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.”


  1. Please Please never worry about what "other people think". They have no idea the sheer amount of GUTS it takes to survive what you have. Never mind the determination to come forward and be the voice of so many who can not speak!
    That heart thumping? That tossing and turning? That was GOD just bouncing you up and down on his knee, as we often to do to calm our children, letting you know that He is and always will be with you. Every step of the way.
    Love you! Im so proud of you!

    1. Loved that picture Gina. Love you. Thank you for alwasy being my encourager.

  2. Very hopeful article, Mary! Thank you for your courage to write it, and to stand firm in His love and healing. You will be a BEACON of light to many people.

    1. Mary, I didn't write this. I was interviewed for it.Yes, sends out the message for hope. Thank You for commenting, but more, for taking the time to read. Please share with whomever God leads you to share this with. Blessings--- "Doodle Mary"

  3. Mary, you are a mighty warrior on a battle field that has long been ignored. Thank you for being a voice speaking up to help prevent child abuse by educating us in the Church. The hope you give to ones hurting who have been is a gift of freedom.

    Serve on!