I had the opportunity to meet the bravest 11-year-old. She has gone through a real terrible experience. She went through one of a little girls worse nightmare and a parent’s worse nightmare, she had been sexually abused by her grandfather. This brave girl now speaks up against trying to encourage other children to speak up. Let’s hear from Breann herself.
“My greatest fear happened last year, in 2012, over Spring Break. We went to Michigan to visit my grandparents. While we were there, on Saturday night, my grandfather sexually assaulted me.
On Sunday, while my grandfather was giving a speech in church, I was wondering if what happened to me was a dream. I found out later, that it was real when it happened a second time on Monday night.
On Tuesday morning, my mom came and sat down next to me. I told her, ‘I think someone touched me inappropriately.’ My dad confronted my grandfather, and my grandfather confessed and said he did sexually assault me.
We left immediately because of what happened. My father told me, ‘Breann, you’re my hero. If you hadn’t told us what had happened, it could’ve happened to Brooklyn or Morgan or Alexis. You saved your sisters.’
I told my dad, ‘You’re my hero, too.’ My greatest fear was telling my parents about what happened, but when I did, it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t so bad because, at first I was scared to tell my parents but I felt I needed to trust my parents and tell someone so they could help me.
It was my greatest fear because I didn’t want to get my grandfather in trouble, but I knew that he needed to be held responsible for his actions. I hope this encourages other children to tell your parents or an adult they trust about something that happened, no matter how bad the situation may be.”
Thank you Breann for being so brave. Now, as hard as being able to tell her parents and confront her abuser, Breann was brave enough to speak up. It is quite empowering when victims of abuse of all ages are afraid to do what this 11-year-old has done. If you are a victim of abuse or know of someone who is, follow Breann’s example and speak up.
You can support Breann by sharing her cause on the link bellow
You can also support this organization who is creating awareness about child abuse by supporting the event Volley for Voice.Www.voicetoday.org/volley
Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
“This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. ”Mary Anne Benedetto
Last week was a tough one, not only for me but for the whole nation. Thursday night I received a phone call from a very close friend in tears. Her nephew had just committed suicide. I obviously jumped in the car to provide my support. Then the next morning, while I’m trying to shake the emotions from that event, I walked into the break room of my job and saw on the television the news from Connecticut.
I could relate not only at the human level, but at the personal level of the pain and confusion that others were feeling. I could understand how parents felt about answering questions to confused children about the events they witnessed or were made aware of, because the night before I was approached by my friend’s young children with similar questions.
Our children should not have to worry about why someone decides to take their life or someone else’s. Our children should not need to understand the pain of losing a teacher, a brother, a father, a mother or a friend; especially under these horrible circumstances.
We are all looking for a silver lining within the grief. I’ve come to the conclusion that hopelessness is part of the pain of those who commit these acts. They feel like there’s no way to end their pain than to leave this earth and/or hurt others. This has motivated me to continue to do what God has called me to do, to write more and more about the good news of redemption and hope. That there’s always a way out and a solution that doesn’t include more pain.
This has also been a wake up call for me and for so many others of how our lives can change in an instant unexpectedly. It has reminded me to express my gratitude, my appreciation and my love to those around me before it’s too late.
I know the recent events have not only made the children aware of an evil world. It has even place awareness of concern in adults as well. Where are we safe? Thinking as far back as Columbine, I can recall a movie theater, a college campus, several churches, a gym, a mall, several workplaces and now an elementary school, and that’s just off the top of my head. But let’s stand on the Word of God that tells us:
- Zechariah 2:5 :And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will be its glory within.’”
- Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”
- Psalm 91:2 “I will say [a] of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
- Psalm 91:4-5 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,”
I ask you today to pray for my friend’s nephew who left behind a wife and two small children. Also pray for all the victims in Connecticut; for those parents, siblings, for the whole community. But also remember to pray for the family of the perpetrator. He left behind a father who lost a son, and a young man who lost his brother and mother. Let’s also pray that God gives our authorities the wisdom to do what needs to be done to avoid these things, whatever that may be.
Hug each other a little tighter today. I appreciate all of you. Be safe. Be blessed.
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By Anonymous Author
Two young people are especially on my heart right now, and I’d like to introduce them to you, in a roundabout way. I pray you’ll understand my reasons for writing like this, but I know their stories aren’t over so I want to protect them as best I can.
Jim Doe and Jane Smith are in-laws – Jim’s brother married Jane’s sister. They had never met one another before their siblings wed.
Meet Jim Doe. He is 23 and was raised in a single parent home. His life was turbulent growing up, but his mother and brother loved him dearly. They moved frequently, and because his mother had to work to support the family, he spent much time with babysitters.
One was discovered to be selling drugs from her home – and this was a babysitter recommended by her pastor – the cousin of the pastor’s wife. When he was three years old, his new step-grandmother took over their care. From outward appearances, she seemed to dote on the boys– but within a couple of years, it was discovered she had been abusing both boys. She put pennies in Jim’s mouth and put duct tape over it, telling him if he cried or called out, he would swallow a penny and choke to death. She also beat the boys with an electric cord from a lamp she ripped from the wall. And she told them that if their mother ever left their stepfather, it would be to kill them. She said their mother would take them somewhere to kill them, then hide their bodies and go back to the stepfather to have “real children” with him. Jim’s mother discovered the abuse, tried to stop it, and after counseling with instructions to “submit” to her husband (and his mother) at all costs, she fled – getting the children away from all of them – and away from the abuse – permanently.
His mother tried to build a good life for her children, but she made many stupid and selfish mistakes. The family was active in church and the children were raised with much prayer, if not always good direction. They had minimal support from extended family. After Jim finished the 4thgrade, his mother decided to homeschool him. For the first two years, Jim thrived with the set-up. He learned at a rapid pace and grew to love learning and reading. He absorbed library books by the dozens, and his studies moved quickly. But then he got involved with some kids from church who led him onto a path he should have never taken. About the same time, he was introduced to music by Eminem that promoted disrespect, anger, hatred. They moved once again, and Jim entered public high school, but after a year or so, asked for homeschool studies again. His mother resumed teaching him, and he eventually passed final exams and graduated high school. But by this point, he was out of control. He worked random jobs to support himself, and had a good work ethic – but when work was over for the day, he just would not settle down. He even attended college for a year – and loved every moment of it, but did not stick with it.
Years passed. His mother remarried and life settled for her. Jim eventually ended up in a serious relationship with an older woman. About 18 months into the relationship, he told someone that his girl had tried to stab him – with a 3-foot sword. At that point, all the signs of domestic abuse became apparent to his family. But there was nothing they could do. A couple of months later, his girl went on another tirade and he hopped into their car to get away from her. There wasn’t enough gas in the car to get very far, so he turned around, determined to make things work. When he arrived back home, the police were there. The vehicle was in his girl’s name only, and she had called the police to report it stolen.
He spent 110 days in jail. For the first 30-45 days, he was convinced that he still loved his girl and that they could make things work. He never admitted that she hit him, but a deputy told his mother that the girl had sure worked him over good. When his mother visited him in jail, he was covered with cuts and scrapes all over his face and head, and he had a bruise the size of a baseball bat on his arm, where he’d deflected some of the blows. But he refused to report her. Because he’d returned the car, the charges were dropped down to two misdemeanors, and he was released on a two-year probation – with orders to pay thousands of dollars in fines, take three specific evaluations and if they required classes, to take those as part of the probation. He was also ordered to see his probation officer once a month and perform 120 hours of community service. He was placed under a “no contact” order with the girl – and she was told she could not contact him either. He is currently in month four of his two-year probation. He lived with his mom and stepdad for awhile, but could not abide by their rules. He now lives on the streets, occasionally stopping by their house to take a shower or eat a meal. Some days he berates his mom for her poor parenting skills, other days he’s respectful and grateful.
Meet Jane Smith. She is 24. She was raised in a two-parent environment. Her parents recently celebrated their 30thanniversary. She has three siblings and lived in the same town all her life. The family is Catholic, but they are not active in church. Her parents work hard to provide for the family, and all of the children began working as soon as they were old enough. Last year, Jane decided she wanted to go to college, and began exploring her options. But then she met a young man – three years her junior – and fell in love. She dropped her plans to attend college, and her life became absorbed with taking care of this man. But soon, her family realized things were not quite right. She was caught stealing things from family and friends. She lived in her car for a time – the family never sure if her fellow was with her or not. Then one day, her sister discovered her bruised and beaten. She dismissed her sister’s concern, and avoided family for months. She now excuses the abuse, saying it happens to everyone.
Apparently this was Jane’s new norm.
A few weeks ago, Jane was arrested and charged with shoplifting. In lieu of bail, they released her wearing an ankle bracelet while she waits for a court date. Her parents took her home, with her promises that she was a changed woman and things would work out great. Before they even got home, her tune changed, and she ranted and raved about how sorry her parents were, and how she was an adult and could make decisions on her own. How much she loved her boyfriend – the one she was arrested with, the one who continued to abuse her. Once they reached home, her mother ran to the grocery store, her father began preparing the house for their daughter’s extended stay. But when the mother returned from the store, the daughter was gone. She disappeared for days, and last week, was arrested in another county.
What is it with kids this age? These are only two examples of many, many young people who are in similar situations.
Where have we, as a world, as a generation, as parents – failed these kids?
But is it more than that?
Some place the blame firmly on the parents. Others on broken homes. Others place it on religion. Or lack of religion. So many other avenues to place blame. But these two examples show it must be more than that. Why this specific age group of kids? What is it about these kids that make them feel they are not worthy of something better? That they are only worth abuse? Why do they feel it’s okay for someone to beat them? Hurt them? Abuse them?
A recent conversation with another loved one opened my eyes to other possibilities. At the time when this age group of kids were at the most impressionable age – during their formative years – there were several major events going on nationally. Bill Clinton was president, and his personal actions – making headlines and newscasts for years – revealed a man with no morals, no values, no conscience. And he got away with it in the highest office of our land. An office that prior to his election had been revered and dreamed about by young children for generations. That dream was gone. In other news during those same years, the O.J. Simpson trial kept everyone glued to their TV sets for weeks on end. He, too, because of his celebrity, appears to have gotten away with murder.
Did those events cause one age group of young children to lose their way in this world?
I’ve heard people say that people like Jim and Jane are worthless.
Every time I hear a comment like that, it infuriates me. It makes me want to shout: “NO THEY ARE NOT” from every rooftop in town. No one is worthless – I don’t care what they’ve done, who they are. No one. Author Lori Roeleveld wrote an excellent post on this very subject a few weeks ago – you’ll want to check it out, because it shares my heart precisely.
What hope does this generation of young people have?
We cling to hope, and we must PRAY. We must pray fervently for each and every young person we know, because God’s not finished with them yet. Their stories are indeed still being written. I trust He knows the outcome, and will use these two in some special way that will impact lives.
How can I know that? How can I say that?
Look at the examples provided in the Bible:
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God’s will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.
If you have a loved one who is not living the life they were meant to live, DON’T GIVE UP ON THEM. And don’t stop praying.
Their stories aren’t over yet. God is still working.
I heard one of the funniest stories the other day speaking to a friend. Her son walked into the living room and announced to his parents that as soon as he graduates High School he will move out of the house so that he can do whatever he wants, without supervision. Why is this so funny? Well, first of all because I think all of us when we were teens thought that we wanted to grow up very fast to get to the point of freedom where we would do as we please. In reality, we are all waiting for that moment. As we grow we discovered that that with freedom came responsibility and that it was easier to respond to our parents than to our new authorities: the government, our bosses, our creditors, our spouses and even our children.
Why it’s so easy to rebel at that age? I think ignorance takes us to think that we know better than our parents what’s best for us and we do that with God every single day. This conversation reminded me of the parable of the prodigal son. He asked for his inheritance while his father was living because he wanted to live his life his way. His father allowed him to and what he found was not freedom but bondage.
In the same way, God as a good father gives us freedom to live our lives, but gives us parameters, boundaries to protect us from getting in trouble. Just like my friend’s son, sometimes we think that we know better than our father, that our preferences and desires are a better follow and that at the end of the day we will be ok. Just like the son, we go outside our boundaries and find ourselves in trouble and we then wish that we could go back home.
The good news is that just like at the end of that story, God is always awaiting for us with open arms. We then discover that freedom is a great thing, but it’s more enjoyable when we live with within the protection of the boundaries set from God to us. Freedom is awesome and well enjoyed when used well.
While I was preparing for my testimony a few weeks ago, I was talking to some friends about the process of preparing for the event. One of them said something very interesting, “it will be good to hear someone else’s problems because I’m tired of listening to myself complaint about mine” He was trying to be funny, but he truly had a point.
I think that when we focus on our problems too closely we have the tendency to get depressed and not see the solutions that may be right in front of our noses. On the other hand when we get out of ourselves to help others we give your brain rest space to actually focus on other things and two things can happen: either we see the answer or we realize that ours are not the worse problems.
In Luke 7:31 (MSG) we read, ”How can I account for the people of this generation? They’re like spoiled children complaining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk but you were always too busy.’ John the Baptizer came fasting and you called him crazy. The Son of Man came feasting and you called him a lush. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
So looking back at to what my friend made reference, it makes sense. Complaining shows not only that we are focusing too much on ourselves, but it could also be that we are not content with something. How many times we complaint about very superficial things and act like spoiled children?
However this is the way we should live our lives, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. (Matthew 5:5) and since we are fearfully and wonderfully made; and God’s works are wonderful, then we should be more than well with who we are and what we have. If not, then it’s probably related to our choices and decision and that’s an easy fix. Yes, I say easy fix because our choices and decisions are ours, therefore it’s in our hands to change our circumstances instead of complaining about them.
Food for thought
As we mature in life we have an idea of who we want to become or better yet what is God’s purpose in our lives. How to we achieve those goals has a lot to do with our decisions.
It has been said that if you encourage a child to do great things and equip him, he or she will have a better chance to achieve his or her potential. The good news is that even if our childhood was less than perfect as adults we have the control in our hands to determine what are those things that we are going to allow in our lives to encourage or discourage our purpose and future.
We decide the people we include in our lives. You may think that’s not accurate as you didn’t choose your relatives. Although that is correct, you do have total control on how much time you spend with them and the level of interaction you have with them.
You may think that as a parent or child caregiver you have no control over your environment; it’s the total opposite. It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to watch over their children. Children can present limitations to the things that can be done, but if you’re really honest with yourself the way you handle parenting can also affect that relationship on how enjoyable or not it becomes. The parenting experience could include the child in achieving God’s goals in your life and in creating a learning experience for the child of how to achieve their own goals throughout their lives.
We decide the type of entertainment we participate in. This believe it or not is important as it can form opinions, emotions and thought patterns that supports or discredit our believes with the information we expose ourselves to.
We decide our involvement in certain activities. In doing so we need to weigh how productive those activities are to our goals. In other words, is is worth to spend extensive time and resources to things that will not further our purposes? Sometimes we do.
What’s the point of all this you may ask? In our walk of life sometimes we feel like there’s not enough time, not enough energy, not enough resources, but the reality is that sometimes our decision making process drags us through a path of many steps with little resources.
God had goals for you, you have goals for yourself. Sit and discern your decision process and how your environment is affecting those things. Take the control back. You choose!!!
WordPress gave us a prompt some time this weekend, Where did your name come from? (or something to that effect). My full name is Natividad. People tend to think that I was born around Christmas as it sounds very close to the word Navidad, which is Christmas in Spanish. Ironically my birthday is in July. I’ve been sang “Feliz Navidad” many times at the sound of my name.
I can’t deny that I didn’t like much of my name growing up. It has so many letters that it usually didn’t fit in any form with squares provided to enter your name. Since I moved to the continental US it has been funnier because people struggle to pronounce it and some make it a personal challenge to say it well. At this point I’m used to it and when I’m in a public place and hear someone with their tongue tied trying to say out a name, I know they were calling my turn. I have not been mistaken once.
The fact is I received my name after my paternal grandmother. My father who had six daughters told my mother that he had always wanted to give one of his daughters his mother’s name and had never had the chance, so my mom agreed. I never met my grandmother as she had passed away when I was born. I think I’ve seen some old pictures of her.
Now as a writer working on branding my name I’m actually grateful for the name I have. I like the meaning of my name. It means being born and I’ve been in life situations when I’ve been given the opportunity of being born again and start life all over. Also I’m glad that I have a different name that way people will recognize my name when they are looking for my books.
Every time a child does something wrong the obvious question is, where are the parents? After looking at this commercial closely I felt sadden. I found the parents! One allying against their partner and the other one too scared to exercise his authority. I’m not starting a campaign against “Tide” but it is sad that a household name would take advantage of one of the symptoms of our decay as a society to profit from it.
There’s so much wrong with this commercial, it’s a sad true of the reality we’re living. Families are not working together in raising their children, children blatantly defying their parents and the parents feeling powerless to exercise their authority.
Here are some points that I saw in this:
- Common values: This girl is a teenager; someone bought or allowed her to buy said skirt. It is obvious that both parents are not in accord with what is appropriate and not. That itself it’s a recipe for disaster, ““Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25)
- Respect: It is obvious that the father figure is not respected in this scenario; his opinion is not only ignored but blatantly undermined as the girl parades her now clean skirt in front of her father knowing that she’s defying his wishes. She feels empowered to do so, as her mother approved her behavior.
- Alliance: The mother allies with her daughter against her husband, forgetting that he’s the co-parent. She also undermines him in trying to protect his daughter. This is one of those examples were parents try to be their child’s friend instead of their parent and when the child goes out of control they seek the other parent to step up to the plate. By then it’s too late, the child doesn’t respect either. Parents should work together to raise their kids, not against each other. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24)
- Powerless: The saddest part is that the father felt that there was nothing he could do. He had to resort to try to ruin the skirt to avoid his daughter from wearing it. At what point will parents understand that they are the adults and that they make the rules? This father should have felt empowered to disapprove of the piece of clothing upon being bought or seen for the first time on his daughter and not have to resort to tricks to avoid confrontation. Parents, the teenager that “hates” you now for making them follow the rules, is the one that will be grateful when he or she grows up. I’m not a parent, but from what I’ve seen the ones who grew up with parents as friends were the ones that once out in the world were lost feeling that they were being treated unfairly because the world will make them follow the rules and suffer the consequences of their actions.
Food for thought…