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.

Friday, April 29, 2011

On Loving Survivors Well (Part 1)

My friend, Wanda, wrote:

I was raised in a Bible believing home. My parents had us in church every day the doors were opened. I learned early in life to make God a part of my life. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior as a child. I state this because, even in this environment, I was the victim of evil. Early in my childhood, around age 4 or 5, until around the age of 12 or 13, I was sexually molested by a trusted person. I was too ashamed and afraid to tell anyone in authority. I kept telling myself, “No one would believe me.” (Used by permission

When our body language or words communicate disbelief to someone who has told us that they were sexually abused, we reinforce what that survivor already thinks, “no one would believe me”.

To love a survivor well, we must keep our compassionate eyes focused on them while we listen to their hearts. And believe them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Where Was Jesus?

"Where were You when sin stole my innocence?"

It is a question survivors of sexual abuse, who wrestle with God, ask at one point or another.

It is a good question. It is a valid question.

And Jesus can handle our questions.

A survivor friend of mine gave me the following link to a song she likes. She wrote:

Carolyn: The line in this song "Where were You when sin stole my innocence?" stabs me in the heart every time because I think there is still a part of me that asks that question about my abuse. But I love that there is an answer...not just that He was on the cross but that He was there in all of my suffering, in my doubt, and my shame. Love it! So powerful!!!!

Keep asking the question, my friend; Jesus is a gentle healer. And thanks for sharing the answer you’ve found.

"You Were on the Cross" by Matt Maher

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Statistics Speak

As I bring this two and a half month focus on sex trafficking to a temporary rest (I will address it again in the future; my heart will not allow me to be silent on this issue), I’d like to share statistics that need no introduction, but demand conclusions:

Every 26 seconds a child is being lured or sold into the sex trade.
There are approximately 2 million children currently trapped in sexual slavery, forced to have sex with adults several times a day.

The US State Department estimates that annual profits for trafficking in our country are $32 billion. That exceeds the combined annual profit of Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. (

I began this journey into the world of sex trafficking by asking, “What can I do about child sex trafficking, this modern day slavery?” I don’t think I’m being too bold to say that I believe this is the Holocaust of my lifetime. And I can’t ignore it. I now know too much.

So what am I going to do?

On a global level:

I have a young friend who was trying to figure out how to spend this coming summer between her junior and senior year of high school. She knew she wanted to serve in some capacity, somewhere. So in order to seek God’s direction for her life, she prayed a bold prayer. “I began to pray that He [God] would break my heart for what breaks His.”

Jesus heard. Jesus answered. Her heart is now broken for young girls trapped in sex slavery. She will be heading to Nepal this summer and forming relationships with girls in rehabilitation centers who have been rescued from sex trafficking. She will look into their weary brown eyes with her compassionate blue eyes and communicate to them with few words and consistent actions—that their lives matter, that they are valuable, that they are loved. She will be slow to speak and quick to listen while their precious minds, little bodies, and shattered hearts inch toward healing.

I can’t go to Nepal this summer, but I can stand with my friend by speaking encouraging words, participating in faithful prayer, and giving financial support. And I will also listen to her heart when she returns and weep with her over the injustices she encounters. And together we will give praises of thankfulness over the images redemption that envelope her soul. Ineffable joy.

I have also taken the 26 Second Challenge through Destiny’s Rescue. ( Here is how it works: I gave Destiny a one time gift of forty dollars (for me, that is a night out or a new pair of shoes—that I don’t need). In return I received a really eye-catching necklace that I have agreed to wear for twenty-six days (I will wear it far longer; it’s that cool) and share the story of how Destiny’s Rescue enters brothels and frees girls, girls as young as seven, who are forced to perform sexual services for up to fifteen men a day. The goal of the challenge is to encourage at least two others to join me and then they encourage two others, and so on. When my pyramid reaches fifteen levels, I have helped Destiny’s Rescue raise $1,000,000. Monies that are used to rescue children, give them an education, and rehabilitation. Money well spent.

On a local level:

I will take the dehumanization of women and children through pornography more seriously. When I see magazine covers that aren’t selling products but bodies, I will respectfully speak to the store managers where I shop and ask that they remove them from view. It’s a small step, I know, but baby steps lead to walking and in walking, I may one day run.

If you desire to encourage my young friend this summer as she addresses the global statistic of child sex trafficking, contact me at I will be delighted to give you more information.

To know what you can do in your community to change our US statistic visit FREE stands for Freedom and Restoration for Everyone Enslaved, a volunteer movement dedicated to clear paths to freedom from human trafficking.

Join everyday people taking action to stop the spread of human trafficking in our nation and around the world.

This organization is making a difference in their community in Berks County, PA, and they will gladly teach you how you can make a difference in yours.

Together we can silence the statistics.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beyond the Walls of Justice

“Do you think we should go home now?” Her big brown eyes looked up at me, the corners of her mouth uncurled. Atypical.

She had lost her eight year old sunny disposition somewhere between the giggles and the sudden fight that had erupted between her and her older sister earlier that evening. When I spotted her heading for the back door, she was carrying her two favorite stuffed animals under her left arm, a yellow duffel bag over her left shoulder, her school backpack and lunchbox over the right shoulder, and a sixty-four ounce bottle of bubble bath in her right hand. She was prepared for the journey. She was running away from home.

I think most kids consider running away at some point during their childhood. Some even pack their bags and make a dramatic exit. My oldest son packed a suitcase and dragged it up into the fort of our swing set many years ago. I kept my eye on him, and he returned from the backyard an hour later. Unharmed. He was hungry.

Now it was my youngest who sought justice beyond the walls of our home. She informed me of her destination, and I told her she could go. I also told her that I’d be going with her. “I need to keep you safe,” I said.

So the two of us took off. Together.

Forty-five minutes and a thoughtful conversation later, we were both cold and tired. And she was hungry. So when she asked me if we should head home, I replied. “Yep, I think it’s time. May I help you with your bags?”

“Sure,” she said, a smile lighted her face.

When we entered our house, I welcomed her back with a big hug and made her a sandwich and warm cocoa. She was glad to be home.

But some children who run away never get back home. Their stories don't have happy endings.

Every year forty thousand teens run away from home in the US. Many are seeking justice beyond the walls of their homes. Some might return home if they could, but somewhere between forty-eight and seventy-two hours from their leaving their front doors, runaways will be approached by a pimp. One third of the forty-thousand will end up trafficked.

In our country.

In our America.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hopes and Dreams

I was sitting in the Q&A session of the conference on child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. The question was asked in ignorance. The answer was given with passion—the passion that comes with thirty-five years of experience working with broken women.

“What about the women who want to be prostitutes?” the moderator asked.

“I never met a little girl who wanted to grow up to be a prostitute,” the expert answered.

So what happens? What happens between birth to thirteen (the average age a girl enters prostitution in the US) that channels an innocent child into a corrupt world—a world where these children, when arrested, are guilty until proven innocent? And their pimps remain free.

What happens?

Childhood sexual abuse. Eighty to ninety percent of prostitutes were sexually abused as children. And when they were little girls, they dreamed of being teachers, doctors, nurses, wives, and mothers.

Just like you. Just like me.

In the US 300,000 children become victims of sexual exploitation annually. GEMS, an organization in NY, works with girls whose dreams were dashed by the selfish evil choices of their abusers. They help these victims of abuse and slavery recapture their dreams by introducing them to hope. You can help them at
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