Hey, you. Please get up. This broken world needs you.

I have about 2 hundred cousins. Not really. But when I was a kid it seemed that way.

One time when I was a little girl, I was so excited that we were going to visit my very favorite cousin’s house. His name is the same as mine; only he spells it C-a-r-e-y.

They had a playhouse in the back yard that was used for storage mostly but that was okay because that made it be a better haunted house. It was also a castle, a fortress, or whatever you wanted it to be. It was 2 stories tall and you could climb stairs inside to the top where there was a little wooden hatch door and sort of a balcony place and you could stand at the top of the world and daydream. It was a beautiful little house.

They also had a swingset. I loved playing there, especially with my favorite cousin, Carey.

Only THIS visit was different.

On this visit; this was the moment the enemy started telling me I was nothing.

My cousin pushed my sister on the swings. But he wouldn’t push me. Then, as he pushed her, he chanted, “Yay, Jenny!”  “Boo, Kerri.”  “Yay, Jenny!”  “Boo, Kerri.”

My little heart broke.

Didn’t he know he was my favorite cousin – my favorite person – in the whole world? Why would he do this?

That was the first time I remember someone (someone I admired) being blatantly unkind to me. It was quite a shock to my little system.

He was probably trying to be silly or tease me but it hurt like I’ll never forget.

“Joking” should be fun for all involved; if not, then it changes from “joking” to “bullying.” (Don’t worry. I asked Carey for his permission to share this. I’m not trying to disrespect him or pay him back. I love him still. He was just someone the enemy used to start my life on the path to believe I was nothing.)

(And then satan worked many more years until I fully believed I was absolutely 100% nothing. There is too much to write in one story -I’ll share more as God leads me to- but I know the very moment satan had fully tricked me into believing his lies. I was being raped. I was 22 and I remember believing right then, “This is all I’m for? I am nothing.” THE ENEMY WAS WRONG. But he’s very clever in his tricks and how he custom-designs them for each person.)

I know the “Boo, Kerri,” time was before I was 9 years old. Not because I wrote down the date but because I remember well what happened later.

When I was 9 years old, I was sexually molested by an uncle who married into the family. That lasted 7 years.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell. Maybe I thought nobody would believe me. I do remember feeling like I was special in some way. Special is FAR from the truth when it comes to sexual molestation. There is NOTHING special about it. It is SICK. Touching any child in a sexual way is purely and completely sick.

I know there are many others who didn’t tell when stuff like this happened to them – and I’m guessing there are probably as many reasons people don’t tell as there are people it has happened to. Every situation is unique and I pray every person finds healing.

At that time, (and for many years) I thought just my innocence was stolen. I was wrong.

He stole my confidence, too.

The only reason I realized it had been stolen was because God just gave me my confidence back about a year ago. I’m now 46.

God gave me my confidence back and then He pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me He has a job for me to do. He moved me into the terrifying wide space of the internet so that I would be a voice to tell you that YOU are VERY worthwhile.

You are very important and YOU MATTER. I will spend the rest of my life telling you that you matter. Because you DO.

Somebody – or maybe somebodies – told you or treated you like you were nothing. They were wrong.

Whatever happened to you matters. How you feel about it matters. And what you do with it next matters, too.

You are very important. Why would satan work so hard to make you believe his lies if God didn’t have important things for you to do in this life?

Why would satan waste his time on you if you truly were “nothing?”

The answer is, he wouldn’t.

You must be quite a threat to that old devil for him to spend so long convincing you to lie down and shut up.

This is the year you need to get up.  2015.

Please get up?

~~> People need to hear your story so they know they’re not alone in theirs. <~~

You can help people find healing just by sharing your story. You do not have to do this alone. God will nudge you to share your story when you need to. You’ll know when and who needs to hear it.

Please ask God what He wants you to do today ~ every day. He has SUCH great plans for your life. I believe this about you. Now, it’s time for you to believe this about you.

God can restore what was stolen.

My confidence was stolen along with my innocence and I lived without it for about 35 years. If God can give me my confidence back, I know He can do miracles in your life, too. Ask Him.

Please get up. This broken world needs you.

~
Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

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I’ve gotta write about this amazing customer service!

Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.  Ladies, you made my Christmas extra special this year. And thank you, Erin, for telling us about this store. Thank you, Chloe, my daughter, for caring about me and being a noticer. Thank you for pushing me to go to this store (because we both know I wasn’t gonna.) You are one of my best friends (even if the world says parents and kids can’t/shouldn’t be friends. When you think about it… the world says a lotta stuff that doesn’t make much sense and makes life more difficult.)

When I receive good customer service I OFTEN write to the company or to an employer praising the great way an employee exceeded expectations. (And when I get crummy service I only occasionally write and am very careful what I say. Maybe the person was having a bad day. Everyone has bad days.)

My husband recently took me shopping at Torrid. Torrid is a women’s clothing store. They have cute jackets, tops, bottoms, shoes, jewelry, undies, bras, and even a few nighties to choose from. AND they have gift cards so you can give this wonderful gift to someone.

I visited there once before and received the same quality of service as this time.

THAT time I was just buying a bra that would fit me (because mine was squeezing me like a corset and I was barely able to breathe.) Thank you, Erin. You are my hero! (I know the correct word is “heroine” but I like the word “hero” better because it sounds cooler.) Because you took my daughter shopping with you for your birthday, she told me about Torrid and now I can breathe again. You made a difference in my life when you shared this amazing treasure of a place with my daughter.

THIS time I tried on about 50 items of clothing.

And they did not hurry me. Not even a little bit!

I just had to write about it.

From the moment I walked in I was greeted by a smiling face and she asked if I was looking for something specific. I was. For many years I haven’t found cute jeans that would fit me. She found a couple pair of jeans and then asked if she could reserve a fitting room for me. (They even wrote my name on the door.)

Every time I’d get a few more hangers over my arm, someone would ask if she could take them to my dressing room. “Yes, please.”

At one time I noticed a woman waiting with an employee near the 4 dressing rooms. 3 were occupied. My room was just holding my clothes in it (I wasn’t ready to try stuff on yet) but they were not letting anyone use my space. They prepared a place just for me! Of course, I offered the room to the customer and she accepted.

I believe every person working spoke to me and nobody rushed me. Since I’ve had kids, many days I have been rushed. That’s not fun. Somewhere in the middle of mommyhood, we realize we better sit down a while because we just really need to. As a mom and wife, I hurry to help my kids, my friends, my kids’ friends, my husband, church, school, and then don’t remember that I haven’t taken time for me to be refreshed.

This shopping visit did just that!

After I was there maybe 10 minutes, tears came to my eyes.

What’s THAT about? OHHH! I’m not being rushed, pulled on, pushed, guilted into, needed, volunteered, or anything but pampered.

PAMPERED! WOW! THIS feels GREAT! I could do this every day! (I won’t do this every day. But I will remember the feeling and take moments for me more often.)

(I LOVE being a mommy and wife. These 2 things are all I ever dreamed about being when I was younger. I absolutely love it. It’s okay to need time to re-energize and regroup. Any job requires that for someone to be able to give more again.)

The employees were all kind to each other. There was no “attitude” when they spoke to each other or to customers. There was a genuine respect in the atmosphere that many companies don’t have between employees.

THAT says A LOT by itself!

I wasn’t in a hurry. They let me keep adding clothes to the room.

When I finished looking through all the beautiful choices and was trying the clothes on, every once in a while one of the girls would ask if I needed a different size or how things were going. (They did this with everyone ~ and it was very kind.) Someone would trade out one size or color for another while I was trying on clothes.

It was like they were there to REALLY HELP me shop!

The girls were professional, fun, silly, friendly, real, polite, and would offer their opinions about an outfit.

I LOVED that!

Even if someone doesn’t like a certain style or color on me, I may still buy it because I like it but I really do appreciate their opinions about whether something looks good on me or not. (I’d always rather hear someone who cares about me or cares how I look tell me in the store if it doesn’t look so flattering than for a hundred people to think, “That looks awful on her,” after I buy it.)

It’s not a reflection of my worth or beauty if a certain style or color does or doesn’t look great. Every body is a different shape and it’s pretty cool that we have so many choices to find the most flattering patterns to fit our body shapes.

At Torrid, (I have to admit this) clothes are a little pricey for every season shopping for me, but they’re good quality and the experience, itself, was WORTH EVERY PENNY to me (and to my husband!)

After deciding on final choices (with the help of my family and 4 sweet employees,) they took the time to find if my mailer coupons or if the in-store promotions were better for me.

It was just a special experience from the beginning and it stayed that way until I went home. I listened to the way they talked with other customers. Every person was treated with respect.

Thank you, ladies, for making this Christmas (and bra shopping a few months ago) a fun and special time. Thank you for NOT rushing me. Thank you for actually caring about my day and for offering your opinions when I tried on clothes. YOU made my Christmas more special this year. I know wherever you work, you will shine and companies would be honored to employ you! Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.

[Note: This is not a story about thrift stores but I have to mention how much I LOVE thrift stores. Most of my adult life I have bought my clothes and my family’s clothes (not undies or socks) from thrift stores and garage sales. It’s okay to spend money on clothes sometimes but it’s very fun to be able, when someone compliments my cute shirt, to tell people it was only $2 at a thrift store.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be visiting Torrid again; maybe for my birthday!

Oh, and I did find some cute jeans, too!]

[Note Too: I find it degrading that some people call some women “plus” size. I believe it would be equally degrading if people called some women “negative” size. It sounds unkind either way to me. Like “You’re too much woman.” or “You’re not enough woman.” There’s a lot I wish would change about this world.

Torrid mostly “sizes” clothes in 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. And it’s a fun experience just to not see PLUS (or minus) on a sign.

We’re women and we’re ALL beautiful. Period.]

[Note Too Also: You know all those clothes we keep in our closets for 10…20…30… years kinda hoping to wear them again?

I cleaned them out.

THIS actually feels GREAT! (I’ll admit I never could bring myself to do this until now. Not really sure why that took so long. And any small step toward being healthier is better than looking a certain size.)

Try it! Say Merry Christmas to who you are NOW at the beautiful size you are NOW.

It’s actually a LOT of fun!! I never thought it would be. But it’s freeing! And once you really look at who you are and how beautiful you are NOW, no matter what size you are, it’s easier and easier as you go through the closet! I’m so excited for you! It may even turn out to be your favorite Christmas gift to yourself.]

 

Please Stop Shaming People and Start Helping People

It’s a trap. Sin is a trap. Make no mistake; the enemy is very clever. The sins that trap you are tailored just for you. It’s what satan does.

We get it. We know you didn’t realize what you were getting into when you started down this road. If you had known how it would bury you like this, you wouldn’t have chosen it. I believe that’s the truth.

Now, you may have “felt” like you were not worth enough NOT to head down this path.

THAT couldn’t be further from the truth. You are VERY worthwhile.

That’s another way that satan tricks people. That old devil tricks people into believing they don’t deserve to enjoy this life in healthy ways. Some people have told me they went back to something that wasn’t good for them BECAUSE they felt they deserved less. That breaks my heart.

YOU ARE VERY WORTHWHILE. (You don’t have to take my word for it. Jesus says so. He died FOR YOU.)

Pornography, for example, is a trap and the very nature of its design is to hook you and hold you, deaden your senses to beautiful sex the way God designed it, and keep you afraid to speak.

It is OKAY to ask for help. It is NOT weak. It actually takes courage to ask for help. <~~~ Think about that.

It may take talking with several people about a problem before you find someone who realizes we are not strong enough on our own to help others. We can help others BECAUSE of Jesus.

Personal story: When I was a little girl, someone molested me for years. Why didn’t I tell? I think I felt special. But he was treating me anything BUT special. It was ugly. And wrong. Now, some would argue that it’s not “fair” or “Christian” that I won’t let my children be around this person because we are called to forgive. I do forgive. But to let my children be around him would be unwise and would not be using the sense God gave me.  Because this was a crime against a child, I believe it would be bad idea.

I tell you a moment of my story to include that there ARE consequences to sin and that’s life in this broken world. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean being unwise. God gives us senses for a reason.

I’m frustrated when well-meaning Christians shame someone by saying, “Well you should have known better. Too bad you messed up so badly. You’re going to hell.”

No. That’s NOT okay. And if you’re wondering if I’m talking to Christians, I am. I am especially talking to Christians. The world is looking to US to make a difference and to give them hope. Please do it. Speak life; not death.

What if, instead of shaming, we said, “Yes. That was wrong. I’m very sorry that happened in your life but God uses EVERYTHING. This time was NOT wasted. I expect more from you now. I know you can overcome this because Jesus is real and prayer works.  I will be praying over your life. You pray about it, too. God will use this part of your life to help someone else.”

It’s time to help pick each other up and stop shaming each other when we mess up.

We KNOW what we’re doing is wrong or else we wouldn’t feel the desire to HIDE it. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they knew something they did was wrong and they hid.

God knows what you did. AND HE STILL LOVES YOU.

This is where repentance comes in and it very much matters.

The world is crying out for help.

Please, PLEASE stop shaming people and start helping.

Please stop gossiping and start loving.

EVERYBODY sins.

I am NO more perfect than YOU are. Zero percent more perfect.

~~~> YOU are zero percent more perfect that someone with different sins than yours. <~~~

EVERYBODY needs Jesus. When we ACT like we can “do” this life on our own we are not giving thanks or recognizing what Jesus’ sacrifice was even for; to redeem us.

He doesn’t call us to fight these battles on our own. We do NOT have to fight alone.

You don’t have to wonder if someone is already praying over you. I am.

God, please touch the life of this reader in ways he or she sees is You and Your Love. Please give the Peace that ONLY You can give. Please send very real help in times of trouble when satan is up to his old – or new – tricks. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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. – Ephesians 6:12

 

Because of Stephen (a very special kid)

God calls us in different ways.

Lisa was one of my roommates from college. She was called by God.

God gave her 3 healthy kids, 2 miscarriages, and Stephen. Because of her experiences she can help people in ways I can’t even begin to know how to.

Stephen is a very special kid with very special needs. He’s been diagnosed with multiple disabilities due to severe brain damage from birth because of preeclampsia; He is deaf, blind, epileptic, has a feeding tube, a shunt for hydrocephalus, non-ambulatory (meaning he can’t walk or sit or feed himself,) and Cerebral Palsy.

~~> When God calls you

it usually turns your world upside down. <~~

People are in their house all hours of the day (and sometimes night.) There’s no privacy.

Some of their house has been turned into a hospital ~ for Stephen.

People stare at him because he’s… different.

He’s a very beautiful “different” with a contagious laugh.

He’s here for a reason. God did not make him by mistake.

God has connected many people together because of Stephen.

If Stephen wasn’t Stephen, the nurses, doctors, therapists, and hundreds more people wouldn’t have been connected with Lisa and she wouldn’t have had this opportunity to share her faith with them.

She COULD have cursed God. But she didn’t. She COULD have said, “No. God, this is too much for me.” (…Because sometimes it feels that way.) But she didn’t. She accepted the assignment that she was called to be his mom as a gift and she loves him.

She accepts help from people she doesn’t know (medical and personal help) because caring for him is a full time job.

I cannot comprehend the faith and energy it’s taken her to learn all she’s had to learn to be his mom. And I praise God for all the people who have been there to help love on Stephen and get to know his family.

I’m writing this ~ because of Stephen.

The truth is we ALL have special needs. Jesus is the answer to them all.

~
Notes from Lisa.

8 1/2 years ago my world was turned upside down. Fear was the theme for the day. I was afraid for my life as well as my unborn child’s.

It was too early, but apparently, it was time.

Some in this world would say it was a tragedy. I call it a true gift. It has brought unimaginable joy, heartbreaking pain, laughter, tears, patience, and humility.

Stephen Sanders was given as a blessing not just to me, but to the world. I would move Heaven and Earth to change things for him, but I would never change him for me.
~
I am thankful for my children in general.

David for being friendly and outgoing.

Micaiah for being willing to work hard even when she doesn’t really want to.

Stephen for teaching me patience by throwing me into the fire.

And Nathan for giving me a fresh look at the world.

God, bless my children as they walk their paths through this life and please take care of my two babies who are already in Heaven with You.
~
Monkey, You are such an amazing little boy. There aren’t words to describe how much I love you. Your strength inspires me to go on when I am worn down. The smile on your face makes me laugh through the tears. And the way you tell me you love me without uttering a word reminds me of what true love is really about. I am so blessed to be your Mommy.

 

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