I heard my heart whisper, “I’d rather be with them.” I held back a breath, stunned by the level of satisfaction I had being wrapped in the love of my husband and daughter.

Our family was enjoying Sunday, passive and cozy; an easy day. Asha was calm and playful, and Chris’s mood was even keel. After Asha’s morning nap, Chris suggested we take a family nature walk at Green Springs Park, the very place where Chris and I had our first solo date and first look on our wedding day. Our history is painted all over that patch of green that is smack dab in the middle of the city.

As we made our way to the park, the sun rays danced across the lingering morning. In mamahood glory I wore no makeup, a messy bun, and my comfortable Chaco’s. I carried Asha in the Ergo facing me. She looked precious in her sunhat, as she peered at the world from the comfort and security of my body. I delighted in watching her eyes wide with wonder, exuberant with the world around her.

My heart murmured softly, “Look how far you’ve come.” I paused, as I savored this moment and held in mind conversations of our previous plan. Chris and I have talked about how we planned not to have children—oh, how grateful we are that it failed!

My thought shifted, and as if I peered into the mirror, I saw my self-reflection right before my eyes. I observed my past self, similar in structure, with olive skin; delicate, wispy hair; and zealous with passion. I am beautiful and very wounded.

I was too frightened to commit, so I told Chris, my boyfriend of six-plus years, to wait on proposing. He bravely remained but did not shy away from affection; he believed I had the capacity to grow. Five months later, I let down my walls, and he asked for my hand in marriage. I said yes. Our journey of intimacy has been a mirror of this very dance.

Apprehensive to attach, I vowed never to have children or settle down with a family. I hid behind a mask of goals, education, career, and notoriety until love, wrapped in a little human body, broke through the leather of my soul.

When I gaze at myself, I see the history and defense mechanisms, how they maintained me and failed me. I see how love broke through my defenses, and I offer gratitude for its fury.

Love is a fire that burns brightly, blanching through darkened spaces of our heart to illuminate the truth of who we are.

Love dispels darkness and burdens us with the ability to anticipate hope’s justice. I’m grateful for love and its power.

As Chris and I ended our walked, I felt the weight Asha on my chest; her small body rested on my mine. In my spirit I felt secure in the truth that there was nowhere I’d rather be than with them.


Anna SmithAnna Smith is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Restore One, where she works diligently on The Anchor House. The Anchor House will be the first shelter in the nation designed to meet the needs of sex trafficked and sexually exploited American boys. Anna has a resilient passion to see sex trafficking victims experience true healing and restoration. In her spare time, Anna enjoys biking with her husband Chris, reading, cooking, throwing pottery, running and yoga. Learn more about Restore One here.