Happy Holiday?

sexual assault

We are heading into the holiday season are you ready for it?  Are you ready for the reality of it? Everyone knows the holidays are a stressful time for families – especially families dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault.

But according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, calls to the hotline actually drop dramatically on major holidays like Thanksgiving.

“A lot of women will grin and bear it, try to keep the peace so their children don’t have to spend holidays in a shelter,” says Katie Ray-Jones, the president of the hotline.

According to Rita Smith, the executive direction of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, although some victims may “put on a good face” while family or friends are visiting on Thanksgiving or Christmas, that stoicism can’t often last long.

“We see an increase in request for service right after the holidays,” says Smith.

Jennifer Marsh, the vice president of victims services at the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) also told Crimesider that calls to their sexual abuse hotline go down on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, but go up in the weeks after.

“During the holidays, people are home together more,” says Smith. “In families where there is violence present that means more opportunity for violence.”

For those who decide to stay in – or in some cases return to – abusive homes around Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ray-Jones suggests identifying easy exits from the house and establishing code words with children who can run to neighbors for help if violence becomes a problem.

She also suggests considering what rooms in the house are “safe” to have an argument in.

“A lot of us spend time in the kitchen during the holidays,” says Ray-Jones. “But the kitchen is a very dangerous place to have an argument, with knives, boiling water, and pots and pans within reach.”

Here is where you can get help:

1-800-656-4673 – RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Hotline)

281-286-2525 – Bay Area Turning Point Hotline

713-473-2801 – The Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Unfailing Hope…

hope

“Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.” Job 11:13-19

Hope is the wanting…hope is more…hope is expectancy…hope is the future. Hope is taking a different look at the present situation. Looking at our circumstances through the eyes of God, relying on the Word of God and promises set forth for those who choose to embrace it.  In this world, there will always be trouble.  When you have the ability to hope: to hope beyond yourself, then you will have the resolve to face life and the ability to continue to move forward no matter what kind of curve ball life throws.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation if only from him. (Psalm 62:5)

the night seasons…

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There are ugly words in our society that no one wants to hear but we hear them too often. “A child was sexually abused.” The thought brings a repulsiveness that turns your stomach. Much too often the perpetrator is someone who “knows or loves” the child. To the child, it is confusion at its best. Your life it changed on every level and every relationship is not the same after you have been sexually abused. If by the Grace of God, you have never been in that position, you may wonder what a child goes through. How do they deal with such atrocities? Typically, the outcome is not good. Many just stay right there emotionally. They never progress and grow to become full mature adults. They just stay in the darkness of their pain. They just stay in

…the night season…

The bud has only begun to open as the innocence of a child is taken away.

Shattered by the weak will of a man, innocence tries to stand.

Day by day, year by year the sheerer strips away the virgin wool.

Innocence is still fighting.

Acceptance, Trust, Love, Security

Traits found in a good family.

Innocence gives way to trust.

As trust is stripped away, the life begins to decay.

During the midnight hour, comes a deafening silence

As the black night is absorbed into the abyss.

Innocence of life is nowhere to be found.

There is no east. There is no west.

It is only by the grace of God that life can find rest.

The shadow of a tainted man still remains.

Only sounds of pain are heard, moans that grieve evil spirits.

The only comfort found is despair.

The gloom of hellish shadows fills the air.

There is no path, no road, no sign.

The desolator becomes very, very dear in time.

The season has not changed.

The night has not given way to day.

Still, no one is there to lead the way.

As silent prayers cry out, the doorman stands still.

In the position of death, I find my way out.

It is only by death that I find life.

But at this death, there are no mourners,

No one to grieve, no friends to leave behind.

For no one knew that I was dying from the love of a family.

…I was buried alive

…I was the dead among the living.

Known and Read By All Men

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2 Corinthians 3:2-3 …. You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

I love this scripture. It says everything plainly enough for “All” to understand. Paul is writing a letter to the church in Corinth. He is letting them know that he, Paul is proud of them and what they are doing. To me this is exactly what we should be doing. Paul was discipled by Jesus and those in Corinth were being discipled by Paul. Are we allowing someone to disciple us? Or, are we going to church on the television and remaining out of touch with the reality of life? Are we discipling someone else? “…written in our hearts, known and read by all men”

Here is what I see…

  1. The “people” were dear to Paul because they were written in his heart.
  2. “Known and read by all men” tells me that they were reaching out. Allowing themselves to mingle amongst the sinners. They were being transparent about where they came from, who they’ve become and where they want to go.
  3. They were the “letter of Christ”. Nothing else is needed if we allow ourselves to truly be open to others. We may get hurt from time to time but if we could just touch one life…make a difference in just one person… The Power of One can be amazing.
  4. The the Holy Spirit is working and changing their lives and the lives of others by changing their hearts. It doesn’t matter how many books or articles you write, if it doesn’t touch the heart…change will not happen. You cannot touch a life if you are not willing to allow your flaws, shortcomings and mistakes to be seen by others. In doing so It makes you real…it makes you identifiable by others; it makes you “known”. It brings the reality of “if they can make it through it, than so can I!”

Living daily in reality, not denial is how we can be a letter known and read by all men….

A letter cannot be read if you don’t open the envelope…open yourself to the saving grace and mercy of Jesus and allow Him to change your heart so others can see the proof of the truth through your life.