It's never too late to begin the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. It's never too early to fall in love with the person God created you to be. Long ago someone made a choice to take away your innocence, but today that someone can't touch your freedom to heal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What a Girl Wants, What a Boy Needs

He was raised in an orphanage from the age of three, confused and rejected. Lonely. But God placed a few key people in his life who made a difference. Bob was one of them.

The following is an excerpt from the book, Castaway Kid: One Man's Search for Hope and Home, by R.B. Mitchell:

"Bob was a caseworker, substitute houseparent, conservationist, master bowman, and hunter. Sporting buzz-cut hair, he was lean like an army Ranger.

Though I wasn’t one of his counseling clients, he went out of his way for me.
When I was in high school, Bob taught me how to load and aim a rife. He took me hunting for rabbit, squirrel, and deer, then showed me how to skin, clean, and prepare the meat.

He also demonstrated how to tell time and position from the sun, move quietly through the woods, and find my direction without a compass. I learned to spend many peaceful hours in the fields and woods, the quiet and outdoor smells feeding my soul.

The greatest lesson Bob taught me, though, came when he took three of us teenage boys elk hunting near Iron River in northern Michigan.

We’d searched for days without seeing a single elk. Early in the morning on the last day of our trip, we were walking a dirt logging trail through dense forest. Suddenly Bob turned left, raised his bow, and froze.

A huge bull elk with a magnificent set of antlers stood in a clearing. I was so excited I could hardly breathe.

Bulls usually travel alone, but two cows and several calves were with this one. We knew that if he bolted, he might make it into the woods safely, but the cows and calves would be fair game.

The bull stood his ground, slowly raising he elegant head and staring as if to say, “You’ll have to shoot me first and give my cows and calves a chance to get away.”

We boys had our guns aimed at the cows, safeties off. For what seemed like an eternity, we waited for Bob. He’d made it clear that we were to shoot only after he let his first arrow fly.

But nothing happened. What is he waiting for? I thought.

At last he slowly relaxed the bowstring and lowered the bow. Confused, we clicked on our safeties and lowered our rifles. The bull signaled with his tail; the cows and calves bolted into the woods. Finally the majestic animal himself turned and walked away.

Bob never said a word as he walked past us and headed down the long trail to the car. Later, when we stopped for a drink and a snack, he finally gave an explanation.

“Boys, we came to hunt elk,” he said.

We nodded.

“We reached our goal,” he continued. “We found that elk. In fact, we found a trophy buck. Whether or not that buck’s head is hanging on a wall somewhere makes no difference. We will always know if we had fired, we had him dead to rights.”

He paused, then added a phrase I’d heard him say before: “We don’t have to shoot them all.”

After letting us digest that, he added, “That buck’s incredible courage and selfless attitude saved him. He could have bolted and probably saved his own life. Instead he chose to remain as the prime target so the others could survive.”

“Can you believe it?” one of the guys exclaimed. “That was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.”

“It was an excellent example of the biblical message, ‘No greater love has a man than he lay down his life for a friend,’” Bob concluded. Then he picked up his bow and started down the trail again.

We went home without a trophy, but with the memory that would stick with us forever."

I never met a girl who didn't want her daddy to protect her... just like that bull elk; I've never met a boy who didn't long for a daddy to teach him how to protect... just like God.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Daddy's Empty Chair

It was a Sunday afternoon not unlike most on our dairy farm in south central Pennsylvania. The day was warm and sunny, the grass was green, and the farm was alive with the fellowship of relatives visiting. Conversations about the price of grain, the newest neighbors down the road, and the topic of the morning’s sermon were shared in a relaxed atmosphere by people seated on lawn chairs enjoying bowls of homemade ice cream and glasses of chilled homemade root beer.

I loved days like that. All seemed safe and right in the world, and through a child’s eyes – innocent. Yet a trip to the hayloft with my older sister and a teenage hired field hand would begin to wake me from my naive cocoon.

The barn was a fun place to play, a huge playhouse that with any imagination could become a castle, a classroom or an amusement park. I especially liked the hayloft. There I could jump, fly through the air and somersault without ever receiving a scratch. Oh, the hay could be irritating if it got caught between my clothes and skin, but the time away within my fantasy world was far more worthwhile than the time it took to shake the hay from beneath my clothing.

It was there, while playing with my sister, that the hired hand coaxed, “Come on you two, just pull down your pants and let me put some hay in them.”

I looked at my older sister. She was five years older and blossoming into a beautiful young lady. Tall, thin, and lovely, everything this kid sister wanted to be. Yet in this delicate time in her life when maturity forged ahead with no promise of innocence returning, she froze. Unwarranted shame held her captive.

I looked at the hired hand. My mind screamed, “This isn’t right!” My stomach churned. I wanted to flee.

“No.”, I said to the boy. “No!” I turned to my sister. “I’m going to tell Dad!”

Determined, I raced from the barn toward safety, toward the only protector I had ever known.

There was my dad, seated in the circle of chairs, chatting away as if there was all the time in the world. No need to rush, only listen and respond with an occasional hardy laugh. “Daddy, Daddy, Tom is in the hayloft and he’s trying to put hay in Sally’s and my pants.” My father’s jovial face turned stone cold, and the mood of that lazy Sunday afternoon ended abruptly as my father bolted from his lawn chair, his destination unquestionable, his mission sure.

My safe little world returned within the hour. I never saw that troubled young man again, and I never had to worry that the hayloft wouldn’t once again be whatever my imagination would dream it could be. And it’s all because my dad got out of his chair.

Protecting children from sexual abuse is never a child's job, but an adult responsibility. Speak to the children in your care about how special their bodies are, and that no one has the right to touch them where their swimsuit covers. Let's all get out of our chairs.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Giggling in a Powder Wonderland

They had been quiet for way too long. Where are they and what are they up to? I wondered.

I checked the living room…no toddlers. Hmm.

Then I heard their giggles. I ascended the stairs.

What’s this? I followed a dusty white trail. Oh my goodness, it’s everywhere! The familiar fragrance of Johnson’s Baby Powder greeted my nose.

There stood my boys, in our bathroom, frozen in a powder wonderland, wide-eyed, staring at me through powder-covered faces.

I took a deep cleansing breath. To my amazement, I relaxed. Giggles surfaced from within, giving life to my weary soul. The boys hadn’t been defiant—just creative. I ran for the camera.

Sometimes as a busy mom, I get so focused on the tasks at hand. I forget to relax. Have fun. Even God relaxed after six busy days of creating our world and perhaps… He even giggled.

Ask God to help you relax today and even enjoy a giggle or two.

There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1,4
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