One trade off of returning to college this semester was that it wouldn't leave time for me to lead a sexual abuse recovery support group this fall. I didn't even have to think about the decision to lead or not to lead because it was so completely obvious that I wasn't being called to lead a group right now.
Then my Public Speaking class started.
My teacher slips life lessons into his lectures every single day - most of them themed along the fact that how we talk often conveys "where we've been in life". Where we've lived, how we've lived, what we've lived through, level of education, financial status...the list goes on. The lessons are always accompanied with indirect encouragement and the God's honest truth that not one of us is limited by whatever difficulty we are facing. I marvel at his heart for these young people and his uncanny ability (and willingness) to meet them where they are at in order to help them get to where they want to go. So many of these kids have high aspirations that can easily become dwarfed by the challenges they are facing.
I knew from day one that I wanted to give a speech or two on something related to sexual abuse. As I have been watching my teacher in class, I have diligently tried to piece together my first speech. He has asked for volunteers to go first for the past two classes, and not a single hand has been raised. After class the other day I went to talk with him about the difficulty I was having narrowing down the information and my heart to a single 5-7 minute speech. Then he asked me to do something that still has my head spinning...
He wants to give me 10-15 minutes per speech, and he has asked me to give every speech this semester on the topic of sexual abuse.
I can hardly believe it!
I have mulled over my first speech quite a bit and have decided that rather than jump in with a bunch of abuse prevention information (for an informative speech), I would start by sharing my story. Pinch me. I get to talk with them about my own experience with poverty, a broken home, an absent birth father, a sexually abusive adopted father, a neglectful mother, feeling orphaned at 18, dropping out of college due to overwhelming loneliness and confusion, utter helplessness and paralyzing insecurity, underage and reckless drinking, destroyed relationships, and countless other unwise decisions that I regret to this day --- all as a result of unaddressed brokenness. And I get to share the healing that takes place in a solid, loving relationship, with unwavering sobriety and careful attention to other unhealthy coping mechanisms, an unimaginable community of friends, and an honorable heavenly father who fills every hole left behind by not-so-honorable earthly beings. The purpose of this speech is to persuade them to address past hurts sooner rather than later, saving precious time and allowing life to be restored to them.
Seriously? I get to do this? In a college classroom? And after that, I get to talk about ways to keep kids safe!
God is good. All the time.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20