Courage comes when we choose to do right even when saying nothing, or doing nothing feels easier.
Courage Classic is the name of a challenging bicycle ride in the Northwest that fundraises to support Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
We need to be aware as we go through our lives that physical and sexual child abuse has risen statistically in the U.S.A. since 1988. This is a problem that isn't going away with silence.
So I urge you to speak, write, pray, and have courage.
It can make a difference. We each can make a difference.
I speak from family history, and personal experience here.
Two of my great-aunts took their father to court in Canada for physical and sexual abuse in the 1920s. They protected their youngers sisters, and were shamed by their home town. Their father went to jail. They moved their family to California and started a new life.
This didn't end the cycle completely. My grandparents continued to have violence in their lives when they argued with each other.
My parents made a pact never to live the life their parents lived. They broke the final chain.
At the age of 7, I witnessed incestous rape and abuse at a friend's house, was threatened and molested, and I went on to finally tell my mom, one teacher, and the school district psychologist about it.
The school district pyschologist tried to convince me that I was lying. For a time, I lost my ability to trust anyone outside my immediate family. I acted out in shameful ways that I will regret all of my life. But eventually, my friend's family was investigated. They received counseling. I lost a friend, and was socially labelled a "tattletale" at school, as well as other names that are too many to count. I received counseling from a psychiatric counselor I could trust as a teenager.
Would I speak up again, if I had to live those awful moments over again? Yes. In fact, I would speak up more quickly, even knowing the personal price I paid.
So please, if you have been a victim of child abuse, or have witnessed child abuse, take courage. Speak up. Get good counseling. Forgive. (That's the part that takes the most courage.)
Tomorrow, an amazing team of people from my church will be serving in all areas of worship. They are a Courage Classic team for the Courage Classic Bicycle fundraising event, and I am thankful that they are speaking up and taking a stand. Next month, they will ride a 173 mile grueling Bicycle ride over three mountain passes to "Pedal for the kids" and fundraise to prevent child abuse and neglect.
If you would like to support the Courage Classic Fundraiser, visit these links for more information:
Courage Classic's Main Page
Please know that whoever you are, wherever you are in life, there is life and courage in Christ. He died for our sins, for our shame, for our pains. He lives in us when we call his name, and gives us courage when we most need it.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing." Galatians 2:20-21