Christian Review Magazine Issue 3 - March 2015 - Page 71

E veryone has a story. Behind every shared smile, hidden tear, battle won or defeat endured, there are characters, plot turns and, hopefully, lessons learned. Some people allow their entire lives to be defined and confined by their story. Others live their lives in defiance of their story. And there are others who choose to use it. For better or worse, they determine that the past is in the past and while we can’t change it, we can learn from it and share those lessons with others around us. Blanca is one of those people. She knows where she’s been. She knows where she is. But most importantly she knows who she is. “I am a girl who’s been through a lot in life but is using her story and everything that she has to bring hope to others who may have gone through similar things,” she says. “I want to inspire and encourage others to be who they are.” Those aren’t empty words, nor are they easy ones. The last year has seen Blanca make many major decisions and difficult transitions in order to be true to who she is. For over ten years, she was a vocalist for the award-winning, and in many ways, ground-breaking hip-hop group, Group 1 Crew. “I was 17 when I met the rest of Group 1 Crew,” she recalls. “They weren’t signed. We just became a group of local musicians from Orlando who all went to the same church. I was a new Christian and those new friends became family quickly.” But after ten years of singing and touring and ministering, God brought along a new chapter with new family members and, at the end of the day, a lot of hard decisions to make. “When I got pregnant,” she recalls, “everything began to change.” As Blanca and her husband of nearly five years looked ahead at their future as parents, the longing within Blanca that had been present for some time...to be a solo artist and pursue ministry opportunities beyond the veil of Group 1 Crew… became palpable and too real to be ignored. But was nonetheless terrifying. “The thought of dropping something that’s working was so scary,” she says. “But beyond that, there was this fear that he (Manwell, the other half of Group 1 Crew), wouldn’t accept it. There were a lot of tears, but he really trusted me and understood and supported the direction I felt God was leading me in. We both respect each other and I’m grateful I was able to find the strength to speak out.” With that conversation, a new chapter had begun. Not long after, plus 42 hours of labor, Blanca’s story became one of music, ministry and motherhood. “He came three weeks early,” she says. “It was such an amazing time CHRISTIANREVIEW.COM > 71