My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Sunday, March 22, 2015


A few weeks ago, I posted about vulnerability. And then, as is usual when one is incredibly vulnerable, every fear comes back and haunts you. The voices that I have worked so hard to rid themselves from my brain, came back in full force.

Did I share too much?

Am I making a difference by telling my story, by sharing my heart?

Is it worth it?

Well, every time a lie comes, this internal battle rages. But the truth is, vulnerability is the only way to live a life of truth, a life covered in grace, a life in the strength of my Father. 

So, in the end, the truth always wins.

But, I don't know if it will ever get any easier.

And here I am again, holding out my fears and wondering...do you see me? Do you experience the same things? Does this sound familiar?

This past week, we had a friend of ours come and train our teachers on positive reinforcement. She talked through problems in the classroom, effects of trauma on the brain, and how to change the problems in our classrooms. Some of the teachers started going off like lightbulbs, understanding all that was being taught and excited to put it into practice.

For me, the training was a reminder of how things used to be.

A few years back, I taught my teachers very similar trainings on a weekly basis. I was in the classrooms constantly. I fought for things to be done well. I wouldn't say that the school was perfect in any way, but I could see those lightbulbs going off in our teachers and it made me excited.

But, when we switched over to the Ghana Education Service system in 2012, something changed in me.  We hired a principal to help with the load and all that came with becoming an official Ghana-recognized school, and I stepped back. 

I felt inadequate.

I hid behind my mountain of paperwork (which seems to forever increase no matter how long I work on it), and stopped engaging.

I was scared that because I didn't know or understand the system, that I ceased to be relevant. I felt like maybe I had nothing left to offer.

And when our friend came and the teachers started to "get it", I realized how wrong I have been this whole time. I might not have a degree of psychology behind me and years of experience teaching at the college level, but I do have time in front of a classroom. I know how hard it is day in and day out. I know the kids that push every button. I know. 

And I also know a few strategies that work.

So, I'm realizing, I'm not inadequate at all, but rather invaluable.

It's the nature of the lie.

To take away the very ways in which you might be most effective.

A few years ago, I discovered that if I was to have the greatest impact on our children here, I had to influence the lives of the teachers. I could teach one class of 20 students and see change in their little lives, or I could train and disciple and challenge and encourage and call up teachers and see my impact grow to over 240 children. 

That lie of inadequacy took away my confidence. It sent me into hiding (as most lies do). And, while I have continued to lead and encourage our teachers in a small way, my own feelings of inadequacy took away opportunities to see our teachers grow...our students grow.

In Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, she quotes another author on the topic of leadership:

“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable.…It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers. It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail. It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle. When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed. If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader.”


Am I willing to be uncomfortable?

To feel inadequate and still give what I know I have within me?

To stand in front of those that might speak behind my back and teach them what I know, to entrust them with words that God has asked me to share?

To trust that in my weakness, He is my strength?

Because that is leadership.

And I know that many people follow the confident and the proud and the one with the loudest voice. They trust that kind of leader. But, that is not me. I struggle to be confident in front of others and canbe timid  and defensive and am prone to be stepped on when I don't see the full picture.

But, I'm learning the greatest leader, He experienced all things (that's what the Bible says--so I know he might have felt inadequate at times), but He never gave in. He chose to not believe the lie. He chose to walk in humble leadership, ok with being uncomfortable for the sake of growing and stretching and pushing out past what was known and experienced before. 

I can trust His model of leadership.

Because He has changed the world.

He has changed me.

And I can walk in humble confidence that I have been given everything I need for where I have been called and what I have been called to.

I am enough.

Because He says so.

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