How a Cult Started this Whole Thing

I was raised in a Christian home, and I'm grateful for that on so many levels. As a Christian now, I am really grateful that I was raised with an understanding of who God is, and a lot of my confidence to this day comes from being taught that God loved me from my earliest memories. But in my teens, my family became involved with a para-church homeschooling group that I later came to realize was a Christian cult. The leader who ran the group put on large conferences multiple times a year across the nation. We had our own books and teachings that were "the right way", we were taught to distrust anyone that was not part of our group (including our local churches and pastors unless they were on the list of few approved churches). We had dress codes and we were taught that a woman’s calling came from being a wife and a mother ONLY, and that no other goals should distract her from that, meaning that college or having a job or career were out of the question. I was told that my goal in life was to have as many babies as I could, and support my husband’s vision as my own.

As a single woman, I was told that I should stay at home serving my father (as practice for serving my husband) until I got married. Imagine a 20 year old woman at home, with no job or higher education, trying to figure out how to help my dad who worked a 9-5 job. I was pretty bored. Paired with spiritual oppression, this left me in a pretty empty existence by the time I was in my mid twenties. Yes, modern day patriarchy is very real.

At 23 years old, my world started to fall apart. My parents got divorced, our cult leader was caught in an inappropriate relationship with a minor, and my perfect world came crashing down. Not to mention that I still wasn’t married, and therefore, I wasn’t having babies or advancing my husband's vision like I was supposed to be. With my dad’s support gone, I was suddenly faced with the need to support myself and build a career. What could I do without a college degree or job experience?

The next few years included working part time jobs, racking up credit card debt to pay for bills, and trying to figure out what to do with my life. I had a lot of un-learning to do, and a lot of personal work to recover from bad teaching, trauma, abuse, and spiritual oppression. I worked several admin jobs, was the executive assistant on a film, and through lots of twists and turns, I eventually met my best friend and love of my life, Joe.

I packed up my belongings in my tiny orange Honda Fit, along with my sister and best friend who were helping me drive, and moved across the nation to Virginia where Joe lived. Six months later, Joe and I got married, and it’s been one big, wild adventure. But God has taught me so much about trusting Him and walking by faith, not by sight as I pursue emotional and spiritual health. I eventually began working for a videography company doing graphic design, and that job morphed into a social media role within the company, and I fell in love. I love marketing, social media, copywriting, and entrepreneurship. My husband encouraged me to take the leap and start my own business, and I did. I definitely couldn’t do this without him cheering me on and supporting me through the ups and downs. He's the best.

I now have a passion for helping women design their own lives and make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Without the option of entrepreneurship, I'm not sure where I would be today. Entrepreneurship is an opportunity for anyone, no matter their disadvantage, to design a life they love as long as they are willing to put in the hard work to get there. I think that's pretty amazing. The reasons that draw women to entrepreneurship are varied. Some women want their own business so that they can be at home with their kids, others to have time and financial freedom, others to build a career that they are passionate about. Whatever their reason, God gave them a dream that will serve others and make the world a better place. Ali Hynek's business is a beautiful example of this in action. She created Nena & Co., a business that partners with women in Guatemala to create beautiful handbags. Nena & Co. sustainably partners with over 78 weavers and craftsmen in Guatemala to bring their beautiful handwork to the US in a fashionable way, enabling these women to continue using the skills that have been passed down, generation to generation. Not only is she helping women to support their families, but these patterns tell the stories of their culture and villages, keeping the history of Guatemala alive.

I mean, how cool is that? Not only does Ali enjoy personal and financial freedom, which she needs so she can be present for her triplets, but she is also helping so many other women who otherwise might live in poverty. Stories like this are what I'm all about.

My history with patriarchy has given me a passion to help women realize their full potential and utilize their God given abilities. I believe the world needs both men AND women in the business and entrepreneurial sphere, and I think our world misses out when women don't pursue the talents He has given them. Women seem to have a special love of turning around and helping others reach the success they have found. That heart of giving and helping others is something I think the world needs more of, and I get goosebumps thinking about helping women do just that.

That's why I'm all about helping women's businesses succeed. I get to be part of their story, helping them to use social media marketing to craft a brand voice and platform that will enable them to have the reach and impact they need to be a success. None of us can be an expert in all areas, we have to rely on each other as we build our businesses. I love that my nerdy love of tech, marketing, story telling, writing, and branding can come together, allowing me to help women like YOU succeed.

If this vision of empowered women entrepreneurs gets you as fired up as it gets me, join my insiders facebook group where I share valuable tips, resources, and encouragement for female entrepreneurs. Whether having your own business is still a dream for you, or your everyday reality, join us by clicking on the photo below and join the party!

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