In the past few weeks, I have written two children's books on topics that should never have to be written on for kids. However, we live in a world where children take their own lives, where parents are incarcerated on drug charges, and where overdoses have become almost common place. How do you explain such horrific events to kids? How do you write about those kinds of topics?
Childhood should be a happy time and place, filled with snuggles, games, and ice cream. It should be a time of learning new things every day and living in a warm, safe place. But as a teacher of 20+ years, I know that just isn't the case for so many children. I have been the one to make the dreaded phone calls to Child Protective Services. I have been the one to hear a child's story who opened up about abuse or neglect. How are we ever the same after that?
I remember my early years in teaching when a six-year-old told me her mom knocked her little sister out cold. I was fresh out of college when faced with that situation. Oh, I knew how to write a lesson plan, and how to keep children involved in a story. I even had a pocket full of songs to make the most of every moment, but nothing in college prepared me for dealing with the look of fear in children's eyes. Nothing. Being a teacher can be truly heartbreaking, but it is comforting to know that we are the only hope for some children.
I realized early on that my job as a teacher placed me in a mission field every day. I am in a place where the Bible is not allowed, where we can't mention Jesus or pray. But I can touch the lives of children by showing God's love and bearing His fruit. When you think about it, every workplace is a mission field, and even if you don't work outside the home, there are hurting people everywhere you turn. I've read books about ladies who have gone around the world to rescue the forgotten and I longed to do the same, but recently I understood broken lives are within my reach. I don't have to travel the globe to reach someone, to go the second mile, and to show them Jesus. God has entrusted people to us to reveal Christ to them- our family, neighbors, and all that we come in contact with.
So as I typed away on a story about a child whose parents overdosed, I prayed for the right words. As I wrote another story about a child who attempted suicide, I literally had to stop and get away from it for a while. My mind was blown by the latest statistics.
More than 22 million Americans suffer every day with addiction to alcohol and other drugs. More than 100 million family members share their pain. (Moyer Foundation)
In 2015, 64,000 people died in the United States from drug overdose. That is 174 people every day!
The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014, for the first time surpassing the death rate in that age group from car crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014 alone, 425 middle schoolers nationwide took their own lives.
The Bible says in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Maybe you are reading this and addiction has a grip on your life. There is hope in Jesus. Call out to Him. He can deliver you. Contact our office on the homepage for information on Christian Rehabilitation. Perhaps it is a family member who struggles with addiction, pray for the chains to be broken in their lives- pray for freedom.
Christ has overcome the world, and we can have peace in the time of trouble. If you are blessed and do not have to personally deal with these issues, then pray for others. You do not have to look very far to find someone who needs prayer. I ask that you pray for me as well. May God use the two new books to help children all across our nation get help in their troubled world.