Life is Hard - trust me, I know. I have the scars to prove it! But God can handle it all - and that news is worth sharing. - Hannah Arrowood
Hannah Arrowood was recently nominated for our Whole Spotlight. When I began learning more about this uplifting, strong and encouraging woman of God and her ministry Present Age Ministries, it was evident why she has made such an impact in the lives of many young women.
Get yourself a cup of coffee or tea and pull up a chair to read this intriguing interview with Hannah.
WM: Can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing?
H: I was raised in a small town in TN. My father was pastor and both my grandfathers were pastors. My mother was an incredible example of what a Godly wife/mother is. I have one older sister and growing up we were not close as children (but we are now). We moved from the small town to a big city when I was in upper elementary school to plant a church. Life soon began to unravel. My father became involved with a woman in a satanic cult. My parents divorced, we were stalked and even had death threats on our lives and eventually we lost everything (financially speaking). As a teenager - this was difficult!
WM: Will you share a little of your testimony and how you come to know Christ?
H: I was fortunate to learn about Christ at a very young age. I was at church camp when I surrendered my life to the Lord. I was 6, but I can remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember trying to understand the kind of Love that Jesus had for me, and realizing that even though I messed up -- he wanted me. Of course, my spiritual journey is full of twists and turns, but God remained faithful. It was through the difficult times and trials that I can look back and see that God was constant, and His presence was always there.
WM: It is incredibly inspiring that even though you became pregnant at 17 years old you were still able and determined to not only finish high school but to graduate college as well. What kept you focused and driven?
H: Sadly, what drove me was a spirit of performance. I was determined to prove everyone wrong and not to become a statistic. Looking back I wanted to ‘make things right’; the mindset of “good woks”. While that motivation paid off, I realize now that I was motivated by self-righteousness. I remember knowing that God was with me (people who often say that I had the midas touch), but didn't look to Jesus for decisions. Just another example of how He can take our mess and turn it into a masterpiece. I was able to reconcile many years later that Jesus loved me even in my mess, even when I couldn't love my self.
WM: What have been some of your biggest challenges?
H: Trust and Control - which ultimately is rooted in fear because so many people that I trusted - broke my trust, letting people in was difficult. That mentality left me isolated a lot - and anytime we become isolated, we are much easier influenced by the lies of Satan. From that lack of trust, there was a need to control things. As long as I was in control, I could ensure the outcome. Of course this way of thinking failed me! I had to learn that ultimately I was not in control and that the one person I could trust was Jesus - he would never fail me.
WM: Is there a particular woman or story in the Bible that has inspired you the most?
H: Esther- I always have sensed a great call on my life, but honestly wanted to ignore it because it didn't line up with the world's way of doing things. Around 6 years ago, I could no longer ignore it. I knew that God had purposed my life to impact teen girls, “For Such a Time as This”. Following in obedience to that call and to walk worthy of the call placed on my life is now my heart’s desire. Esther realized she was a part of something much bigger and willingly said yes to her role, regardless of the cost. I take great comfort in that knowing that God is control; I just have to say YES. But I also have a great sense of reality that saying YES also means sacrifice.
WM: Would you tell us a little about Present Age Ministries?
H: Present Age Ministries is committed to combatting the sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking of teen girls. We are resolved to rebuild trust, restore hope and redefine love; one life at a time. We focus on Awareness Training and Prevention as well as offer direct services for survivors. We work with the community to shed light on the abuse and reality of trafficking and are active in the schools where we offer prevention curriculum for teen girls, addressing issues such as: acceptance, self-image, cultural influence, etc.
We have developed a model for residential housing that provides Biblically modeled care and cultivates true healing. We have been given two pieces of property to begin construction for our safe houses.
WM: What lead you to start a ministry geared towards young women and women dealing with sexual abuse and trafficking?
H: It has been a journey of obedience and faith. I actually fought it for years - it was a battle of the flesh. Once I said YES to God, I knew that we had begun a journey of faith. Now, there isn't anything I could imagine doing. It is often hard, but God is faithful and the peace and joy He provides is unmatched. I am humbled every day that He allows me to serve Him and His precious daughters. It is an honor to speak up and be a voice for those who don't have one.
WM: How did working in corporate America for over 10 years help with what you are doing today?
H: It was essential. God used those years to offer invaluable experience. Everything from HR issues, to implementing employee programs to the legal needs of an organization, to budgeting and networking. I was able to experience and participate in two organizations starting from the ground up as well as oversee the BIG PICTURE in managing. Those lessons were divinely laid out and daily produce fruit that only God could produce. I am amazed at how God intricately worked things out for HIS purpose.
WM: In one of your videos you said something that I thought was so beautiful, “do we daily teach our girls that nothing else matters but an intimate relationship with God our father?” What do you believe are some ways we can teach girls this?
H: I believe that communication and transparency is vital. As mothers and leaders we must overcome the fear of exposing our girls and recognize the need to provide a safe place to be real. Our girls are bombarded with so much these days and as moms we have a crucial role in guiding them through that process. We also must make sure that our faith foundation and faith filters, as I like to call them, are a part of our everyday lives - not just Sundays! Teens know hypocrisy and fake. We must live out an authentic relationship with Jesus, not preach religion. These two things are very different.
WM: What is one of your go too Bible verse that helps you during difficult times?
H: Psalm 86:11-13 - I want a heart that is fixed on Jesus! Luke 9:23-DAILY I must make a choice to pick up my cross and follow Jesus.
WM: What is some advice you would offer to a woman struggling with being sexually abused?
H: Satan wants you to believe that you are alone. But bringing light to the secret helps expose the evil. Don't struggle alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or an organization that can help you walk through this journey. His word tells us that we have the power to demolish strongholds, and we are to take every thought captive. You are not alone, you are not worthless, and you are not damaged! Those are lies. You are a child of the most High King. He is enthralled with your beauty. He has a plan for your life and it is good!
WM: If someone wants to get involved with your ministry what do they need to do?
H: We love volunteers to get involved. We do ask that anyone interested participate in our Volunteer Training. We offer this training regularly. Information and registration can be found on our website under the tab - Get Involved.
Now for some fun questions!
WM: What is your favorite smell?
WM: If there was a movie made about you who would you cast to play you?
H: Sandra Bullock
WM: What is your favorite worship band or singer?
H: Favorite Singer - Natalie Grant
Worship Band - (This changes frequently), right now it is I Am They
WM: What is one thing you always have with you?
WM: What is your current obsession?
H: Strawberry Puff Candies - they are so good!
WM: What is one fact about you that not many know?
H: I was a competitive gymnast
WM: Your favorite Disney princess?