Growing up, we often heard about how sheltered we were. I don’t know if my siblings really understood or believed it. I didn’t. It’s really been only recently that I have come to realize that I have led a sheltered life. It’s a blessing that I hadn’t realized I took for granted. I don’t know that I agree with the saying, Ignorance is bliss... When ignorance has left me so blind…
So.. if you’ve been with me any length of time, you’ll know that while I share some about myself, I can be quite vague at times. This post may be one of my more challenging posts to write.
We didn’t grow up on the wrong side of the tracks. We had family members that lived in the less desirable neighborhoods. I remember my mama telling us to make sure our doors. Still, I didn’t connect the difference in lifestyles.
I’ve shared that I am a US Army Veteran. I served in OEF Afghanistan 2011. Being a medic, I experienced life outside the wire. In my current position, a counselor at a juvenile detention facility, I have had the opportunity to work with teens and families that know exactly what it feels like to lay their heads down to the sound of gun fire. Their doors and walls are decorated with bullet holes from random and/or targeted attacks. These children are introduced to sex, drugs, guns at young ages – sometimes by their own family members. Sometimes those family members are their guardians, parents.
Many of those with whom I work have extensive criminal records, dating back to their early adolescent years. It seems to be no wonder that by the time they reach their early teens, they are convicted of murder, attempted murder, and other violent crimes.
This is a world that admittedly, I knew nothing about. I never had to steal to eat. Growing up we didn’t worry about where our food was going to come from or if we were going to have a next meal. I never worried about our home getting shot up or a sibling dying before my eyes. I never knew the street life. That was just something on TV or in books (not the books we were even allowed to read, mind you).
My heart breaks and yet, I’m counting my many blessings. There are so many children out there, fighting in invisible wars that we don’t see because we know nothing about them. There are those out there who know nothing but survival.
I don’t know much. The few kiddos and families with whom I come into contact – I pray that I can show them Jesus; without judgement, without any hidden agendas or anything else. I really just want to show them the love of Christ of nothing else.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Psalm 91:1-4 KJV
*Original Image by Yours Truly
I was raised in some of that that you wrote about. I wasn’t sheltered but I did get by without too much criminal activity being bestowed upon me. I think of the people in my church and their testimonies of never having had smoked a cigarette or had a drink. How I have heard some of them say they feel they cannot be as effective because they haven’t “been there, done that”
But I like to remind them that people like them, like you, are the example. The bar society can set goals.to. These people can come out of trauma, be saved, and have hope for their children to live a life set by the example of people like yourself. That their children can come out from the world their parents were trapped in.
I loved reading of what you do. And thank you for your service!
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Thanks for sharing this, Amy. For the people in your church, please remind them that not having smoked or ever having tasted alcohol is a testimony! It is a testimony of God’s grace! It is difficult to stand when the world throws so many temptations your way and makes sin look so appealing. We need these testimonies for the younger generation. These are the testimonies that must be shouted from the rooftops with zeal! Who says they aren’t effective? It’s a blessing to haven’t “been there, done that”.