A Revived Spirit

Hello all! My name is Ta, and man, is a lot going on in the world today... in the midst of all of it, I got married to the love of my life this June! But, as the 4th of 5 kids, and the last to get married... An interesting thing occurred as soon as I proposed in May: some relationship walls that were standing between my three older sisters and I suddenly came crashing down. It has been a beautiful blessing as we have had many conversations since then and they opened up to me in ways that I have been missing for more than a decade.

One conversation that stuck out to me was when my sister, Esther, reached out to me on Marco Polo, and asked if we could have a private conversation. By the time I saw the message a few days later, she was hesitant to follow through with the conversation because she didn't want to "be selfish" and add anything to my plate that would take my focus off of wedding prep and current time-consuming responsibilities, but I urged her to continue.

It was one of those defining moment, 1.5 hour FaceTime calls that I will never forget. We shared many tears of sorrow, joy, and love as I learned about the last decade of my sister's life of which I had missed. I have always loved her so dearly, and her message to me was very compelling... she felt that she had been dead, but could see a light of hope emerging from the most unexpected outlet. I wish I could have recorded that call and posted that here today, but instead, I asked Esther to write out a quick message for you all to see. Esther is an incredible young mother, a blessing of a sister, and an amazing friend to have. I told her that I would do anything to help her achieve this goal as a part of her dream... God works in mysterious ways... If you feel compelled as I did to help my sister out, we would greatly appreciate it. I believe that Esther has the potential within her to make worldwide impact, and this may just be a stepping stone in that journey in her life.

Please read her message below and do as you feel in your spirit:

"My name is Esther. You probably don’t know me, so I’d like to share a little bit of my story. As a child I had a naturally adventurous spirit. My insightful and brave parents allowed me to stretch my wings as I entered adolescence, and despite some people’s disapproval, they supported my dreams and allowed me to explore nearly every continent in the world by the time I was 18!

During my college years, I spent 16 months living in a rural  desert town in northeastern Kenya. My dream had come true - I was living in Africa!!! But it turned out to be everything I had NOT imagined. It was hard, it was hot. While there were plenty of kind people, I was also a target for all kinds of assault. But most of all, as an outsider in a community-based culture, I was never able to find the privacy I craved. I came home to the United States broken and unsure of what to do with my life.

I got married to the most wonderful man the week I turned 24. We struggled at first, not only because he is a homebody, but because we quickly had two children and I became homebound for the first time in my life! I figured this was going to be the new normal for the rest of my life, so I struggled to kill all the passions that make me come alive as a unique human being. I went into survival mode. I died inside. This went on for 8 years.

COVID-19 has been a very unusual experience for us. While we daily read reports of people dying or becoming mentally exhausted, quarantine has allowed us time for deep reflection and personal growth. It was during one such day that I discovered an agency that specializes in curating unique, global experiences for individuals that foster such personal growth through quietness, adventure, and pushing yourself beyond the limits of what you think you are capable of doing. The term “dig deep” comes to mind.

When I stumbled upon this, I knew I had an opportunity before me that I could not miss - no matter what. For the first time in nearly a decade, I literally felt this old skeleton of a person begin to come alive in me again. My husband noticed it instantly. His wife had come back. He promised me that he would support me in whatever way he could to see me live out my dreams. I am lucky to have him.

The mission that the agency has created just for me is tactical in nature, and a top British Royal Marine commander will train me in everything from survival and combat skills to mental preparation and navigation. While I will carry a tracking device at all times for my personal safety, there will be three days during the weeklong adventure that I will be completely solo. It will be my mission to complete different challenges and self-navigate to my final destination. I won’t know exactly where I will be going - (that is part of the experience!) - but I do know that it is in some remote desert landscape dominated by tabletop mountains, tiny oasis, big skies, and wide open terrain.

My husband and I are both in the recruitment process to join the Texas Air Guard, and will probably slightly stagger our enlistment dates so that our daughters will never be without a parent at home. Since he is older, it naturally makes sense for him to go first, and this would be the perfect opportunity to do something to keep me occupied and motivated. My trip dates are May 1-8 next year and they need me to pay the remaining $7,000 by the latest of February 2021. I am committed to working for the remainder once my daughters are in school this fall.

Am I crazy? Maybe. With all the suffering going on in the world, I can’t help but wonder if I am just being selfish. But pandemics don’t stop dreams, and I don’t want to die again. Thank you for helping one regular middle-aged mom to live again.”

To me... this is not selfish... this is real... this is my sister whom I love.

Again, I appreciate your thoughtful consideration. I am big on people's dreams because I believe many times, that is what keeps us going when times get tough.

Thank you from a little brother full of faith,



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Talor Byington 
College Station, TX
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