In this episode, I am joined by the wonderful Lena Cebula, and she shares her heroine journey as a human trafficking survivor to living her life’s purpose of helping others to speak up about their traumas. Lena speaks about the importance of speaking about your trauma to release yourself from shame and judgment. She offers the advice of writing out your trauma to heal and love those parts of yourself you once shamed. Listen in to this powerful conversation!
About our guest:
Lena Cebula is a drug addiction and human trafficking survivor and an author of a spiritual autobiography called Miraculous. As a social justice advocate, blogger, speaker, and host of Love&BLoved Podcast, she is helping families to work through trauma, overcome shame and guilt, and to feel fulfilled and joyful again. Her biggest Why is – sharing the Good News of God’s love and creating awareness about the reality of human sex trafficking.
She lives in a beautiful part of Canada together with her loving husband and three adorable children.
For more information about Lena, including her book and the podcast, check out her website at https://loveandbloved.com
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I know you, you are afraid to speak up, you are scared of what other people think of you. And you blame yourself for what happened to you. I know how it feels. Because I’ve been there. If you found me, I’m so grateful you’re here. This podcast will give you hope. And now I’m your host, Anna ditchburn. I’m going to hold your hand and provide the guidance that I needed the most. It’s time for you to find your why. And turn your experience into your superpower. So lock your door, put your headphones in, and enjoy. Lena Cebula Welcome to the world’s best Trauma Recovery podcast.Lena Cebula:
Thank you so much for having me.Anna Ditchburn:
It’s an honor having to have you on our podcast Lena. And I just wanted to say that this podcast is for everyone who, who struggled or still struggling with childhood sexual abuse with drug addictions, or who have been in a situation with a human trafficking, and is looking for a hope and to find the purpose in their life. Mina and knowing what you’ve gone through, I just wanted to say, Congratulations, congratulations on what you have achieved so far, and who you became.Lena Cebula:
Thank you so much for your kind words.Anna Ditchburn:
Lena, my first question to you, why is it so important to speak up about your trauma?Lena Cebula:
Honestly, I would have never imagined that after 20 years of silence that I would be standing on stage in front of hundreds of people. And my story would be broadcasted all over social media. Because in the past I taught I like actually was afraid of judgment and rejection because I taught my story. It’s a guilt, shame and condemnation. But now I know that it’s God’s story of salvation. And that’s what’s important to me, because I hid my past for for so long. And now, I actually experienced the freedom by speaking out, receiving amazing feedback. It wasn’t rejection, it wasn’t judgment, people love me and support me. And that is proof that our past is not our prison, and we are not alone in our suffering. So that was an amazing opportunity. And I’m so grateful that it happened the way didAnna Ditchburn:
you have mentioned that there was a fear of judgment and shame and guilt. And I really resonate with you on it. And I really appreciate you sharing your story today with us play number A How How did it start? Where is your trauma coming from?Lena Cebula:
Yes, absolutely. Well, I’m I was born and raised in Ukraine. And my parents struggle in the marriage and they became alcoholics. And they lost well paid jobs. And at our home, the government or now the electricity and hot water for outstanding bills. And I was hungry all the time, I was literally starving. Our home was infested with black mold, cockroaches and mice, and we struggle in poverty and trying to survive. So I was raised in our home full of strangers who brought booze and drugs with parents who did nothing to protect me. So I became an easy target for those guys. And I was trolling them right in the basement of my apartment numerous times.Anna Ditchburn:
How old were you when you first read?Lena Cebula:
I was actually I started drinking and smoking when I was 13. So from probably like 13 and up 14, somewhere there. Yes.Anna Ditchburn:
It’s a very, very young age, very young age. And I don’t think you you realize, what are you doing really? And I believe that it’s not because you had nothing else to do. I believe it was escapism and behavior. What’s happened next, Lena? How was your life? Going forward?Lena Cebula:
Yeah. When I thought things couldn’t get any worse. One month before my 15th birthday. I woke up with them severe abdominal pain, and scared and confused only to realize I was in labor. I didn’t know I was pregnant. did it and I didn’t even know who her father was. Yeah, my baby died three months later from health complication. complication. So I buried her. I honestly, I carried this small casket in my hands to the cemetery and next 20 years, that image has plagued my mind and my soul. So I started using heavy drugs to medicate my pain, and they turned to heroin. Because it was easier to feel highs and to be feeling worthless and hopeless and bended and broken.Anna Ditchburn:
Are you still living in the house with your parents? That time? Yes, Lina. And what was the reaction of your parents when they saw their daughter on drugs and alcohol, getting rippedLena Cebula:
off this interesting question, because I hated them for variable long time, because there was no discipline, there was no care, there was neglect and abuse. But now I do understand they were broken. They were drunk all the time. I don’t think like my father ever really comprehend what is understand, like, what’s happening. Now I understand this. But one time, he said this phrase, and literally, it broke my heart. When they pulling me out there. The gangs of my favorite, whatever it is, they are, they were pulling me out from my house. And my father was sitting in the chair, so drunk, he said, take her, just don’t bother me. And in that moment, I have so much hate for this human being, not only as a father, but as a man to, like, why wouldn’t you like protect somebody in need, but now I do understand, you know, I became an alcoholic drug addict. And I didn’t have really regard for human life for my own life, too. So it’s really hard to be actually conscious, and see their own morals or anything like that. So it’s, it’s been a process for me to actually forgive him. But honestly, that forgiveness brought me peace and brought him peace as well. So it’s a good ending of that story.Anna Ditchburn:
I am very glad that you’re, you’re talking about forgiveness, because I think forgiveness, it’s freeing yourself from the tyranny of this pain. And we’re not saying about not keeping people accountable for what they’ve done. But when I forgive my stepfather, it really released so much energy, and it’s freed so much space in my in my body that I could feel filled up with love. Lena, have you ever tried at this point to stop taking drugs and alcohol?Lena Cebula:
I don’t think so. I never wanted to stop. And I think that’s very interesting, because I didn’t really want to die of like overdose or anything like that. But I just wanted to be checked out. I wanted to be living. That was my coping mechanism, though. Actually, that helped me survive. I do believeAnna Ditchburn:
Lina, you, you might not answer this question. But what was your most shameful moment? during those time?Lena Cebula:
were interesting. I don’t know it’s hard to save what is the most shameful because I think like all with like, what was the way you have to find the money find the drugs, get involved, like with this very shady bunch of people, you know, being high being Daughtery and like homeboys like hearing their you know, it’s it’s hard to pinpoint what was you know, how to, like do whatever it takes to to get money. So sometimes deal sometimes. Or no use sex sometimes. I don’t know. Like, that’s, that’s honestly like looking back as I gotta do quotation marks if you guys see me that saying normal human being like, if you look at it, like you can think that all of it is shameful, because that’s not how again, normal human being behave. But when you’re on drugs, you actually like different creature. You don’t think you don’t feel the same, you don’t behave the same. So definitely like I feel that when people are on drugs, they are consumed by it, you know, by addiction,Anna Ditchburn:
and the more you in pain, the more you want to escape in those drugs cleaner off the camera. Do you also share this story that you, you were kidnapped and sent to another country? Human trafficked? Would you share this story with us?Lena Cebula:
Yes, absolutely. And when I wrote my book, if you guys ever gonna read my book, that definitely there’s a few red flags that I could see that I would know that something bad is happening. But you have to understand like, I it was few years I was on drugs, I was like, on the street, people were dying around me, people went to jail. And I was so desperate and in despair to get her out. Because in I had this awakening that and almost like fear that this is where I’m gonna end up in jail or in cemetery. But there is no hopes. For people like me, there’s no dreams, there’s no one gonna come and support you or help you to clean up even like if you have a desire to do so. So, through my mutual friend, I met this lady, and oh, my goodness guys shows and reach and was, I don’t know how to explain but she was kind to me and compassionate to me. And I was a street junkie, nobody cared for me for a very long time. And she brought me to her home and she offered me fancy coffee and sweet. And I was so impressed that she has sugar. That’s how like poor and crazy like poor in spirit poor and mind poor in physical needs. I was that the sugar impressed me. You know, and her home and the way she behaved with me. I just, you know, I had no guards, I have not much thought why this is happening. I just want to be cared for. So she told me she would be able to find me job and there was no specifics, just the job. So without much time I accepted eager to escape. So her team went to work, they dressed me up, clean me up. And that was probably my first red flag because I thought, like, Why do I have to look so nice, what kind of job I’m gonna be doing? You know, I have those thoughts. But I still was using drugs because I still was addicted. And they didn’t stop on. They didn’t don’t supply me. But you know, they kind of like they didn’t really encourage us because like I was a drug addict, maybe like if I wasn’t, there was something about it. But I was so far interdiction that I was pretty much easy to target. I had nobody looking for me. Nobody would ask questions or anything like that. So I was like, like, perfect mark. So stealing heavy drugs. I don’t remember an airport. And how I got through customs. I will never know. I just woke up one morning here in the Muslim prayer, our call to prayer, Allahu Akbar, are now so scared and confused because I was in the foreign country. So yeah, that’s nice. That nice lady sold me into human trafficking.Anna Ditchburn:
How old? Were you?Lena Cebula:
I just turned 18.Anna Ditchburn:
And how long have you been kept in prison? Or do you say, in almost twoLena Cebula:
years, it’s it’s very interesting, because my, my story’s a little bit different. And that’s why I keep like advocating, you know, for a human trafficking, because what happened is sometimes people thinking, even like kidnapping or smuggling or trafficking, it’s actually three different things. But all of the time people think that it’s include force and violence. And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for those red flags. But sometimes they are. No, they’re because look how I went through airport. Somebody spoke for me, because I don’t remember anything. Somebody had my documents because I didn’t have my passport. And so those are actually red flags as well. Because you can see and ask question, why this woman been held or work like that, why she is not answering the questions, why she doesn’t have the documents, why she looks strange, or sometimes scared or confused. You know, those kinds of things are very valuable. And you know what, that’s what I advocate for, and they when I end up so I ended up in Cairo. or Egypt. And from there, they forced me to crawl under the barbed wire to cross in them Israel border illegally, actually. And what happened is, I was bothered by the family business. And honestly, this story, probably one in a million. So I actually was unclean because I was able to, through this process, quite harrowing, because I had no other choice. So I would actually have two outcomes, I would die, or I would recover. So by the grace of God, I recover. So I was clean from drugs for first time, it was like, in five years, then I actually was clean and fed physically. And they allowed me to make some money. And I have a bodyguard. So honestly, like some people thinking, like, oh my gosh, and like end up in slavery. But for me, it was upgrade because I’ve been raped, beaten to almost death, like, I end up in the hospital, like, every other night, like, I didn’t know how I am, like, get there, you know, we live injuries, broken bones, you know, it’s so for me, I never really understood or didn’t want to believe that I’m a prisoner. But by the way, they treated us it still was more humane than other places. Because the girls who came with me they died, they been killed, like never seen again. So I was like, one that special case. And very interesting to on top of that tomb, that one of my bodyguard actually share the gospel with me. So in the middle of the brothel, this guy was talking about God with me. So that was another huge, like, I don’t know, I want to say benefit. But you guys gonna think like, it’s so weird that I’m saying like, I was in the brothel. And that wasAnna Ditchburn:
saying, let’s see.Lena Cebula:
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s, for first time somebody told me that I’m loved. And I was like, what? Looky like, who I am looking what I do. And that’s for first time. It’s, he told me that, that God loves me no matter. Like what, and it was very interesting experience for me.Anna Ditchburn:
Wow, who was seeing? Because you’re right, people are not educated on on this topic. They don’t know what’s happening. And probably you had to go through this experience, to finally find the God and to heal from your past. And I know we need an adversity in our life to grow, and to self develop to find love and ourselves. I still think some of those things we could avoid. And it could be a different way. If the trauma generational trauma could be broken with your parents, Lena, how did you feel being in this process?Lena Cebula:
Well, honestly, like, first, the older women tried to get me kind of like under the wing, you know, to support me somehow because I was the skinny little tiny kids with the two grades, you know, they thought, oh my goodness, the kid in the been here, but later on, they understood that I actually already been around the blog, so I was more like, I’ve always broken Yeah, so like, it’s definitely trauma will shine through. Through all the decisions that I make. My behavior definitely was behavior. And actually in first night, like after having all these clients and literally that’s how crazy it was. Somebody gave me yogurt and through all that crazy night all I thought about that. I’m thinking man, this food tastes so good. I literally never ate anything so amazing. That was like my end of the night while everybody was like in shock thinking that I gonna be like breaking down crying, hysterical. I mean like that, because that’s what they expect to experience by the way I look, you know, so it’s definitely took me a while, actually to realize that I’m prisoner that I cannot go anywhere by myself that I don’t have my documents that I don’t have a say in many things that free people actually care. Do but yeah, and you know what, like, saddest part? Nobody looked for me, you know until they allowed me after three months probably when they already knew that I’m not gonna run, where are you gonna run in like in another country, another language and other everything but plus like, where do I gonna run home, I had no home, I have like no one to waiting for me or care for me or even looking for me. Because until I call them they didn’t look for me I was gone for three months. So this 18 year old kid just disappeared for three months, I could be dead. I could be like roadkill. And nobody would look for me how crazy is that? So that’s very, very interesting toAnna Ditchburn:
Lena. How, how did you get out from this bottom? And what’s happened next?Lena Cebula:
Oh, honestly, that’s another miraculous story. Because in most cases, you will never leave this kind of situation alive, unless you have been rescued. But by the grace of God, almost two years later, they set me free and I was allowed to go home, you have back home to Ukraine.Anna Ditchburn:
And what’s happened in Ukraine when you get back? Yeah, that’sLena Cebula:
really interesting, because I was sending some money to my aunt, because she was one trustworthy person I thought she was. But yeah, she’s stolen, spend all my money. And one of my other bodyguards, who was like a brother, to me, stole all of my possessions that I accumulate for those two years, because I assumed that I got to come back and build the normal life because I can buy maybe little apartment, get the job, something like that. It’s how I have like some homes to, to build that kind of future. But I ended up with nothing. So I remember I had the bracelet, and I went and I found the drug dealer, and I sold that bracelet. And I was on heroin literally like same I was before because that was my coping mechanism. I didn’t know how to deal with myself. And with betrayal, and with this pain thinking like this, people know what was happening to me for the last two years. It’s like, it’s terrible. But then I need again, money to get the drugs and I end up there, right handle of the number one drug dealer in my city. And then I thought like, now I have enough any money and drugs and influence. But then it wasn’t safe to I could be murdered, I can be put in jail. Or I could die of overdose because by that time, I was already using the doors of five people. So I actually went and decided to quit myself because I didn’t want to die. And I felt I don’t know now I know that God was speaking to me through all this ordeal because I felt it God’s saying to me, you you’ve been made for more. It’s like you’ve been into there there’s something more and it was interesting because it was enough for me to know that I don’t want to die because there was something for me. So second time, I actually decided to quit heroin by myself. I almost died because all the organs shut down. But I was able to recover with no rehab with no any fancy medications like only dry it was so much pain so much suffering but the body recovered and but the second time, I didn’t know what else to do. So I just find the people that I knew. And they sold myself into human trafficking, like willingly because the body was my commodity it was not precious and priceless to me it was the tool that I would use to get me from get me something and get me from one country to another I thought I’m gonna go to Israel and that’s how crazy it is in my head was that that the Israel was better than back home but they brought me to Canada. But in Canada what was different that had the paper trail because right away like we got there and lower and stuff like that because they didn’t want me to get deported because I’m a money making machine so I better stay here legally. But I thought to myself, Okay, so if I have a document here I should Learn English, you know, so I convinced them to allowed me to go have ESL classes. And that’s where I met people who started telling me without knowing who I am by night, you know, that in Canada, you have rights. This is first time in my life, I actually realized that I have rights, human rights, and I ran away, I just took a chance I ran away, I had help with like two of my trusted friends who actually helped me and to live in shelters to find the shelter. And later on to find the job and, and well before I was like, on their welfare, because I actually was learning English and got to the point that I was able to get the job. And probably less than a year I was out of the welfare, I had the job. And the following year, I went to cosmetology, a government credit school, and I finish that one year course. And I became a hairstylist. So I’ve been a hairstylist for 12 years, and then I own my hair salon for two years. And then I quit that, and I published my book, and now I’m speaker and author. And I just want to share my story and share the hope and encourage people that there is possibilities to to be healthy and have love and peace and wholeness again, doesn’t matter, like only a trauma on the past, you know, you can recover and be loved. Loving, beloved, that’s my brand loving Beloved. Yes,Anna Ditchburn:
you are such an amazing human beings winner. And I know you’re helping me aliens, Lina. It’s a huge trauma, huge trauma, what helped you to heal?Lena Cebula:
Yeah, definitely, I do believe my faith in God was number one, because it’s, it’s too cute charm, turn to actually know the truth about my identity. Because that negative self talk, when my mindset shifted from I’m worthless, abandoned and broken to, I am significant, and my life is valuable, that I am loved. So that’s allowed me to have a grace and compassion for myself, then very important support system, you know, I have accountability partner, you can choose friends or family or your church, someone that would call you weekly and ask the questions, you know, encourage you or pray for you. And follow up in other one was really important. It’s right in my manuscript, I actually did not have a deadline, I didn’t have a publisher that time. And I just was writing that manuscript for three years, I was crying and laughing and, and just, it’s allowed me to actually pull out all this trauma and all this story into paper. Because up to that time, it was all within me. And when I was writing, it was very interesting. It was like, almost like this shift was like, I saw my past, from different perspective, you know, while I’m healed and loved and redeemed and forgiving, and I’m looking back, I had compassion on myself and on my behavior, and on my family and on my, like, my parents, you know, but the most important part, I was able to forgive myself, because I realize there was no other choice. But then not like, I didn’t have a choice. Yeah, I could kill myself. But that wasn’t an option for me that I want to go there. And that’s what actually opened my eyes. And then I saw my mother, who was very cold and neglected. And then I realized now I’m a mother with three kids as well. And I’m married. So I know how hard marriage is. I know how hard all the circumstances around us. And I’m thinking so if I didn’t have a man who loved me if I didn’t have work to pay for just even like basic things like food and hot water and electricity, if I didn’t have a god and support of my community, what kind of woman would I be? If I would be so empty? How can I love anyone else? And it’s hard to see that when I was that 15 year old kid asking her like, why like how Come you need to know I’m pregnant? How come like you didn’t understand that? I’m sick from the booze and drugs? How come you didn’t see that I’m not coming home? How come you didn’t see like my broken legs and hands, like Where were you. And now I’m realizing she wasn’t there either. She wasn’t there for herself. She was so broken. So as my dad, you know, with wife who is cheating with a country that falling apart, losing his job losing his dreams, like his marriage falling apart. So he went into hiding to he went to that emotional coma, that I was for almost like 10 years of my life doing drugs. So now I could understand them. And it’s very interesting. When I wrote my book, I cry so much, but there was no pain. There was no pain, there was so much grace and compassion, that it’s literally changed my life. Honestly, in the beginning, like I say to you guys, I thought it was my path full of shame and guilt and condemnation. That’s what that’s why I didn’t really want to share my story. But then I just say yes to God to be obedient. And I thought, if this has helped someone, I’d be so grateful. I want to do this for someone else. But honestly, guys, it changed my life. And sometimes that’s what’s stopping us from speaking. It’s that victim mindset and all that shame. So I would give you advice, just start writing, you don’t have to write the book, you can write the journal, you can write one letter, if you still not sharing this pain with anyone, you can find someone you trust, and give them that letter or that journal, one of my friends actually recommend to do that. And I’m thinking, this is amazing, because it’s very hard to speak our truth. So this pain, actually still in us, doesn’t matter how wonderful my life was, without healing my past, I would never have thriving marriage and or thriving, thriving self esteem or thrive in that thriving Lina, because there always was that secret, there always was that darkness. And it triggered me in so many different times in different ways, negatively. And so until it’s there, until it’s been worked through, it would I would never be healed. Yeah.Anna Ditchburn:
Lina, you said something that is very important to me as well. And I’m 100% agree with you, until you have this secret, you will never, ever leave fully. And I’ve been into this in, in this place. When I learned how to survive, you know, I was going to work, I was walking my dog out, I was driving the car. I wasn’t living fully. I resonate with you so much. And I just want to share quickly a story with you. And I share this in my previous episodes. When I went back to Russia to testify against my stepfather. I wrote an article with with one of the biggest publishers in my hometown, about my story, because I’ve realized that in my hometown, we have no childhood sexual abuse, abuser support, childhood, sexual abuse, survivors support. And so what can I do, and I want to share my story. I want to those girls who are in my position, or war in my position, to hear this story, to encourage them to speak up and start healing. Because all all of these tragedies are happening because we are silent, because we keep silent pen this one article went viral. And they had hundreds of letters from people telling me thank you so much for opening up. And I’ve I saw hundreds of stories that would never ever see the light. And my story was chosen as a number one article in my area. And my my publisher asked me to give me a to give him an update. What’s happened since then, and I said that I’m I’m glad it’s it was chosen as a number one because we will get more exposure. And you know, Lena, I received so much hate and so much judgment. It’s it was the It was unbelievable how many people still don’t realize, how is it to be a victim. And I know it’s hard to understand if you haven’t gone through this situation, and they don’t know that you have been conditioned. And some of the comments were, were you didn’t know what was happening. You’re 15 You suppose the new or some some comments for like, why are you telling it now? And I just want to ask you, Lena, and you kept this secret for 20 years? What made you to decide to open up?Lena Cebula:
Well, honestly, I don’t know guys like how, like what you believe, you know, because we have like, different sometimes like, somebody could say, oh, this is intuition. This is that. But for me, it was God here to one of the women conferences. Three times people came to me and told me that I should write a book. So I knew 100 friends and that was that what God was using those people to actually tell me the stories because I would that give me that advice, because I will share my stories without even thinking I just was trying to encourage inspire someone. And then they say you should write a book about it. You should write the book. I’m like, okay, and then they say to you guys, okay, what do you want me to do? And I kid you not. I saw a vision. And I don’t know how you can accept that. But this is what happened. It was almost like a dream. I saw my picture on the banner. And they saw myself signing the books, and I had a panic attack. That’s means it’s public. And I literally I cry for like three days. I’m like, Why do you make me do this, people see who I am right now. I literally a mom with three kids I have, I’m a salon owner. I’m in church member, I am in the meal committee, because I love to cook for people and feed them because I was hungry, half of my life and starving. So now I want to feed people, I want to take care of people. Same as with the salon, I want to make people beautiful and wanting women to feel good about themselves. To us, like I’m praying and encouraging them. So build them up, like someone that I never have anything like that. And it was just amazing just feels my soul. So people know me as this bubbly, happy, lovely. I don’t know, I’m just kind of doing my own horn. But the persona that I created with the good family and good life, that’s what they saw. So when I understood what God asking me to do, I wasn’t shocked. I was, I was like, I couldn’t believe this. You know, because I didn’t want to share my story. I didn’t want people to know who I really was. Because I was to have that in shame and condemnation for the past, not for the present. Because I know that God saved me, redeem me. And forgive me. That’s why I have this blessed life because of who I am. But this book was like, truly miraculous. And actually, that’s the the name of it, because I assume that it was me before God and me after God. But for it in this book, I realized that God’s hand was from beginning to the end. So my life is valuable all of my life. You know, from the day I took my first breath. And that was huge eye opener, because I had to love all of me, I have to forgive all of me, I have to accept all of me before and now and after and in the future. So that was huge, you know, misconception that was like kind of like broken. But I literally I just want to be obedient to God. I’m like, No, what I do believe people suffering and struggling and and with the trauma and with the grief and with the drug abuse, I can help. I want to help I want to help someone else. And I want to be obedient to God because I know that’s the path that he chosen for me. And I know he’s he’s been faithful to me, and I trusted him. But I kid you not. By writing that book by sharing that store. It transformed my life. And I closed my business. I’m so grateful that God allowed me to try Salone because my teeny tiny, whiny dream for me, although it was huge in my mind, compared to God’s dream for me that have like no limits and As you see, let me all hear me, I love to talk, I love to share my story I love to encourage I love to inspire. And nothing else I rather do. Because this is my passion. This is my path. This is my purpose. And I love this. I truly love this. So it was perfect timing. And that’s another thing, perfect timing. God didn’t ask me to write my story when I still was living in hell, you know, I was healed. And that was my next level, to healing to take the next step. And next step. So that’s, I think, how you can see that through the book, because it’s more hopeful and, and exciting for the future story, rather than have any negative emotion into it. And it’s very general, so anybody can read. It’s like, I wouldn’t give it to the kids because they don’t understand the topic itself. But my 13 year old read it. And I actually asked her, What do you know about human trafficking, because she’d been begging me to read that book for a long time. So I talked to my husband, what he thinks about it. And he gave me a green light saying that his father told him lots of different stories. And I decided to give it to her. But Plus, she’s like, of course. Now in the time of technologies, it’s 13 Go on Tori. They think they know everything. But the topic of human trafficking actually been, honestly, last five years, it was more in the open. Now people talking about it. So when my book got published, already, people from different organizations, like I’m part of Fight, fight for freedom. One of the mission is go and speak at schools. So my daughter already knew about human trafficking through this organization. And like, Wow, that’s awesome. Because that’s creepy. create awareness in, in our kids, and our kids are innocent. And honestly, everybody can be lower than human traffic. And that’s a huge misconception that you guys probably might have. Thinking like, okay, of course, like her parents were on drugs or your alcoholic, she was on drugs, the discord in the family. That’s how it happened. But actually, anyone can be learned. Like, literally, I was talking to the gentleman who just said on my podcast, this beast of human trafficking have no gender, no race, no age, like it’s devour a human being. And same as like, the boys and the girls. Like, doesn’t matter how old you are, literally, this beast devour the people. So that that was that’s why now you know, that was the perfect time in the perfect place.Anna Ditchburn:
I love you answer, when perfect time and perfect place. And the truth will set you free. No matter how old How old are you? Or how much time is gone? Lena, what would you say to people who are going through a similar situation, like you went through?Lena Cebula:
First of all, you’re not alone. Regardless of your journey, or what you’re going through right now. There is hope, and you are significant, and your life is valuable. And they know that it’s possible to be successful. Despite the difficulties and challenges of life. Everything is temporary. You don’t understand right now why it’s happening. But it has a reason and purpose. As hard as zero is. One day you’re gonna look back and think that’s made me who I am. That helped me survive. Just one thing. Oh my gosh, like, just don’t give up. Don’t take your life. It’s hard, and it’s painful. One day everything will change. Just don’t give up.Anna Ditchburn:
What an amazing words. Thank you, Lena. And now you also have an amazing podcast. Laugh and beloved, where you sharing your story. And you’re interviewing an amazing people who provide so, so many great stories of hope and empowerment. What is your most favorite thing about being a podcaster?Lena Cebula:
Very interesting because I love to talk. I love to talk Okay, and that’s just, I don’t know, my, my, my gift. But podcast actually taught me to listen. And it was an amazing new skill that I had to develop. And I love this because I love to hear people’s stories. I love to share people’s stories. And I want everybody to understand that this is happening to all of us, our traumas are so different, you know, you don’t have to be raped, and kidnapped and smuggled and be trafficked or anything like that you can be neglected, and your heart is still gonna be hurting, you know, and you still gonna be in that, like, a prison of that pain. You know, our traumas are so different. And that’s what I want everybody to see and understand from my podcast, that we’re all different. We’re all unique, but we’re suffering all the same. You know, you don’t have to judge your trauma, or apologize for your trauma, you know, you just have to know yourself, and see and see the story of overcoming. Sometimes maybe you identify with a human trafficking survivor and thinking like, Oh, my goodness, if it’s possible, for me, it’s possible for for her, sorry, it would cause would be possible for me. But sometimes you are in the drug addiction, and you hear my story and you, you can feel the same or if you also have the child, and so many of amazing people amazing guest on my podcast, you can hear the story, and hear that hope and hear that encouragement and hear that inspiration. And think like, if this is possible for this person, it’s possible for me, or sometimes you’re gonna think, Wow, that’s amazing. I never thought that somebody else is going through the same thing like I am. So you can know that you’re not alone. There’s so many people that have very similar experiences. But I kid you not this is was like the privilege and honor for me to hear other people’s stories, to give other people resources. Now I have more and more experts, I’m so excited because they give amazing resources to people because sometimes, maybe you’ve never been thriving, but you have someone that you know, and you don’t know what to do. So then you can see and hear or have that like light bulb or red flag, you know, that you’re gonna know to help someone, then you’re gonna be able to help someone or even to know what to do or take the resource and pass to someone else you know, and save someone’s life. So I’m so excited that my little boys create this ripple effect because I want I want to help people.Anna Ditchburn:
Wow. Wow. Lina for those who would love to get in contact with you. Where can they find you?Lena Cebula:
Absolutely. My website is love. And B with no E loved that. COMM L O V E, A M D B L O V Ed, just in case you’re driving that calm. And you can reach out to me through my website. You can buy the book listen podcast as well. But if you would like to have signed copy, you can just send me email Lina firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you want to check me out or any on any social media platforms, I’m actually everywhere. LinkedIn, Facebook, just Google Linus Bula. And they’re just requests the friends I like be friends. I like to know more friends, I’d like to hear your story. And if you would like to get the book it’s on amazon.ca or amazon.com as well. And I hope and pray my story inspire you or if you want to help victims survivors or if you need more resources, just connect with me I will hook you up I have so many different things that can help you in any anything that you need. Like I kid you not I have an amazing resources and if I don’t have it, I have people who are having so so definitely I wherever I can help I will help you.Anna Ditchburn:
Amazing. Lena Do we Do you have any concluding thoughts before we goLena Cebula:
Oh, yes, I actually would like to read my favorite quote, If you don’t mind. Yes, please. So it’s called by Marianne Williamson. And our deepest, deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful, powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous, actually, who are you not to be. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we give other people permission to do the same. My light shines bright these days. Now it’s time for you to shine yours upon the world to