Row for Freedom tells the inspirational journey of Julia and a team of British women who took on a challenge completed by fewer people than have climbed Mount Everest or gone into space; row three thousand miles in a 7 metre by 2 metre rowing boat, unaided from Canary Islands to Barbados in 2011/12. The Row for Freedom crew broke the record for the fastest women’s crossing and established a record for being the first female crew of 5 ever to row the Atlantic. What was their motivation? To raise money for and raise awareness about the thirty million victims of the modern-day slave trade.
In Row For Freedom, Julia also shares her own personal journey dealing with low self esteem, spiralling debt, family problems and broken relationships. There is no doubt that God is at the core of Julia’s story of restoration and transformation. Julia speaks unashamedly about how God transformed her life and gave her the courage to persist with this challenging vision of rowing the Atlantic. A less assured author would have eliminated God-references to appeal to a wider readership.
I bought Row for Freedom in an airport book shop as I prepared to get on an early morning flight. Rather than sitting dreary eyed (as usual), Julia’s story reinvigorated and challenged me. It’s definitely the most inspirational flight I have ever had. It made me reflect on a number of God-truths in my own life, especially how I face challenges.
Human trafficking is a mammoth beast – it is worth more than $150 billion every year, more than Google or Big Oil. When we face a challenge like that, it is easy to ignore it, become disillusioned or believe that it is for someone more equipped and more courageous to do something. Row for Freedom dismisses this small, individualistic and defeatist thinking. When she agreed to the Atlantic Rowing Challenge, Julia barely rowed before yet she knew that she was called to think big and make a stand for justice.
Is there an issue which God is breaking your heart for? How can you think ‘BIG’ and play your part in transforming your world? In the words of Julia, let’s