Donna Abma

HOW DID YOU IDENTIFY YOUR PASSION AND THE WORK THAT SATISFIED YOU VERSUS WORK THAT JUST PAID THE BILLS?

I have had a lot of jobs to pay bills however when I started to co-lead a women’s group it became my love for women very apparent. It took a long time for me to find that love for women. I did not have healthy women role models in my past, especially not with my mother. This passion cold cocked me when I realized that there was a program for young parenting or pregnant women being run in my community by Central Alberta Youth Unlimited. It is called Stepping Stones and is for young women between the ages of 15 yrs-25yr, however the door is open to any young woman who needs support. The program is a walk with and in support of these young mommas/women by whatever means necessary My excitement nearly exploded and knew I needed to be a part of this program. I was a young woman who had no support, came from abuse, neglect and was abandoned. I wanted to take what I have walked through, with Jesus helping me and walk alongside these beautiful young women to encourage and support and let them know they have a soft place to fall. I am honored to be a part of these young women lives and their families and even more honored to hear their stories. It is especially powerful when I can interject into those stories and say “Oh I see you and what I see is an exquisite human being. You are worth more than you will ever understand and You can do this!!!”!! It was a pivotal point for me when I met God. He healed my heart in so many ways and established that I was created for right here, right now. With God I found belonging. God is love and after meeting the true representation of love, mercy, grace and forgiveness, I strive to be a vessel of that love. That love changes lives. It is my calling, my passion.

WHO WILL ETERNALLY BE A WOMAN YOU ADMIRE AND RESPECT, AND WHY?

Marla Unger. My friend has walked with me longer than any other woman. She taught me how to love
myself first so I could love others. She cared for me and never gave up on me. Marla has fed me and
strengthened me, believed in me more than I believed in myself. She has taught me about boundaries and kicked my ass when I needed it. She also taught me how to hug. In addition to all of this. she is an
incredible woman of God who champions women relentlessly. Marla is a single foster mom which I
believe to be one of the hardest jobs ever. She is a gift.

IN LIGHT OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF OUR HASHTAG #WHYITRIBE, WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE WHO WE ALREADY ARE TODAY?

We can always look at the failures and I think we have spent way too much time focusing on that. We
need to celebrate how far we have come and continue to go. As long as we are going in love, mercy, grace
and forgiveness, there is no room for regrets and bitterness. We are who we are. This includes our past;
the good, the bad, the downright gruesome. Celebrate that – all of it. We also cannot do this life alone; we were not created to exist in solitude.

NAME A TIME RECENTLY WHEN YOU SAID SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF/HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?

When my daughter Makenzie turned 24. Twenty-four – the age I was when I had her, I was not in a good
space. I was so thankful to have her, yet my heart was so lonely and sad. The only light in my life at that
time, was her. My lovely daughter Makenzie turned 24 this year. She is married to an incredible man, Zack, who decided to celebrate her champagne birthday and take her to Scotland; her most favorite places. Off they go and on the day of her actual birthday, we managed to orchestrate a phone call. We discussed how she was blown away by the fact that she was the age I was when I had her. After I got off the phone I went to Instagram and saw a picture of her standing on a hill in Scotland, with a massive smile on her face when it hit me. If I were to put my picture of me at 24 besides her the differences would be unreal.  I was not working, high school dropout, so broken and hurting and here was my daughter, in beautiful relationship. She has her career and it’s her passion. She is educated and brilliant. She is travelling and has the most epic heart. Even though it was a hard life for her in many areas, I was able to let my shoulders down and for the first time, say to myself, you did a good job. LOOK AT HER!!! The cycle has been broken and you did a good job momma. I cried for most of the day. It was beautiful.

WHY DO YOU THINK WOMEN SHY AWAY FROM CELEBRATING OR PRAISING THEMSELVES SO MUCH?

I believe it is a generational thing. We come from years and years of be compliant. If you do a good job
someone’s jealous, sit down, you don’t have an opinion, abuse. We just don’t know how, yet you can feel
it is changing. So many are saying “This is enough. We need each other.”.

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE TENDENCY TO DISCREDIT COMPLIMENTS YOU ARE
GIVEN?

I take a really deep breath, and internally open and accept. Its hard and I don’t do it well all the time, but
it’s so worth it when I do. My heart heals even more every time another woman speaks into me.

HOW DOES SOCIETY REINFORCE THE IDEA THAT WE, AS WOMEN, ARE NOT ENOUGH AND HOW CAN WE TAKE THAT POWER BACK?

I don’t think there is any power to take back. Women are and have always been born with it. I also think
we have seen so much power struggle with such a disregard to human life as a whole that women have the power in their love and hearts to change it one woman at a time. I believe that when we come to terms with the fact men have their specific gifting, women have their specific gifting and when we come
together as a team- we will see a massive shift in peace, mercy and tolerance. We as women really have to
embrace that we are freedom fighters, lovers, healers, beauties. We have vision that are so desperately
needed in this world. Women of every generation need to link hands and learn and grow from one another. If ever there was a time for that to happen, the time now.

WHY IS THE TRIBE MOVEMENT IMPORTANT?

If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.” ― Matthew Arnold

Matthew was on point. Our families, our communities and the world needs us. This, is why I tribe.

Occupation: Director of Stepping Stones Lacombe with Central Alberta Youth Unlimited

Website: www.cayu.ca

Instagram: momunity