A Free Advent Devotional for the Hard and Holy Holidays

Growing up, I didn’t know much about Advent.

Christmas cantatas, yes.

Live nativity scenes, yes.

Advent…not so much.

A few years ago, after I began attending St. Bartholomew’s in Nashville, Advent really took a hold on my heart: a time to prepare and reflect upon the coming Christ, his birth, death and resurrection, the narrative of Mary and Joseph, angels, dirt, mundane, pain, rejoicing.

Over time, I’ve written a few blog posts inspired by the season or on Christmas in general. Because as mystical and ponderous Advent is, the holiday season is hard for many people–myself included.

Family and travel and money and parties and finals and bad weather and schedules and so…many…things that distract and hurt and delight and remind us of a broken world, not a healed one.

We yearn for hope.

Last year, I compiled a month-full of Advent writings and made a little eBook.

It’s free. 

Just head over to Noisetrade and download it. 

Please share it with your friends, your family.

Study it by yourself or with a group of people.

Print off a million copies of it and give it to anyone you think could find it helpful.

It’s yours.

It’s my prayer that by taking just a couple of minutes each day as we approach Christmas to stop and breathe and pray and hope and to know we aren’t alone in this hard and holy season, we can live vulnerably in the dualities of joy and sadness and pain and peace.

Those tensions have been lived and wrestled in since the beginning of time but in this season we know the most beautiful moment is in our rest.

And we can rest and know we are loved and can love, we can rest in knowing hope and holiness, and we can rest knowing our Savior has come (and is here, now).

O’ come let us adore Him!

Let Your No Be Your Yes

Keep Going.

Photo Credit: Visionello, Flickr

Just because you may hear “no” a million times doesn’t mean that the biggest YES–the calling for you to change the world in whatever you way you are meant to change it–diminishes.

The “no” is water thrown next to the fire on the dirt.

It doesn’t touch the flame.

Keep going.

My New Book: 5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Their Kids & Sex – Cover Reveal!

You can order it now!

5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Their Kids and Sex

In Summer 2013, I wrote a letter to parents –Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Kids and Sex – and published it on my blog. Within a few days, millions of parents read, shared, and responded. They needed resources. With the help of doctors, psychologists, attorneys, counselors, law enforcement, technology and sex-industry experts, I researched, interviewed, and uncovered five things every parent needs to know about their kids and sex.

Now the book is written, has been edited, and is on its way to be printed. It publishes in May 2016, but I don’t want to wait another moment to get this conversation started. So…here we go.

You can go to the full landing page for the book here.

‘This is Miller’s best work. Miller’s book is really raw and really powerful, and an important lead in to this topic. She speaks as one with experience and authority, and has compiled a great list of stories, interviews, tools, questions and resources for parents to use with their kids.” – Rhett Smith, MDiv, LMFT Rhett Smith, MDiv, LMFT

Five Things Every Parent Needs to Know About their Kids and Sex: Real Help for the Toughest Talks

Most parents dread talking about sex with their children. Anne Marie Miller loves giving “the talk.” As she has shared her personal story and talked about God’s gift of sex with almost half a million young people, she’s noticed some disturbing patterns:

  • Google is how kids learn about sex
  • Kids are learning about sex and viewing pornography earlier than parents think
  • The sexually abused often don’t tell anyone for fear of getting in trouble
  • Sexual messages are being consumed daily through mainstream and social media
  • Most parents think their child is the exception

In this immensely practical and well-researched book, Anne:

  • Equips parents to have meaningful and age-appropriate conversations with their children about sex, pornography, and sexual abuse.
  • Advises parents on how to keep the lines of communication open so that their children know they can trust them with their fears, struggles, and mistakes.
  • Offers hope to worried parents that their children can grow up with a healthy biblical view of sex as a gift from God.
“Anne Marie Miller has done the work.  Her passion, intelligence and talent intersect and bring us something truly important in her book “Five Things Every Parent Needs to Know About their Kids and Sex.”  If we are honest with ourselves, it is easy to recognize the spiritual and sexual crisis facing our children today.  We may lack knowledge of the depth of this crisis that would stir in us a sense of urgency (Sometimes, we don’t know what to do with that sense of urgency!) Miller informs and instructs with humility and a confidence that is compelling. The intertwining of her research and her personal history gives the reader the distinct sense that she knows this topic inside and out, and it makes her determination to win back the hearts and minds of our children contagious. I am more equipped to be a better father after reading this book.”  Dr. David Long, M.D.


To inquire about Anne Marie Miller speaking at your event, please click here.

For other requests (interviews, information, or trade review copies), please click here.

When God Gives You a Miracle

Even if God has given me a miracle only for today, it is a miracle nonetheless.

Image Credit: Godaya Komen

I’ve always struggled with faith.

Not my belief in God (though sometimes, I have).

But my belief in what God can do.

And more specifically, what God can do in and through me.

I’m a pragmatist, even as emotional as I can be. I’m rational. I’m realistic.

In regard to healing, I’ve seen God heal others of much, and me of much.

I’ve also seen Him not heal, at least in the way people prayed. (True, they were “healed the other side of heaven,” but sometimes things just don’t make sense on this side.)

For twenty years, I’ve battled a painful fight with endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. It sounds weird, but essentially once a month, this tissue causes much inflammation, lesions, bleeding, and curl-up-in-a-ball-and-cry kinds of pain. It affects fertility and when it’s happening, I’m essentially useless for two or three days. It hurts to walk. To eat. To watch TV.

I’ve had surgery to have it removed, but as long as there are hormones in my body, it will always come back. The only true “cure” is a radical hysterectomy, removing all reproductive parts, and staying off estrogen therapy, which causes early, surgical menopause – a much faster, more intense process than the normal “change of life.”

It would also mean ending any chance Tim and I have of biologically conceiving our own baby, without going to extreme measures.

Sunday night and into Monday, it felt like a fire was ripping through my abdomen, down my legs, up to my shoulders, into my knees. Tim and I were supposed to go to a movie premiere for a movie about healing, Holy Ghost Reborn​, but thought it would be best if I stayed home instead and he went.

I started looking for an OBGYN in Iowa to discuss options, including a radical hysterectomy. I fell asleep. I woke up and asked Tim if they had started praying after the movie yet, and if not, if he could go up there to pray with someone about this.

As my text made it through to him, he was already on his way for prayer.

A woman named Anne (yep), met him in the front and asked what she could pray for. He explained our situation.

The other Anne also suffered from endometriosis.

The other Anne said my faith has made me well (important to note: this was also the passage we studied at church on Sunday, which I shouldn’t have heard because I was supposed to work in the nursery, but someone else really wanted to work in there instead, so I was able to be in the service).

The other Anne said we’d have many kids (I’m hoping not any more fur babies; two dogs are enough, thanks).

And when I received the texts from Tim telling me this, I began weeping in bed, still grieving the miscarriages from this year, afraid that it could be true, that I could be healed, afraid that it wasn’t true, that I could not be healed.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.48.17 AM

Because God doesn’t always heal people like we think.

Tim got home, told me to put my jeans back on and believe the T-shirt I was wearing. “What t-shirt?” I had dressed for bed in the dark. I looked down and was wearing the “Jesus Loves You” t-shirt Tim’s friend made. We were going to go back to the movie theatre and get more prayer.

A few minutes later, we pulled in.

Nobody was there.

My Doubting Thomas said, “See? see? This healing isn’t for you!”

Tim calls our pastor, Dan.

“Can you guys pray over Anne?”

Ten minutes later, late at night, we arrived at Dan’s house. I waddled in, hunched over in pain, still crying, still confused, still angry, still grieving, and still hopeful. I was honest. I said I don’t believe God always heals, so I should have no right to expect it. I don’t want to get my hopes up and be let down. My faith is already so small.

Dan and his wife Sarah prayed over us. My body felt numb and I didn’t know why. Pain meds? All the crying and emotions and it was late? An hour later we walked out, exhausted. I went straight to bed when we got home, my eyes swollen and painful from crying.

I slept through the night, only rising when a dog kicked me in the ribs. My eyes were still sore, but I wandered into the kitchen for some water. Looking out the window, over the bluffs and allowing my eyes adjust to the new light of day, I realized something.

I felt…different.

I wasn’t in pain.

If you know anything about endometriosis, the pain doesn’t just suddenly stop, especially in the middle of an episode. It may lessen or come and go, but it doesn’t stop.

But more than the lack of pain, something in my heart–that hole that was left by knowing how broken my insides are–the grief that has been weighing on me for most of this year…it was gone.

It was removed.

I tiptoed around the apartment getting ready to run to the grocery store, afraid if I made too much noise, somehow the pain, both the physical and emotional pain, would wake up and come back.

But it didn’t.

I told friends who were praying for me, fighting for me, waging war in the heavens for me, what happened. I confessed to Sarah my fear that it was surreal, and reality would set in soon. She wrote back:

“There was an old African village lady God healed in the movie, a witch doctor, but she did not smile. The guy explained that the older generation always had a saying…’don’t smile today because tomorrow you will cry.’

The pastor that healed her (who had a crazy story) said, ‘I smile today because I don’t care about tomorrow!’ Meaning he was thankful for the miracles today held, and he fully trusted God for whatever tomorrow held. Eventually they got this old lady who had been healed to smile and even dance. It was precious. Enjoy your miracle today!”

Do I know what will happen tomorrow? At this time next month? In a year? Will I have a baby, or a radical hysterectomy? Will I be sidelined with pain or dancing in new healing?

I don’t.

But as my friend Sarah says, I will enjoy my miracle today.

After I returned from the grocery store, Tim asked how I felt. Being a non-verbal processor, I wasn’t quite sure how to put into words what happened. Honestly? A part of me was afraid to say, “I think I’m healed.” But the words slowly made it out of my mouth.

He sat in the orange chair across from the sectional, ADD getting the best of him, and while celebrating with me, noticed a weird reflection on our ceiling.

“What’s that reflection coming from?” I looked up and saw some red.

“Oh, it’s probably that red bottle on the window sill.”

He moved it, the reflection didn’t change.

“Are you kidding me? Look how big it is!” A full array of colors, a rainbow, displayed over me on the ceiling. Tim looked out the window and noticed the sunrise was shining on a No Parking sign down on the street, five floors down.

The sign was reflecting that rainbow all the way into our apartment window, directly over me, at that very moment.

“It’s God’s promise to you.” Tim said.

This does not feel normal to me. It does not feel comfortable. The devil and the angel on my shoulders are still playing a game of tug-of-war. But I have been surrounded by prayer, covered in promises, and so I will walk in faith. I will take up my mat and tell, I will sing, I will dance, and I will smile about what God has done.

Even if God has given me a miracle only for today, it is a miracle nonetheless.

And to Him be the glory for the things He has done.

Can You Believe What Playboy Just Announced?

A risky move to applaud? Or evidence that the digital world is over exposed?


Playboy’s Bold New Move:

Tim and I were about to leave our apartment and walk to a nearby coffee shop to meet with a friend. As I fastened my jacket and debated wearing a scarf, he surfs on his phone on the other side of the room.

“What’s going on with Playboy?” he asks, innocently enough.

When the words “Playboy” exit your pastor-husband’s mouth, it’s enough to cause some minor heart palpitations, especially when you’re in the final editing stages of your book, 5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About their Kids and Sex (May 17, 2016). In the book, I briefly report on the creation and escalation of the pornography industry, including Playboy making a notable debut.

The thoughts that run through my mind: Why is my husband looking at something having to do with Playboy? Wait, did something about Playboy change and now I’m going to have to update my book again? And of course, with the increasing amount of hardcore of pornography on the internet, I wonder if Playboy made some big announcement to take XXX to XXXXXXXXXXXXXX?

I cautiously responded, What do you mean, ‘What’s going on with Playboy?‘”

“They’re taking away nude images?”

I blink. I rattle my head to make sure my first two cups of coffee have made it up to the blood in my brain.

“I’m sorry, they’re what?

“Next March, they’re doing away with nude images in their magazines.”

We are late for our meeting, so we briskly walk in the autumn wind discussing why? Because sex sells, right? And Playboy is iconic. And even if they start covering up, their pictures are still sensual and provocative–some would argue they objectify the female form (myself included).

“It makes sense,” I said, with a year of researching the history of pornographic magazines and websites under my belt (sorry, mom and dad. I have a weird yet awesome job.) It’s a counter-cultural, interrupt the status-quo type move. They’ve always wanted to project the “girl-next-door” look from the beginning, but they fell into the trap of biology and human nature: the mind wants more…well less, so to speak. The brain desensitizes to “soft core” porn and craves greater amounts of skin and greater amounts of the forbidden.

Tim, with his film-making background responds with a great analogy: “What are most horror movies rated?”


“Exactly. They make it as close to an ‘R’ rating as they can get, but tone it back so that 13 year olds can watch it. It generates more revenue.”

Now, while Playboy claims its new style will be PG-13, the 18-year-old purchase restriction still applies (but let’s be honest; how many people actually waited until they were 18 to see Playboy? I was 11. Another girl friend of mine was 10. For kicks, I asked three gentlemen in the coffee shop how old they were when they saw their first Playboy. One, a 31-year old, said he was probably “in sixth grade” but didn’t quite remember. The other, a 48-year old, said he was in elementary school, “maybe fifth grade? Eleven?” A third, who is 37, found his under the bridge in their town when he was only nine.)

Even the man behind the idea, a top editor at Playboy, comments:

Don’t get me wrong,” Mr. Jones said of the decision to dispense with nudity, “12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it’s the right thing to do.”

Cory Jones, chief content officer at Playboy. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Cory Jones, chief content officer at Playboy. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Responding to the News:

At first, I’ll admit, I was happy with the news. Do I like the idea of any woman, of any person, being objectified for sexual gratification (or any other purpose for that matter?) Absolutely not. But in a click-away-from-hard-core-porn society, I appreciate the disruption and their choice to move in a way that totally diverts from what every other porn industry company is doing–while the others continue pushing the “raunchier the better” envelope–Playboy takes a risk and tries something new in “an industry that’s running out of ideas,” as one porn producer said.

At the same time, there’s still the core issue of our sexuality as people created in the image of God. Sex is awesome. The way God formed a woman and a man is beautiful, inside and out, soul and body. We are reflections of Him, and to consume a person as a product is, at the minimum, so far away from His plan for us.

Then, the cover up by Playboy shows us a very stark reality of the state of the porn industry.

For a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance.

Pornography Fuels Sex Trafficking:

One final thought: Porn fuels sex trafficking. Not every porn star hangs out in Heff’s mansion wearing a bunny tail on her tush. Some people are legally hired to create pornography, but there’s a heck of a lot of them–mostly women and children–who aren’t. Consider my trip to Moldova and how I saw with my own eyes girls get bought and sold on a patio at a nice cafe. 30,000 women go missing in this small country every year. I doubt they’re signing up to be held captive and make pornography that profits someone else.


I’ll give you a sneak peek from my next book in regard to this issue:

Remember, the more a person uses porn, the greater the amount and explicitness required to achieve the same level of satisfaction. This means more women and children are becoming commodities in this industry—and being forced to do these things we deem now as “disgusting.” Studies prove that for some regular porn users, pornographic acts they found disgusting in the past now turn them on.[i] And as you can imagine, it’s harder for the so-called “legit” porn producers to hire people to do those extreme things. It’s much easier—and less expensive—for people to be kidnapped, devalued, dehumanized, and turned into nothing more than sex slaves.

One Final Thought:

While the decision Playboy announced to cut out nudity is one to applaud (maybe with a slow clap? I’m still very torn.), we still have a long way to go as we learn about what God’s purpose is for our sexuality.


  • God does not want us to “cover up” our sexuality.
  • Sex is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • We do not need proverbial fig leaves to separate us from embracing our sexuality.

But, as technology and the economy of sex continues to change, we need to remain educated and unafraid to have conversations about sex, about trafficking, and about pornography with our friends and our families. Will Playboy removing overt nudity bring a greater acceptance to pornography in general? As the 31-year-old in the cafe said (we got into a lengthier discussion), “Why wouldn’t I pick up a new version of Playboy? It’s essentially a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Nobody’s going to think I’m a freak for looking at that. It seems tamer than Maxim in some ways.”

[i] Journal of Adolescent Health 27, “Influence of Unrestrained Access to Erotica on Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Dispositions Toward Sexuality”, Zillmann, D., 2000, pp. 41–44.

To be notified about news for my book 5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Their Kids and Sex, click here.

To Not Hurt is To Not Be Human

Dear friends,

I hesitated posting this publicly, but I need an army surrounding me now. And I don’t want hate or lies to win. I also don’t want the person who was the impetus behind this post to know that his words hurt–not because they were truth spoken in love–but because he could not be further from the truth.

But hateful things will not win. It is always my goal to bring light to darkness, so here I am, asking for your prayers.

In the last few days, I have been really down as I realized we would be just a couple months away from meeting our baby … I would be 7 months pregnant if we didn’t have the miscarriage back in April.

Now, these thoughts come and go and I know I can feel the sadness and the joy of her life and the other myriad of emotions and I talk to Tim and friends about them and it’s okay.

And it’s okay to not be okay.

Last night, after feeling this sadness consistently for a few days, I got a random comment from a stranger on my site essentially telling me the miscarriage was God punishing me for the mistakes of my past, and the consequences of the actions of others that have affected my life circumstances.

I deleted the comment and blocked the person from leaving comments, but he still sent an email that was not very kind. Or true. In any way.

They are lies, and even though I recognize them as such, still sting. I rarely have an emotional response to “hate mail” after ten years of doing this, but when you say that our baby died because of these things, well, it really really sucks. (That’s the most appropriate word I feel as if I can or want to use, but there are other words that come to mind in my human nature).

I know that (sadly) in my experience, the closer to a book launch I get, the more haters come out. They spew lies, ridiculous lies, and yet with that knowledge, to not be hurt by them would be to not be human.

It is resistance in its purest form.

Thanks for letting me share this with you guys.

My heart could use some prayers.

And I know I need to pray for those who hurt me, and let it go. (So, in the chance that the person who sent those hurtful and untrue comments and emails into the anonymity of the Internet, I am praying for you, and forgiving you too, by God’s grace and God’s grace alone).

Much love,

One Year “Lean on Me” Anniversary Sale!

Get a copy of "Permission to Speak Freely" for free!


Can you believe it?

It’s been exactly a year since my last book Lean on Me: Finding Intentional, Vulnerable and Committed Community published! To celebrate, if you order a copy of LOM from my store and use coupon code FREEPTSF we will send you a copy of my second book Permission to Speak Freely for FREE!


Thanks for all your prayers and support over the years!

Three Things You Need to Know About Your Kids, Porn, and Sex




Follow Up Post to “Three Things…”

20 Resources to Help talk to Your Kids

My Story – Part 1

My Story – Part 2


Dear Parents,

Please allow me a quick moment to introduce myself before we go further. My name is Anne Marie Miller. I’m 36 years old. I’m newly married to a wonderful man named Tim. We don’t have any children here on earth yet (two in heaven), but we’re planning on it. For the purpose of this letter, you need to know I’m a recovering addict. Pornography was my drug of choice.

I grew up in the church – the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher man with a passion for learning the Bible. I was the honors student; the athlete; the girl who got along with everyone from the weird kids to the popular ones. It was a good life. I was raised in a good home.

It was 1996, I was sixteen, and the Internet was new. After my family moved from a sheltered, conservative life in west Texas to the ethnically and sexually diverse culture of Dallas/Fort Worth, I found myself lonely, curious, and confused.


Because of the volatile combination of life circumstances: the drastic change of scenery when we moved, my dad’s depression, and a youth pastor who sexually abused me during my junior year of high school, I turned to the Internet for education. I didn’t know what certain words meant or if what the youth pastor was doing to me was good or bad and I was too afraid to ask. What started as an innocent pursuit of knowledge quickly escalated into a coping mechanism.

When I looked at pornography, I felt a feeling of love and safety – at least for a moment. Pornography provided me both an emotional and a sexual release. But those brief moments of relief disappeared and I was left even more ashamed and confused than when I started.

For five years I carried this secret. I was twenty-one when I finally opened up to a friend only because she opened up to me first about her struggle. We began a path of healing in 2001 and for the last fourteen years, although not a perfect journey, I can say with great confidence God has set me free from that addiction and from the shame that followed. I’ve since returned to school to study the science behind addiction and family dynamics.

Over the last eight years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in a variety of venues: thousands of college students, men, women and teens. In the summer of 2013 (when I first published this article), I was invited to speak at several camps to both junior high and high school students and it’s without exaggeration when I tell you with each year I counsel students, the numbers and the stories shock me more and more.

There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.

This summer, by a long stretch, was the “worst” in terms of what secrets I learned students carried. After my last night speaking at my last camp, I retreated to my room and collapsed on the bed face-first. Tim simply laid his hand on my back to comfort me.


I could not logically reconcile in my mind all the confessions I heard over the summer with the children who shared them. While every story was unique in the details, in most situations, there were three common themes that kept surfacing.

  1. Google is the new Sex-Ed: Remember the first time you, as a parent, saw pornography? Likely it was a friend’s parent who had a dirty magazine or maybe you saw something somebody brought to school. Now, when a student hears a word or phrase they don’t understand, they don’t ask you what it means (because they fear getting in trouble). They don’t ask their friends (because they fear being ashamed for not knowing). They ask Google.Google won’t judge them for not knowing. Because of our short attention spans and desire for instant gratification, they don’t click the first link that shows up – they go straight to Google Images. In almost all the stories I heard, this is how someone was first exposed to pornography – Google Image searching. The average age of first exposure in my experience was 9 years old.Google Sex Image Search
  2. If Your Child was Ever Molested, You Likely Don’t Know: Another extremely common theme was children being inappropriately touched, often by close family members or friends. When I was molested at sixteen, I didn’t tell a soul until I was in my twenties. I didn’t tell my mother until I was twenty-eight. The stigma and shame of being a victim coupled with the trauma that happens with this experience is confusing to a child of any age: our systems weren’t made to process that event. Many things keep children from confessing abuse: being told they’ve made it up or are exaggerating, being a disappointment, and in most cases, getting the other person in trouble. While a child can look at pornography without being abused, children who have been molested by and large look at pornography and act out sexually. 
  3. Your Child is Not the Exception: After speaking with a youth pastor at a camp, he said most parents live with the belief their child is the exception. Your child is not. The camps I went to this summer weren’t camps full of children on life’s fringes that one would stereotypically believe experience these traumatic events or have access to these inappropriate things. You must throw your stereotypes aside. Most of the children at these camps were middle class, mostly churched students.Let me give you a snapshot of a few things I heard from these students:
  • They’ve sent X-rated photos of themselves to their classmates (or received them).
  • They’ve exposed themselves to strangers on the Internet or through sexting.
  • They’ve seen pornography.
  • They’ve read pornography.
  • They’ve watched pornography.
  • The girls (and boys) compare their bodies to the ones they see in ads at the mall or of actrors and keep those images hidden on their phone (or iPod, or whatever device they have) so they can try to imitate them.
  • They question their sexual orientation.
  • They’ve masturbated for sexual gratification, even if they don’t know what it technically is.
  • They know exactly where and in what movies sex scenes are shown and they watch them for sexual gratification.
  • They’ve had a same-sex experience out of curiosity or mirroring what they see in the media.


But maybe you’re right. Maybe your child is the exception. I would argue at this juncture in life, being the exception is as equally dangerous.

At the end of every session I presented I intentionally and clearly directed students to ask me or another leader if they didn’t understand or know what a certain word meant. “Do not go to the Internet and look it up.”

Sure enough, there is always the child who stays behind until everyone leaves and quietly asks what the word “porn” means or if God is angry because that boy or girl from down the street told them it was okay for them to touch them “down there.” There is the child in the back row who leans over to his friend and asks, “what does molest mean?” and the other boy shrugs.

This summer, I am beyond grateful that mature adults were available to answer those questions with grace and tact and maturity; that we were in a setting that was safe for questions and confessions. It was entirely appropriate. Not every child gets that opportunity. Most won’t. Most will find out from the Internet or from a peer who isn’t equipped to provide the correct answer in the correct context. Even I don’t feel like the church should be the first responder in ongoing conversations about sex. You, the parent, should be.

Parent and Child


I can’t not tell you these things. After seeing the innocence in the eyes of ten-year olds who’ve carried secrets nobody, let alone a child, should carry; after hearing some of the most horrific accounts from students I’ve ever heard this year, I cannot go one more day without pleading with you to open up and have these difficult conversations with your children. Would you prefer your son or daughter learn what a “fetish” is from you or from searching Google Images? Talk to them about abuse and yes, even trafficking.

Just this month I met a relative of a girl whose own mother was selling her body from the time she was five until now, when she’s sixteen. This was not in some drug-infested ghetto you’d see on a news story. It was in a very upscale town in a very upscale state known for its nature and beauty and summer houses. Abuse does not discriminate.

Your children need to know about sex now. If not for them, maybe for a friend. Maybe they can help bring context or see warning signs.

Ask them what they know. Ask them what they’ve done. Ask them what’s been done to them. Show grace and love. Stay far away from judgment and condemnation. If you feel ill-equipped, ask a pastor or counselor for help. If you hear an answer you didn’t expect and your first instinct is to dismiss it – don’t. Find a counselor. Look for resources. Continue following up. If you struggle with this (and let’s admit it, statistically, a lot of us do), get help too.

Do the right thing, the hard thing, for the sake of your children. If we don’t do this now, I am terrified of how the enemy will continue stealing hope and joy from our youngest generation and how they’ll be paralyzed to advance the Kingdom of God as they mature.

*Update: The focus of this article is on the conversation, not the action, though as parents, you need to be aware of the fact young children are experiencing these things. I feel the need to clarify none of these actions make someone a “bad” person. While this specific list does contain things many people with a Christian background consider to be “sin,” it is lack of communication that makes this dangerous at any age.

Most of us go through exploratory phases before sexual phases: a three-year old masturbating because he knows it feels good and a seventeen year old masturbating to porn for a sexual release are two different things.

If your child is uninformed or uneducated about things they need to know based on what is appropriate for their age and sexual development, regardless of your beliefs, it leads to shame and self-doubt. And that is not what sex is ever, ever about.

*Specific details that could identify children have been changed in such a way that it does not affect the story and only protects the children. Mandatory Reporters reported confessions that involved abuse or neglect or situations that indicated a child was in any type of danger by using proper state laws and procedures.

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