Updated: Jan 27, 2021
"Addicts, rapists, sex offenders, murderers -- these are the very people that God would also have me visiting with -- and, they all have the same thought. ."
“Why are you kind to me knowing what I have done?"
Several months ago, I was contacted by a woman running a practice in Lousiana named Dr. Shannon*. We have kept in touch as much as any two professionals are capable of. Recently, the correspondence was different as something was sparked in my LA friend, Dr. Shannon. I was so compelled by her story that I asked her permission to share it. My hope is that her spark will be passed on to you, and then someone else, making an infinite impact with one, little butterfly effect.
In so many words, Shannon asks what I question in Chapter 10 of Unraveled, "What if by one person showing grace and mercy it causes a lasting heart-change in another person?" (These rapists and murderers and victimizers.) Yet, God does change hearts. That same grace, that available redemption, is what keeps me in perfect peace. Not all victimizers repent and accept it, but my life has been changed by this principle and I stand by our ability to free victims when we offer the freedom found in Christ to victimizers. But, coming from someone in the trenches who deals with this level of evil and need every day, Shannon's insight makes a concept into a reality. I am the victim or a victimizer myself, but I am riveted by her words:
"We are called to judge wisely and love others as God loves us. I, Shannon, have the privilege of doing this by serving the “undeserving” and this is exactly where my passion lies.
Growing up I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field. I began my career as a registered nurse and worked in the emergency room, as well as, in pain management, a clinical instructor, as an electronic health records educator, and then in the psychiatric emergency room. I am now a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and I specialize in adolescence and corrections. Currently, I work in a mental health clinic and I am the medication management provider for the juvenile detention center, correctional center, and the parish prison.
I am from a small city in Louisiana just off of Interstate 10 where the population is just over 20,000. Despite our numbers, 10% of our population falls below the poverty line. The most impoverished area of our city is known as “Portie town.” This area has the highest rate of simple crimes and the highest use of drugs. In recent years our community has made a large shift to increasing the access of services, education, and training, all for the sake of empowering those specifically living in poverty. Serving my community is something I have done for many years in a variety of different aspects and I have grown to love my people here.
Due to COVID-19 causing closures of school, daycares, and work, I have spent a lot of time working from home.
This has caused me to really reflect on my life.
What is my purpose? Where am I supposed to be serving? What is God calling me to do? My heart has been stirring in emotions for a while with the realization of what’s going to become our life's new normal. Abnormality.
In the still, quiet of the night, while watching my children sleep, I have been praying and seeking God for discernment. He has very clearly answered that for me and has given several signs of confirmation.
Through working at the juvenile detention center I have treated victims of sex trafficking. This has led me to learn a great deal about this heinous crime. While searching for ways to further my knowledge, I came across Amanda Florczykowski’s book, Unraveled: Mothering Fiercely In A World of Fears. I reached out to her and got a copy for my office to share with the victims' parents.
Inside she wrote a note that concluded with, “Let’s change the world together.”
This sparked my flame.
Perhaps this is what I was created to do.
This past weekend I attended the Purpose through Pain virtual summit and guess who was a speaker, AMANDA! I remember staying up at least until 3 a.m. that night stalking her profile and reading about all of the things she is involved with. While reading on her website I again was praying and asking God to show me where He wanted to use me specifically in our community. Immediately after praying, I happened to see a headline that read “Able Moms: a turn-key ministry!”
Right then I knew exactly what God was telling me to do.
This was for me! I immediately sent an email that late at night asking how I could get connected.
I am looking forward to spearheading a local Able Moms Community and serving as a Coordinator in support of other moms. Specifically, the woman in the correctional center or in prison. Giving her knowledge to be an Able Mom will improve her confidence as a mother. And, Able Moms Int. Ministry will equip and empower her to be the best mother she can be once reunited with their children. We as mothers need to be bold and courageous enough to stand against fear."
Amen, Shannon. Amen. Mother fiercely.
"God has put us in very unique positions as mothers to protect our children from evil. It is my hope that in this world full of fears that we as mothers can walk by faith and confidently raise our children because of the assurances found in His Word."
I know you want your life to make a difference, or you wouldn't be reading this. You are one of those type of people -- unwilling to look the other way and desiring to evaluate your life. Maybe you are meant to lead an Able Moms Community, or access the platform within Vigilant Families to connect with local advocacy opportunities, or learn what you can in order to be empowered. Either way, I hope Shannon's words prove to your heart that you can make a difference and that God will be faithful to show you "exactly how" if you ask Him. (James 1:7)
*Dr. Shannon's name has been changed.
“The words on these pages are my testimony, my fearless narrative, and the first step in my own commitment telling the truth about this atrocity. So, I ask you to be a part of the conversation alongside me. A wave of committed truthtellers can't go unnoticed. For the sake of all children, it's time we speak out the truth in this world. Collectivley, unashamedly, and boldy."
"Unraveled is an indispensable resource for every intentional mom I have met while serving in this industry. Amanda not only brings awareness to child sex trafficking, and in an approachable, peer-to-peer manner, but she preemptively addresses the concern every mom has for her child's safety
and points them back to the truth necessary to combat evil. Five stars!"
O.U.R. Jump Team Member
“This is an incredibly important book for all moms to read. Amanda has done a beautiful job of helping us ponder questions in our own hearts, while also giving us an honest look of her own family’s experiences. Her story helps to equip us so that we can better protect our children in this fallen world. You will be riveted.”
CEO of And Then There Were None and inspiration for the major motion picture, Unplanned
“The crimes I have seen against children makes Unraveled a necessity for today and
Florczykowski’s bold voice draws parents to both truth and triumph.”
-FBI Child Exploitation Task Force Officer
Have you ordered your copy? Click the picture below.
Are you interested in learning how to be a Coordinator (co-leader) of a turn-key ministry at your church like "Dr. Shannon"?
We at Able Moms offer you everything you and your church needs. Able Moms equips mothers to be capABLE in parenting + unshakeABLE in her faith + memorABLE to her children. Meeting as relational, local communities twice per month and having access to solid online resources, activities, and videos, Able Moms has everything you need to mother well in the time you have your children from ages 0-6th grade. Email info@AbleMoms.org to receive resources and tools to help you get started or make a decision. Below is a brief promo video we'd love for you to share. Grab your tissues.
Is your child's safety worth more to you than their income is worth to a trafficker? Then, you need to invest in Vigilant Families online-anti child trafficking training. For only a one-time fee of $99 and $9.99 per month, your family can have unlimited access to anything and everything you as a parent need to know to stay informed and keep your children safe. Sex-traffickers, predators, and victimizers in interviews admit that they seek children who are easy targets; kids that lack confidence, are uninformed, naive, and vulnerable. I didn't think our family could become a statistic until we were. Vigilant Families outsmarts traffickers by empowering families. Here are some of the questions we give empowering answers:
What are 5 things my child under 5 should memorize?
What is peer-trafficking and how popular has it become?
How do I stand my ground against the normalization of pedophilia within the school classroom?
What is a MAP and how does it affect my family?
What are the most common places children are trafficked?
What are tips I should train my small child to use if separated from me?
How do I keep my teen safe from stranger manipulation on social and video games?
Visit www.VigilantFamilies.org and follow us on Facebook
Upcoming Podcasts & Speaking Engagements:
If you missed the Heart of Purpose with Desiree Siegfried, it’s now available here.
If you missed the Pain to Purpose Summit, a panel of 30 women sharing their incredible stories of God using the hard stuff in unimaginable ways, including mine, you can access it here.
And, watch my little sneak peek video here.
You can now listen to our interview about criticism in leadership and how sex trafficking forced me to overcome it on The Christian Woman Leadership Podcast with Esther Littlefield here.
We recorded Pastors Wives Tell All today. What a blast! Def check out their podcast.
Clarissa Christenson and I record for her podcast "Born for This" tomorrow. She is an amazing author and don't you love that podcast title?
I will keep you updated when my interview with the lovely Jayme Elizabeth drops. Her podcast "She Speaks Life" is award-winning and Jayme is entirely Spirit-led in preparing for her interviews.