Today, I am blogging about Take 25 at PARK Project, and want to use this forum to open up and be candid with You,
my precious support!!
Five years ago, I wish I had seen a sign like this bright yellow one to alert me of what lay ahead! Looking back, I'm sure there were signs along the way, however, I was Walking UnAware!! The things I am about to share with you are that of an incredibly vulnerable nature, and I ask that you proceed with an Open Heart of Grace! It is only by the Holy Spirit's prompting that I choose now to open this window and share a glimpse of the path we have traveled. One that has brought me the greatest heartache, and the greatest hope!
Although, I developed a relationship with the Savior at a young age, my family's religious beliefs prevented me from walking passionately with Him for many years; and even, as an adult, I found myself content with a relationship of encounters rather than constant communion. My adult life has been one of great extremes! I have experienced the highs of Passionate Love and Financial Abundance along with the lows of Chronic Illness and Poverty. I spent many years trying to grow up with the attitude that "everything was under control" even when I was desperate for something more. Without realizing it, I had become the "Queen of Denial" and quite accustomed to wallowing in "Victim Village". During a low point, I walked away from my husband, and began trusting another. Little did I know that this emotional and somewhat rash decision would send our family in a downward spiral that would nearly cost us everything!
In "Unmask the Predators", Lisa Cherry and her daughter, Kalyn Cherry Waller not only share a similar story, but statistics that should shock and alarm All of us!! Part of Walking UnAware is lack of information, another part is denial!! Unfortunately, I experienced both!! I watched our family go from happy, unified and Spirit-led to disconnected, miserable and weak! More devastatingly, I watched our oldest Daughters (14 and 12 years old at the time) go from Respectful, Secure and Safe to Belligerent, Confused and Vulnerable.
Walking UnAware is much like the the cliche, "Ignorance is Bliss"! There is a sense of confidence in that you don't know that you don't know!! The result of my choices led our entire family down a path, that previously had seemed foreign and unthinkable! We began to experience things that seemed surreal as if happening only in my worst nightmare!! Walking UnAware led me toward a masked predator who, unlike me, was Completely Aware and prepared to groom our Daughters as His prey!!
It was a cold December morning when I received a call that our Daughters, who had been sleeping over at a friend's home while I prepared for our move, were gone. There were foot prints in the snow leading from a basement window to the street where tire tracks led away. Within an hour, the girls called, apologizing, saying they had reacted out of fear, not wanting to move, but that the friend who had picked them up was bringing them back. Now, there are years of choices that led up to this moment, but suffice it to say for now, Walking UnAware was about to get very dark and ugly!! It was on this cold December morning that I learned our Daughters had spent the previous six months building a relationship with a 37 year old married man whom they'd been sexually involved with, both individually and altogether. By His careful planning, they were in love and prepared to fight for their freedom, so that they could be with Him. I cannot even begin to describe the rage and heartache that came as a result of Walking UnAware!! As we began to Unmask this Predator, what we learned was considered "classic". The grooming that had taken place, included extensive brain-washing; and changed the hearts of our Daughters!! Not only had our Daughters lost their innocence, we were loosing our Daughters. Let me warn you, that the the journey between Walking UnAware and Being Aware has been thee most painful journey to walk! This is NOT like being on a fast and furious roller coaster that you can simply jump off after a few minutes to stand on solid ground; no, this is more like finding yourself in a very deep and dark pit with no ladder!
Another cost of Walking UnAware was that without thinking, I had walked away from God and ran right into Sin! Fortunately, during this darkest season, God had NOT walked away from me; and in this my darkest hour, He reached out and quite literally plucked me out of my sin and lack of awareness!! Almost immediately, He began restoring! Although things seemed to go from bad to worse, by laying down my attachment to Walking UnAware, I found great comfort in the Grace and Mercy of an Omnipotent Father! I found love and forgiveness in the arms of my Beloved, whom I had also walked away from; and I found great Peace in the Only One who could and already had intervened on my behalf!
5 years later, we continue to experience God's healing and restoration! There are still days when the enemy tries to take what He intended for evil and remind me of it; however, there are many more days that I am reminded that God has purposed this for His glory!! I am humbled by His goodness and marvel in His grace, and I am continually uplifted by His Word!!
Friends, I commit to continue sharing our story as led by the Spirit, but suffice it to say, This day I encourage you to consider your own walk. I challenge you to become informed as you Unmask the Predators in your world, and I invite you to Take 25!! I pray that our journey through this very dark place, may shed light for you and that you Never find your child's name listed with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children!! May you choose to Walk Aware today and always as we stand equipped in the battle to protect our children; and may you also know the Grace and Peace of our Loving Heavenly Father!!
Are you in a Season of Waiting? Waiting for a new job, healing, restoration, the arrival of a new child? That's just where we find ourselves - waiting!! We understand that the process of Sowing and Reaping includes a season of waiting, however, this seems to be the most challenging part. I have heard it said that God gives us a Vision for the Result, and sometimes shows us where to begin, however leaves out the middle; because if we knew what the waiting would look like, we may Never Begin! THIS I can relate to! Years ago, God gave us a Vision that was SO big, it could Only be from Him! In spite of the enormity of Purpose, we began preparing. We wanted to be like the boy coming to a community prayer meeting in the middle of a drought. The local Pastors asked their congregations to bring emblems of their faith, and gather in the town square to pray for rain. On the day of the prayer meeting, the entire town assembled in great anticipation - willing to lay aside their differences of theology, and join their faith in asking God for Rain. As the Officiating Pastor quieted the crowd, He invited them to raise their emblems of faith as they begin to pray; and looking out over the crowd, He could see numerous Family Bibles, Rosaries, Photos, etc. However, towards the back of the crowd stood a young boy who also noticed the other emblems, and timidly raised his - a large red umbrella! The Pastor smiled as He began to offer gratitude for the faith of this young man, who knew that God's Faithfulness would produce rain!! It is that kind of faith we purpose to walk in! Today, I am encouraged in the peace of waiting, and reminded of God's Faithfulness!! 2 Thessalonians 3:13 reminds us to "Not grow weary in doing good!" So, although I have had days of feeling weary, "I will move ahead Bold and Confident, taking every step in Obedience, while I'm waiting!"
Today, I am praying for and thinking of Mother!! I am remembering the lessons of love my Mother and Grandmother's have exemplified for me, and I am standing in Gratitude for the Many Mothers that Rise Up and are Blessed!! I am considering who I am as Mother, and allowing the Holy Spirit to refine me in this area! I am thanking God for His Grace and Mercy that pave the way for me!! I commit to continue Living a Life of Legacy - on Purpose - Intentional - Full of Joy, Peace, Hope and Love!! May our burdens be lifted today as we cherish this Beautiful Creation - MOTHER!!
Today, it is my honor to Pray for Others as I PARK (Practice Acts of Random Kindness)!! I LOVE to pray!! It is one of my favorite things - getting to spend time with My Daddy; especially when we get to visit about you! I invite you to review my PARK Project post and add any requests you may have as we look to the One who Loves Completely, Provides for Abundantly and Cherishes Constantly!!