, Dorris this program is for us. And I said, she said, it's a long term program. And I say, do you know, I have gone to the halfway houses, but they charged 125 to a, a $140 a week. And at that time in my life, and I'm talking about 2009 at that time in my life, the only way I knew how to make money was to go back out and train myself because nobody would hire me because of my background. Right.

0 (9m 48s):
It was a vicious cycle. So she said, Dorris, don't worry about it. She said, this program is designed for women, just like us. She said, it's a two year program and it's totally free. And I'm like free. She said, yeah. Okay. So she gave me the number. So at this time when I got out of jail, I did something a little different. How is usually when I get out of jail, I will return to the Streets and it will be a vicious cycle of, but this time I was all the way back to the white house, Tennessee. Hmm. But at this time I am in my life. I have to be a healthy, two wonderful children. I got to have some, a son and a beautiful daughter.

0 (10m 31s):
And my mom was raising them because I can take care of myself. Right. Because I'm busy running from my past. And I come in and I'm tired and I'm dirty. And I probably smelt like a beer, but my kids just ran up to me and hugged me and loved on me. They loved her mom, no matter what. So I go in the room where I grew up as a child and how it was not a safe place for me because my bedroom has a child. Or if I look right after the window, that was a very spicy style. And my dad fell to his death. So a home was not a good place for me, but I went in and I sat down and I had asked, holding on to that number you gave me. So I looked up, I saw my daughter's beautiful picture.

0 (11m 13s):
And I took my door's picture off my mom's wall. And I screw it with that number all the back. And I put it back up there. And I thought, now that number's safe because everything, I touched terms to dirt. So I stay there a few days. And when I was there, my brother said, Dorris, you know what? You are killing our mom every time the news come on. And they find a woman day in and she does not have any identification. Her mom goes into a panic mode because she thinks is you can you just call our mom every now and then I let her know you are doing okay. And I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah. I didn't have any feelings. I was, no, I had the drug. I did exactly what I thought I wanted to do.

0 (11m 54s):
It had no on me, but in the process, it had Rog my entire life. So I went back to the street because I didn't know how to live. And when I get back to the streets, I normally, my brother had planted a seed in my spirit, Amy, I would be sitting in a crack house and something in my spirit was saying, call you mom. I was like, what? So I would be walking down the street about the open, the car door, toward a stranger's car and something in my spirit was saying, call you mom. So I'm like, OK. Okay. So it just worries me at it worried me. And I couldn't do anything that I used to do because it, that it was a C plan.

0 (12m 35s):
So it hadn't been about a year. It took me that long, but I thought, okay, I'm calling my mom. So I called him and said, Hey mom, this is Doris. And I just wanted do you know, I was doing OK. And I was not doing okay. Right. But Dorris, I need you to do one thing to me before I leave this world. She said, you know, the song was, your dad talked to you as a child. And the songs that I know you can sing were having this 25th anniversary. And we want you to come back and be a part of it. You can, you can just do that one thing for me before I die. And I'm like, okay,

2 (13m 7s):

0 (13m 7s):
Mom. So I go home. When I got home, I slept more safe and more sound than I had slept. And a couple of decades. Yeah. And I woke up in the next morning and my mom was out in the kitchen cooking and it smelled good. And I keep, my mom had a habit on a walk around the house. How many of whom praises? And I hear my mom and the kitchen cooking. And she was like,

2 (13m 29s):
Oh no, but I want you to him. Me

0 (13m 34s):
She was praying to God that she was in the guy, my baby's home. And I think what you have to keep my baby here with me. And she come in the room and feed me. And then the afternoons I'd walk up to the church and we rehearsed the songs and I've all songs. The choir said, Dorris we needed you to leave this on for us and the song. And we want you to think as you're looking at a miracle and I'm like, really

2 (13m 53s):
All, I

0 (13m 55s):
Really, I don't look like a miracle. I don't feel like a miracle. They say, Dorris, you can do what you can do it as this song is my lead, me battles, Chicago mass choir. And this one was going through a lot. And you'd been through a lot. You can sing this song. What I said, I came in, he said, come out on the door. And so I took the songs and all day long and sort of thinking of drugs. And I was sitting in my mom's bed and how are we rehearsed this song? And in the evening I will walk up to their church and I were Hurst the song. And then one day I'm still in there. And I thought, I'd let me come to Regina. So I get my daughter's picture off the wall. And I said, Hey, Regina, this is Dorris. Remember that problem that you tell me about? Can I come? She said, Dorris we have a 152 women on the waiting list.

0 (14m 38s):
But because you are my friend, my friend, I'm going to talk to the director and I promise you, we are going to get you in. And Amy that? You're Amy Julie. That gave me just a little bit of hope. And that was the first time I have eaten hope in my life in a couple of decades. And I thought, how might just get to go a program? And I might get to be normal that's before I realized that there was no more than a cycle on the washing machine right now. Yeah. I thought I might get to be normal. So I will go to the church in the afternoons of rehearsing come home. And then I have to acquire lovers. We are saying, and I praise. I did things good in decent than I hadn't done it in a couple of decades. But every night when I come home and go to bed, I'm having used in dreams.

0 (15m 20s):
And for those of you who might not know what that is, if you are addicted to fast money or addicted to anything in your life, this is not good all night long. Even if you are not doing it, your spirit, you keep thinking that you're doing it. So I'm wake up in a hot sweat, and I'm thinking I'm on the street. So I woke up that morning. I thought, okay. I gave her, my mom asked me to do, and I'm just going back to the calls because I just can't take it in a more, every night I'm having used in dreams and I don't know how to live. So I usually, when I come home, I can call someone and I say, Hey, I'm going to bring your wife house. Can you come get me in there, rush up there and get me because they knew I had.

0 (16m 1s):
So they knew I had the money and they will come and get me. So this particular morning, the first person I call it and having to gas. The second person I call had a flat tire. I like it. What's going on. So I got desperate. I started calling people and leave a message. This is Dorris who you get this message. Give me a call. I was desperate. I have been with our drugs for two whole weeks. And I was losing my mind. I thought, so my mom was in the kitchen that particular morning. And she was praying harder than I've ever heard anybody pray in their life. And she was like, God, don't let my baby go back. She came home. I got a home and God, I need you to keep right here.

0 (16m 42s):
And she was saying in to the top of her lungs, she's like, all right. Oh my God, I want you to have Me. And she was praying to God. And you can almost feel the vibrations on the windows because she was praying so severely. And I'm in the room. I'm trying to get somebody to come and take me back to the street. So my mom come in the house, coming in the room and I was packing my clothes and putting him in the Bay. And my mom said, Dorris, where are you going? And I looked around and I said, mom, I'm going back. I did what you asked me to do. My mom had tears running down her face. And if I have been in my right mind, that would've stopped, he stopped me, but nothing can stop me when I want to drugs.

0 (17m 24s):
So she said that, where are you going? And how does it mom? And I'm going back. She said, what are you doing? You're not taking no for an answer. Something that I would be, somebody will call me. So the phone will ring. And I thought somebody has come in to get me. So I'd pick the phone and say, Hey, you ready to come get me? It was Regina. It was Regina. So I thought I was getting a ride back to the St but I've got a ride. And to the will of God, then Regina came to get me in care of me, into the field so far in this program. And my entire life has changed. Okay. Tell me that love is not stronger than Fear because it is, you can tell me the love was not the most powerful force for change in the world because it ILS.

0 (18m 15s):
So I came to this amazing program and I did know how to live. And when I got there, I saw women sitting around the room, beautiful, glowing women that I used to sit on the street. I don't see anymore. And walked up to one of the girls. I said, how is it here? She said, Dorris some days a better than others, but no matter what you do, just stick and stay. See me here today. I have 11 years clean. You can tell me the guy who don't love me.

1 (18m 48s):
Okay. And that your mom doesn't love you. I mean, that's the other thing just, and you're just like, she prayed you into that place. Absolutely. That is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. All of that.

0 (19m 7s):
She did. And I came into the program November, the 19th, 2009. Hm. And my mom past in March of next year. And I always say it whenever my mom leaves this world, things that I hadn't done, like I never had robbed anybody, or I had never just dumb things that was really founded. This guy's worth it because I knew better two. So I, well, my mom died. I playing in my mind. I just do whatever it took all the time. My mom died. I was safely in the arms of God and have a safely at the same farms. And my sister is held onto me so tight. I didn't go nowhere.

0 (19m 48s):
And I didn't do nothing, but he trusted in God. And I've got my life that I was trapped in or a 10 block radius for well, over 20 years. And now because of Becker, Stevens the founder of Farms. I have to travel to every state of the United States and my country. Yeah. I'm all the way up to in God is amazing. So for those of you who do not know what those alarms is, it's a program designed for us. Becker Stevens is an Episcopal priests, but this is a farm is, is not a religious organization is just that I know who I am and I know whose I am, but there are some Farms is open for everyone to come in. They love us back to life.

0 (20m 30s):
They didn't laugh at me. They didn't lock me up. They taught me how to live life on life's terms. When I got there, I had 11 and a half teeth there and it was not a good look, but they sent me to get my teeth fixed. They sent me to the therapist. I went to SAC, which is the sexual assault center. They did everything they needed to do to put me back together again. And there was all by the grace of God. So I call this a Farms the vessel that God send to come get me in my life by and now we have 46 sister organizations around the country. Becca Stevens was amazing. We now have a man working at this point in hell. Kato is our CEO. So we have learned how to have healthy relationships with me in that.

0 (21m 13s):
And now that I'm, when I was sitting there talking with you, I'm at my house back in the white house to see three doors down the road. My mom's is where all my trauma started and God has brought me full circle. Last year, I got married to my brother's childhood friends and I'm right back in White house. And I married to a wonderful man of God. And I married to a man who knows all about my stuff. And he don't Love, he don't judge me. He loves me in spite of that. He loves me because I was strong enough to listen to God and get over it. So I'm happy I get my life that I'm happy about it. Yes, yes, yes,

1 (21m 51s):
Absolutely. And amen. So I have so many thoughts. I've, I'm curious to hear about what, in the program for those two years, what were the different elements of healing for you? Like what did you, what enabled that healing to happen? How did it happen?

0 (22m 12s):
You know, I have been so accustomed to me in a locked up and really cool and putting in a sale with six other women, but women. But when I came in to those, the, a pharmacist, it was a beautiful building and, and the main, but we have five house, but the main, the large house is shaped. And the shape of a butterfly there is symbolized is freedom. And we all walked in and I have these Heart to the cell. You know, Becker, Steve was believe in building these houses, just like you will be able to a church organ built it with intention, built it, don't get it. You know, she says, I wish I had the, I can take the worst in the world, has to offer given to me and letting me see, what I can meet.

0 (22m 53s):
God can do is actually what guide can do. And she's guide his hands and feet, right? That's what we are called to be. But the thing that works for me, it goes so far as that didn't work before they didn't charge me anything. And, and see, I wasn't, I wasn't able, in my mind, wasn't able to, I couldn't get a job because of my background was the borrower's gave me a job, can go to work because I have to sell myself to pay my rent. The supporters let me live. They're for two whole years for free. They sent me to therapy. They did everything. I needed to be able to be holed again. And then they sent me to court and I get my records expunged, and I became a, a, a, a law abiding citizen.

0 (23m 33s):
So the arms helps us in every way. I want to the sec, you know, the thing about it is every woman playing has her own, but I need to get to where you might not be what the next woman need it. I have to go to, to, to a therapy for trauma. And I have to get the therapy because I have so much PTSD, not the next one will, may not have had that when I had So, every woman pain is wrong and they give us two whole years to heal from all of our trauma. So I started off at this, as far as making them bombs, I would mix loud and all the almond oil and bees wax and that, and now we have machines that do that, but in those days I would mix it up in 2010 and try to coordinate through this little team.

0 (24m 16s):
And I thought, Oh my God, I'm on that with you. Because I remember we price for about a work of our hands. And then my next job at those apartments, where the PAC the product in the beans and send them out for the women who tell their stories. Well, our prayer, I was three years clean and I have a PAC the products, but then I would leave one thing. And I'm like, so I get my joy in my life. I remember my dad told me the music is food for your soul. So I wrote this a little song of the says, I'm a, Thistle a farmer. And it names every project we have. So I was still feeling like, am at work. I'm saying it. And there was a candle in there and I'm picking up stuff and I'm, and I'm up at this as a farmer.

0 (24m 59s):
And this is where I work. And I'm picking all the products that we can put them in there. So I get my joy back in my life. And then I became the director of events and traveled worldwide with Becker Stevens and now I'm the CEO, and now I'm the singer ambassador. It doesn't Farms God has blessed me abundantly. So I get my life back. And I'm so grateful for it.

1 (25m 23s):
Well, it sounds like it, I want to go back to talking about the products that this will Farms actually makes. I have, we use these Thistle Farms products in our home because they are truly beautiful as he said, but I just wanted to let listeners know. And when will you just talk a little bit about what the products are, but also why? I assume there's an intention, like it was intentional to have women who are coming out off the street, coming out of these abusive and commodifying situations actually employed in making things for the body, right? So you can, can you tell us about the products, but also why it matters to make these items?

0 (26m 3s):
So there was a Farms make's candles, and we were all playing in wax to, because we liked too. We loved the camera because there was a little car and every box candle is that you get that says, we like the cannibal. All the women are still out. There are sick and suffering like a King or the baby's that are born into an addiction without a choice in the matter. So we make these products, we made them with the intangible. We make them with the essential oil that, you know, we used to make us feel some Piper and we would take their souls and, and a t-shirt and, and we will mix them and put them with this big critter and working in all of these wonderful, essential oils as healing. So we're getting were healing.

0 (26m 44s):
So it is an amazing that we get our lives by, we have this hour. So we have global, we have a global department now, where are we? Not only helped women in Nashville, Tennessee, and all of the States in the United States, we had women all around the country. We have this wonderful tea, eco Maringa tea from San Juan. So it was Mexico. And it has vitamin a vitamin C vitamin D potassium, stabilize, blood sugar increases the memory. But the thing that is, so we are on this tea and it has an ingredient in it in ingredient in it, they are slows down in the development of wrinkles right here. I'm a 65. I think he started drinking Dorris I should have started, but I love that scene. And then we have these little monkeys that come from Peru as a practice or a PSAP project.

0 (27m 29s):
So these Mikey's are handmade by women who come out of human trafficking. And this is how a mouse, this is how they now support their children. So there are children don't have to go in the human trafficking. We have what we have bracelets. We have essential oils. We have lotions, body butters and body bombs like body balm is all based in Mali. It's designed for your elbows, your feet, your heels, your cuticles is a really rough, dry spots. I'm pretty rough and dry. So I use it all over. I just lavish it, it it's really, all of our products are made with the essential oils. Our products are natural and our products nourish your skin. So that's what we're about is loving and nourishment.

0 (28m 11s):
So the women that make it, they get a skill, they know how to measure. They know how to convert, convert stuff, and they know how to make these products. They get their lives back, they get a job skill, and then they learn that people love them. I never believe it. I always thought it was me against the world. This organization loved me back to life. So the products please go online and Thistle Farms dot org and shop because we only keep our doors open through the sales of our products, private donations, and grants. So if you shop online, you're liking the way or another woman to come in.

1 (28m 46s):
Well, I will say I for the last couple of years, for both birthdays and Christmas gifts for friends, for a family. I mean, and it's just interesting because people, it's not, it can seem like, Oh, I'm doing a good deed because I'm buying these products for these women. But it's like, no, no, they're actually really wonderful products. <inaudible>.

0 (29m 12s):
And then on the back of every product, the message is right there on the back of it. But it will say he'll employ in power. And it will say this lotion soap a can or whatever it is, this product is made by the women of the sun farms as a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to empowering. So by five years of human trafficking, prostitution, or addiction and abuse. So on the back of every product, it has the message. So when you bought it and give it to a family member or friend or a coworker, they read that message and he gives them a hope plea. It urges them to become free. And some of those Farms, we welcome you all into the circle because it was a huge circle of love.

0 (29m 52s):
And it's not competition. We ask people to please open up houses for me and Anne women opened up a house and it will be, the people will come in and they were healed and they will get their lives back. And that's the goal.

1 (30m 6s):
Yes. So I'm wondering, as we think about barriers to healing, like, what are the things, and this could be for you personally, or that you've seen now that you've actually been around all of these people for so many years, both who didn't have healing. And also those who have, I'm thinking both of like the barriers inside ourselves and also just the like practical barriers. I mean, you've named one in terms of money like that. It was a barrier to healing for you, but what are, what are some of those barriers that you can see inside or outside?

0 (30m 40s):
You know, there is a stigma attached to, if you all, once I addict always an addict, and this is my son, that's a large stigma. It's a myth. It's not just that sell. And there is a thing that he thinks if a woman is out there, well, she must want to be no room and no longer on a growth phase. When I grew up, I wanted to be a prostitute right now, a little girls think of when I go up, I'm going to be abused, are trafficked. So if people could just sign the light on the truth, that if a woman is out there selling herself, what in the world was her options what's going on with her. So the next time anybody sees a woman standing on a street corner, hopefully you will have a heart to help them.

0 (31m 21s):
R just let them know, Hey, there is a place waiting for You. So, you know, so that, that, that's the thing about it. And you know what? I went to the white house high school. I graduated in 1974. It shows my age. I was as I was the only black girl in the school. And, but I did, I didn't feel, I didn't feel it there. If I was going to feel that thing, there are social barriers and there are social division. I thought it would have failed at the end. I didn't tell him then as much as I feel it now called This whole world is in an uproar and the, all the way we're going to be able to live in peace in New Jersey is for Love to come into the pitcher. And I'm always known that love of God. That's just my thing. But until people can actually realize that, you know, there an old cliche to say that you can draw more flies with honey than salt.

0 (32m 8s):
So the only way we're going to be able to live out a wound, so to speak and come together is with Love, you know? Yeah. Because it goes out,

1 (32m 16s):
Okay. So how do you see that connection? Because I think there is, and this is something that we talk about a lot on the show or a connection between personal healing and then being able to bring healing love into the world. Right. It wasn't a, I mean, it's not until we actually believe God loves us. And that we have that personal understanding that we are strengthened and to actually be a part of a bigger healing work. I mean, has that been the case for you?

0 (32m 45s):
There has been a case for me because before I got to go to the farms, I didn't believe anybody who loved me. And I thought that every time I got anything from anybody, I had to give a piece of myself to get it. And then I found out when I get it this far, and they gave us a stipend when you first come into the program. And when I came in like 11 years ago, you know, it was like $35 a week and they give us the stipend and it's free. You don't want any, I can pick. And the ball's going to drop these people who want something for me. And it was something for me. They wanted me to be able to love myself. So it was like, what was I found out that the world is not, is, you know, I could have, I could have responded to my father's death in a lot of different ways, but the way I responded to it, it was not the right way because I thought I could cover up the pain with a chemical and it manifested itself into just a horrible life.

0 (33m 39s):
But God has brought me out of that. And I have done more living in these past 11 years that I did in the first 50 or so. And my math is a good way to however many deals they are, but yeah, a long time. So the first five days, but the first four or five decades of my life was in ruins, but God has forgiven me of all my sins, which are many. And now he has blessed me to be able to go back out there and tell women that there is a way out. We do get our lives back. Right?

1 (34m 8s):
Yeah. Well, so two thoughts, one, I love that your story. I mean, I'm sorry, you had to go through so many years of such pain, but I also think it's incredibly hopeful to say when I was 50 or whatever years old, and God was still pursuing me, my mother was still a praying for me. I mean, how many decades that she'd been praying? I mean, it just is what it means to persevere in prayer and healing was still available and purpose was still available and the marriage was still out there. And I mean, all, I mean, there's just so much, that's really beautiful because I think people get to a point in life where it's like, Oh, it's too late for me. You know, like that

0 (34m 46s):
You can go to school at night, I'm taking classes. So a 65, I'm going to lead in to, along as the Lord, get me here on this earth. I'm going to live my life until I die. And, you know, I can't make up for the past, but I can certainly live in his wheel and do the things and be his arms and legs and feet, mouth pieces, as long as he wants me to 'cause. Yeah, because he loves me just as there are a lot of times, I'll say a God chased me until I found him, you know, he was there all the time. I really liked that a lot. Yeah. He chased me into her body. She turned around and But, Oh, God, you've been in the year have been the one that protect me in all of those cars and all of those ditches and all those jails and all of that place and where I live to see a live through all of that.

0 (35m 31s):
And it was not by chance. It was by the grace of God. And I know that now. Yeah.

1 (35m 36s):
When you can extend that same compassion to others, I also, when you were talking about just being forgiven, one of the things I've been thinking about a lot is some of the passages in scripture, where it says that God will wash us white as snow and cleanse us from our sins, that idea of cleansing. And I'm just thinking about the love heals products and just the, like the tender care that goes into washing someone who is dirty or wounded. And I just think about, we can think about it. I think forgiveness as this transaction where it's like, God has to forgive me as opposed to this like act of tender care, that's actually is a part of God's healing to forgive us and restore us to the life that he created us for.

1 (36m 22s):
And you're a beautiful story, an example of what it means to take all of the past and let it be given to God for healing and redemption and brought into this moment, you know, as a, as a witness to what it means, as you said, it to love yourself and to receive that love that God has for you and for other people.

0 (36m 46s):
That's true. Thank you so much. You know, when you were talking about the Tinder 11 and some of the products. I remember when I, I have been in the program, I hadn't made it this far, so maybe two to three years, and one of our lips Season we set it in a big circle and Becker to it. So at that time it was, you know, we were struggling to make sure we had enough our products to allow for the dry goods to make the products that we will have to make sure we didn't spend too much in Becker took up a huge, all, have our huge bottle of wine. And it was probably like a, a a hundred dollars. And it was like a million dollars to us at that time. And, and she went around a circle and the ones who wanted it, she poured the oil on our feet and we did a feat washing page because it, it, it gives, it gives me the opportunity to do, to realize that I'm not here now, because I can talk I'm here because I can serve others.

0 (37m 33s):
So he goes, you know, and I thought I'm worthy. I'm worthy of that. Or he reminded me so much of us in the Bible when the lady had the oldest, she was able to give her her last, her very last day, you know? And it, it's just amazing that how, the more I receive in life now, the more humble I become as the way God wanted to do in the very beginning. And, you know, because I knew about it and you can know the Bible or they don't, I knew the word about the guy, but I didn't live in it. So until I'm able to actually not be a hero, what a doer of So now I can be a door of his word and not just to hear it, because I heard it as a child. And I knew it, but I didn't live until I was, you know, I was in my right knee because for years I was not in my right mind.

1 (38m 18s):
Well, so are you now like actively at this as a Farms day, day by day, I'm going to guess,

0 (38m 24s):
Oh, you know, the Come because of COVID right. Which the house we call, we try to make it safe. So I will, usually my, my usual schedule is to be in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and work for home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays right now. And there are some times I'm at work, maybe through it three days a week sometimes for it, because I need to come in in the video of something. So I come in, but yeah, so I'm actively working at those farms. I love it. I've not heard that. I love working, but I love it. I love it. Yeah.

1 (38m 52s):
Well, so as we come to a close, I'm curious about the person who is listening in to this conversation and who is not convinced that love is big enough or strong enough to heal them a, what do you say to that person?

0 (39m 7s):
I would say I am. It was the worst. I was the Wii. I was the scum of the earth I was in my life was full of Mark and Mara. And I didn't care about my life. I didn't care about anything, but the next Hill. So if God, if love could find me and turn me around, because there's a way that I have heard this gospel song and it says, God took me into his chemical laboratory, wash me in his blood. And I came out totally different. So if you are listening to me and you don't have a job, are your addicted, are you facing divorce?

0 (39m 50s):
Are any of the things that many hundreds of things, the examples in our lives, I tell you Love I can change all of that. And I'm not talking about being wrapped up in love with a man or a woman and being totally. But I'm talking about the pure love to know that God will come too. And people see you don't have to be, God, you don't have to be a believer in God. I'm not trying to convince anybody to be a believer in God. Just know that there are people out there who are the hands and the arms of God that were happy, but you have to ask and just know that I can, if I can make it, I believe anyone can, because I live 26 long, miserable years in addiction thinking I was going to die every minute.

0 (40m 39s):
And I'm so grateful that I did it because now that I am alive, I am truly alive. So if there's anyone listening and you don't believe you, I'm not trying to sell a book, but I don't even have a book, but I'm going to have a book, but I'm working on it, but now I'm working on it, but you can just read and be around my life, come up with those four times and just walk in and ask for her to feel so Farms come back to the cafe, but some of the other woman, and you'll see it as clear as night and day, the difference that Love has made it in our lives and a half. And he does not do it for no respect the person.

0 (41m 20s):
If he did it for me, he would definitely do it for you. Right?

1 (41m 23s):
Yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for that word. And I will say I was just poking around on the Thistle Farms websites and there are some videos of other women and it exactly what you said in terms of just that glowing spirit of women who were able to testify to exactly what you said. I saying essentially I was not a candidate for this. And look at me now, right? Like I was not qualified. I was not like I did not count. And somehow here I am. And you can just see in the countenance of all of these women, the great work that Love has done in their lives from God, but also clearly from one another.

1 (42m 5s):
And as you said, there was the beauty of the place. There's the beauty of the projects. There's the dignity of work. I mean, there are all, there's the aspect of just therapeutic healing, all these different things that contribute to being able to say Love really does heal us. So thank you.

0 (42m 21s):
And does it does, do you know, I have heard, it said that God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the call and that's the whole, and that's exactly what he did. He called me out of the darkness into the marvelous light. And he was qualified me to have enough sense to tell my story, because at one point I couldn't even a little bit her lip, whenever you kind of now, I thought he did it for me. He did

1 (42m 43s):
Well. We are grateful that we get to be a recipient of that story. Thank you for being here with us today.

0 (42m 49s):
Dorris ledge. It was nice to be rich. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Thank you everybody for listening and please go online. Check this Farms out. Listen to our videos. Thank you.

1 (43m 3s):
Thank you for listening to love is stronger than Fear. What an honor it is for me to get to share these stories and remember the love that is available to me to us week after week, I would love for you to share this episode to anyone who do you think would be moved by. It might be blessed by it. And I find healing in it. I also, I do invite you to subscribe to this podcast, give it a quick rating or review. And I wanted to remind you that I have a new paperback version of head, heart hands, and the white picket fences discussion guides available on my website, as well as a new paperback version of my book. Missing out on a beautiful, which is a collection of essays about having a child and raising a child with down syndrome, as well as some reflections from penny, my child, with down syndrome about being who she is.

1 (43m 54s):
I also now have a YouTube channel. You can search for Amy Julia Becker YouTube channel. If you'd like to listen to or share this episode through that medium as always, I'm also thankful to Jake Hansen, the podcast editor here, Amber bury my social media coordinator and to all of you for being faithful listeners, thank you for showing up. And as always, as you go into your day to day, I hope you will carry with you. The peace that comes from believing that love is stronger than fear.