Sexual Trauma Awareness: Breaking The Silence

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month! #SAAM

Did you know that one in four women and one in ten men are sexually assaulted?

And these are only from the ones that are actually reported! The prevalence of childhood sexual abuse, date rape and other forms of sexual assault is outrageous and statistically kept hidden.

The reality of sexual trauma is tragic, and we are breaking the silence! Join us as we share awareness for our community, hope for the survivors, and a challenge to fight this atrocity.

This event is open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be provided.

Saturday (April 22) from 10am – 12pm
Sunday (April 23) from 10:30am – 12pm

Click Here to Register: https://tinyurl.com/april22-23

Click here to join the event on Facebook: Sexual Trauma Awareness – Breaking the Silence

Meet Crystal Sutherland, author of Journey to Heal: Seven Essential Steps of Recovery for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and founder of Journey to Heal Ministries.  http://www.crystalsutherland.org

Meet Abbi Tenaglia, founder of Transforming Hope Ministries. Abbi will be sharing at the event on Saturday, April 22. https://www.transforminghopeministries.org/founder/

Monica Daye is the voice of many silent whisperers and she is the founder of StandUp SpeakOut!  http://www.susonc.org

Meet Michelle Viscuse, founder of Journey Pink. Her passion is to inspire women who have been sexually abused or violated to find courage, hope, and freedom in Jesus Christ! https://journeypink.wordpress.com/about/

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The Word Lives

*originally written June 23, 2014*

In the last few days I’ve had the fortunate unfortunate opportunity to witness two families go through death of a dear one.  One death left behind a young man who’s now the man of the house.  The other leaving behind a family who will never hear his tiny voice cry or laugh.  In these deaths I saw the beauty of Life.


For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20 ESV

A young man, now fatherless, stood awkwardly in a suit and tie.  Overnight, he’s been forced to become the man of the house, feeling the responsibility for the care and protection of his mother.  This afternoon, he has already assumed this role.  Standing tall, ready to receive guests, shaking hands, accepting condolences.  A group he recognizes arrives, teens dressed carefully, not sure whether to smile or seem sad.  One by one, they shake his hand, hug him tight, offer their quiet, broken, uncertain words of comfort.  They smile when he smiles, nods when he does, not sure about what they’re supposed to do with themselves.  And then it happens.  A tall, graying man, wearing a jacket and tie, puts his hand on the young man’s shoulder.  “Let’s pray,” he says quietly, breaking the awkward silence.  It’s as though life has been injected into the group of teens.  Without hesitation, without question, and with confidence, each teen puts his or her arm around the classmate to the left and right.  Heads bow.  Hands tighten.  Eyes close.  The man in the jacket and tie prays.  He prays for comfort, he gives thanks for life, he asks for guidance.  It’s simple.  There’s nothing particularly eloquent about the words that are spoken, but for that moment, for the time that his voice is speaking, this awkward, uncertain group of teens has become one.  They are united in hearing a petition placed before the Almighty Father, a petition asking for one of their own to have only what the Father can give.

Matthew 18:20 lives. 


And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18 ESV

Sunday morning.  There’s nothing remarkable about this particular Sunday morning in June.  Blue sky.  Hot.  And yet as the people gathered, even among the greetings and smiles, handshakes and hugs, there’s a heaviness, a brokenness.  

The night before, a few couples, some with their children, gather at a house.  There’s laughter in this house.  There are smiles and stories, the low rumble of conversations and a table where meals have been prepared and eaten.  In between the laughter, the smiles, and the stories, there are hugs, shoulder squeezes.  Tight ones.  Hugs that say to one another, “I’m walking with you,” or “Don’t let go, I’m here,” or “I’m praying for you.”  In this house, Love abounds.  Everywhere.  Even now, in the unexpected absence of the new life they had been expecting, Love lives here.  The people who are here are living in a Love unexplainable, a promised Love from One who has promised He would come to them.  It’s the only explanation for the smiles through the tears, the hope through grief, the love through the death.

The Sunday service is all but over.  The lights are dim.  The brokenness and sadness palpable.  A simple gesture, a simple request, to take the hand of the person beside.  A voice prays, asking for guidance and comfort, but with gratitude and hope.  In the unbroken chain of hands, His Holy Spirit lives.  

John 14:15-18 lives.

Childlike Faith

Matthew 18:2-4 (ESV)

2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Our daughter is 8 years old.  She sat in church beside me this Sunday and listened to the sermon about giving.  She heard about the widow’s two small coins and how Jesus said she had given much because it was a sacrifice for her to give.   We should never underestimate what a child can take in whether it is a 20 minute sermon, or a 10 minute Sunday School lesson, a song or even a simple nature walk!

As we were walking out of church after that sermon, this happened:

Morgan:  Mom, what can I do for an offering?  Can I sell lemonade on the trails?

Me: Honey, I am not sure people running and walking the trails carry money on them.

Morgan:  What about at our house?

Me: Well, not too many people ride by – you could do it but it may take a while.

….several minutes pass and we are getting in the van now…    photo 6

Morgan:  I’m selling my Barbie Townhouse!  That’s what I’ll do!

Me:  Wow, you want to sell your townhouse!  Are you sure?

Morgan:  Yes!  It’s my biggest toy so I can get a lot for it!  Plus, I can make bracelets with my rainbow loom and sell them too!  Oh, and I can……….

I keep replaying this short but powerful interaction in my mind, because this is a GOD moment.  This is how the Lord speaks to me sometimes – right out of the mouth of babes.  (Matthew 21:16 & Matthew 11:25)

While I was listening to the sermon I had an amount in mind to give that would be above our normal giving and would be sacrificial.  All that would be required of me is to simply: write the check.

Her conversation challenged me in many ways.  A child with no income, seeking many ways to bring an offering.  She knows He will make a way, and she knows He will receive it and it will be used mightily and He will be pleased.  She has that childlike faith with such hope in her eyes.

I think that I have faith.  I think that I have hope.  I think that I have trust.  And then, in these tiny but huge God Moments, he whispers something into my heart and soul that says…”Go deeper with Me.  Come closer.  My child, I love you.”  I can almost feel His hand on my cheek.

This week has challenged me to go deep.  If it looks impossible, trust that He can handle possible all day long!  If it looks overwhelming, know that He will provide the strength and the resources.  If it looks complicated, He will provide a way.  No matter how it looks or feels, when we are looking at Him and feeling His love – EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

The ad is up on Craigslist, and we are thinking of other ways to bring our offering in addition to writing a check.  We are praying for the Lord to show us!  We are thanking Him for our children and their faith.  We are thanking Him for our church and it’s vision to connect with others, help grow them in their faith, and respond to God’s leading.  I’ve already witnessed it with my 8-year-old, and I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do next!

What about you… 

How does the Lord speak to you?

Were some of your lessons from children?

What is the Lord showing you?

 

Join us on the journey:  www.cressetbaptist.org

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