Friday, August 08, 2008

I saw Satan today

Has anyone heard that country song by George Straight "I saw God today?" I heard it for the first time a few weeks ago. I was in my car driving home from what I can only assume was a bad day at work. Becuase as I heard it I changed the lyrics in my head to "I saw Satan today."

How morbid is that. As I thought about the song and the lyrics, I thought about my days at work and how for the last three years I have seen Satan on a daily basis and how it has begun to wear on my emotions and my spirit.

The song lyrics say this:

"I've been to church. I've read the book. I know He's here, but I don't look near as often as I should. Yeah, I know I should his fingerprints are everywhere I'd just slow down to stop and stare opened my eyes and man I swear I saw God today. "

It all applies. I have been to church, I've read the bible, I know that Satan is real and exists, but I've never seen him be so real and evident in peoples lives than I have the last few years.

I hesitate to write this post, because I realize what a downer it is. The truth is, I've been trying to work up the nerve to write it for a while now. I have posted before about how I'd like to have a career change. In reality, I NEED a career change.

If you don't know what I do, let me me break it down for you. I have talked about it vaguely on here before, but I'm going to lay it all out, so get ready.

I am a civilian investigator and I investigate severe allegations of child abuse. Mostly, child sexual abuse. About 98% of the cases we investigate are allegations of sexual abuse on children.

For most people, the mere thought of child sexual abuse makes them shudder. They can't fathom what it would be like to do what I do. I hate meeting new people and having to tell them what I do. It can bring a party down in seconds.

To be more clear...I am assigned approximately 15 new cases every month. In a 20 work day month, that's almost a new report per day. Each report has a victim. I am responsible for making contact with that victim within 24 hours to ensure their safety. If the offender is in the home with the child or is someone who has immediate access to the child, the call is considered priority and only moments pass before making contact.

On every case I have, I conduct a forensic interivew with the victim child. I am specially trained to talk to children who are victims of child abuse. There are certain things I can say and certain things I can't say. I am responsible for conducting an interview that the prosecuting attorney will watch and use to help base whether or not criminal charges will be filed on. It can be a daunting task.

As if that's not enough. The interview itself can be very emotional. I mean, I'm sitting in a room with a child, anywhere from age 3 to 17 who is describing very intimate details of sexual abuse that has been done to them. I can't cry in an interview, I can't reach out and console a child in an interview if they begin to cry. I can't share information about myself in an interview.

I can reassure a child that they have done nothing wrong and are not in trouble. That's about as far as the touchy feely stuff goes in the interview. I can't leave anything open to a defense attorney to use in a criminal trial.

I have had some very sad cases. During one interivew, I actually had to excuse myself because I could feel the tears coming on (and I wasn't pregnant). Others I have walked out of and began to cry immediately.

Today was a day that I had to do a really sad interview. I saw Satan today. I have seen Satan on many occasions. I have seen in in the eyes of Pastors, Sunday School Teachers, Youth Ministers, Teachers, Coaches, Day Care Workers, and many other professions where you do not want to see people using their authority to abuse children.

This job has jaded me in so many ways. I don't trust anyone. I hate meeting new people, because I think things like "they could be abusing their children." BJ and I have been without a church home for several months now. We have tried a couple churches, but we have not visited churches very aggressively to find a new church home.

I have a difficult time making myself go meet a group of new people, having to decide whether or not to leave Jordan in a nursery with people I don't know anything about and just have a "trust" of them because they are "church people" or keep her with me in the service, which is no longer really an option at her age. So I end up just not going.

It is so nerve racking. Jordan will never be allowed to sleep over at a friends house. Period. I just will never be able to have that trust in someone else.

I realize that many of you are reading this and thinking that I'm being a little paranoid or fanatical about this. I can understand how you would think that. People who don't work in this field cannot begin to understand it. I would put in print some things that might help you, but it would be vulgar and offensive to many.

But imagine, the worst possible thing that could be done to a child, by a parent, by a teacher, a coach, a youth minister, a friends dad, and on VERY rare occasions, a stranger....and I do mean the worst possible thing....when you are there, THAT is what I deal with on a daily basis.

Not only do I get to hear the child tell me all about it, but I get to see these bastards get off with NO criminal charge, or a FAR less sentence than they deserve. Because these cases are hard to try. It's usually the word of a child against the word of an adult. I have seen some very deserving individuals be sentenced to the rest of their lives in prison, and those are good days. But it comes with knowing that their victim may never be a fully functioning adult as a result of the brutal abuse that was done to them.

Don't misunderstand my Faith in God. I still believe in God and believe He can do All things. While I have many unanswered questions, I do know that God is still a big God and that he has an ultimate plan. I have a relationship with God and long to have fellowship with other believers, but find it difficult to trust.

I want to say to you parents out there...please never ever question your gut. If you have a bad feeling about someone, trust that and don't leave your child with them. Get far away from them. I have found that our guts are normally right in regards to this. Also, PLEASE educate your children about touches that are okay and touches that are not okay. Do this as absolutely early as they are developmentally able to begin to understand. Usually this is around age 3. Also, I advise that you teach your children the right names for their body parts. Slang words can confuse someone that they may dislcose abuse to. If they are using the right words, there will be no confusion. They should know that NO ONE is allowed to touch them in those places.

Okay, if you're still reading this, Thank you. If not, I understand. It's not a fun post.

I covet your prayers in my daily life but also in an opportunity to change jobs if that is God's desire for me.

19 comments:

Kim said...

Wow! That was a wonderful post. I could not do what you do and I respect you so much for doing it. Someone has to be the voice of the children that so desperately need it. You are my hero! I love you!!

Jessica said...

Fabulous post!! I know it feels good to get that off your chest and see it in print. I admire your honesty and clarity in being able to do that. As a teacher, I see Satan everyday too, but not in the capacity that you do. You are an advocate for children, and only you know when it is time to move on. God must refill your cup daily, Brandy, or you would not be able to get up in the morning. The fact that you do what you do everyday is a testament to how big our God really is. Thank you for speaking for those who have lost their voices. Your crown in heaven will be heavy laden with many jewels! : ) I'm proud to know and call you my friend.

Anonymous said...

Well- maybe you crave a career change- but- how many are there to replace you ???????????And who will help the children, if not you ????????? Please don't stop. You are SO needed.


a mother who lost her children to severe abuse

JoAnna said...

Brandy - I love you. You are an amazing woman, and I thank God you have been at your job to help those children you have had during this time period. I remember you being excited about the job in the beginning. Psalm 37: 3-6 my dear. Please read and meditate on them. God really does give us the desires of our hearts. He places them there... and then brings them to pass. Your job may have been for a season and not a lifetime. He can truly heal a wounded heart in any circumstance, but I can see that He may be moving you out for a time (or forever) so your own heart can be mended. I know it may sound strange, but I can feel God's love for you. He loves you so much - with a fierce protective love. I can tell you He wants absolute healing (in every area), wholeness and freedom for every one of us - satan seeing case managers included. ;) Thank you for serving Him in this way. You are a precious, unique lady that God has used mightely. I can tell you from experience, prosocution of the offender or not - those few words that you can and do tell the children are priceless. Not many think or believe them enough to convey them accurately. You are someone in authority. Your words have weight. Thank you for telling the children truth. You are spreading God's truth in that way. You have acted as a messenger of the Creator, the one that cares more deeply than any of us can understand. Jesus, Himself, sits at God's right hand and INTERCEDES for us without stopping! I love you my friend. I have prayed for you, and will continue to do so!!!!!! Specifically praying for strength in your inner man to carry out however many days you have left in that position, and for Him to carry out your next assignment - whatever it may be - quickly. Mostly, that you will know the comfort of His presence always.

Tony said...

Brandy. Thank you so much. That was a very emotional post. Not many times do you post make me cry but this one did. I don't know how it's possible to do what you do but you do and I thank you for that. I heard a song a couple times. It's called "Man with the Microphone" by Cowboy Troy. Here is the first verse to the song.
I'm not a politician but I can be when I speak
It's disturbingthat kids can't even eat
But eat 52 hot dogs they call youa champion
If you think aobut it then it might make your mind cramp
Scared kids run away from broken homes
Cuz some kids are scared of gettin' broken bones
Mama talks 'em down till they're feelin' like misfits
Daddy gets drunk and locks them in the closet
Sittin in when you sittin there readin bout it
Blame it on the liquor and they say they can't do without it
But who speaks for the ones who can't on their own
I guess it's me cuz I'm the man with the microphone.
You are the person with the microphone. You speak for those kids the wouldn't talk about it because they are scared. You are an amazing person for doing this. And I can't thank you enough. Just know that God will lead you where your suppose to go.

Mandy said...

This is an amazing post! You are such an amazing person to do what you do, it truly takes a special person!! You really are a hero to so many and I know that it is such a hard job to do!!

I pray that a career change will come your way very soon!

Amanda said...

Oh Brandy, I had no idea. I can not imagine putting myself in your shoes. I can honestly say, I don't think I would be able to handle it. I really admire you for helping all those poor children. You are their saving grace. Thank you.

As far as not trusting anyone... I am right there with you! I only let grandparents and Catherine Wilson. Period. There is nothing wrong with that. I think we are smart to not be blinded by what could happen. Why take a chance? It's our job as parents to protect our sweet babies as best we can.

I will be praying for God to give you strength daily. Thank you for what you do. You really have made a difference in the lives of many children.

Mad Scientist said...

B... Your trust should not be people or things of this world. But, trust in the Lord for the protection of Jordan and your family. If we had to rely on people and things of this world we would always be disappointed. With what you know, it is harder to trust God to protect her. But, in the end, HE is all we can truly depend on. I know your job is hard, but God has a plan. Right now, HE uses you to protect those who have no one to protect them. Trust God to direct your path.

Nicole M Wood said...

Brandi, this is a great post. I don't have children yet so I can't image what it feels like 100%. I do know that I am so glad that there are people like you, you might be changing lives and just not knowing it. I will start praying for you again.

Nancy M. said...

Thanks for helping all of the children you can. They need someone like you. I can't comprehend how hard your job must be. I totally understand your fear of leaving your child alone with someone. It must be much worse for you than me. An understanding church won't care if your daughter stays with you during services.

Casey said...

you're awesome! know you didn't post this to get props but you are absolutely the best investigator i've ever seen! hang in there...love you infinitely!

Pegsy said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart and being so vulnerable. I've read all the comments and it has to be somewhat healing for you to know how loved and admired you are!

This post was interesting because it was recently brought to my attention the part about teaching kids the correct names for their private parts. My kids are almost 5 and 7 1/2 and I'd never done that, because I'm so private myself. But, I've started anyway. I'm glad you made me think about it even more. And I'm with you on the sleepovers...

I will be praying that God will give you great wisdom as you are currently in this job. And for future direction. He will show you what you can or cannot handle and what is best for your family.

It's me Suzette! said...

Whew! Bless your heart! I can only imagine how difficult your job is! The strength that you have to do what you do is amazing! God has a specific reason why He has you there. Trust Him! I will pray for God's will in your life and that He will open doors of opportunities for you!

davidcatherinewilson said...

Wow! Brandy, I did not know that is what your "other" job was-besides photography and blog designs. I'm sure that your job is weighing on your spirit. The Bible says that Satan is here to kill, steal, and destroy. I have no doubt that he is doing a good job, especially from your details. I am praising God for you right now though, you are making a difference. You are protecting those kids. One of my biggest fears is that my kids will be molesteed- i don't know why, but I pray about it daily. My boys have never had a non-family member baby sitter-except for a few very close friends. My boys will never go in a public bathroom without me or my husband. Our church just got background check for all workers with children, which makes me feel a little safer.I don't think you're being over protective. Unfortunately, we have to think about those things and protect our kids. I'm rambling now, sorry. I am going to start praying for you each day, to have strength and to know if you are feeling called to do something else.

Linda said...

I had no idea this was your job. It certainly takes someone very special to do these interviews. I will be praying as the Lord leads that he will give you a peace as you raise your little children up for Him.
Blessings,
Linda

Welcome to Our Lives... said...

Brandy, I admire you so much. You have one of the most important jobs in the world when it comes to children. Thank you for posting this. You will definately be in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

I AM NOT ANONYMOUS--SEE NAME BELOW--BUT THIS SYSTEM KEEPS SNATCHING MY PASSWORD!!

Brandy, I am Michal Ann in WA state and just came to your site after reading your potent questions on "Bring the Rain." "What about the things that God does not make good of? How do you reconcile those things?" Fair questions. I only attempt a few "answers" because you cried out with such pain.

God's heart breaks with yours. You are in pain because He is in pain. What you have to see every day is WRONG. It will not quickly be resolved on this earth. The ghastly effects of sin are multiplied and so evident. It battle is real and the casualties are numerous. You DO see satan every day! Evil is EVIL. It is not just a "bad idea" or a "mistake" or something "I can't judge." Thank you for baring your soul so that we can bear some of the pain and anguish with you.

I heard that someone asked "God, how can you allow so much suffering in the world?" God: "I wanted to ask you the same thing." You are one of the brave, front line workers who toils with Him in this world full of very real suffering. This agony is why Jesus came, suffered and died. Depend on Him every minute because He is the suffering Savior and weeps over "Jerusalem" with you.

Some things will not be reconciled until time is no more. In this day and age, we live in the battleground that you see so clearly. Too many are turning a blind eye and a calloused heart to the things that break your heart and God's. Much evil is done if only because we fail to heed the Spirit when He warns "our guts" when we need to take action and fight our way to someone's side, like when Angie fought satan, the rain and the clock to get to "the concert"/baby Luke. Many of us need to "wake up!" and expose situations we are willfully overlooking. Some of us need to rest, that is, to act as diligently as we can to protect others and then to stop living in fear, taunted by "vain imaginings" which drain our time and strength.

In spite of the horror of the assaults you investigate, NOTHING that happens to us is too big to keep us from His purposes for our life. As you know, "ALL THINGS work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose." That is not a trivial platitude. Only by the mighty grace of God will you and the kids and families be able to experience healing and reconciliation. As medical personnel experience, some healing is long in coming, requiring many painful treatments and surgeries. Sometimes the healing occurs when we are released from this broken, sin-stained planet.

You have been given excellent comfort and encouragement through those who have written before me, most of whom know you, admire you and love you dearly. Please read their words over and over and allow God to "refill your cup" which has been drained by the difficult work you do. I deeply honor your sacrifice. Thank you, thank you. I hope we join you in whatever capacity we can to work for the children. Thank you for your heart, your diligence, your skill. Thank you for opening up so that others can help bear this burden with you until you are released to do something else.

Go forth girded in the armor of God, every piece of which is Christ Himself: the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, the shield of faith to protect you from the fiery darts of the enemy and the shoes which are the readiness to announce the good news of peace. (Eph.6)

Gird your body, mind, will, emotions and spirit. NEVER go out naked. Arm yourself daily with the Word which is alive and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. Let the Word and the mind of Christ equip you with the insight and knowledge to divide the thoughts and intentions of the hearts you deal with. (See Heb. 4:12,13 and read Psalm 139 over and over.)

I pray you find your place in a faith community for the refreshment and support you so desperately need. Ask prayer warriors to toil with you. Be gentle with yourself and take time to heal from these heart-breaking, mind-numbing wounds.

Don't allow the enemy--yes, the enemy--the vile, cruel, ghastly enemy--to rob, steal and destroy you. "Leave all your worries with Him for He cares about you. Be alert. Be on watch for your enemy the devil roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Stand firm in your faith and resist him, knowing that your fellow believers in the whole world are going through the same kind of sufferings. After you have suffered for a little while, the Lord Himself who called you to share in His glory in union with Christ Jesus, will Himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength and a sure foundation. To Him be all glory forever and ever. Amen." I Peter 5

(Would "The Warrior is a Child?" by Twyla Paris encourage you at all?)

Know that I love you through the vast love of God who is Himself Love. His heart breaks with yours. That is why He came to lay down His life.

In Him, Michal Ann
Lake Forest Park, WA
(no blog but immichal@yahoo.com)

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