Tuesday, April 10, 2012

a reason to celebrate

Mama was in town last weekend. She had meetings with the KIDS Center. On Friday, we huddled together in the snow flurries as local children sang "Celebrate" to kick-off National Child Abuse Prevention month here in this mountain town. 

Wearing coordinating outfits, Mama, little sister and I sat in a row at Sunday service. Mama remembers my first Easter dress. I've seen photographs of the pink dresses and white hats she dressed us in. (And by us, I mean my twin sis and me. A side-effect of being a twin is speaking in the plural.)

I remember later Easters. A new dress each year. Hats with elastic bands the cut into the skin under our chins. And pulling on that band with my white-gloved hands in between group photo shots. 

I remember Easter egg hunts with my cousins. And finding forgotten eggs weeks later while pulling weeds in the garden. 

I was baptized by my grandpa in a little white church on Easter Sunday. That was 18 years ago.   

In college I attended a church that would frequently hold baptisms during service. I remember the pastor's words each time he'd dunk someone into the water and raise them up again. Those words repeat in my head even now when I witness a baptism. 

"Buried with him in death. And raised to walk with him in newness of life." 

As each believer emerged from the water with those words, the congregation clapped and cheered in celebration. 

Standing in the cold on Good Friday, listening to the voices of children sing celebration songs, I felt uncomfortable. I was confused by songs of joy juxtaposed with the reality of child abuse. But on Easter I remembered. We celebrate not the death of our Savior, but the of the hope that it brings.  He stood in the gap for us and rose to walk again. 

The songs were not a celebration of death, but of the hope brought by those working tirelessly to end the abuse of children. The songs were for the social workers, the doctors and the volunteers and for everyone who stands in the gap for the abused. 

It's time we all started working together to end child abuse so we really have something to celebrate. What are you doing to stand in the gap for the children in your life? 


  1. Very powerful piece Miz Shelby. What am I doing to stand in the gap? I have been asking myself that question since I read your mama's book. I don't have an answer but I know I want to make a difference.

    1. I think that's where it starts. With being aware. With having a desire to do something. Even if that something is simply keeping your eyes open. And never being too afraid to speak up when you know you should.

  2. You alreay know this, but I volunteer as a mentor to a little girl at a local elementary school. Sometimes I feel that 45 minutes a week is not enough and that I am only working with 1 child and there are so many just in her school alone. But then I think 45 minutes is better than nothing and if I can make even a small difference in her life it will be worth it to her.

    1. You are doing just what you need to do for that one girl. I stayed up too late reading "Kisses from Katie" a book loaned to me recently. It's about Katie Davis' move from the US to Uganda (as a teenager) to eventually adopt 14 girls. Here's a quote from the book: "I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light." You can't do it all, but you can do that one thing. You alone can't change her life, but God can use you to make a change.

  3. Those who work with abused children tell me this -- an abused child that has just one adult in their life who believes in them, who stands in the gap with them, who is a voice for them, is all it takes for that child to thrive. A child who knows that they are loved and supported, seen and heard, begins to have hope. The way we turn this around is one-on-one. We can get overwhelmed, so we must keep our focus on that one that God has put in front of us.