A winter storm passed through overnight. My sister’s and I woke up to a white world that we were eager to explore. It was late 1960’s. We weren’t allowed to go outside because, “It was too cold.” Mom said. So we watched from the window. Tree limbs turned to statues of ice that held clumps of white, even the smallest branches held heavy clumps of snow. It looked surreal—my kind of world when I was a kid.

Dad’s booming voice interrupted our chatter. “Go get your snow clothes on girls!”

We shrieked and scattered all at once. First kid to the chest of drawers where our winter clothes were stored, would have first pick from the limited snow attire. We pushed and shouted, grabbed and argued over who would wear what snow suit and boots. I won because I was first to get my snow clothes on and reach the back door where I waited for Dad to give me the 'OK' to go outside.

Dad held the door open and watched as I took my first step in the untouched blanket of snow. Crunch. I looked up at him and laughed. He laughed too then instructed, “Wait! Carefully step over in the yard and lay on your back in the snow—take as few steps as possible and hold still.”

I carefully treaded through the snow and plopped down on my back, laying as still as possible.

“Now move your arms and legs like when you do jumping jacks.”

I flapped like a bird on my back until Dad cued me to get up and look down at the shape I carved in the snow.

“An angel.”

“He smiled, “That’s a snow angel.”

Before long my sisters were making snow angels alongside me.  We re-positioned ourselves in the snow like cookie cutters until the snow around the yard looked like left over dough and just as well because I was sopping wet and chilled to the bone. That was a wonderful winter day I hold in my heart like a treasure never forgotten.

Nearly twenty years later, one winter day, a chill passed through my skin and ebbed inward, all the way to the hidden places of my soul—the familiar heaviness settled, solidifying my insides like a statue. (Read Narrative Cycle of Dread)—weighting me down, pushing me down. I started to tremble after my husband hung up the phone with Ivan. It wasn’t because I was cold, but rather terrified. I couldn’t explain why I believed we were treading into a dangerous circumstance.

"We're going to get through this. We will." My husband assured me.

That winter day I will never forget. Many years later I claimed my experience as a treasure I will value forever because I found courage to confront and expose the predator from my past for his crimes against children and I didn't do it on my own. My steadfast God blessed our lives with tireless wisdom and skill from Dr. Barone, bravery and encouragement from my husband, and faithful friends who believed in our cause.

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Even in faith I felt fear and sometimes my fear would cause me to question who God is. But God created us to respond in fear as a warning to danger. Psychology Today describes fear as a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats. Further discussion reveals how fear effects us after trauma. (Read more about fear and trauma)

Protect yourself and your family first if you or any child is a victim of any abuse. Allow the laws and authorities in your community to start the confrontation process. It’s for your own safety.

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Be safe. Be accurate. Be brave.

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