Hush, Little Baby

     Hush little baby,

     Don’t say a word.

     The man touched you, sure,

     But let’s just ignore.

What’s done is done,

Speaking won’t solve a thing.

You think you need to talk,

But we like the silencing.

     Hush little baby,

     Don’t you dare speak.

     Standing up for injustices

     Will only make you weak.

If you become woke

Then what will we do

When we can’t rule the world

With the bottoms of our shoe.

     So hush little baby,

     Don’t you even breathe.

     Those people there in chains

     They don’t want to be freed.

They made their own choices

So just let them lie

In the state of their birth’s making

Until the day when they all die.

     Hush little baby,

     Don’t say a word.

     If you choose to rock the boat then

     That’s the end of our world.

So give me your voice,

And I will teach you to deceive.

And show you how lying to yourself

Is your only way to have peace


     Oh little baby,

     Your Father hears your voice.

     I see how you’re curled up

     And don’t feel like there’s a choice.

But oh my sweet child,

I’ve heard your unspoken cries,

And I know what’s happened

In the darkest of these nights.

     Oh my sweet baby,

     Come to Me. You can cry.

     And I will hold your broken pieces,

     Until your tears are all dry.

It’s okay my sweet child,

I’ve seen all the evils done,

And that’s why I’m holding you

Because you need to be the one.

     To go into this battle,

     With your head held high,

     And search out all of those,

     Who have been told not to cry.

I need you to hold them,

Like I Am holding you.

Show them My Love,

And tell them I’m coming soon.

     Because this is not forever,

     This home is not for you,

     There is a place being prepared,

     Where everything is made anew.

All the evil and injustice,

Will never come inside.

But all the judgement will strike

Against those who silence  My  children’s  cries.

     So don’t hush little baby,

     Yes, It’s okay to cry,

     They can’t hurt you anymore,

     For I Am by your side.

Rise up, little child,

And stand on solid ground,

For I gave you to this world,

To turn it upside down.

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on bringing truth to light

it isn’t new. and maybe that’s where a large part of the tragedy lies. in that it isn’t new. and it hasn’t changed.

it happens. regularly. almost religiously. it’s one of the things you can count on happening. in all of it’s awfulness. it will happen. again. and again. and again. so long as the mindset of “the church” refuses to change.

we wear blinders and focus solely on what paints the picture we want to see. we’ll erase and smudge and blur out the lines of the things we don’t want to discuss or acknowledge.

and it’s a lie straight from the pit of hell- that talking about it will encourage it. Satan is smart. he is cunning. and beautiful. and tempting.

he. is. powerful. and STRONG.- he makes sin look sweet. and desirable. and pretty.

wrap it up, stick a bow on it, and don’t talk about it.

mmm, yeah, that’s right. not talking about it can be a sin. silencing voices of victims and refusing to spotlight the sin does nothing but contribute to the sin.

and this mindset permeates our entire culture.

the “let’s talk about it as minimally as possible.” pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get away from the event as fast as possible. because that’s the only way to heal. not.

sweep it under the rug and somehow it just disappears. ?

i don’t know about you, but if there’s so much as a tiny button underneath my rug, my toes will find it. and eventually i pull up the fabric and scrape the wood to remove the button and put it where it belongs. because it doesn’t go under the rug.

 

so in a world where, by the tender age of eighteen, it is estimated that one in four women and one in six men have experienced some form of sexual abuse, maybe the sweep it under the rug and don’t talk about it mentality is severely messed up.

kids need to be educated on sex in a way that is healthful and empowering- knowledge is power- how do you expect a kid to tell you if something has happened to them if they can’t fully understand it themselves? do you think a child is going to feel safe to come and talk to you about something that you won’t talk with them about? as the adults we have to be the ones to teach our children in a manner that is appropriate.*

*have a loss of where to start? i recommend something like this.  

 

and second, if a child is coming to you saying, describing, something that makes you uncomfortable, you don’t get to sweep it to the side. by doing that you fail them. you fail that child. and you help to silence their voice. your job, in that moment, is to listen. to validate who they are. they are still loved. nothing has changed in how you see them. and then you seek help from professional counselors. oh, and you report the incident. you just do. i don’t care who it was or how it happened. you. report. it. you do the right thing. not the pretty thing, not the what makes you feel more comfortable thing. the right thing.

 

maybe you aren’t convinced yet. maybe it’s because you are so removed from the situation. because maybe you aren’t one of the “one in four” or “one in six” maybe you were one of the lucky ones. so maybe it’s hard for you to fully understand. so maybe you need to hear someone’s story. and maybe you can try to make it real for yourself. then maybe you will understand what happens when victims lose their voice. and an act of abuse is labeled as a mistake.

 

…so maybe you need to read this excerpt below?**

 

“I think it would be good to tell you the story of one woman’s experience of sexual abuse. The reason I believe this might be helpful is that I find many survivors can see and understand more about the experience of sexual abuse and its aftereffects when they hear about it in someone else’s life. They are outraged about hearing what happened in another’s life. When it is their own experience, they are often quick to brush it off as “no big deal.” Somehow I do not think you will say this woman’s experience was “no big deal.”

This is a true story. … This story concerns the rape of a young teenager, about fifteen years old, by her older brother. I believe it has much to teach us.

Aaron and Tanya’s dad is an extremely wealthy man who knows and loves God. Aaron, the man’s oldest child, is due to take over his dad’s business. Although Aaron and Tanya have the same father, they do not have the same mother. Tanya’s full brother, Adam, who also lives with the family, cares a lot for Tanya and is very protective of her.

As Aaron watches his half sister grow up, he becomes enamored with her and allows himself to fantasize about her. Over time he becomes so obsessed with her that he can think of nothing else. Aaron’s lust for Tanya grows so strong that it literally makes him sick. When Aaron’s cousin, Jon, asks him what is wrong, he tells Jon about his obsession with Tanya. Understanding the power of raging hormones, Jon helps Aaron plan a way to get what he wants out of Tanya.

One day, Aaron pretends to be too sick to get out of bed or to eat. Aaron’s dad, hearing about his son’s behavior, checks on Aaron to see if he can help. Aaron tells his dad that he probably would eat a little if Tanya brought him some of her special bread. The father thinks this is an easy solution and tells Tanya to bake some bread and take it to her sick brother.

Tanya, happy to help Aaron, goes to him without fear or suspicion. Once she enters his room and they are alone, Aaron tosses aside any pretense of sickness or interest in Tanya’s bread. He takes the bread and throws it across the room. Tanya is frightened and confused. Aaron grabs Tanya and tries to force her to have sex with him. She pleads with him not to force her. She reminds him that their dad would be horrified if he knew what Aaron was doing. She begs him not to disgrace her. She warns him that people will lose respect for him if he gives in to his passion.

Blind with rage and lust, Aaron hears nothing she says. Her words are meaningless to him. Using his brute strength, Aaron forces Tanya down and rapes her. As soon as he finishes, he turns livid. He acts as if he hates the very sight of her, making her feel as if she is somehow to blame. He screams at her to get up and leave. Again, Tanya pleads with him, telling him that trashing her after what he has done is as bad or worse than the rape. How can he toss her out and make it look to everyone as if she has done something vile to him? How did this get to be her fault? Aaron refuses to listen. He throws Tanya out of his room, loudly slamming and locking his door so that everyone in the house knows something horrible has happened. She knows they will assume she has done something wrong because of how Aaron throws her out.

Tanya can hardly think. Her heart is pounding. Her life has just been destroyed. She is terrified. She leaves the room, shrieking in anguish and ripping at her clothes. She feels as if her body cannot contain her feelings; they are so overwhelming.

Desperate for help, she goes to her brother Adam. Surely his loyalty to her will help her find a way to deal with this. When Adam finds out what has happened, he says to Tanya, “Don’t tell anyone. Our family will never recover from the damage this information will create. Never mind. Don’t let it upset you.” She is stunned! Don’t tell? Don’t have any feelings about this? Is he crazy? She feels she has no place to turn. What about her dad? He will help.

When Tanya’s dad hears what happened, he is furious. His reaction gives Tanya hope. Her father never seems to doubt the truth of her story. He seems to know that Aaron is capable of such a thing. But although her father shows lots of anger, he does nothing. Nothing.

The father’s passivity destroys Tanya’s hope. Somehow, protecting his oldest son and the reputation of the family seems more important to the father than dealing with his son’s appalling behavior or his daughter’s feelings. Her father acts if nothing had happened.

Tanya knows then that she is lost and alone. No one cares. She does not matter. What Aaron did to her matters to no one.

Tanya lives out the rest of her life in the shadow of that rape. She becomes numb to her feelings, almost like a walking corpse. She seems to have no will to live. She wastes away physically. Her beauty, her body no longer matter. She learns to hate herself and becomes very self-destructive. Her grief is more than she can bear.

Tanya’s story is similar to many of yours. Although she was older and was “only” raped once, her experience carries many elements common to others. She was forced. She had no choice. She was deceived. In a place and in a relationship that should have provided safety for her, she was in great danger. Her voice was silenced. Her words and feelings had absolutely no impact. She was helpless to stop both the rape and the events that happened in response to it. What she needed or wanted did not matter.

Afterward she was blamed. She was humiliated. Those who should have come to her aid left her alone. She was told not to talk about it.  She was told not to let it bother her. In essence, the message was, Do not have any feelings about it. Just get on with your life. There were no consequences for her rapist. Her father, a godly man, did nothing. He passed over his son’s crime as if it were of little consequence. The implication seemed to be that appearances, reputation, and her father’s hopes for the future of his business meant far more to him than she did.

Tanya’s response was one of shame and humiliation. She was stunned by what had happened. She was emotionally numb. She basically sat around in a stupor. She wasted away. Life held nothing for her anymore. The world was an unsafe place. Her joy was gone. She became self-destructive. Why not? She didn’t matter anyway.

If you truly grasp the horror of what was done to Tanya, as well as the profound consequences of her life, then you have a glimpse of what sexual abuse can do. If these are the results of the rape of a fifteen-year-old, then how can we expect otherwise in the life of someone who is repeatedly raped throughout his or her growing-up years?

This is not a conglomerate of many different stories. It is one woman’s true story. It actually happened as it was told to you here. This is not what could happen. This is not what it might have felt like. This is what was.

Tanya’s story is really the story of a woman named Tamar. Her story is found in the Old Testament, in 2 Samuel 13:1-22. Tamar was raped by her half brother Amnon, who was the heir apparent to King David’s throne. Her brother Absalom is the one who told her to be silent and not be upset about it. He, of course, hated Amnon, and he later murdered him. King David failed to punish either Amnon or Absalom.

Amnon’s rape of Tamar was a blatant violation of the Old Testament law (Lev. 18:9-11; 20:17). What Amnon did was deliberate and defiant disobedience of the law of God. That same law demanded death as a penalty. By failing to hold his son accountable, King David, too, failed to obey. The result of all this in Tamar’s life was that she “was desolate in her brother Absalom’s house” (2 Sam. 13:20, NASB).

How important it is for us to hear this story that God chose to place in His Word. How clearly it teaches us the terrible aftereffects of sexual abuse. Not only does the Word of God make it very clear that sexual abuse is against God, it also vividly portrays for us what the results of such sin can be in the life of a young girl.

However, for us, the story does not end there. God’s Word contains truths that Tamar never had the privilege of hearing. The same God who gave us this story says, “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through [what a description of desolation!], I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy” (Isa. 60:15, NASB). This God sent the Redeemer, who said he came to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim… release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isa. 61:1). This God responds to the cry of those who are oppressed by sending them “a Savior and a Champion” (Isa. 19:20, NASB). How Tamar needed to hear such words! How she needed such a Champion!

Let this story from the Word of God affirm your experience. God knows what sexual abuse does. He hates it. He hates it so much that he has sent Jesus to bear in his own body very similar consequences to those that Tamar experienced. In so doing, God offers redemption and healing to all.”

 

**(excerpt from “On the Threshold of Hope” by Diane Madnt Langberg- if you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse, i highly recommend this book and the workbook that accompanies it)

where vision and passion mix

i dream big. it’s true.

some may say i dream too big.

that i catch a vision for something and before you know it i’ve made it something entirely too unattainable.

yes, some may say that…

call me crazy but i’m under the impression that where God gives passion, He provides a path, and will enable the impossible.

 

i have a list of “unattainable”s.

i have a vision of being a part of the ending of human trafficking. the abolition of slavery. everywhere.

for it to be done. finished. over.

… of witnessing the end of abortion. on a global scale.

and i know that there will come a day where evil and sin will be no more. the last breath of Satan will be taken and God, His truth, His love, His mercy, His justice will be all that exists.

oh sweet GLORY. knowing that brings peace.

but it doesn’t bring complacency. because His Kingdom is now, here, and we are the church.

so we are called to action.

we are called to “Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.” (Micah6:8)

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and God loves to make the unattainable attainable. by His power. working all things together for our good and His glory.

so why not dream big?

as a body we have dreamt of serving the impoverished. we are making clean water attainable, providing shoes for children’s feet, coming along side of people groups and helping them learn how to care for their children, how to make businesses that thrive and provide. we have built orphanages and adopted children. reunited children with their parents. brought them to forever homes. we are setting captives free and giving clothes and food to the homeless. providing for the widows. all. through. HIM.

so why not dream big?

why not see the places that have now been given access to clean water and dream about bringing them a system in which they can grow gardens for their communities in towers of water? towers that use 10% of water the produce would normally use to grow… saving water, providing food.

okay so maybe that’s a big leap to make right now…

but what if these same towers could be used to cripple the mega markets? because we have problems in this country too. children are facing health issues like never before and the majority of those issues can be linked back directly with what they are putting into their bodies. food off the shelves of stores that shouldn’t even be there.

foods that are illegal in other countries because of their ingredients, our children are pumping into their bodies on a regular basis.

and even when you find a product that is “good,” it turns out to be produced by a morally and ethically corrupt company.

i recently looked up my laundry detergent. ALL “free and clear” and what i found was this: the product itself was not harmful. it was actually a “10” on the scale of unsafe to completely safe to use. but then there were the moral and ethical scales of the company that it was produced by. those numbers were much lower. much lower.

it’s purchasing consciously. purchasing with a purpose. caring enough to not support a morally and ethically corrupt company that you are okay with paying a couple dollars more for laundry detergent.

so what if we decide to purchase purposefully?

 

jaymartin quote

what i learned about these “tower gardens” though is that they don’t cost more. you actually save money the first year (when you’re paying off the garden) and then you continue to save hundreds of dollars each subsequent year…

so you get to better your family’s health and the health of others’ (because let’s be honest, those babies grow a ton)- all while supporting a company whose goal is to better the health of this world.

so here’s my vision.

to start small.

to start in my own home.

to grow outwards…

to partner with schools. because how awesome would it be for pizza sauce with red40 to stop being considered a vegetable- replacing it with actual vegetables that the children have spent their time nurturing and growing?? 

and then to take a step and incorporate a way where you could “buy one, gift one” and help others around the globe live full, nurtured lives.

i think it’s a step worth taking. and an impact this world desperately needs.

access to whole foods and good nutrition. outside your door. and across the globe.

A Call to Reflection

because, per usual, the right words are failing me.

and the media is flooding.

and death is trending.

and a life that brought so much “life” to all who watched his performances on screen is being widely “mourned”- and every one has an opinion– every one has words to say. or more likely,  t y p e d.

black and white. stark. and all fail- because none can fully comprehend what Mr. Williams was dealing with, what his thoughts were, or where he finds himself now. none of us are him. and if any could talk to him, that would mean they’d be dead too, so the point there is mute.

but i just feel the loss of life. a life that shouldn’t be lost, lost.

and here we go- because i have a problem, y’all.

a problem with internet and social media and every other way of communicating news being flooded by one death. One.

One tragic death. one to mourn and feel sad for the unnecessary loss of.

But there’s been be-headings of children. raping and killing of women. hanging of men. and the all of that has not been covered to the extent that one man’s death has been covered in the last TWO days. 

and i? Oh i’m guilty. i’m guilty of grabbing my exhaustion and burrowing deep inside my own meanderings in order to not look at what is actually going on in the rest of this whole world- because the fact is, it is absolutely grotesque. we could watch a movie about it. when it’s people pretending to die. but the actual process- we can’t look at it- perhaps because we feel helpless to do anything about it.

i tell myself i can’t stomach it. i have too many hormones coursing through this mom-of-three body of mine that pictures of children’s heads on spikes in a park would just crumble me right where i sit and i would lose all ability to function. the anger and grief would overwhelm me entirely.

so i remain slightly less involved in what is happening in another country- because i can’t handle it.

what can we possibly to do make the situation any better?

is that why we can all (myself included) so publicly mourn the loss of a great comedian and not the loss of all the other lives lost these last few weeks? Because upon waking and finding a man gone, we can grieve- knowing there wasn’t anything we could have done? or is it that we don’t feel compelled to change anything about our lives because of his death? so we can grieve freely and unburdened?

we will still flood people’s blog posts on his death with hateful comments. or we will criticize someone’s twitter feed. we don’t think we need to temper one single thought we send flying out into the inter-web. we don’t have a care if that would add further burden to another’s depression or struggle. we, humanity as a whole, has fallen into a pattern of not having much of any integrity when “publishing” our thoughts for all to read.

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sometimes we don’t even care if we hurt, offend, or dare i say speak actual truth. a lot of the time we press “enter” with no accountability or second thought.

there is death. there is unjust death. there is uncalled for death. too young death. “so much life left to live,” death. murder. suicide.

when all that seems possible for an average person to do is sign petitions.

and pray.

the screaming of our guts-all-out -prayers that rip from the deepest depths of us when we allow ourselves to fully feel the enormity of the injustice and crimes against humanity being perpetrated today.

this week.

last week.

and the longing to do MORE.

yes, i feel that too.

so what if every human being alive today were to come to the realization that every other person is also HUMAN? That we are equals in that, if nothing else… which means that we, the all of us are  I M A G E.  B E A R E R S.  of.  GOD.

and, because of that, we have a responsibility.

to advocate for justice.

“Mishpat, then, is giving people what they are due, whether punishment or protection or care.

Over and over again, mishpat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants and the poor—those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.”

The mishpat, or justness, of a society, according to the Bible, is evaluated by how it treats these groups. Any neglect shown to the needs of the members of this quartet is not called merely a lack of mercy or charity but a violation of justice, of mishpat. God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to “do justice.”

Primary justice, or tzadeqah, is behavior that, if it was prevalent in the world, would render rectifying justice unnecessary, because everyone would be living in right relationship to everyone else.

When these two words, tzadeqah and mishpat, are tied together, as they are over three dozen times, the English expression that best conveys the meaning is “social justice.”

We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable

we are called to be reflections of Christ. not sit placidly on the sidelines witnessing the media.

and to view each life as equal.

so mourn death.

and advocate for justice.

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God. – Micah 6:8