The Hill I Am Willing to Die On

The crazy in our world seems to get worse, literally, every single day. If it’s not the forthcoming election here in the U.S., and the extreme nonsense that goes into that, it is the pandemic of COVID-19. If it’s not the pandemic, it’s things like “pizza-gate,” kids ‘disappearing,’ human trafficking, and sex slavery. (Side rant: Nearly half a million children are reported missing EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. In the U.S. alone! I’m sorry, folks, but 460,000 kids do NOT just vanish into thin air every year!) There are many days that it is entirely too much for my anxious, empathetic, sensitive heart, and I just have to “turn it off.”


“Operation Not Forgotten” was conducted by the U.S. Marshalls and several other law enforcement agencies recently. It was a two-week operation to find and rescue missing children. There were thirty-nine children rescued during those two weeks. THIRTY-NINE. CHILDREN. (CBS.com) (CNN.com) (Foxnews.com)


I keep hearing and seeing things about “sexual attraction to children,” AKA PEDOPHILIA, being just a ‘sexual orientation’ that ‘can’t be helped.’ I’m sure you’ve seen it, too, if you are on social media at all. I hope it’s not true, and they aren’t genuinely trying to make this a thing. I do, but at this point, nothing would surprise me. There is already a term whose intention it is to desensitize us to it; MAP. It stands for “Minor Attracted Person,” or “an adult person attracted to minors.” Really, people?!? I’m here to tell you that this is not okay.


I’m also here to tell you that I don’t care what the adult “feels,” it destroys a child. It breaks them. It makes them question everyone (even themselves) and everything. It often causes them to experience things like anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts/tendencies, etc. It CHANGES WHO THEY ARE because one is NEVER the same after this.


Like many of the abused, missing, and exploited children today, most of my trauma was caused by people close to me; parents, siblings, a so-called “friend,” and babysitter. I have been a victim of parental kidnapping paired with emotional and mental abuse by a parent. A family member has sexually assaulted me and a babysitter tried to. I have dealt with the consequences of their actions for my entire life. I plan to go into that more later on as I write out my story. The point is that I have been through what so many kids are currently going through, and I can’t “just turn it off” anymore. My anxious, empathetic, sensitive heart just won’t let me.


Neither will God. We have decided, God and I, that THIS is the hill on which I am willing to die. THIS is the thing for which I will fight. They do not have a voice of their own, so we (and I’m talking to myself here) need to step up and be their voice. Our children are an inheritance and a blessing from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3) They are NOT possessions. They are NOT for sale. Not for sex, not for parts, not for ANYTHING.


I don’t know how long it will take me, but I will be sharing more of my story. Please be kind. It is a long, hard story to tell, but I genuinely believe it can help someone. I feel personally led by God to share this aspect of my life, as I experienced it, and as I remember it. It has affected me for my entire life, and this is how I have survived.


As I have said before, other people are a part of my story, and it is impossible to tell my story without telling at least a portion of theirs. Much of my trauma happened twenty-five years ago. There has been justice served, time served, and healing happening in individuals and relationships. When I tell of things that I have experienced, please understand that it is not my intention to tear anyone else down, not even those who did what they did. I know that everything done in darkness will be revealed in the light. The only way that I, my family, and others, are truly going to defeat this evil is for us to own it, acknowledge it, learn from it, and DO DIFFERENTLY for the generations coming after us.


I am just a small town, Texas girl, who loves Jesus, believes that He has saved me, and wants me to use the mess of my trauma as a message of hope and love. The sincere hope and prayer of my heart are that if you read my story, you find the message of hope and keep fighting!


If you are currently experiencing any of these things; if you are a victim of human trafficking, sex slavery, parental kidnapping, abuse, assault, trauma, etc. my plea to you is this; keep fighting! Even if it’s just fighting to stay alive one more day, people are fighting for you!


If you have gotten out of/been rescued from any of these things and are learning who you are now (because you are NEVER, EVER the same after this), keep fighting. Keep fighting for your healing. Keep fighting for your future. Please know that it is not your fault. It is not okay. People are fighting for you!


If you are a kid who has or is experiencing ANY of the things I talked about, keep fighting. Keep telling grown-ups in your life until one of them listens. We are listening. We will not ignore this TRUE pandemic anymore. People are fighting for you!


Dear Ones, We have GOT to do better for our kids! This generation. My generation. My friends, siblings, cousins, etc. that experienced the things we did as kids, at the hands of the adults in our lives, We say NO MORE! NOT OUR KIDS and NEVER AGAIN! We have the power to stop this horrific pandemic of buying, selling, using, and abusing children!
It’s going to require that we get bold, though. It’s going to require that we decide that our children’s lives, health, and future are WORTH telling OUR stories. Worth bringing this demon out into the light, exposing it for what it is, and healing from it.


Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
It is time to take a stand. We cannot ignore this silent epidemic any longer.


I will continue to use my blog platform to tell you of my story, struggles, wins, and losses with anxiety. However, I also plan to use it as a place of bringing awareness to this ever-growing pandemic of buying, selling, using, and abusing our children. Put on your armor! It is time for a fight!

~Forever In His Grip

LB

Full Circle

I graduated high school just a few months before the bombing/attacks on 9/11. After graduation, I began looking into joining the Navy. I wanted to join for many of the same reasons that most people do…to serve, to travel, to learn, to have a steady paycheck after having become an “adult.” 🙂 I was just trying to figure out where in this world my “place” was. The typical things that most, if not all, graduates deal with; “What do I want to BE when I grow up? Where am I going with my life? What kind of “life” is it that I desire to create for myself?”

Just a couple of weeks after graduation, I joined; and my “ship date” was set for mid-July. For what remained of my time at home that summer, you could find me working my part time job or preparing for the Navy. Great Lakes, IL was to be my destination for the next several months for Basic Training and training school.

Fun fact about me: I am a “Daddy’s Girl” through and through. From the time he came into my life, it has been my goal, all my life, to make him proud of me. We had a special bond that not many people understand. We had so many similarities that people often questioned me when they found out that he was not my biological father. The number of people that have told me that I had his smile or eyes is just ridiculous. And, of course, I would just smile, knowing that we didn’t share the DNA that would make that scientifically possible.

Let me say here that we did not always have a great relationship. There were many mistakes made over the years, damage done, healing that had to take place. Dad and I came along way over the years. At this point in my life (18 years old and fresh out of high school) our relationship was still strained, but my goal was still to make him proud. In hind sight, I really do think that I joined the Navy more because HE did. You see, my dad was a “Navy Man” and served our country during the Vietnam War. I thought that by joining the Navy, it would make me even more like him and he would be proud of me. Right?!

Dad’s “official” Navy picture from when he was in boot-camp.

I don’t have any pictures of the day I left for the Navy, but this is one of my favorite pictures of us together.

The day I left for basic was probably one of the more emotional days I have had in my life. We got up early, loaded my things from our home into the care and drove the 15 miles from where we lived, to the recruiting office in a near by town. We unloaded everything from our car, to the recruiter’s car and started the “goodbyes.” I was really proud of myself! I made it through the goodbyes with my mom, my sister, and my boyfriend without crying. I had pushed the time too far and my recruiter was hurrying us along, so my goodbye with my dad was the shortest (are most with dad’s?). He hugged me tighter than I think he has ever hugged me and quickly whispered something in my ear. It wasn’t what I was expecting; it caught me off guard and the tears immediately started to flow. I cried and cried and cried. I ugly cried all the way to Dallas. My poor recruiter! Lol! He was probably thinking “IS this girl going to stop crying?! Like, EVER?!?” It was only he and I in the car for the drive, so it was a little awkward, to say the least.

The thing that he said to me that day, shifted everything for me, although I didn’t realize it at the time. It has resurfaced over the years; like now. It has been close to 20 years now, and I can’t tell this story or say the phrase aloud without crying. He said “I love you, Sis. Do yourself proud.”

“Do yourself proud.” At 18 years old, though, I barely knew what that meant, much less how to execute it. It shifted, however, from wanting to make him proud, to knowing that he was already proud of me. Now it was time to step into MY life that I wanted to create and do something that I could be proud of myself for doing. It wasn’t anything that someone else could do for me; if I was going to succeed in the Navy, or in life, I was going to have to live my life in a way that I would be proud of. Those three words have stopped me in my tracks, they have made me cry at least 100 times, and they have made me pause…think…contemplate, even. Am I living my life in a way that lives up to those words?… Do. Yourself. Proud

In March of 2011 our family decided it was time to transition from our home town to Lubbock, TX to serve with a ministry there called Malta Farms. (You can visit their website, maltafarms.net, to learn more about the amazing work that they do in Lubbock County.)

The annual pumpkin patch for Malta Farm’s fall fundraiser. This was such an amazing thing to be a part of and WHO KNEW that there were so many different types and colors of pumpkins?!?!

I was SO excited to be going to serve the ministry that changed Brian’s life and we knew that we knew that it was supposed to be our next step. Once again, however, anxiety showed its ugly face and made the move extremely difficult for me. It took me months to pack our house because every time I started to pack, I started to have an anxiety attack. Even though I KNEW God’s hand was in it and even though I was genuinely excited, I literally could not do it.

July came, we celebrated Baby Girl’s 8th birthday and the 4th of July with family and friends, and then on July 10th, we loaded the U-Haul and left our hometown for Lubbock. Once again Dad’s “goodbye” was short and sweet; he hugged me tight, told me he loved me and handed me a card. I read it and immediately started crying. Ugly crying, ya’ll. Sobbing. I’m sure that he intended it to mean that I could do the move to Lubbock and be okay (which I did, mostly), but there have been many times since then that I’ve read those words and felt peace wash over me.

I’ve come to realize that it was exactly 10 years (July of 2001 to July of 2011) from the time he first said “Do yourself proud” to when he gave me the card. I have it hung on the wall in my bedroom. It seems to catch my eye at EXACTLY the perfect point in time every now and then. I often find myself saying “I know, Dad. I know I can face this.”

I still need these reminders every so often. “Do yourself proud” and “Keep going! You can do it! I know that you have what it takes to do this!” While I have come a long way, and I do want to live my life in a way that I can be proud of; and even though he has since passed away, I hope I am making him proud, too.

I pray that any one reading this finds hope and truth in these words. “Keep going!” “You CAN do this!” “I KNOW that you have what it takes to do this!!”

Forever In His Grip

LB