This post was written and submitted by my cousin Janelle Stamm, and is her open and honest journey of faith. Like so many, our family was shattered by the betrayal of clergy sexual abuse, but the power of hope is stronger even than death. I was profoundly impacted by her story, and I think you will be too. Awareness of clergy abuse is at an all-time high, but we must be moved beyond apathy to action. I admire her vulnerability in admitting that at one time, she didn’t believe us. Reading those words stung, but more like the injection of a life-saving serum than the prick of the poisoned spindle on the spinning wheel. If we want to have real change, we have to have really hard conversations. ”

“I didn’t want to believe what I know …

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Motherhood is exhausting, and trying, and stressful…but completely beautiful.

While my children are whining,
The devil is dining,
On the sin of my impatience.

He licks his lips for just a taste
Of anger and frustration.

“Throw that book, raise your voice,
Yell a little louder! Turn your wrath
Into a rage, make me so much prouder!”

Lord, help me to rise above
These petty sins and trials.
Give me strength to bless my children
With words that come from smiles.

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My sweet toddler perched on her own swingset in her own backyard.

My favorite part about tucking my toddler in each night (other than disciplining her multiple times for running out of her bedroom) is caressing her soft, smooth, round cheeks. I talk to her in a low voice, and wish her sweet dreams. The lights are very dim, but I can still see her liquid blue eyes as they start to take on a less alert state. Tonight, I asked if she wanted to pray, and was surprised when she took the lead. And because it was just so sweet, I must spell out her words exactly as she said them.

Heavenwee Fodder, pwease help my daddy, and my mommy, and my Anna. And pwease help my singset. Amen.

As I finished up with kisses and hugs, I …

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A Writer’s Prayer

Let my words be used to glorify, and not malign. (image from

I’m not one to seek conflict, but I often find that when confronted with an accusation through written word, my response is less than Christlike. This is my prayer, that I might use my gifts to build Him up, and not tear others down.

Lord, you have blessed me with the gift of language. The ability to put fingers to keys and translate raw human experiences into strings of words, sentences, paragraphs, stories. How often I long to use this gift to glorify you. To tell of your love, to demonstrate your tangibility. But sometimes, shamefully, I use this gift, this toolbox of letters and language, to injure. I pull out barbs, masterfully twisted to inflict the most damage. I catch grenades in bare …

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(Image from

Lord, I am tired. Head down at 11 p.m. Head up at 5 a.m. With three interruptions in between. I’m not sure how much longer I can last. Years of inadequate sleep have taken their toll on my body. My mind. I am tired. So tired.

And when I feel this way, it’s so hard to let your light shine. It’s not that I want to hide it under a bushel, I just want to crawl under that bushel and go to sleep. Sweet…sleep.

Lord, you’ve known great fatigue, even worse than this. And yet, you kept your eyes focused on your Father. One foot in front of the other, you trudged up that hill, to that place where your life would end. And yet now, I realize, even you fell. Even you struggled under the …

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Eat, Pray, Read

I do many, many things wrong as a mother. I lose my temper. I don’t always stick to consistent routines. I try to balance working from home with entertaining my kids, and it doesn’t always work. But I do three things consistently right. I make sure my girls eat a variety of healthy home-cooked foods. I pray openly and often in front of and with them. And I read and read and read whichever books they desire. So for all I do wrong, I can cling to these three things I do right.

Her prayers are genuine and simple.

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