When #Angels Visit #SexualAbuse #Victims

“It’s just your imagination.” … “It’s demonic activity.” … “You’re just making it up.” … These are some of the responses you will potentially hear from religious people, if you have been visited by angels in a place of trauma and pain, and have shared it.

Not all of us have the experience of angels showing up in ways that we see, experience or recognize them cognitively. But some do. Since July of this year I have heard personal testimonies from several young women–women who did not know each other–who have had angelic encounters. One, when she shared it with someone from church, was told it was demonic activity. The other, when she shared it, received affirmation.

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The comfort angels have brought to victims of abuse, in their times of struggle and pain, is a beautiful thing. (I’ve started to pray for angels to visit people in their sleep, in their waking hours and in any time of struggle.) To call it demonic is tragic at best. The Bible tells plenty of stories of angels visiting people, and Jesus speaks to angelic presence particularly in the area of childhood abuse. For someone religious to try and rob a child (or young man/woman) of the beauty of this encounter makes no sense, and has no biblical grounds.

My encouragement to you, if you have been visited by an angel, is to thank God for His comfort, and for creating ‘ministering spirits’ as Hebrews 1 calls them, to watch over you. And Matthew 18:10 says that the angels of a wounded child ‘do always behold the face of God’. This could mean a few different things, and I do not pretend to fully grasp it. But I know that God is light, and all that is in His presences is made light, so angels who are always in God’s presence and face, will bring light into darkness, hope into hopelessness and the love and comfort of God to wounded children.

Hold onto the God of that comfort, and never let anyone take the memory of that encounter from you. And may angels carry you and minister to your spirit as you heal and find hope.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Cardboard Note from a #SexualAbuse #Victim: “Needed: Someone to Love Me”

The need for love and understanding is universal. Particularly the need to be loved by our parents, and supported by them. But so often at a time when children who have been molested reach for parental support and compassion, they find themselves neglected, abandoned, overlooked or even told they are making things up. At a time when they need love and affirmation most, these victims are forsaken and left to navigate through the fears and trauma alone.

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They pack up their fears, pain and grief and set out on the ‘life journey’ in search for a place to be loved, a place to have their pain validated, a place to be believed… and ultimately a place where it is safe to unpack the whole bit, and heal. Too many search their whole lives, and the ‘whole world over’, only to never really find that place.

King David understood the one thing we all need so desperately… that God–whom we are given permission to call ‘Abba Father’, meaning ‘Daddy’ or ‘Papa’–stays where even parents turn away. He takes care of the abandoned and brokenhearted, and is near to them.

Those of us who have experienced this, have a gift to share with those around us, to live out the love of God in a practical way. A listening ear, a heart that does not judge the victim’s pain, a safe place to speak and grieve, and a place to be reminded that they are valuable, loved and accepted, a place where they rediscover hope, freedom and purposeful life…

That is one of the ways that the Father ‘stays near’ and loves the wounded, as His love flows through us into hurting hearts. So often we are the only way the wounded know His hands as loving, His feet as running to us not away, and His voice as one that offers hope.

Today I will tell at least one person that they matter, their pain matters, and show them the love of God in a practical way.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Children, Sexual Behaviours & Healthy Responses that Preserve Innocence

One child was just under 2 years old, and the other just past 2 when the adult walked in and saw them engaging in what was unmistakably a sex act, of the oral kind… This adult related the event to me soon after, horrified, and asked, “What is the right response?” among many other questions. One of those other questions was, “How would children that age even know how to do that?”

Reactions to these discoveries range from anger, to fear, to apathy. Rather than telling the woman what she should have done, I asked her what she did. “Why I marched them to the bathroom and paddled them good!” she answered.

I cringed, visibly. In the moments that ensued, we talked about why that response is devastating and counterproductive. In exploring that, the other question was also answered.

Whipping and spanking children for sexual touch–whether innocent curiosity or the shocking reenactment of adult behaviour in any form, sends the wrong message. In either case it is not possible for a child to understand what that behaviour is or means, and to spank simply imposes confusion on them and tells them sexual touch is bad. It’s not bad. It’s lovely. In its rightful place. And that is the message children need to hear from young on up, in age appropriate language. It is God’s design, and it is good.

Innocence is not preserved or reclaimed through silence; it is through healthy teaching that they are empowered and equipped. For a toddler or small child there is no need for a lengthy science or Bible lesson; a simple “your body is special and no one is allowed to touch your ______ (insert part)” is probably enough. (Older children can handle more information.) Explaining that boys and girls are different is also good, starting at a young age, as well as allowing conversations and questions on the subject. Making it taboo or dirty, serves to escalate the curiosity and guilt/shame often associated with what is a natural desire to know and understand. In this we feed the cycle of abuse and confusion in that the child does not feel safe coming to us, and yet wants answers.

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And that is the next reason we do well not to react or paddle. It closes doors to trust and communication on a topic where both are critical for the child’s well-being, and results in teenagers trying to muddle their way through puberty, hormones and sex-drives with no one to talk to. Granted, it will still be awkward for some (probably many) but it at least gives them a reasonable chance.

Lastly, the child who has progressed to adult-like sexual behaviour is most likely reenacting personal experience. There is no way that a little child understands that behaviour without some molestation and sexual exposure of some sort. That is how they ‘know how to do that’ at such a young age.

Sexual interactions between children, when it moves beyond that ‘normal curiosity’ of wanting to know the differences, is not something to take lightly; we develop life patterns in the formative years. While both scenarios require guidance, the latter is a dangerous thing to neglect. However, to scold and punish rather than gently training and teaching, dumps shame and guilt on them for what they don’t understand as well as for what was done against them. That child will potentially, even likely, develop fear surrounding the topic of sex and is not likely going to tell anyone what was done against him or her, if asked, and will be pushed into deep denial. Out of that denial they often develop compulsive lying and deceptive behaviours, not to mention sexual addictions of various kinds at a young age.

On the flip side, by affirming their sexual identity–and I write here from a biblical worldview–we give them an incredible gift. To know, as a toddler, that we are made in the image of our Creator, and reflect something of Him in all of who we are, is a good thing.

Drawing from Genesis, I get a powerful message of identity…  Male and female God created them; in His own image, He created them. That to me says, “In their sexual identity, as male and female, God created humankind to reflect something of Himself to each other and the world.” This identity runs much deeper than sexual organs or sexual behaviors, though these in their God-given place and context are part of it. It speaks of ‘all of who you are, as a man or woman, as a boy or a girl, is made in God’s image to bring honour to Him.

What part of that is not a thrilling reality? And does it not stand to reason that a child who grows up from early age on, understanding that he or she is made in God’s image, will do much better than the one who is paddled into a state of confusion?

Sexual interaction between children is nothing to take lightly; it leaves long-lasting scars, in many instances. It is also not something to overreact about. It is an opportunity to teach our children, and when it resembles adult sexual intimacy, it is a strong clue that our child has been exposed to something sexual. In such a case that clue, and what we do with it, can make all the difference in the world for that child.Talk to them, and find out what they know and where they learned it, in a non-threatening way, and give your child a safe place to talk. And, if in doubt, reach out to someone and get help and guidance. Your child’s well being depends on it.

This is but the tip of the iceberg, in relating well to children and sexuality. I have gained much insight and understanding, through cases I work with and individuals I go to for answers, and I continue to learn in every situation I face.

If you have some insight to share, or if there is a particular question you would like answered, please write using the Contact Trudy page. Together we learn; together we make a difference.

Love,
~ T ~


© Trudy Metzger

Spiritual Abuse Part 14: Men of God, Rise Up! Empower Those You Lead!

When God commanded Adam to tend the Garden, creating in him a passion for the great outdoors, and instructed him to keep evil out, making Adam a warrior at heart, He also gave him one other interesting command.

“Name the animals, Adam, ” God said. And then He brought the animals to Adam, to see what he would name them.

Think about that for a minute. Is it as simple as it sounds? And, if so, why didn’t God simply speak their names into existence and place them permanently in Adam’s memory?

Why would God tell Adam to choose what to call the animals? What was the purpose? And what would that look like?

“Hmmm…. Let me see… You look like an elephant…. and you look more like a hedge hog… yeah, ‘hedgehog’, I like that.”

I didn’t get what ‘naming the animals’ meant until my friend Bob Hamp, a pastor at Gateway Church Texas, known as ‘the freedom-guy’, visited our church. Bob explained that to ‘name’ someone or something back in the Bible times was to ‘call out the characteristics of’, not simply ‘give a name to’ someone or something.

For example, Adam’s name, given to him  by God, calls out the characteristics of his identity. “Adam” (Hebrew אָדָם comes from the trilateral root אָדַם ( ‘ADM ), means “red”, “fair”, “handsome”. In the Book of Genesis, Adam occurs as a proper name in chapters 2-5. As a masculine noun, ‘adam’ means “man”, “mankind” usually in a collective context as in humankind, and may also refer to the individual human. The noun ‘adam’ is also the masculine form of the word adamah which means “ground” or “earth”. It is related to the words: adom (red), admon  (ruddy), and dam (blood).

If we apply this to Adam naming the animals, we see that he was given authority to call out the characteristics of the animals, to ‘name’ their identity, so to speak. The lion is ‘the king of the jungle’ because Adam called out that strength, and so on.

And this is the next level of authority God gave to Adam, and to men in general, along with the authority to fight spiritually for your families; to ‘call out’ of those under your leadership, the qualities and characteristics that are desirable and honouring to God. This is why the words a father speaks are so important. Call your son a lazy fool, and you are actually ‘calling into existence’ these things. Proverbs 18:21 says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. This is why. Words impact identity and core beliefs.

It is a known fact that when a father affirms his sons and daughters, and speaks life and truth over their identity, that they are more likely to do well, to succeed in every area of life, than those who lack this affirmation. A mother can affirm and speak positively, and give her sons and daughters much to empower them but, ultimately, it is the male affirmation that empowers more than any other. If Daddy is proud of his little princess, nothing else matters. If Dad thinks his teen daughter is beautiful, she is less likely to run to the wrong guys. If Dad is proud of his son, the son is less likely to look to the wrong source for identity. Yes, some still choose the dark path, but statistics indicate the odds decrease.

Women who are affirmed by their husbands, whose husbands ‘call out’ of them characteristics of beauty, grace, value and love, by word and deed, are going to have more fulfilling marriage relationships.

As I sit across the table from women today, their one constant cry is to be acknowledged, affirmed, noticed, loved and valued. There is a vacancy in the hearts of many women because their husbands have chosen apathy or abusive behaviours, and sometimes both. Apathy towards their wives. Apathy towards their children, towards life, and abusive behaviour toward anyone who refuses to surrender quickly.

Men, God is calling you, again, to pick  up your spiritual swords and take a stand against sin and evil. To reclaim the authority He offers you, and say, ‘regardless what the rest of you choose, whether you are content to follow in the footsteps of past generations, or the footsteps your nation has chosen, I am taking leadership personally and, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!’

This requires ownership, sacrifice and commitment. It means that the church is done babysitting your family. The bishops, and preachers, and ministers are not the ones you run to, to bring your wife and children in line. Nor do you take the authoritarian approach. Rather, you call out of your sons and daughters the characteristics of godly young men and godly young women.

It means that you will love your wives with sacrificial love, the kind of love Jesus offered through His death and sacrifice. It requires developing relationship, investing your heart and connecting at a soul level. It means you get to know those God has placed in your care and reveal His heart to them.

As you take this role seriously, and repent of apathy and control, God will bless you. You will find that the trips to ‘higher uppers’ in the church will become less and less necessary, because your wife, your sons and your daughters will have the attention and affirmation they are looking for, and you will be respected. Because respect is earned.

Men of God, will you let God name you, calling out your true identity, and, in turn, call out greatness in your wives and children?

© Trudy Metzger 2012

Go to first post in this series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/