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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Parable about Potty-Parts

* The following is a fictional account based on a true life possibility. You are the main character. You can be a momma or poppa. You decide. The story takes place in real time. Oh, and you have a daughter, Krista. She’s five.

“Brady touched my potty-part!” Krista blurts out along with some juices and fragments of her chicken nugget.

“What?"  You swallow your coffee with enough air to choke a horse. "What did you say?” You cough.  Sputter. Your eyes water. “Who touched you?”

“Brady,” she says, slurping her milk through the straw poking through the gap from her missing front teeth.

Image appears courtesy of imagerymajestic/
“When?” You ask. Your eyes wide. Searching.

“At recess.”

“Who’s Brady?”

“He’s a big kid.”

You grab your napkin. Cough some more. Try to breathe. Demand your bronchioles relax. They refuse. You take another sip of your coffee. Swallow. Breathe.

“Where did you say Brady touched you?” You ask.

“My potty-parts.”

You breathe some more.

“Gaby’s getting a new dog,” Krista says smiling. “She showed me a picture. He’s so cute!  Can we get a dog?”

You choose what happens next.

A.  You send up a Thank you, God! And give the top ten reasons why you are NOT getting a dog. (Krista eats her nuggets.)

B.  You whip out your cell phone and call Sherri (if you're momma) or Gary (if your poppa),your best friend, whose two kids attend your daughter’s school. “Sherri/Gary, who’s Brady? What grade is he in? What’s his mother like? What's his father like? Good family? Bad family?” And you tell Sherri/Gary what Krista said Brady did. You tell Sherry or Gary to watch her/his kids around Brady. (Krista eats her nuggets.)

C.  You sit there wishing you had taught Krista the proper names for her private parts rather than calling them “potty-parts.” Now you wonder where Brady touched her specifically, but you hate to ask. (Krista eats her nuggets.)

D. You say, “Krista, I’m glad Gaby is getting a dog. We can talk about dogs later. Thank you for telling me about Brady and that he touched you at recess. It’s always good to tell me about things that bother you. Right now, I’d like you to tell me a little bit more about it.” You calmly ask open-ended questions like: “Where were you during recess when this happened? Who was there? And then what happened? And then? (Krista talks to you while she eats her nuggets.)

Oh, you’re a smart momma or poppa! You chose D, didn’t you? Did you stop and hesitate at C though, because you hate using words like penis and vagina? You’ve made up your own names for them. Right? And you were tempted to choose A and B. I know this. You’re human, just like me.

Congratulations. You received an A+. Please join me next week to find out how Krista answered your open-ended questions, and why open-ended questions are so important. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Little Did I Know

I glanced at the caller ID. Oh, them again. I was in the middle of writing a book review, and I wanted to get it done an hour ago.

Image courtesy of worradmu/
Another organization asking for money, this one had called just a few days ago. I had ignored that call. But my husband’s reasoning took over. I don’t know why you just don’t deal with those calls when they come. You know they’re going to call back. If he’d said it once, he’d said a million . . . Well okay, not a million. But you get the idea.

I gave a curt, “Hello.”

The usual speal. “Rah, rah, sis-boom, bah!” 

Blah, blah, blah . . . 

I wanted to cut to the chase.

“I see you’re a writer,” he said. “What do you write about?”

Smart move. Ask about me. I warmed. A little.

“I write about protecting children from sexual abuse. I try to get parents and adults to build a bridge of communication about this issue with kids.”

Little did I know, I had just built a bridge. He began to share how sexual abuse affected his life and his family. He talked. I listened. I sprinkled in words to reflect that I was listening. He talked some more. I listened some more. He talked.

I’m sure the call was far longer than he intended. And I no longer cared about my writing.

“Ya know, I almost didn’t pick up the phone,” I said. “I’m so glad I did.”

“Yeah, I’m glad too.”

When we speak about sexual abuse, we drag it out into the light. We open doors for survivors to speak. Tell a friend over lunch that you’re really concerned about the epidemic of childhood sexual abuse and tell them about the Rise and Shine Movement. And be prepared to listen. And listen some more. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Assaulted by the Green-eyed Monster


"It's not fair! She always gets invited to sleepovers." I could see the green ooze rising up in child Q's eyes as she spewed forth her injustice.

"Not true," I said. "You were just at a sleepover a few weeks ago, and you certainly have been to more birthday parties than your sister."

I could see, by child Q's pursed lips, scrunched nose, and squinted eyes that my opening arguments were not going to win the case. In her mind, an injustice was done. And there was no way to rectify it.

Chapter 1

Ah jealousy. It creeps up on us. Twists our thoughts. Grabs hold of our hearts. I can see it clearly when it glows green in the eyes of the little women in my life, but what about when the green ooze rises up in me? It's hard to see with green goop in my eyes, so I don't notice it at first. But for me, this is generally how it goes.

"You got your book published? How wonderful!" I say to the smiling author.

She beams back at me, displaying a full set of perfectly whitened teeth and sporting a California tan.

I grumble inside. She's just too perky. I bet that little perky personality landed her that book deal. I bet she doesn't have any kids at home either, or her perfect husband sent her off to some remote beach house with a blessing spoken through shining white teeth, "Go ahead, Darling. I'll make dinner, help the kids with their homework, and even do the laundry while you're away. Don't you worry about a thing. And, Sweetheart, feel free to stay until your book's written . . . from the dedication to the epilogue." (And believe me, I've had worse thoughts, but one can't write such things on blogs about redemption—lest you think I haven't been redeemed. ;)

Yep, the green-eyed monster gets me sometimes, and when I finally take a peek in the mirror, I hardly recognize myself. It's U-G-L-Y!
Imagine courtesy of Xedos4/
Chapter 2

So how do I slay this monster? I begin by praying for my victim—the one I thought all of those nasty thoughts about. I pray for her success. Then I think, Maybe that book deal has taken her years of blood, sweat, and tears. Maybe underneath all her pretty teeth is a person who has tasted pain far greater than I've ever experienced. What if her husband or child died tomorrow? Would I still be jealous? Do I really want her life? Or mine?

And somehow, I don't feel so jealous anymore.


The morning after the sleepover was dreary. The sister's eyes were heavy with fever. She had missed the sleepover.

Child Q sat eating her cereal, healthy and strong. And I, having lived a few more years, having had to slay a few more green-eyed monsters, took the time to pass along my hard-earned wisdom. “Hey kiddo, let me tell you a story about how I once raised my sword and slayed a green-eyed monster.”

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Dream a Dream for Our Children

“Children disclose abuse incrementally. They will test you to see if you can handle it [sexual abuse disclosures].” said FBI profiler, Jim Clemente, this week, on the Kate Couric Show.

Test us. Test us to see how we’ll respond. Test us to see if we’ll get upset.

“I asked mom what the website was where she read about people who did bad things to kids.” (Aaron Fisher, Silent No More: Victim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky, p49.)

Aaron was testing his mother, giving just a little bit of information, indirectly, to see how she’d respond. Sadly, his mother didn't know enough about sexual abuse at the time. She unknowingly failed the test.

But what if our kids didn't have to test us? What if they knew we could handle it? What if they knew we WOULD handle it?

I dream a dream for our children. I dream of families where parents teach their children what sexual abuse is and what they must do should they encounter it. I dream of parent/child relationships where children don’t have to test us because we've already given them the answers to the test.

Rise and Shine Movement, Copyright 2011
And I dream that, one day, sexual abuse will no longer be an epidemic and more children will be free to dream their dreams.

Do you dream that dream too? Begin the conversation today. Help others begin it too. Need a tool to show you how? Please visit and share our website with those who long to protect their children too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

If you’re alive and breathing, chances are, you know a survivor of childhood sexual abuse—even if you don’t know it.  Next time you’re in a crowd start counting off the females. One, two, three, FOUR. Then count off the males. One, two, three, four, five, SIX. You’ll get the visual on the statistics, the statistics based on reported cases of sexual abuse. Then remember, it is estimated that only 1 in 10 survivors ever tell. Startling. I know.

Why don’t survivors tell? A myriad of reasons, ranging from undeserved disgrace inflicted by their abuser to an undue burden to protect others from their pain, can keep their mouths wired shut. Tight.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/
I received an email recently from a woman who was concerned about a fellow sister in pain. I can’t give you the details, but it was clear from the message that this young woman was/is in significant pain.

Why the tears? Abuse survivor?  Maybe.

What to do? How to help? All good questions. Beautiful questions.

Helping others with their burdens. This is good. Very good. 

I shared some advice based on my years of loving on survivors.

The woman messaged me back. “ You've just written your next blog post.”

So in case you’re ever in a situation, and I pray you are (this world needs more survivor lovers), where you don’t know what to do, I humbly share my response.

I assume you're asking me about this because of my work with sexual abuse survivors. Could she be one? Just based on statistics, yes. Is it common for survivors to be distant/have walls? Yes.
I love that you're trying to reach out to her. That's beautiful! My heart weeps for this woman, and I've never met her. I can only tell you what I would do if I believed Jesus wanted me to reach out to her.
 I would choose a time where we could be alone, invite her to lunch or something. I would be very vulnerable regarding my own struggles. Survivors must know you're human and understand pain, and they will only disclose under safe conditions where they know the conversation won't go beyond you. I would be a bit more direct in telling her that I'm concerned about her. "I've seen your tears, and I want you to know I care. If you need to talk, I'm here."
Then it is important to pursue them by spending time with them. They won't pursue you unless they are at a breaking point. They will test your "safety level", whether you’re someone who can handle their disclosure, at every turn. I once had a survivor say to me, "I keep trying to say things that will make you fall off your chair. You just won't budge." She had much to disclose. And although it was heavy, it was an honor to help her carry her burden.
This woman obviously has a story to tell. There are probably very few, if any, who know what that is. I will pray she can tell it.

A story to tell. There are 42 million adult survivors of sexual abuse in the US.  I pray we will stay on our chairs, be slow to speak and quick to listen. And listen. And listen.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Yes, Virginia, You Can Be Disobedient

I like obedient kids. Don’t you?

Nothing broke the mood of a romantic date with my husband more than a bunch of noisy brats seated at the table next to ours. It happened more than once. We would get a sitter and plan our escape only to be assaulted by someone’s spaghetti drippin’ faced cherubs screechin’ out songs of lamentations.

We left our children at home. Thank you. Very. Much.

Once we planned an overnighter at a local inn known for its relaxing Jacuzzis and romantic visits to faraway places. Just walk through the door and you’re lost in Paree. Oui. Oui. Evening becomes night. And what happens in Paree, stays in Paree. Then suddenly you’re jolted from your dreams at 7 AM by two mattress jumping screamers next door. Their parents decided to take them on the Orient Express. The train derailed. And this momma’s oui, ouis  bolted right out of Ol’ Paree.

We left our seven, count them, seven children at HOME! Thank you, oh, so, VERY MUCH!!!

My husband and I have gotten grayer, wiser and perhaps, more senile through the years. We choose to laugh at situations like this now. It’s just easier on our blood pressure and a kinder approach to mankind.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

Kids will be kids. Parents will be parents. And quite frankly, I've grown fond of disobedient kids. I hope my kids give birth to or adopt a whole gaggle of them.

I want grandkids who test the waters with their tiny big toes just to see how far they can stick them in without getting hurt, who question whether the sky is really blue or if it is just the way our eyes perceive it, and grandkids who trust their parents for unconditional love, gentle guidance, and thoughtful answers to their unending questions.

I also want grandkids who know that there are just sometimes that it is totally okay to be disobedient to an authority, whether that be an older child or an adult. I want them to know with certainty that no one is allowed to touch them where their swimsuit covers, and that they are not allowed to touch anyone else where their swimsuit covers.  I want them to believe in their hearts and understand with their minds that it’s right to say—no, yell, “OH NO, I WON"T!” And run.

I also hope those worn-out children of mine, drop those mischievous little grand kids off at my house, just so they can have a date—without their kids. ;)

Teaching our children to be obedient is good. Very good. But teaching them that sometimes they must be disobedient is even better.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ignoring the Mountain? Perhaps You Need a Tool for the Climb

You can choose to ignore mountains. You can try to bypass them. You can stand at the bottom and shout at the top of your lungs, “Move you Stupid Mountain!” and kick it with all your might. Ouch! Or you can pray for the mountain to move.

And I believe that sometimes God moves mountains. Miraculously. Gone. Out of here.

But in cases of sexual abuse, I think he chooses differently. I think he wants you to climb. He wants you to uncover the hidden secrets, expose the festering lies. No secrets and silence in his kingdom. He is the sum total opposite of all that sexual abuse creates. For God to move this mountain would be for him to ignore what happened to you. I think he loves you just too darn much to do that.

You see, God hates sexual abuse. He even included it in his Holy Book. In 2 Samuel 13, the story of Tamar, King David’s daughter, he shows the results of sexual abuse glossed over, ignored, hidden by man. I think it’s his warning to us of mountains ignored. It’s a tragic story. No happy endings here. A young woman ends up desolate and a brother dead.

It saddens me to think of survivors’ marriages suffering in isolation and often ending up dead. So here are two tools for the climb.

Product Details
Order here

Sexual abuse never just stops with one victim. It ripples. As these books' back covers so aptly say, “BECAUSE WHEN SHE HURTS, YOU HURT" and "BECAUSE WHEN HE HURTS, YOU HURT."

Please, don't ignore the mountains, there's too much at risk. But choose to climb—together.

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