After our first Breakfast For Hope in 2012, it became clear to us that we needed to recognize individuals and organizations who make significant contributions to helping others thrive. We were inspired to create this award by Alex, a brave teenager who tattooed the word “serenity” to commemorate two years free from cutting and self-injury. Alex’s story of transformation is extremely powerful, and in developing a close relationship with her, Barb realized that serenity is the foundation of a restored and thriving life.
It made perfect sense to name Alex as the inaugural recipient of the Cans For Hope Serenity Award. With her leadership as an example, we hope to identify special individuals and organizations who are committed to finding the peace that is at the heart of restoring lost identities for many years to come!
Read more about Alex’s unique story:
“’God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ The Serenity Prayer became my mantra every Friday night throughout much of my adolescence. I stumbled into this eating disorder recovery group by chance at a church I was invited to attend by a friend. Every Friday I would sit and listen to the women talk and really wonder if true serenity was a possibility for me. At the time I was undiagnosed bipolar and using all the wrong coping mechanisms like self-injury and eating disorder behaviors to get by. I was searching for anything that might bring me some peace. I kept coming back to group and back to that word serenity because it has a lot more meaning to it than meets the eye. One definition of serenity is the state of being clear and free of storms or unpleasant change. Others describe it as an utter calm. At the time I had no idea what serenity really looked like for my life, but I knew something had to change to even come close to the definitions. It took a lot of gradual work and by the grace of God things did start changing. I did a lot of the work, but I had a whole team of people surrounding me, including Barb Murphy who is relentless when it comes to shining God’s light into the heart of those who need it most. I told Barb I was going to be free of self-injury and it was a goal of mine to get a tattoo of something important to me in the future. After two years of being self-injury free I got a tattoo with the word Serenity and the recovery symbol for the National Eating Disorder Association on my ankle. Several years later I am still a work in progress, but I know the true meaning of serenity in my own life. Serenity isn’t the ability to remain calm when things are going well. It is the ability to have peace and be calm even during the most challenging times. It is the ability to ride the waves of life and know without a doubt that things will always improve in God’s time. It is the ability to cherish every moment that life has to offer even in the darkest times because those are the times that allow us to grow and flourish even more. It is the ability to completely immerse yourself in the good so that when the bad does come you remember and you strive to get back to your best you. Early in recovery I was looking for that quick fix to take everything away and give me this blissful life full of serenity. A decade later I realize I had it all wrong then because serenity isn’t a place we get to in life, it is a lifestyle to lean on when the times get rough. It is a gift from God and it is my hope that everyone is able to get to a place in their lives where they can really understand it. Not only that, but I hope that people can be living examples of serenity so that those who need hope the most have something to cling to.”