Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

On Guard Against Sexual Predators

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He’s the friendly neighborhood swimming coach. She’s the neighbor who always offers to babysit. He’s the uncle who spends more time outside playing with the kids than speaking to the adults. He’s the worship leader at church. He’s a predator and his target is our children.

There’s no easy way to write about child molestation. It’s disturbing…shocking to the senses. It’s so wrong and yet alarmingly common. When 1 out of every 5 girls and 1 out of every 20 boys are being sexually assaulted, that tells us that there are far more sexual predators out there than we even want to realize. Hey, we have to realize it. We have to face facts. We need to know about the danger if we are going to be able to guard our children and keep them safe to the very best of our abilities.

I’m known in my family and amongst friends as something of a “paranoid” mama. I definitely am extremely cautious. I don’t just leave my daughter with anyone, even if that person is someone who appears trustworthy. I’ve seen too much in my life and it has opened my eyes to the understanding that sexual predators roam the world as wolves in sheep’s clothing. While we may eyeball the creepy, old man who lives down the road and make a mental note to keep our kids away from him, the predator is more likely to be a family friend, friendly neighbor or even a family member. You can’t just trust people because they don’t LOOK like child molesters. Predators are masters of disguises and they are all around us.

You know, a sexual predator usually accumulates quite a few victims before he/she is found out. Once the police finally catch a child molester, he/she has probably already assaulted multiple innocent children. It’s a horrible thing. It’s tragic. It’s an abomination and I guarantee you God will judge harshly those wicked people who harm His children.

I know this topic is dark. I don’t write about it to bring you down but rather to warn you that we need to keep our eyes wide open and we need to be a little “paranoid” in order to protect our kids. I know that we can only do so much. Those families who have experienced the pain of a child being assaulted are in my prayers. I can’t imagine how hard it is to have that happen to your child. It must be absolutely devastating. I know we can’t always keep our kids safe, but I am going to do everything in my power to guard my child against sexual predators. I’m okay with being mocked for my caution. I’m perfectly content with the sacrifices that must be made.

No, my daughter will not attend that sleepover.

No, my daughter will not be dropped off to meet one on one with a teacher in a windowless, private room.

No, my daughter won’t be checked in at Sunday School unless there are strict rules about having two workers in each class, bathroom policies, background checks and access for parents to check on kids at all times.

Yes, I will watch carefully and follow my instincts about people who behave unusually.

Yes, I will make sure everyone knows that I am a mother who is paying attention and on guard.

Yes, I will make my opinions known, because my daughter’s safety is worth more than a comfortable silence.

This world is dark and the days are evil. There are predators lurking all around and our children are the prey. Am I being over-dramatic about this? I think not. I think we are being way too casual about it all actually. Churches need to get wise. We need to have stricter rules in place. We need to understand that there can be wolves dressed as sheep who are earning access to the kids in order to attack. We need to make it clear that keeping strict rules about anyone who works with children is not a personal offense, but a safety measure that everyone should be more than willing to adhere to.

Parents, we shall not live in fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear. I’m not afraid, though it may sound that way. I’m simply awake. I’m alert. I’m on guard. I know I can’t control everything. I also know my Heavenly Father can. I know He is watching over us, and yet He has given free will to all men and women and sometimes their free will choices to enact evil upon us brings us great pain and suffering. Listen, it’s not “paranoid” to realize that our children are weaker and an easier target and that we need to take extra special care these days to defend and protect them.

So mock me if you like. I’m perfectly okay with that. I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks about my caution as a parent. If it reduces the chance that my child will fall prey to a sexual predator, I’m more than willing to take the mockery and judgment. She’s my priority.

As for those who have already experienced the pain of having a child abused, or been assaulted yourself, my prayer are with you. This kind of assault leaves wounds and scars that are unlike anything else. I pray that you are able to find healing, comfort and even forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

And for the child molester who may be reading these words…repent. Repent now and turn to Christ. You are filled with evil and wickedness, and you are an enemy of God. You’re only hope is to turn to Jesus and turn yourself in for your crimes. I want you to know that I see you and I pray for you, but I also want you to know that I’ve got my eyes wide open. I’m on guard and I’m ready to defend my family by whatever means necessary. In other words, if you come into my home and seek to harm my family, you won’t victoriously. In fact, you might not walk out at all.

This may all sound very harsh, but I believe the church and parents need to be less trusting and more on guard with out kids. We need to be willing to say what needs to be said. We have to be willing to say no to situations where adults have access to children without accountability and transparency. We need to understand that child molesters come in all shapes and sizes, and that they win us over with kindness and gentleness. They are on mission, so we must be on guard.

Please join me in praying for the protection of children, for the wisdom and discernment of parents, churches and schools, and for the justice, repentance and salvation of sexual predators.

For tips on trying to prevent sexual abuse, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Beautiful defense via photopin (license)

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A Message About Love

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photo credit: “Love One Another…” ~ digital paint effect ~ [Explored] via photopin (license)

“1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

I know a lot of clanging cymbals. I know plenty of Christians who are bankrupt in the love department. I’m sure that I’ve been one a time or two in my life. Yes, I’m quite sure that I have, but something has happened to me.

There’s been a change of heart here. You see, for so long I depended so heavily upon the apologetics and study of my faith and the Word of God (not entirely a bad thing), but I often failed in the love department. I failed to see people hurting. I failed in compassion but excelled in the “calling” of giving advice. I had a quick answer for everyone but not a heart of discernment as to when to share that advice and when to be a silent encourager.

As God has shown me to see His hurting people through His eyes, my heart has softened to the plight of the suffering and lost of this world. My eyes see more clearly now that there are people within the church who are in pain but suffer in silence for the sake of an obligatory smile on Sunday morning. Well-primped and properly-dressed Christians fill up the pews and all is right in the world….only it isn’t. Very little is right in this world because the enemy of our souls is constantly on the prowl, looking for whomever he may lie to, cheat, harm and break. Death and sickness plague us. Adultery and immorality are ever present. We rejoice in the Lord and His blessings, but may we never forget that this world is moaning as it awaits redemption and renewal.

With all the suffering that there is in this world, we need to be all the more abundant in love, compassion, grace and bearing one another’s burdens. We need each other. We need love. There’s no question that we need to study God’s Word and know His precepts also, but fellowship and love within the body of Christ must never be side-show attraction or a secondary concern in the body. Disconnected believers are easily brought down. Isolated Christians have no one to see when they are falling and no one to pull them up when the cares of the world pull them down.

Clanging cymbals. They do everything right, don’t they? They know the Bible. They live pure lifestyles and their tithe is 10.1 percent. The words on their lips are goodness and their homes are fortified. They do everything right….except love. They do everything well…except that which is most important.

“Faith, hope and love; these three abide, but the greatest of these is LOVE.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

We learn so much about love from this chapter in 1 Corinthians. My heart cries out to my fellow believers that we need to understand love more. We need to give it more freely. We need to be willing to get our hands dirty to wash the feet of those who have walked a thousand miles in pain and hardship. We need to love til it hurts. Love is sacrifice. Didn’t our Savior teach us that? We need to love like Jesus did….laying down our lives and giving all of ourselves.

Don’t be a clanging cymbal, dear one. Don’t excel at having all the right answers but fail at loving with a pure and dedicated love. Agape love. Unconditional love.

When I die someday, whenever the Lord wills that to be, I don’t want it to be said of me that I was a Christian who knew all the right answers. I don’t want it said to me that I was a good tither or had an excellent church attendance record. I cringe to think that my mourners would speak only about the Lord’s gift of music in my life.

Oh Lord, may they remember me as one who loved! Jesus, may I love so fiercely that people would never forget it. May my love comfort Your children and draw in the lost! May I love without reserve! May I love without bounds! May Your perfect love be perfected in me that I might be worthy of being called a Christian at all!

May we love deeply. May we love true. May our love be a sweet, sweet sound to the Father and may our love drown out the clanging cymbals.

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