When I was young my dreams included learning martial arts, how to drive a car, and have my own business (to the absolute horror of my traditional grandma). Her dream for me, like for all females in my family, was to become a good wife, mother, and housekeeper. In that exact same order. My problem was that she couldn’t understand my generation and blindly stood her ground in the face of change. My generation, born and raised in post-USSR, had no morals and all traditional ways were out window. It wasn’t right, but it was real. Everything was upside down. 

People were encouraged to get married young. My sister already had a baby and was divorced when I was a teenager. I couldn’t understand why my grandma was using her as an example. For the past 50 years in my family no other couple, except my grandparents, was together anymore. Everyone wanted freedom. Havings a family was a burden. Our hardship and lifestyle drove most into addictions and loss of control over their lives. It was a truly dysfunctional society. But we did what we could to make our lives the best.

We were not just a new generation trying to figure out who we were. We had no boundaries or supervision from our parents. Everybody had to work and hustle to make ends meet. So I couldn’t understand if we could work and do the same jobs as men, why I couldn’t drive car, learn martial arts and own my own business. I wanted to be independent. And be an equal.

I know she secretly hoped (and if she had relationship with God, she probably would have prayed hard ) that I would change. She believed that I would mature and see how unrealistic my dreams were and eventually give up to face a reality. That would simply not happen. 

I didn’t expect that life would take me all over the world. And I certainly couldn’t imagine being so far from both my grandmas and my own dreams for a while. I was alone in a harsh world. I had a lot of struggle and suffering. I was ashamed of that life, but through writing Miraculous (now available on I know it was part of my journey to become who I am today. I never could have imagined that I would be called a survivor. 

Here in Canada with the right amount of perseverance, diligence and hard work all my dreams came true! It’s truly a land of opportunities. I love driving. I owned my own hair salon. And I even earned a black belt in tae kwon do. But my grandma’s dreams came true as well. I am also a wife and a mother. 

I always thought she was forcing me into marriage because of her beliefs. Now I realize how much I love this role. It made me a better person. It taught me to love deeply and to know true sacrifice for my family. I became more compassionate and selfless, and am grateful to God that He granted me this privilege. And I remember my grandma saying, “With family you will never be alone.” 


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I am Lena Cebula. I am wife and mother of three beautiful children. I am drug addiction and human trafficking survivor. Today I am Christian, social justice advocate, blogger, professional public speaker and host of Love&BLoved Podcast. I am sharing the Good News of God’s love and creating awareness about the reality of human sex trafficking. I am an author of spiritual autobiography called 'Miraculous: my journey from hell to heaven,' you can get it through Amazon Please read and invite others who need to hear stories of forgiveness and second chances. Portion of proceeds goes to Fight4freedom. We fight against sex trafficking and support the work of outreach, education, prevention, awareness and survivor care.