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More Than: Michelle of LS&C

April 14, 2010

It was 2007, I was a senior in college, about to graduate, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help people. I wanted to travel the world. But I had no specifics. I prayed for direction. I asked God to show me what he wanted me to do, that purpose for which I was created.

Then, one day in February, my dad said, "Hey, there’s this movie I wanna go see on Friday." I am always a sucker for going to the movies (especially when dad pays), so I didn’t hesitate for a second even though I’d never heard of the movie (Amazing Grace) or the main character (William Wilberforce). After complaining about my education, Dad quickly informed me that Wilberforce was a British politician in the late 18th century who spent his career campaigning against the Atlantic slave trade.

When the credits rolled, I sat there stunned and totally in love with this film. It had everything … British politics (I spent a semester in London), history (that’s what my degree was in), a struggle for something noble (who doesn’t love that?!), and most importantly, several attractive men with English accents (hello!). I went home that night and went to the Amazing Grace website. I’m not sure, but I was probably hoping to find out more about handsome Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch.

Instead, I found out something that changed my life. I saw the dozens of organizations who were partnered with this film because of their continuing efforts to complete William Wilberforce’s work:  ending slavery. And that’s when I discovered my passion. I don’t know at what point I realized that’s what I wanted to spend my life doing, but that’s where my journey began. I even discovered a school in England that actually exists called the Wilberforce Institute of Slavery and Emancipation. I told my friend T.J. about it, and he said, "Oh my gosh, Meppy [my nickname, feel free to use it], you have to go to that school. You just have to! It’s perfect."  And I said something like, "I know, right?! How amazing would that be?" But in my head, and in my heart, I just knew it was too good to be true. Going back to England? Getting my master’s in William Wilberforce’s hometown? That’s the thing you daydream about. That’s not the thing that really happens, right?

Three weeks ago, I got my acceptance letter from the University of Hull to attend the Wilberforce Institute of Slavery and Emancipation in the MA Program for Modern Slavery Studies. I leave in September.

My biggest fear over the last three years has consistently been that I would become a slave to my life, living in the oppression of the day-to-day. My healthy decision was to figure out how to pursue my passion and then go for it. I had to trust that God didn’t give me that passion for no reason. I had to pursue it. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way.

Not only do I want to fight slavery and inform people about the 27 million slaves in the world today, but I also have another goal:  I want to encourage the people who ARE free to live like it.

YOU ARE FREE. (Read that again.) You’re free. Embrace it. Love it. Live it.



You can learn more about Michelle by visiting her new blog, Long Sleeves and Chucks.  You can also keep up with her day to day thoughts via her twitter feed.

Also be sure to check out Michelle’s photography.  You can view some of Michelle’s work at the Palmer Photography store front. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 14, 2010 10:38 pm

    I don’t even know you and I have to confess I teared up at the end of your blog post! Isn’t it wonderful how things turn out when you trust in God! Since you’ve lived in Europe before I don’t need to tell you how fantastic it will be!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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