Sunday, February 24, 2013

Setting Boundaries: Protecting Your Children from Sexual Abuse

"Mommy!  A snake is trying to bite Smokey!"

Probably just a harmless grass snake, I thought. But, as I drew near to the back of our house, our cat crouched low. Thin snake with markings on its back lay coiled a few feet away from him. 

Smokey was smart enough to lie there motionless.

As one of the children moved closer to the snake, it reared up and it lurched forward, ready to strike.

The common garden snakes I've come in contact with are usually shy of people and slither away quickly, but this one took its stance. 

Poisonous or not, it was vicious, and I couldn't take any chances of it biting my children.

Rather than let it get away and strike again later, I had to strike first.

Time was of the essence.   

Grabbing the nearest weapon, a hockey stick, I let it have it. 

Needless to say, afterwards I broke down and shed many tears. I don't like killing anything. 

But, I must protect my children.

Thankfully, I had trained the children to stay away from snakes and come get me if they find one.

I don't like to think about it, but, this world can be far from safe, full of of myriad of things that can harm our children. 

Turn on the news at any hour and you will soon find that our world is very broken indeed.

For example, Human trafficking.

According to World Vision, all throughout the world, including in the United States, at least 2 million children are trafficked annually for child labor or sexual exploitation.

Like a mother hen, we long to take our children under our wings and keep them safe.

Safe from the snakes, the evil-doers, who take advantage of the helpless and the weak.

Burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the problem isn't going to make it go away.

We must be wise and train our children about the dangers and pitfalls of this world, and do our best to keep them safe.

Some ways to protect our children is to teach them  about "stranger danger."

Teaching our children to

<<run away>>

from people who offer them candy,

need help finding a lost pet,

or anything that would trick a child into getting in their vehicle. 

Or that there are "safe people" to run to when they get lost or separated from Daddy and Mommy.

"Safe people" are:

 a mommy with her children,

a worker at a store,

or a teacher.

Sometimes a sexual predator can be a stranger, other times, it could very well be someone you know and trust, which I know is extremely unsettling.

In letting others watch your children,

Trust in God and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit,

Keep open communication with your children, and

If someone doesn't feel right you can always say "no."

If that isn't unsettling enough, children can also be sexually abused by older children who may be acting out the same abuse that has been inflicted on them.

It is important to teach our children the proper boundaries over their body--what is appropriate touching and what is off-limits.

Some products available to protect your children are:

My Body Belongs To Me is a good picture book with rhyming text about what a child can do if someone touches them inappropriately.

God's Design for Sex is a series of books that teaches children about boundaries and what is sexual abuse.

Net Nanny is a great webfilter to protect kids from online predators and unwanted sexual images (age 11 is the average age children are for the first time exposed to pornography).

For those who have children who have experienced sexual abuse:

My heart goes out to you and your children.

There is a southern saying, "Love your children up."

Love helps your children grow, and when they're hurt, it helps them heal.

And by the grace of God they can heal.

"for love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

Some things that you can do for children around the world who are at risk for sexual abuse:

Speak up and speak out against child trafficking,

Support children in poverty,

Pray for the restoration of this broken world.

This world is not our home.  Before sin tainted it, through the craftiness of the snake (who was the devil in disguise), it was a beautiful, glorious place to live. 

When Jesus, our King, returns, He will make all things new.

Until then,

Be watchful,

Be vigilant, and

Keep the faith.

 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.   Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21: 25-28)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Story: In A Nutshell

Don’t think I write blogs on Grace Grows Wings (formerly The Mommy Haven) because I have it all together. More like far from it. But, I do have some interesting life stories to share and I hope that through blogging some people will be blessed.   

My firstborn, "Bright Girl," is entering the tweens now, but when she was embarking on toddlerhood, she threw one temper tantrum.

And, she never threw one again. My husband and I were baffled and sometimes a little smug when we saw a child screaming, thrashing, and flailing in the check-out line at Target just because he didn’t get the bag of M & M’s that he wanted.
For us, life was a breeze—we had parenting under control and our marriage was happy and fulfilling.     

Then, we had our next child, a son, who lived a short life and died due to serious complications stemming from Potter’s Syndrome. 

Everything seemed broken after that—especially our hearts.   

Our marriage practically fell apart, but by trusting in the powerful message of the gospel, our marriage was saved and our hearts were healed.

In case you’ve never heard about the gospel or good news here it is...  

The Lord, Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for the world sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

It's as simple as that.

Now, here's where things get complicated. 

There is Jesus, God the Son, and that means that God is also the Father and don’t forget God is the Holy Spirit, too, making three persons, yet one true God. 

Some call this the Holy Trinity.  If that doesn’t make any sense to you, I totally get you.  It's a tough concept, but at the same time, it makes total sense.

Before I knew Christ, I was both fascinated and terrified of God.  Then, when I was thirteen, my eyes were opened to the Truth that I was a sinful person and that is when I first started to seek Him.

Or was it that He was seeking me all along, wooing me, and drawing me to Himself?

In any case, God in His three persons, showed me that He indeed is real, and now I believe in Him with all my heart.

Trusting in Christ was the first step toward wholeness, which is truly a lifetime process. 

It’s called sanctification, and it’s a work of the Holy Spirit, which, by the way is explained in much better detail in the Bible. 

I highly recommend searching the Holy Scriptures from cover to cover, again and again, though the deep things of God are so deep, you’ll never be done with the searching.

And, in the searching, you’ll find true Life, a close, intimate relationship with God, and a compassionate love for people.

The closer you grow to God, the more the awareness grows of your utter sinfulness and brokenness until you grow so sick of yourself, you cry out, “Who will save me from this body of sin and death?”  (Romans 7:24)

A prerequisite to restoration is admitting we are broken beyond repair, and asking Jesus to save us.

And, He will. He will save us from our sins,
From death (ultimately because He is the Resurrection and the Life),
From Satan (yes, there is always a villain, and this one is out for your soul), and
From getting caught up in the world's schemes for finding life (which always winds up empty).
When my husband and I submitted to Jesus in humble repentance for our failings, He healed our hearts and our marriage.

We ended up having another son, "Little Man."  He is our sensory-sensitive little boy.

And then, "Sunshine Girl", came along...our "wild child.".

Last, but not least, our “Little Bit,” who is just now starting to show her own disposition.

But that’s just it.  

These children all have their own set of fingerprints as individual and distinct as their personalities. 

I am learning that every person is unique, and special, created by God and by faith in Christ destined for a specific purpose.

And, that's what I try to write about--in telling stories about my own life and others who I know and love.

And, in the telling,

To shed a little light on the fact that we are all at least a little bit


 And, that's okay.

It is broken people who Jesus said are most blessed or happy,

because we know how much we need Him.

And, when we come to the end of ourselves that's where Life in Christ truly begins. 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”(Matthew 5:4)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Food For Thought

There's so many good things to eat. It's hard to pick just one favorite food.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Homemade bread--especially banana bread (the one pictured above, earned my Bright Girl a badge in her girl's club),

{and bread makes me think of}

Fondue (Colorado Fondue makes a great date night restaurant),

Soup made from scratch (any kind, unless it's super spicy),

Grilled barbecue beef brisket dinner combined with baked beans and potato salad,

Crock pot roast beef with potatoes and carrots,

and the all important food topping:

Whipped cream--fresh or from the grocery store.  (Either way it is my preferred topping for cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, hot chocolate, brownies, ice cream, crepes, or by all means, all by itself)...

Okay, I'm getting hungry.

Whether fresh, frozen, or fast, food is plenteous in America. 

But we still say, "I'm starving!" when mealtime rolls around. 

It is a common expression for both kids and adults alike, but do any of us truly know what it means to go hungry?

Being a child sponsor through World Vision, I have read stories of children who live in real poverty--the kind where there is literally not enough food to go around.

Thankfully, through child sponsorship, my family is able to help some of these children have enough to eat.

We pray that it will multiply many times over into the lives of these children, others in their community, and abroad.

Jesus did the same. 

He fed the multitudes.

But, He also offered more, to the spiritually-starved soul.

To the same group of over 5,000 people who Jesus miraculously fed with just five loaves of bread and two small fish, He said,

“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink." (John 6:53-55)

The people liked it when Jesus fed them, but eating His flesh and drinking His blood?

Many were confused.

Some were angry.

Sadly, of those 5,000 that Jesus fed, few continued to follow Him.

For the most part, we, as Americans,

have enough food to eat,

live in good health,

and have everything we need to live pretty comfortably.

But what we don't get (unless it is revealed to us from above)

is that we are suffering from

{starvation of the soul}.

Francis Collins, one of the leading scientists of the Human Genome Project stated:

"We may understand a lot about biology, we may understand a lot about about how to prevent illness, and we may understand the life span. But I don't think we'll ever figure out how to stop humans from doing bad things to each other. That will always be our greatest and most distressing experience here on this planet, and that will make us long the most for something more."

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6)."

Still, Jesus says to us all, "I am the Bread of Life."

At the Last Supper, the night before Jesus was crucified, He broke bread with His disciples and said,

“'Take, eat; this is My body.' Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.'" (Matt. 26:26-28 

Even now, through faith in the eternal Word of God, Jesus gives us the Bread of Life, which is His body, broken, which was the punishment for our sins.

With His nail scarred hands, He passes us the cup of His suffering, when He shed His blood on the cross for the remission of  our sins.

The word 'remission' sounds like being healed from cancer.

But, really it's having our sin debt cleared and the cancer of the guilt of our sin no longer having dominion over us. 

We are given a new lease on life, and a new mission:

To no longer live to feed our own bellies, but to live for our King and for His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

To "Go and make disciples of all nations...(Matthew 28:18-20)" 


To be willing to be broken and poured out for a world suffering from starvation of soul.

To be like Christ.

"Do This in Remembrance of Me. (Luke 22:19)"