Statistics aren’t convincing enough? You know a Survivor. #SAAM2015 Book Giveaway

 

 Did you know:

  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. 
  • Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12. 
  • Seven percent of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. 
  • Three percent of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. 
  • In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse.
    Of these, 75% were girls. 
  • Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.
    93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.
    34.2% of attackers were family members.
    58.7% were acquaintances.
    Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victims.

Victims of sexual assault are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression. 
  • 6 time more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. 
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol. 
  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs. 
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide. 

And if these statistics aren’t reason enough for you to become aware of (at the least) or become involved in the fight against sexual assault and abuse, maybe knowing that I was a child victim would help.

I’m here to tell you there’s hope.

I’m here to tell you there’s healing.

Statistics become survivors.

With your help.

April is Sexual Assault And Abuse Awareness Month. Visit RAINN or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for more information. 

The issue is as old as humanity. My first novel, How Sweet the Sound, is a modern day retelling of the story of Tamar in the book of 2 Samuel in the Bible, a woman raped by her brother and left to live in desolation. In my book, however, the Tamar figure (named Comfort) learns to find hope and healing. 

 Share this story with someone you know today who needs hope, or even if you need to find hope, yourself. 

 In support of Sexual Assault and Abuse Awareness Month, I’m giving away a SIGNED COPY of How Sweet the Sound. Enter your name and a comment below for your chance to win. I’ll announce winners via Twitter and my Facebook Author Page Friday.

References available at https://rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

Why does God seem farthest when we need Him most?



Good question. 

I don’t have a good answer. 

In the throws of depression, grief, tragedy, I’ve often asked for prayers and felt unable to pray for myself.

But…maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Maybe when He feels farthest we need to look closer.

Maybe God is near, but not in the ways we suspect. Not in a loud voice or a burning bush. Not in an earthquake or a storm, but rather…

…in the prayer of a friend who cries out for you.

…in the steady fall of rain on a spring garden.

…in the memory of someone who believed in you years ago.

…in the taste of warm soup on a cold winter day.

…in the curl of a dog’s wagging tail when you get home in the evening.

What about you?

What are some of the still, small ways God is with you that maybe you haven’t looked close enough to see? 

*****

In my new novel, Then Sings My Soul, the main characters (Jakob and Nel) are asking the same question. What they find  you. Read their story and how they find hope. Available wherever your favorite books are sold.

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On lapidary and artists: The story behind the theme of Then Sings My Soul

I think one of God’s favorite things to do is to make and shape people. Of course I can’t speak for Him, but the works of God’s hands are mentioned not infrequently throughout the Bible, how God sculpts the land and the heart, and how He creates artists, too.

Moses talks about an artisan named Bezalel who may have been one of the earliest lapidarists.  Exodus 31:5 (NLT) reads, “[Bezalel] is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!”

And in Isaiah 64:8 (NLT) we read, “And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.”

Jakob, the main protagonist in Then Sings My Soul, is a lapidarist–one who works with and fashions stones and gems. Jakob’s father (Josef) was a lapidarist, too.

This is a piece of raw aquamarine, the sort of stone Josef  would have worked with and passed on to Jakob in the story.

I used the trade and theme of lapidary in this novel because my grandfather was a lapidarist, too. In fact, he actually made the stone on the cover of the novel, and you can read more about that providential story in the afterwords in the back of the novel.

As a special treat for you today, here are the actual diagrams and notes my grandfather used to make this stone:

When you read Then Sings My Soul, I think you’ll discover why the theme of lapidary lends itself so well to Jakob and his daughter, Nel. They both start out pretty rough, living in ways not everyone would approve of. But that doesn’t mean God doesn’t see the beauty He knows they can become.

The same story can be yours, friend. If you feel dirty and rough, unnoticed, worthless…God sees the new and clean, the priceless and sparkling person He is making you to be.

The work a lapidarist does on a stone is harsh at times. There are cuts and chisels, chunks hacked off and angles shorn. But in the eye of the Lapidarist, all these steps are necessary.

More than that, as He works, the Lapidarist holds you in His hand and never lets go.

What about you? 

Do you have places in your life that need polished? 

Do you wonder where God is in the midst of your journey?

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