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, January 27, 2012

Seeking Normal

He lay there on the table looking so helpless, so small. I take him down to his diaper. And wait. I calm my nerves, reminding myself that this is routine. I've done this before.

Enter, our pediatrician. Large white grin illuminated by deep dark skin, his Malaysian accent flavoring his greeting, “Good morning. How you doing?”

I smile and shake his familiar hand, the hand that has guided his stethoscope across the ivory chests of my three older children and now my baby. He begins his exam by measuring my son’s head and running his fingers across his scalp. “Head is lumpy and bumpy. This is to be considered normal,” he says.

Normal. It brings me peace. I want nothing more for my little one than to be “considered normal.” The well check continues and concludes within minutes. I leave the office with my precious bundle. Satisfied. Proud. He’s normal.

If only normal could be gauged by a measuring tape and the touch of a trusted hand in all areas of life.

We all seek normal, and survivors are no different. Yet their normal, the normal they deserved, was stolen. It’s as if their perpetrators grabbed their “normal glasses” and threw them to the floor, stomped on their lenses, breaking the glass, bending the frames, and leaving their victims scrambling to find normal.  

I met with several survivors recently. We discussed normal.

“I feel this way,” one said.

“I feel that way,” said another.

“What’s normal?” We all asked with different words—same question.

And with no measuring tape we chose to trust. We chose to listen, and glue the pieces of lens in each other’s glasses back together, adjust each other’s frames, and seek normal together.

The healing journey for a survivor is long, but it doesn’t need to be lonely. If you haven’t found a trusted friend to discuss “normal,” keep trying. And by all means, join us here each week, where my friends and I will continue to discuss "normal." 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Playing in the Deep End: Encouragement for Moms

“I spent the first seven years trying to protect her from every hurt and pain,” she said, “then I realized that this wouldn’t help my daughter become the type of person I wanted her to become . . . a person with compassion. I didn’t want her to be self-righteous and unloving.”

I smiled. This woman has been my friend for years now. I’ve had a front row seat in her life and she in mine. Neither one of us are very good at “small talk” or as we call it—playing in the shallow end, so when we carve out time for our friendship, we jump right into the deep end, both feet, prepared to go under, knowing that at any second one of us will reach out a hand to pull the other up for air. Safety.

She speaks openly with me about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child and how it has impacted her life. On this day she reflected about how she used to parent—looking for danger around every corner, on guard, sword drawn, no rest for her and no rest for her daughter. And if I’d suffered the same abuse as she, I think I’d parent the same way. No judgments here.

But on this day, I heard it in her words; I saw it in her countenance. Freedom. She had uncovered a lie that her sexual abuse created: If my daughter ever hurts then I’ve failed as a mother . . . shame on me.

We both agree that everything should and must be done to protect our kids from sexual abuse. But we also agree that life hurts sometimes, and that people who face hurts and welcome healing are some of the most compassionate, loving people we know.

Perhaps that’s why I feel so safe with her in the deep end.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Curiosity Killed the Mom: Help for Survivor Moms

The following is a fictional story based on true accounts. Situations happen like this all across the world, probably each and every day. It’s common, however  . . .

Sheryl climbed the steps lugging the wash basket filled with little girl’s clothing, a week’s worth of vacation laundry, finally washed and neatly folded. She was glad to be home and smiled as she heard giggles from her daughter’s room. It was a good move, inviting Emily’s neighborhood friend, Jason, over for a play date, she had gotten the laundry nearly completed without interruption. A good day.

She pushed Emily’s bedroom door open with her foot, “Hey guys, do want a . . . snack?” Her heart pounded. The laundry basket fell to the floor. “Pull your pants up. What are you two doing? You can’t do that! Jason, get your jacket. Go home. Now!”


It was a game. You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine. Curiosity had gotten the best of Emily and Jason. Neither one of them had a younger sibling of the opposite sex and they both simply wanted to know what the other looked like.

Emily had never seen anything like that. She giggled. Jason had never seen anything like that either. He giggled because Emily giggled, although he didn’t see what was quite so funny.

Kids will be kids and their curiosity won’t kill them, but it might kill their moms’—especially if their mothers’ are survivors. And that’s understandable. Because deep within a survivors heart there is a resolute determination that what happened to them, will never happen to their child, not on their watch, not in their lifetime. Their child will never feel the hurt; their child will never know the shame.


Sheryl locked herself in the master bathroom; her cell phone trembled in her hand. “You don’t understand,” she said.

“Yes, I think I do,” her husband said.

“No, you don’t,” she wiped the tears with the back of her hand as she sank to the floor.

Silence. Then finally, “You’re right, I don’t. I can’t. But I do know this—kids experiment. Kids play doctor. Where is Emily now?”

“She’s in her bedroom. The look on her face . . . I’ll never forget it.” Sheryl closed her eyes. “What have I done?”

“You reacted the only way you knew how. You’re human.”

“What do I do now?”

“You do what you and I both do when we get it wrong. Apologize. Tell Emily that you understand that she and Jason were curious, and that you’re happy to answer any questions she has about boys and how they’re made. Remind her that her private parts are private.You’ll get through it. And, Sheryl . . . you’re a great mom.”


Sheryl took a common situation and gave an uncommon blessing. She apologized to her daughter and began to build a bridge of communication with Emily that would strengthen through the surge of a lifetime.

And to “Sheryl” and all the women like her—you are good mothers.

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