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1.16.2012

No More Silence

We were into the last day of our 2nd annual youth camp, ReDream. It was 2 o'clock in the morning as I sat on my bunk watching Amelia sleep. I wondered how anybody in the world could defile such a beautiful creation. My heart was heavy.

I had just got done listening to a woman give her life testimony about how from age 4 until far into her adult years, she was sexually abused. At first it was the teenaged neighbor boys that would play with her but tell her not to tell anyone. Slowly it progressed so far to her being raped as she sold her body working as a prostitute in Seattle.

Jessica shared the statistic that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be sexually abused by age 18. Here we were sitting among a group of 70+ students and I thought to myself, "I know I'm that statistic. Who else is?"

I've spent the last ten years of my life learning to own the truth that I'm not defined by what was done to me as a child. Also, my trust in people, specifically men, should not be tainted by what my father did to me. Instead, I am defined by the truths that I am valuable, that I can trust again, and that Jesus loves and forgives. Therefore, I need to love and forgive. I am 23 years old and finally being able to put to words the restoration that has occurred in my heart as I heal from being sexually abused. It has taken lots of time and tears to get to this point. But praise God that I'm a better person because of my tragedy. Just like our gracious guest speaker, Jessica.

I am writing this very openly because I am tired of the silence. How many of our ReDreamers came out about abuse in their life in just that one weekend? More than anyone could realize, I'm sure. Why have they had to hide for so long? How many more are still alone in silence? My heart broke that night because many victims don't know how to talk about what was done to them or what is still being done. Sometimes, like Jessica and myself, they are so young that they don't realize that the actions done to them were wrong. People assume that all of the prostitutes on 82nd are there because they want to be. The harsh reality is that many of the people in sex trafficking are forced into it. Once they are in it, the appeal of money or fear of leaving overwhelms them so much that they stay. And many of these people (pimps and prostitutes) were sexually abused themselves before even being in the industry!

What we have is a terrible cycle that needs to end. Jessica was first raped at 4 years old. My niece, Aivie, is almost 4. Can you feel the weight of that? I was molested younger than that! My sweet Amelia is almost one! What kind of person does these things to precious little lives? It's people who are in desperate need of a Savior. These people are so broken and hurting. They are only doing what was done to them. But somewhere along the line, there needs to be change. For my family, it started ten years ago when I gave my life to Christ. Amelia (and our future children) will grow up in a family where we follow Jesus and we love each other well. We will create the safest home possible. But even this won't be the 100% fix all, we know. Jessica had a safe, lovely home life when it all started. But you never know what kind of people will enter your life nor can you know the events that will cause hurt in a person's life. We can't protect Amelia from everything in the world. What we can do is entrust her and her siblings lives to the Lord knowing that He is the ultimate Protector. And continue to do our best!

I'm overwhelmed as I realize the magnitude of this injustice. I've wondered what I can do to make a difference. I figured dialogue is a good place to start. I'm opening up so that other victims will know that they are NOT alone. I'm choosing to be open about my healing so that people know healing IS a possible reality. I want victims to know that there are ways out of the darkness. It is too large of a group for me to think that my words could do much. But if not for the entire population, maybe for that one teenaged girl, I'm choosing to not be silent anymore.

Read Jessica's story here: http://sexmoneyherdofchildren.wordpress.com/
An organization that is getting involved: http://www.compassionconnect.com/abolitionnow.html

1.11.2012

The Lord Has Done Great Things

"Don’t be afraid, my people.
     Be glad now and rejoice,
        for the LORD has done great things" Joel 2:21


I read Joel last week for our community group's weekly reading. I found this verse and was so blessed by it. For so much of my life, I have worried about the smallest of details for no good reason. I have spent so much time stressing over things I have no control over. But in the last year, I have found peace in trusting God. I have never been so content in knowing that God has provided and blessed in the past which means, because He is faithful, that He will provide in the future.

I don't know how long it will be before we are debt free and able to buy a home big enough for the large family we want. I know that God has given us just enough to begin working to get there. We want to have 4 children at least. I'm not sure how we will clothe and feed all those little bodies with one income! I do know that many families before us have made it work (Danny's family included)! I know that God has provided for our every need thus far. I want to continue in ministry but sometimes it's difficult to see how I can do it. I know that God walked with me through the transition of having Amelia and still serving. I am still being used in a big way now... just different from what I expected. There's so many unknowns ahead of us. But because of the certainties behind us, we press on in faith.

God just loves providing for His children. I've seen it over and over again in my life. So I go forth with the assurance that He will continue to provide for this child of His!

1.04.2012

Goals for 2012

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a "resolution" type person. Failure is a big fear of mine. And let's face it, most people fail at their resolutions. I know I have in the past. But this year, I've decided to set some goals. Looking back to 2011, I'm shocked by how quickly the year went by. There is so much I wanted to accomplish. I feel like I let the year get away from me. Granted, I was a wee bit preoccupied being a new mommy. But I want 2012 to be a different year.

Here are some goals I've set for myself [and how I plan to reach them]:

Be more prayerful. [I plan to actually finish and keep on with "The Power of a Praying Wife". I need to move Amelia's daily prayer calendar to a more open area. When people ask for prayer, I want to pray in that moment with them rather than saying, "yeah, I will pray." and forgetting.]

Craft more. [I have so many unfinished projects. After I finish those I would love to do many of the crafts from my "crafties to try" board on Pinterest. I'm not sure what reaching this goal will look like yet. I do know that anything will be more than last year!]

Blog regularly. [I love love love writing. It has been a love of mine since I was 12. I write in a journal about once a week. But that's usually me writing down Amelia's milestones and such. I want to blog once a week. I don't have a main idea that I want to blog about. I guess whatever my heart feels will do. One week might be about a craft project I did. The next week might be about parenting struggles. Who knows?]

Be a gentle parent. [I want to discover what it looks like to gently parent my sweet Amelia and future children. I was spanked, yelled at, slapped, and mocked as a child. Now that I'm a grown woman I wouldn't say that I'm "messed up" because of my experience. But since becoming a mommy, I've found that a lot of who I am in moments of tension comes from what was modeled to me. I plan to change that through prayer/deeper understanding of God's grace for me, accountability in my husband, reading the tons of resources available, and acting out what I learn.]

Participate in 5k, 10k, and half marathon races. [I am currently going to the gym 3x a week and doing the "Ease into 5k" program. I am in week 4 and can walk/jog about 2 miles in half an hour. By the end of the program, which is in 4 weeks, I hope to be able to jog 3 miles in half an hour. There is a 5k race in March called "The Shamrock Run". I guess that's my first run! After that I will continue to build my endurance.]

Continue to handle our finances well. [We plan to continue to tithe, budget, pay down debt, and save. Our biggest savings goal are a full emergency fund and a house. Obviously, these are long term goals hence "continuing".]

I think that's a good start! :) I'm excited for the year and what will come of it. It's sure to be an interesting one now that our baby is entering toddlerhood! Happy 2012, friends!