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Don’t Try to Do the Job Alone

King David wanted to build a temple for God in Israel, but God told him to let his son, Solomon do the job. So David collected the materials his son would need. The message from father to son, “Don’t try to do the job alone.” Not only did wise Solomon use the gold and silver gathered by David, he also enlisted help from the Hiram, the King of Tyre. Hiram sent a master craftsman named Huram, who brought the famous cedars of Lebanon for the temple. Solomon also gave jobs to all the aliens who were in the land of Israel, thus creating jobs for them.

I use to find this story boring. Today it opened my eyes to a new thought. I have a ministry to children in inner city schools. It involves small groups after school using two faith-based curricula. (See Livingfree.org.) Growing Seasons helps children who don’t live with both biological parents by teaching them that God is a Father who will never abandon them. It also helps them learn coping skills, such as how to express their emotions appropriately. Empowering Kids helps children recognize and prevent life-controlling problems before they start. To do this ministry, I must have help.I need trained facilitators to come beside me and lead the small groups. I tried to do it alone. It only worked when I enlisted others who want to make a difference in the lives of children.

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Helping Children Heal from Divorce and Other Losses
What are your goals? What kind of help do you need? Who can you enlist to help you?

The Measure of a Woman

There are many who still deal with war, poverty, abuse, and many other atrocities. This reminds me to be thankful for my home and family.

A Holistic Journey

I don’t remember my mother ever having the cold or flu. She must’ve had her share, especially in the sharp New York winter. She remains healthy in my memory because she never took a day off, never took a nap, never complained. Not even when the needle flew off the Singer and disappeared into her finger. Between the waitressing years in New York, Mom sewed for the giant garment industry that Latino and Asian immigrants pinned their hopes on in the 70s and 80s. The heaps of cut fabric she brought home in the metal shopping cart, they literally called homework. It enabled her to raise her kids and stay involved in my early schooling. Mom did everything fast. She would feed polyester rectangles through the machine and recruit me and my little brother to flip them. At two cents a piece, time was the enemy. She ate a lot…

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My Resignation

With a new year upon us, we adults still have to got to work, pay the bills, and take care of the family, but do yourself a favor, stop for a while a play with a child. It will do you and the child a world of good.

Morning Story and Dilbert

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
December 30, 2000

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an eight-year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four-star restaurant.

I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.

I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care.All you knew was to be happy, because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want…

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Online Resources

Online Resources for Child Abuse

Prevent Child Abuse: http://www.preventchildabuse.org/index.shtml

Love Our Children USA: http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/

Prevent Child Abuse: http://www.stopitnow.org/

Voice Today: http://www.voicetoday.org/

End Child Molestation: http://endchildmolestation.com/mainsite/

Male Survivor: http://malesurvivor.org/

Stop It Now: http://www.stopitnow.org/

The Pixel Project: http://www.thepixelproject.net/

Rainn: http://www.rainn.org/

National Abuse Hotline: 656-HOPE

Ms. Foundation Women: http://ms.foundation.org/

Kids Have Rights 2: https://www.facebook.com/KidsHaveRightsII

If you represent an organization that provides online resources for abuse victims, please respond in the comments section.

If you have had a positive experience with the listed resources or another great resource for abuse victims, please comment to let others know where they can receive help.

Human Trafficking, A Blight to Our Nation

Last night I attended a seminar and film about human trafficking. I knew it was an increasing problem, because of all the tweets I have seen, so I wanted to know more. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but if we don’t do something, hundreds of girls ages 12 to 14 who have been brainwashed to believe their pimp loves them would not get any help. “The average age a child is lured into prostitution is 13 years old. Experts estimate at least 100,000 American juveniles are victimized through prostitution in the U.S. each year.” (Handout from Protected Innocence Initiative)

If you see a situation in which a child may be a victim of trafficking, please report it to the police immediately. According to Child Victims of Human Trafficking Fact Sheet, everyone needs to know how to recognize a victim of trafficking.

“Traffickers frequently confiscate their victims’ immigration and identification documents. Traffickers frequently instill in their victims a fear of government officials – particularly law enforcement and immigration officers. These are two of the challenges in identifying victims of trafficking. But whether you are a law enforcement officer, health care professional or a social service provider, there are clues that can alert you to a victim:
Child victims of labor trafficking are often hungry or malnourished to the extent that they may never reach their full height, many have poorly formed or rotting teeth, and later may experience reproductive problems.
The psychological signs of torture are helplessness, shame and humiliation, shock, denial and disbelief, disorientation and confusion, and anxiety disorders including post -traumatic disorder, phobias, panic attacks and depression.
Environmental facters including whether the child is living at the workplace or with the employer, living with mulitiple people in a cramped space, and attending school sproadically or not at all, or has a significant gap of schooling in the U.S.
Victims may experience Traumatic Bonding (Stockholm Syndrome) – a form of coercive control in which the perpetrator instills in the victim fear as well as gratitude for being allowed to live or for other perceived favors, however small.
Traffickers of children are sometimes family members, or may sometimes condition their victims to refer to them by familial titles (e.g. uncle, aunt, counsin).”
Please be on the look-out for victims, especially children who find themselves caught in this nightmare of a trap and if you even suspect that you see or know a child who is being sold into sex slavery, call the police.

Abuse Survivors Are Some of My Favorite People

Some of my favorite people are survivors of child sexual abuse. That might sound like a stereotype and I don’t mean it that way. There are events in life that can lead to certain personality characteristics, but I agree that abuse can happen to all types of people, from all religions, all races, and all cultures.

I counsel both children and adults. I also run some volunteer programs for children. I like to find adults who were abused to work with the children. They love it, too. They have a tender heart toward those who are hurting and a deep desire to help. Survivors are always willing to go the extra mile to make a difference in the life of a child. They can relate to the feelings of the children, because they know what they needed as a child. In most cases, that is what all children need. They need to feel loved, safe, and understood. They need to have choices, too, because when they were abused they felt powerless.

Some might think, “Aren’t you afraid they will abuse the children?” Not really, but as with anyone spending time with children under my watch, I do take precautions. I check references and make sure they are not left alone with the children. The two person rule is essential with any volunteer. I do that for all volunteers.

You may ask, “What about the anger?” Good question! There are some who are not just angry, but full of rage. That would show up in other areas of their lives. I would not allow that kind of person to work with children. Many times though, adult survivors have stuffed their anger so far down that even they can’t reach it. When they were little, they knew they couldn’t show anger, so they learned to suppress it or turn it toward themselves. It would have been dangerous to express it to their abusers.

Abuse survivors are usually kind, generous, gentle, and loyal and highly creative. They don’t trust easily, so they cherish their friendships. If someone confides in you that they were abused as a child, take that as a compliment. Most don’t take their wall down for just anyone. Listen and accept the feelings. You will be rewarded with a great friendship. Behind the wall of fear and undeserved shame, there is a precious gift of God to the world.

Crazy Mixed-up Me

Have you ever felt crazy – like everyone knows all the answers and you don’t even know the questions?

Did you ever experience a situation that had you so mixed-up you didn’t know what to do?

Have you ever had something happen that caused you to say to yourself, “Why Me?”

Abused by Trust If you were ever sexually abused as a child or young teen, then you probably felt all those feelings. You didn’t have the experience to understand what was happening to you. If you were abused by a trusted friend or family member, you may have been mixed-up because a person you trusted was doing something you instinctively knew didn’t feel right. It was confusing because you trusted the abuser, so you didn’t know if you should try to stop it or if you should tell someone. Chances are you did neither. If you were groomed, you felt uncertain because the attention and sometimes the body felt good. You may have wondered, “If it feels good, does that mean I wanted it? Does that mean I am bad?” Don’t blame yourself, it was totally the fault of the abuser. Sometimes the body reacts to things it can not control, such as when you sneeze. This was the ultimate life-altering betrayal. Where could you put it in your young mind? There was no place to put it and no way to process it correctly.

Abused by Force If you were abused by force, you are probably feeling some of those same emotions, but there may be different ones also. You may have asked yourself, “Why did I go to that place or do that thing or wear those clothes that opened the door to the abuse?” Again, there is confusion and self-blame. Even if you disobeyed and went to a place you were not allowed to go, did a thing you were told not to do, or wore an outfit that was revealing, you were not responsible for the abuse. The abuser was completely at fault. Adults are supposed to use self-control. All these incidences are against the law for the adult. The child should be protected from further contact with the abuser.

Did you tell anyone?

Will you now?

If you have ever been a victim of sexual abuse, find a counselor and get some help.

What is your story of abuse?

How were you mixed-up and confused?

What have you done to heal?

What has helped?

What have you learned from the experience?

Do you have a testimony that might help others?

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but talking or writing about it often helps. Please comment to help keep this conversation going.

Tags:
abuse, betrayal, children, healing, teen, teens

Just Me, All Alone

Have you ever felt alone? Truly and totally alone, like there is no one else in the world – or at least like there is no one in the world who really cares if you take another breath? If you have, then you know how terrifying that can be. We all need others to love us and even adults need someone to understand and symbolically kiss our boo-boos.

Babies are born into a family that is supposed to care for them, supposed to feed and cuddle them so they feel loved and learn to trust the world around them. Sadly, not every child has that important opportunity. Even if the basic needs are met, babies need touch, attention, and protection. When that doesn’t happen, it is called neglect. Neglect is WRONG. It is ABUSIVE. Love is a basic need of a child.

Love is also a basic need of an adult who was neglected or abused as a child. If you were one of those unfortunate children, then you may feel lonely and even abandoned sometimes. When you find someone you can trust, maybe you tend to cling to that person, because you never want to feel abandoned again. To some, it feels like a fate worse than death. Nights can feel like years when you are alone and sleep won’t come. You know you are lonely when you just can’t wait for morning so you can go to work and see people.

You are not alone in your feelings. Many other people feel that way, too. You are also not alone in your home. There is someone who is always there, just waiting for you to reach out. Jesus knows how you feel. Can you imagine how lonely He must have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane pouring His heart out in prayer for you and me. [Matthew 28:36-47] Did you know He was carrying the guilt and shame of the whole world, past, present and future as He hung on the cross? Before He rose to heaven, he promised us a gift He called the “helper”and the “comforter”.[John 14:16] The Holy Spirit is always there to listen to your greatest hurts and hide you under the shadow of His wings. [Psalm 91 NJK}

If you don’t know Jesus, you are missing out on the greatest blessing. He wants you to come to Him. Confess that you are a sinner and ask Him to forgive your sins. He already paid for them on the cross, so they will be forgiven as soon as you ask. Then pray and tell Him about your deepest needs. He will listen. He loves you.

Tags:
abuse, alone, children, comforter, fear, feelings, God, Jesus, lonely, love, sexual abuse, shame

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