If you’ve been following Declutter Now! for any length of time, you know we believe it’s prudent to declutter every single area of life. Clutter invades much more than our drawers and closets. It can just as easily attack and hinder our heart, mind, body, and soul.
In that spirit, a new angle. Today we’re going to discuss how decluttering can save children’s lives. And I’m being as serious as a heart attack.
A story just broke in Mesa, AZ about a horrific case of child abuse. In fact, it was so bad, that I’m not even sure using the word abuse is sufficient. A little three year old girl was physically, emotionally, and sexually tortured. I have a three year old granddaughter. There are no words to describe the pain my heart and head felt. I don’t even know if my brain can grasp the enormity of the situation. It is beyond comprehension.
My soul is further tormented when my mind wanders. I know better than to entertain grizzly questions, but if this baby had to endure such hell, is it so terrible for me to try to understand and feel just a wee bit of it, almost in tribute? What was this child thinking? Feeling? How scared must she have felt? How alone? How confused? How much pain was she in? How hungry was her sweet little tummy? Does she even know what it’s like to be loved the way a toddler should be loved? To be tucked in a warm, soft, clean bed with a kiss on the forehead after a tubby full of bubbles, a few books, and bedtime prayers.
Oh how my heart aches for this little soul who has known nothing but agony and abuse.
As the news reports continued to pour in, my heart sank further. How could anyone harm a precious, helpless angel of God? How could anyone perform such atrocities and sleep at night? How could anyone be so cruel? So evil?
And then the same nagging question that rears its head each and every time I hear about a situation such as this, “How could no one have known?”
Aside from the sick and twisted abusers, how did this little girl go unnoticed? Did no one know she was missing? And if she wasn’t hidden all the time, did no one notice the bruises? Her emaciated little body? Obvious signs of illness and distress? How was the mother not suspected of something? Anything?
I cannot, for the love of God, wrap my head around the fact that there are children in cages, in dog collars chained to beds, and hidden away in closets and NO ONE REALIZES THEY ARE MISSING?
HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?
Neighbors don’t hear or see? Families don’t wonder?
NO ONE NOTICES?
I can’t understand or explain the heart of the wicked ones who perpetuate such evil acts, and to be honest, I’m glad I can’t. But I also can’t explain how SO MANY OF THESE CHILDREN go undetected. Under the radar. Overlooked. Forgotten. Ignored.
THAT is unconscionable.
So today, on this heartbreaking day, I ask three things of you:
Know Your neighbor, Declutter Apathy, and Take Action
Know Your Neighbor – If we all took the time to pay attention and familiarize ourselves with our neighbors, we would invite the opportunity for observation. I’m not suggesting to be overly nosey or file a complaint if a parent looks at their child cross-eyed, but be alert for signs of neglect or abuse, or God forbid, a child who seems to be missing for unexplained periods of time. Think about it. If we each committed to an awareness for the homes surrounding our own, how much ground could we all cover together?
Declutter Apathy – This is where many of us get tripped up. We have a feeling and we stifle it. Something is nagging at us but we’re too busy to address it. Maybe we don’t want to deal with the uncomfortable or awkward. The next time you feel that way, ask yourself how ‘uncomfortable’ this little girl must have been. Perhaps we just don’t know exactly what to do? You know what? Get creative and resourceful. Make some phone calls and get information and help.
Declutter any tendencies for indifference, unconcern, and laziness where kids are concerned. Step up and make a difference. These helpless kids need us. They are counting on us. Without us they may have absolutely no one looking out for their best interests. Be the one who cares. Who is willing to speak truth. Who is convicted to protect children at all costs. Sure, when we have kids we consider them ‘ours’, but I contend that when a child is in trouble, they are ALL OF OUR children. We have a responsibility.
Take Action – Again, ask questions. Head off issues from getting worse. Lend a hand. Invest time in a child that doesn’t have a mother, or a father, or one that cares about them. For serious concerns, make that phone call. Follow-up. Make another phone call. If a life-threatening situation is present, intervene. Support legislation for harsher punishment for those convicted of offenses against children. Be relentless in your pursuit for the health and safety of children at all costs.
I know we won’t be able to save every child, but don’t we have a responsibility to go down swinging?
This little girl survived. Barely. At this point her future is unclear. She is non-verbal and traumatized to a level most of us, thankfully, will never experience. Please pray for her. Right now. Ask God for a supernatural act of healing in her life. For the best care and treatment available, and for the biggest-hearted, most loving parents to care for her. Pray the beasts who abused her are never, ever allowed again to see the light of day, and most importantly, that they will never have access to her or another child.
Know Your Neighbor, Declutter Apathy, Take Action, AND Pray. Make a difference in the life of a child today.