As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I would like to share with you a few of the things I am thankful for.
For starters, I’m thankful for that which is so easy to take for granted—my health, family and friends.
I’m blessed and grateful to get to see the hand of God at work in the classroom on a daily basis.
For example, in March a young man told me the following after class:
“You’re not going to believe it but I rarely come to health class. I skip almost every day. But ‘something’ told him to come today and I’m glad I did. I had no idea we would have a guest speaker today.
The reason I’m glad I came is because you changed my entire perspective about sex. It’s so crazy because I had planned to skip my next class and go have sex with my girlfriend.
After hearing you speak, I can’t do it and I realize that I need to end the relationship with her because I know I’m not in it for the right reason.”
I told the young man,
“I don’t believe in coincidence and I believe you came to class today to get information that could prevent you from making a potentially life-altering decision today AND in the future.”
I absolutely love hearing the gratitude of students when God sends me to reach them “just in time.”
I’m also grateful for those times when God has used me as a vessel to encourage students to report an abuser.
When It’s Tough to be “Thankful”
In May, an 8th grade girl came back to the classroom during my lunch break and asked if she could have a hug.
I said, “Of course.”
She then told me the following:
“I just wanted to come back and tell you THANK YOU for saving my life. My grandfather has been molesting me for as long as I can remember and after listening to you yesterday, I told my parents last night for the first time.”
When I asked her why she had never told before, she said her grandfather was very manipulative and told her that what he was doing was normal. She believed her parents had witnessed some of his inappropriate touching; and since they didn’t say anything about it, she figured maybe her grandfather was right even though she didn’t like the way it made her feel.
My heart breaks when I hear these stories and I’ve heard far too many over the years.
As a matter of fact, just in the past two months I’ve taken two young ladies to the school counselor to make a report.
The first 8th grade girl raised her hand during class when I talked about consent/sexual assault and asked, “What if you’re afraid to say anything?” After class she told me she had been molested by her mom’s boyfriend a couple of years ago.
The second 8th grade girl, who cried during class during that same discussion, told me after class she had sex at the age of 11 with a 15-year-old boy.
I hate that these girls experienced such trauma at such young ages. It’s unthinkable!
But I am grateful that these brave young ladies realized that staying silent and holding onto their secret was only hindering their healing process.
And I am so proud of them for having the courage to speak up for themselves and release the burdens of guilt, shame and secrecy they had been carrying for far too long.
Of course, I can’t list all the things I’m grateful for without including you.
Thank you for clicking on the emails that appear in your inbox. I don’t take it for granted that you’re willing to spend your precious time reading about my daily discussions with teens.
Thank you for sharing my posts on your social media sites and forwarding the emails to your friends, neighbors, youth pastors and even your children.
But most importantly, thank you for your prayers—not just for me, but for the students as well!
God is honoring your prayers so please keep them coming!
I’m blessed to share my journey with you.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!