Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolve

New Year's resolutions set many of us up for failure.   We make our list:  loose weight, exercise weekly, work less, play more.  My list almost always includes loosing weight and exercising.  But this year I am not setting myself up for failure.  This year as I look at the blank pages of my 2012 calendar, I ask myself, what will make this year the best year possible?    I am starting my year off with one word: RESOLVE.  Resolve to me means living in a state of determination to stay the course no matter the setbacks, no matter the disappointments, no matter the challenges.   RESOLVE leaves no room for failure because no matter my circumstances I will persevere. It is not a list but an attitude that I seek this year.

We are all on mission and are put on this earth for a special purpose.  I don’t know that I have ever met anyone on mission that said it was easy.  We have a dark force working in this world, Satan who comes to kill, steal and destroy.   But we have a Savior whose birth we just celebrated.  Jesus came to give us power, strength and yes, resolve to accomplish our mission.  Some of us know our calling crystal clear, others don’t, or don’t wish to submit.  I am blessed to know exactly what God has called me to do.  I heard something so life changing years ago, when I lived in a state of confusion.  We don’t seek a God that hides from us.  He tells us over and over in scripture that we knock and the door is opened, that we ask and receive, that He gives good gifts to His children, that He sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter, our guide, our peace. 

I spent my early adulthood asking God what I was put on this earth to do.  I wondered if I was pleasing God.  I spent many sleepless nights asking God to give me a sign.  Sadly, when I heard His voice and I had the knowing in my heart, I was afraid of the task.    I wrestled with God, just like Jacob.  Fortunately God had great patience with me and gave me physical confirmations that I could never deny.   In my state of fear, disobedience and rebellion I begged for bigger signs.  Looking back that was so disrespectful to the God of the universe.  I heard His voice.  I knew what He had called me to do many years before I said yes Lord.  Yet I tested, yet I wanted to be 1000% sure that I heard correctly, I felt inadequate and unprepared for the task ahead.  

So today, after being on the path to fulfill my mission for several years, I want to share helpful hints that I believe will help you find your RESOLVE in 2012:

  1.  Ask God what is your purpose and take action
  2. Focus on listening to God’s voice, pray and obey
  3. Reject the spirit of fear:  F.E.A.R.  FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL
  4. Make a plan and write it down
  5. Expect supernatural miracles to accomplish your mission
  6. Stay the course no matter the obstacles
  7. Know that you are chosen for such a time as this
  8. Shake off disappointments quickly and stay positive
  9. Surround yourself with positive people
  10. Celebrate victories, both large and small

God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.  I believe God is truly looking for a willing and surrendered heart.  In 2003 God spoke to me to write a book.  In 2007 I published my life story of 14 years of horrific abuse at the hands of my stepfather trembling at how my family would receive my disclosure to the world.  None of my fears came to pass and I have received hundreds of responses from readers who say my book helped them.  In 2008 I founded VOICE Today, trembling with fear, with more questions than answers of how, and who and what?  Today we have reached millions with a message of child sexual abuse awareness, prevention and healing.    

I gaze at my blank 2012 calendar with great anticipation and expectation of lives that will be impacted for good because of my resolve and the resolve of the VOICE Today staff to never give up on being a voice for the voiceless.  Those who are hurting in the aftermath of sexual abuse need our determination and resolve to help them find their voice.    We are committed to tell the world about the child sexual abuse epidemic, how we can not only predict but prevent child sexual abuse to protect children and how survivors need compassion and nurturing to heal.    We will never waiver in our commitment to this critical cause.  If you have a committed heart to make the world a safe place for children and a healing place for survivors please join The VOICE MOVEMENT at  We need your resolve!

Friday, December 23, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...

At five years old, toothless, I sang, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,” but deep down I wanted so much more.  I wanted a day without fear of abuse.  I wanted that childlike wonder that I saw all around me at Christmas time.  Abuse came in all flavors in my home.  One wrong move and it was all out war, with screaming of obscenities, swinging of fists, open hand slaps across the face, pulling of hair, shaking until  fireworks burst in my head.  Then in moments of calm I tried to catch my breath, but I was lured behind closed doors.  Shockingly, my stepfather was even so brazen to conduct his evil out in the open.  He forced me, with his iron hand, to perform perverted acts and tell me how much he loved me and this special time was our secret.  He said he needed to teach me so much about life.   If ever I rebelled the violence would escalate and then he would turn on my mother and blame me.  As I grew older he threatened killing my mother if I ever told.  My abuse started at age 3 and did not end until age 17. 

As a grown woman I know too much about life.  I know about the most evil acts perpetrated on a child.  Though for years I felt to blame, I know now I did nothing to deserve such inhumane violence.   

Days before Christmas my heart breaks for to the millions upon millions of children that are suffering in their own personal hell, bearing the burden of abuse alone with the world turning a blind eye.   There are millions of children whose childlike wonder has been robbed by child sexual abuse and I know that pain.

I may be idealistic but all I want for Christmas is a world that is safe for children and healing for survivors.  My Christmas wish is for adults to face the silent epidemic of child sexual abuse with a courage and compassion to make a difference.   We can not continue to look the other way while millions of children are slaughtered by sexual abuse, and while millions of adults live in the shadows, hiding the pain of abuse with most of them suffering in self destructive behaviors.    Courage means that you become vigilant and a protector of the most vulnerable among us, and compassionate to those who have suffered.  My Christmas wish is to save the innocence that is stolen and to protect the childlike wonder and joy that is destroyed through these vile acts. 

I wish more people would (that you would) get involved with our Movement, THE VOICE MOVEMENT, to battle for social change in terms of addressing the root issues behind abuse, legal change with removing the statute of limitations for prosecuting, and educating adults who work with and around children about prevention and protection.  As I plow through all the daily  issues and challenges associated with VOICE Today, I wish for the resources and the people to do the work needed, and for strategic relationships to be established that will allow us to get our prevention and protections training materials recognized, accepted, widely distributed, and everyone is trained to predict and prevent.   I pray for a day when my phone doesn’t ring with another story of a child whose been brutally assaulted and left confused and injured to navigate life, which already holds mountains of challenges.  My wish is for THE VOICE MOVEMENT to become viral to promote awareness, prevention and healing programs worldwide.

You can help make my Christmas wish come true.  Please take five minutes to watch the VOICE Today POP Points.  VOICE Up, have courage to protect the children in your sphere of contact.  Join the VOICE MOVEMENT – donate, volunteer, host a prevention and healing workshop in 2012! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breakdown... Breakthrough... Break Free

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 
(Psalm 34:18 NIV)

A glass slips out of my hand, I immediately grab a broom and sweep up the broken pieces and throw it in the trash.  I make certain all the pieces are discarded so weeks later we aren’t performing surgery with a sewing needle to dig a piece of glass out of a foot.  I make sure to prevent future pain from my mistake.  Broken items immediately loose their worth in the world.  Even a crack deems them damaged and no longer valued.  If I dispose the glass in the trash, it goes to a landfill and looses value forever.  But if I take the shattered pieces and place them in my recycle bin then within months this broken glass will be re-purposed to possibly become a test tube that holds the cure for cancer.

I viewed my own emotional brokenness the same way.   I spent years hiding severe emotional, verbal, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of my stepfather.  I believed the lies of the enemy that I was damaged goods and had lost my value because my scars of pain, shame and guilt.  These, I thought, represented sin in my life.  As a result, I wanted complete control over this pain and spent an enormous amount of energy trying to keep “it” together, fighting the insanity and hiding my brokenness in the deepest crevices of my soul.  I suffered in a silent prison of pain.  As I swept up my broken glass and took it to the garbage, I kept my pain well hidden and even feared that, as the residue of glass on the floor could injure someone, my pain could hurt others.    I embraced silence as a way to protect others, even though I believed they in some ways contributed to my vulnerability and abuse.   I was convinced by my abuser that I deserved the brutality and he reinforced this message by constant berating me.   I thought the masks I used to hide my reality gave me complete control and protect from being discarded, if my secrets of violation and perversion were revealed.  I spent a time hiding each piece of my broken life, believing the lie that I was worthless.

It took years for me to discover the truth.  17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17 KJV). The truth is that Gods values our brokenness and our brokenness is a most valuable treasure in God’s hands.  The truth is God puts a value on broken things, especially broken people.  The truth is that God wants to re-purpose our brokenness for great things.  It took my second suicide attempt to allow my complete and total breakdown and it was through that breakdown that I received my breakthrough to truth.  But praise God I did not stop there.  I am on a journey to truly break free, overcoming the pain and destruction caused by my childhood abuse.  Breaking free meant to be completely open and honest, even vulnerable about my past; releasing all the power it held over me.

Just like the broken glass, I delivered my pain to God’s recycle bin to be re-purposed for Kingdom use and for Him to change lives through me.  Just like the recycled glass can save a life, my vulnerability in sharing the pain and progress of healing through my faith in Jesus Christ can change lives.  The re-purposing of my pain has birthed an organization, VOICE Today, Inc., to be a speak for the voiceless through child sexual abuse awareness, prevention and healing programs.   I challenge you to welcome your breakdown, receive your breakthrough and break free to be used mightily by God.  I will never know where the broken glass of my life will end up, but I work to do my part by placing it in the recycle bin to be molded for a new and wonderful plan that only God knows.  Now all that pain, totally surrendered to the hands of our Father God, will be Molded by the Potter for a new and powerful use to help others break free.

Visit VOICE Today at and learn how God is birthing a grassroots movement to protect children and help survivors heal!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Silenced – The Taboo of Sexual Abuse of Children

There is a culture of silence surrounding the issue of child sexual abuse. I founded VOICE Today to be an organization that promotes courage to speak up and speak out about the issue.  We will never protect children nor will we ever heal from the wounds of sexual abuse in the darkness and silence.  So today we look at the power behind the silence. 

I believe we are living in a time when the world is more and more desensitized to sexual issues.  We are bombarded by pornography and sexual perversion in media, the entertainment industry and in our society.  This perversion has so influenced our minds that words like sex means nothing.  Sex is no longer a precious gift between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage.  Instead our media is fostering a value system that says sex is acceptable anywhere, anytime with anybody, but watch out for HIV/AIDS and STDs.  It is no wonder that it is more and more difficult to protect a child from sexual predators.  Descriptions of the atrocities at Penn State University and at Syracuse University are heart-breaking.  By labeling it a “Sex Scandal” implies that these children were co-conspirators in the evil behavior. 
Generations have been taught to keep the ghost in the closet.  There is a gag order on the vast number of adults who have suffered some form of sexual abuse as a child, reinforced with shame, guilt and isolation when an individual steps out and speaks about the unspeakable..  Generations have handed down this evil heirloom of child sexual abuse to protect the perpetrator and the family name.  It is not only a blemish on a family name, a family reputation but also on  a school, a youth serving organization, a faith center that otherwise rational adults will go to any length to conceal the crime.   These adults who sense and see evil behavior become accomplices in the crime, but keep silent are just as accountable as the perpetrator. 

The issue of the risk and response to sexual abuse is drowned in an ocean of ignorance and awkwardness.  Most parents are so uncomfortable with the topic of sex that they fail to become educate and then teach their children about the risk and response to sexual abuse.  They fail to empower their children and properly prepare them, even though 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abuse before age 18.  Child sexual abuse is a silent EPIDEMIC.  Most adults, they fail to educate children on the definition of sexual abuse, they fail to give a child the permission to scream, run and tell a safe person, when someone crosses their personal boundaries.   They believe their child is NOT at risk, but in most cases have no understanding of the devious behaviors of a predator.  Unfortunately, many adults are not comfortable with their own sexuality and, frequently, talking about sex and personal boundaries with children, forces them to face their own traumatizing childhood experiences.

The excruciating pain and lifelong damage of the violation of sexual abuse is so overwhelming that many block out all memories.  As the victim these memories surface as self destructive behaviors, leaving the victim hiding in the shadow of fear, guilt and shame.  Many isolate and lose the ability to ever trust, and, as a result, live alive without the true caring and closeness of real friendship. 

The message we send to victims when we do not intervene and stand up for justice is that “YOU don’t matter and I am not willing to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced to protect you”.  Many survivors believe because the perpetrator is protected and shielded that they did something wrong.  I hate to think it is intentional but let’s face it, a survivor bears an enormous amount of stigma related to sexual abuse.  As a survivor I’ve received the looks of disgust, I’ve heard the words, “Why didn’t you tell?”  or the famous, “You just need to get over that and put it behind you.”  Either intentionally or inadvertently these messages heap guilt and shame on the victim.

What is the answer!  The answer is breaking down first the barrier of ignorance and learning all you can about child sexual abuse and then taking steps to break your silence and/or support others to do so.  Learn the risks, learn the signs, learn the behavior of a predator, and learn how to take a disclosure that fosters truth, honesty and healing.  Voice Today is striving to the education adults through the POWER OF PROTECTION POINTS.  Please care enough about the safety of a child to give 7 minutes to watch this VIDEO. Then you will see why it is important to then sponsor and attend more detailed workshops.

If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, then today can be your day to step into truth and light of healing and break your silence.  You don’t deserve to suffer another moment.  You can release the shame and guilt.  You were a child and had no power to protect yourself and the adults in your life failed in their responsibility to protect you.  Your VOICE will give others the courage to break their silence.  One VOICE at a time we can break the silence and cycle of child sexual abuse.

I have written my story of 14 years of sexual abuse at the hands of my stepfather and my long journey to healing, From Sorrows To Sapphires, and Tom Scales has written his survival through the abuse from many abusers in Terrible Things Happened To Me.  Please order these books for a donation of any amount at VOICE TODAY ESHOP.