My goal from the beginning has been to have a place where the facts of Tina's story were compiled in one place so Tina could see how much support was given to her, so pastors and churches that were willing could learn about the damaging effects of not properly handling abuse cases, and where resources could be put for survivors and churches.
Looking back, I can see some of the positive results from this blog. There have been many encouraging notes for Tina over the past 3.5 years. In fact, hundreds of people sent messages of support before the trial of Ernie Willis in May 2011. There have been some wonderfully supportive pastors and even some encouraging strides for the public message of the right way for churches to handle abuse.
For this post though, I just want to share some things from my heart about Tina. They are things that I wish everyone could see about the amazing woman, mom and wife that Tina is and the beautiful heart she has.
Things I wish everyone could see about Tina
- Testifying isn't something she wants to do, but something she is willing to do because she knows it is right.
- Any pain she experiences is worth it if even one child is saved from being a potential victim of a convicted sex offender.
- Her main concerns aren't for herself, but for her children and her mother. Yes, you read her words correctly--for the woman that gave birth to her and then rejected a natural mother's heart to choose again and again an abusive husband that wasn't the children's birth father. The man that has gone to prison twice for beating her children. The man that is also a convicted sex offender.
2. What kind of mom she is to her children. I've been able to spend a considerable amount of time with Tina and her family--especially with the surgeries that her youngest daughter had. These are my personal observations.
- She is deeply compassionate and kind. There has been a lot of trauma in their family with their youngest daughter having so many surgeries.
- Her patience knows no boundaries!
- She has a great sense of humor. There is a lot of laughing and fun in her home. Sometimes I just shake my head and laugh at her pranks on the kids (like wadded up tissue in their shoes for April Fool's day or putting ice down someone's back when they aren't looking).
- She really cares about providing healthy meals and snacks. She gets up at 4:00 a.m. every other Saturday morning to organize, sort and load baskets for two different co-ops so her family gets plenty of fresh veggies and fruits affordably. Her children think she's a great cook and prefer eating at home to eating out (my kids love to eat out--probably because I do LOL).
- She teaches her children from a relational position. She isn't afraid of her authority as "Mom" but she doesn't wield it like a weapon or some artificial power play. For instance, if one of the kids is extra wiggly and having a tough time concentrating on homework, she offers five minutes on the trampoline or a bike ride around the park. She understands what normal is and has appropriate expectations by age. She realizes that behavior indicates needs and works to meet those needs.
- She's a tireless advocate for her children's needs at school.
- She sets aside time for her children to read, lets them earn video game time and helps them stay active by planning outdoor play.
- She lets them help in the kitchen, even if it makes a mess and then helps them clean up.
- She teaches them how to do basic chores and lets them be accountable for things they can do by themselves. She rewards jobs well done and reteaches when necessary.
- Her children love her and are very affectionate with her. They know that their mom loves them unconditionally. They trust her. They feel safe with her. They know she is on their side and will never hurt them.
- I've watched them together. It's obvious that Tina loves Tim very much. I have absolutely no doubt that Tim trusts her completely.
- She respects Tim and manages the things she cares for in a way that he never has to worry.
- She speaks loving words often. It's not unusual to hear her say, "Hi Handsome" when he calls her on the phone.
- Tim is pretty amazing himself. Their marriage is a beautiful example of Jesus' love for us. They are unselfish with each other and work hard to provide security, love and safety for their family.
4. Tina as a friend.
- She's had no shortage of difficult circumstances in her life over the past few years, yet she's offered me just as much support as a friend as I have ever given her. I have observed her to be this way with all her friends.
- I have never known her to ever be selfish. I've watched her give sacrificially to others in need. I've truly been amazed by this.
- Tina never tries to draw attention to herself or her own needs. Instead, she is thoughtful and tries to think of ways to help others.
- She is a beautiful picture of what God's grace can do in healing. It's not that she doesn't have bad days, but she is transparent and real about them and gets the help she needs.
- She has an amazing capacity to love and encourage others. I see Jesus in her.