Today the phone rang, and I found myself listening to another mother’s heartbreaking story. I recognized the particular distress in the caller's voice because I have known the horror of something like what she’s going though. The similarities of our stories chilled me. But I caution you: don’t just browse this for the juicy tidbits and then go on with your life. If you take nothing else with you from this post, realize this: sexual abuse is not rare, but rather much more common than you think.
Two years ago this mother had discovered an inappropriate relationship developing between her 16 year old daughter and their church's youth pastor. Behaviors such as inappropriate text messaging and private meetings in the park had caused this mom to cry out for help to her pastor and church leadership board.
Unfortunately, no one believed her concerns. For over a year the relationship continued until it escalated into a full blown sexually abusive secret. The youth pastor was eventually fired, and his wife divorced him. Meanwhile the teenage girl was completely brainwashed into running away with this child predator!
Sounds like a sick drama for a TV show doesn't it? But this woman in tears was no actor, and her family’s problems won’t be resolved neatly in 60 minutes. Now she is left with a brainwashed teenage daughter, a police investigation, and a pile of broken dreams and fears.
I was sobered by this woman's tale. What if we had not found the $800 cell phone bill that tipped us off to the terrible deception of teenage sexual abuse that trapped our daughter Kalyn at age 15? What if Kalyn and her 46 year old abuser had taken the next logical step in their crazy relationship? Would she have run away to fulfill the fantasy?? The police told us we were incredibly "lucky." Blessed, I would say. Blessed to have a God who got our attention and delivered us in time!
What happened in the precious family of my caller? I don't know all the details, but I do know what went wrong. The devil worked his best plan of destruction against this daughter. He hit them with his best shot, and they, like us, were shaken to the core.
Surely this is just another isolated story, our logical minds want to reassure us. But the facts say something different! By very conservative estimates, one in four girls is sexually abused by age 18. Let’s do some math. Are there 25 girls in your church youth group? Then at least six of them have been or will be abused. And most of us are just like that poor, blind church pastor and deacon board...... unable to recognize the activity of a dangerously perverted, wounded man behaving as a predator to his sheep! Ouch!! How can I say something so strong? Because I was fooled, too!!
So what can we do to protect our children from this madness? Of first priority: we must cry out to God on behalf of our children! Lord awaken us to the urgency of the hour! Awaken us to the traps set in front of our eyes that we are unable to see without Your divine wisdom! Teach us what we do not now know! Help us, Lord.
Second, we MUST become educated. Church folk, we must wake up! Kalyn and I have been interviewed dozens of times about our book Kalyn's Secret. We are continually amazed that none of our Christian media interviewers have been fully aware of the magnitude of the problem of sexual abusive behavior. Most had never heard the term "grooming." I understand. Until it happened to us, I did not know either. I just thought these problems happened to other people, to those "out in the world." But could this be part of our problem? Unless we are able to recognize the predators among us, our kids do not stand a chance.
I am personally committed to do my part to bring this much needed education and ministry to the body of Christ. Thousands and thousands are bleeding and wounded. Thousands and thousands are still in danger. Will you help me awaken the church? With our book in their hands, parents and leaders can prevent this from happening to others.
Will you forward this blogpost to your friends?? Next week I am going to publish a very important article titled: Before it Happens to Your Child as it Did to Ours: 12 Things You Need to Know About Sexual Predators. Will you be ready to get it out across America?
Please join me in praying for this dear mother who called and her family. They need a miracle, and they need it soon!
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Today at 4:00 p.m. CST, American Family Radio will broadcast a radio/web simulcast Yellow Roses, a two hour special about the lives of young girls. This show will explore the challenges our daughters face in today’s culture: peer pressure, low self-esteem, cyber-bullying, abuse and pornography. View the trailer or visit www.afa.net to find out more.
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