Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hope in Educating

Mary EdwardsI couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned as well as my stomach playing cartwheels in the anticipation of the newspaper article. I prayed to God that the words would focus on Him and not on me. I worried about the exposure of certain words that might cause ill feelings from my siblings. I let my mind wonder to a friends statement long ago that said, "Aren't you worried about what other's will think ?" That was what I was doing. I worried myself sick about what others would think of me. I withdrew what  I gave to God... security in putting my faith in Him.  I put my head on my pillow after I knew this article would finally appear in our local paper. I sighed a prayer, I closed my eyes with my head throbbing and my chest hurting from it's pounding and said, "Lord, Let this be about YOU."
I woke up with jitters and faced the world. Only to find myself being comforted with friends, family and a community of encouragers.
I want to thank all of you for helping me on this journey. I share this with you all, dedicating each sentence to you. I didn't do this alone. God has used each of you. Thank you.
Thank You Kiesa Kay for writing...not about me but about the work the Lord has done, will do and will continue to do. God Bless You.
Edwards finds hope in educating

Tuesday, November 19, 2013, Tryon Daily Bulletin
by Kiesa Kay

Mary Edwards an outspoken advocate for children's rights, has discovered a mission that fuels and empowers her.
"I would rather educate to prevent child abuse than have to worry about the healing, but I also believe in giving people hope in healing,” she said. “We have to educate everyone, starting with our churches, and get people to open their eyes. So many children have been abused, and yet many of us don’t want to admit it or don’t think it can happen here. It happens everywhere.”

Edwards cited FBI statistics that say one in every four girls and one in every six boys in the United States are sexually abused by the time they reach age 18.

“I can’t be quiet about it any more, because being quiet hurts,” she said. “Now I share my own truth to let people know they can begin healing, too. If I can let people know that every day people have been abused, then they can begin to accept that it could happen even in their own homes.”

Edwards identifies as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, from the time she can first remember until she reached age 14.

Sharing her truth with her friends and family freed her, she said, and strengthened her courage to heal.

“When I released the pressure of that silence, a peace came over our family,” she said. “My husband and family have been very supportive of me now. Every time in the past, when a memory or hurt would be triggered, I couldn’t tell them what was bothering me … Now, they are more compassionate, because I can explain. I felt like I had a hidden, dirty secret, and I don’t feel dirty any more. I know I’m worth more than all the mud I’ve walked through.”

Edwards attributes her healing to her family’s love, good therapy from Bobbie Shannon who once worked at Steps to HOPE, and her faith in the Lord.

“God has given me a shield in this ministry,” she said. “I am a warrior woman for God. There’s a song that says ‘Be a Voice for the ones who have no choice,’ and when I first heard that song, I knew what I had to do.”

Edwards recently attended the Christian Communicators Conference to hone her speaking skills. She also delved deep into her own heart, and found strength in a kind of forgiveness.

“I had to forgive my mother, who neglected and did not protect me. I had to forgive the people who had laughed at me in my life, or called me degrading names because of what I’ve experienced and its effects on me. I had to forgive the violators, and understand that when they did what they did, they were under Satan’s control. I had to forgive myself for my own mistakes,” she said. “And then I had to forgive God, who saw what happened and did not stop it. I know now that God was with me even in the darkest times, and I wouldn’t have survived otherwise.”

Education about childhood sexual abuse will prevent it from happening, as people learn the signs and symptoms and how to help, she said. Many times, children can’t or won’t tell what’s happening because they’re frightened, and sometimes the perpetrators may be the only adults paying much attention to them at all.

Sometimes perpetrators groom the children, giving them gifts or special attention in order to buy their silence. And children, with their kind hearts, often do not want any harm to happen to anyone at all, not even to the person who’s harming them, Edwards said.

“If I had not been educated about this, I would still be a miserable person,” she said. “I want to reach every adult in every church, because I believe in the power of prayer. If we admit that it happens here, we can begin to end it. We can’t reach into every home at once, so I want to begin in places that accept God, and use my faith.”

Edwards wants every child or teen who has been hurt to know that no matter what the circumstances, it isn’t the child’s or teen’s fault.

Edwards writes a blog at, and writing has helped her feel whole again, she said. Prayer has been a huge source of comfort for her, too.
Edwards has four children and three grandchildren, and her husband has become a source of kindness and support in her life, she said, but not everyone understands.

“Just because I’ve found a place of overcoming doesn’t mean that other people are there yet, but I want to do what I can to begin to offer education and comfort,” she said. “I like what I see in the mirror now. It’s a God thing.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nightmares Came with Hidden Abuse

I woke up covered in sweat. My body trembled as I held my breath. I threw the blankets from across me because of the heat that engulfed my body and out of exposure grabbed the end of the blanket and brought it quickly up to my chin securing me again. The nightmare consumed me. I couldn't get to my girls through the locked door. I banged and banged on his bedroom door but that violator, that one who stripped me from my innocence, had my own children in there. "GET THEM OUT ! GET THEM OUT!" with blood dripping from my hands I hit the locked door, "No! No ! NO !!!"  I screamed as I woke up from such a horrific helpless nightmare. I looked at my hands, nothing. No brokenness. No blood.. It was only a dream. A horrible, terrible, heart retching nightmare. My children weren't being devoured as I  had been. They were safe.

I remember that night, feeling completely helpless. Oh how I want to erase those thoughts from
coming to my head. I want to erase those haunting memories of abuses from my childhood.

I have read stories and heard confessions from women who said they aren't sure if they were molested or violated, but remember dreams of things happening to  their fragile little bodies. Others have vague memories and yet others wonder if the things that happened to them counted as abuses.

Information that may help you decide if you were sexually abused as a child:

Signs of knowing if a person was a victim of child sexual abuse.

When you were a young child or teenager, were you:

* Fondled, kissed, or held for an adults sexual gratification?
* Forced to perform oral sex on an adult or sibling?
*Raped or otherwise penetrated?
*Made to watch sexual acts?
*Fondled or hurt genitally?
*Shown sexual movies or other pornography?
* Made to pose for seductive or sexual photographs?
*Involved in child prostitution or pornography?
*Forced to take a part in ritualized abuse in which you were physically, psychologically or sexually tortured

Wikipedia describes child sexual abuse as : Child sexual abuse or child molestation is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.) to a child with intent to gratify their own sexual desires, or to intimidate or groom the child, physical sexual contact with a child, or using a child to produce child pornography.

One woman claimed that it wasn't abuse because it was just incest, an older brother.  Another said, it
wasn't abuse because my uncle only did it once. I listened to a young woman tell how it felt good to be in a movie, and it couldn't be considered abuse if it felt good.  Just because your body reacts to stimulation, like all bodies should, it does not make the it less of a crime to be in that situation.

Remember that even if a man did not force "himself" into an opening of your body inappropriate behaviour and touching is still abuse. It may not leave physical pain it can still constitutes abuse that leaves invisible scars.

One invisible scar is the nightmares they leave behind, which could come in the form of day dreams, flash backs or nightmares.

Your nightmares may be your mind's way of dealing with a trauma that your conscious mind may have repressed.

  One woman explained, "I think the nightmares were a sign that I was actually starting to feel safe enough to allow my mind to explore those issues. Like it was my body's way of taking out the trash."  Acknowledging your current safety may be one key to moving away from the fear of the nightmares.

I dream ( for lack of better words) of the day that the trash of my memories  are able to be discarded to never be brought up again. Only, I know it doesn't work that way. I do remember. I get emotional sometimes, feeling somber. More and more, though, I feel the relief of overcoming those frightening moments. Honestly, I don't have that reoccurring torturous nightmare anymore. Bringing the truth out in the open released me from oppression. Satan isn't able to hold me with force being trapped in the negative mindset of it all.

Having nightmares brought me to even more truth, revealing what has happened in my life that I deeply hid. Having fear come to surface made me depend on God for security. It caused me to come face to face with unwanted  those fears, with a need of God to keep me safe. I learned to place trust in Him.

"The emotions we don’t want to face are inside of us, whether we deny it or not. They don’t scare God. The only problem is that they often scare  us. He wants you to have the courage to get really honest with yourself and with Him and face your fears and your past disappointments, frustration, anger, inner pain, and so on. He is not shocked. He knows it already and He still loves and accepts you. Rather than force Himself on you against your will, He honors you by restraining His longing to deliver you and tenderly waiting for you to trust Him enough to invite him into the dark corners of your life and let Him touch that ever so tender part of you with His healing hands." (Grantley Morris, How to cope with Nightmares and unwanted Dreams)By Grantley MorrisBy Grantley Morris

If you have had dreams, nightmares, flashbacks or visions of questioning abuses, please pay attention to the signals your "gut " is giving you. Brushing them off and sweeping them under the rug doesn't make truth disappear. It  may only bring festering to the deep hidden pain. Healing begins when you are honest with yourself and place trust where it needs to be.

 Ask the Lord to share with you those things which He feels need to come forward for your healing. At the same time, trust that He will take all the unnecessary things and nail them to the cross. Let Him help you through the hurting.

Lord Jesus, You are God alone of my life. Through the days of my life I have come to lean on you during good times and bad. Lord Jesus, I pray You would continue to bring healing and reconciliation in my life from the sexual abuse which took place. I pray that You would bring healing in my life from the past intense memories . Lord, I thank You for giving me the strength and freedom to no longer be held captive, but because of Your great love for Me that I am be able to have healing in this area of my life. Lord, bring support and encouragement into my life as I walk in this new season. Thank you for bringing me into a place of intimacy and dependence on You. I pray that men, women, and children, who have been abused, begin to heal from the traumatic abuses that they have endured, relying on you for revelation and knowledge. Remove the pain of nightmares and replace them with  comforting victory. Help us God. ( I need You still ) In Jesus Name, Amen


Saturday, November 9, 2013


It has been a busy week. I spoke and shared with a new friend with as much detail as I felt allowed to share about my feelings of prevention of abuses. I listened to educated men and women as we began a plan of action to do just that. I sat silent in the meeting doing my best to absorb all the words that were spoken. I felt like a pebble of sand amongst boulders of scholars.

Words should be easy to come by this week for this blog. But, some how, no matter how many times I have started, chicken scratched, laid out, and outlined... nothing. Nothing seemed to work together.

Last night I sat with a friend at church as we watched Billy Graham on the large screen in our sanctuary. God spoke. My friend became my sister as I got to share in her decision of giving her heart to the Lord.  Speechless.

Yet again, as I went to write this morning, nothing. Maybe it is time for me to be quiet and let God do the talking.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 ESV     
A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

My prayer is that when I do speak, when words flow onto my paper or with  my voice, it is of Him.