Marie Pflugrad has experienced trauma, heartache and addiction. After bouts with anxiety and depression, she sought out a certified EMDR therapist. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy helps treat individuals for post-traumatic stress disorder. Through EMDR therapy, Marie’s repressed memories came to light which allowed her to work through them and find hope.
It allowed her to heal, forgive and move on. And she felt called to turn that pain into a ministry.
A pastor’s wife and retired schoolteacher raised in the mountains of Colorado, Marie has been on a journey of healing and recovery which inspired her to write a biography. When finished, she felt called to write a children’s book to help them recognize they have a means to protect themselves; they have a voice. The book adds awareness of the epidemic of childhood sexual abuse and is meant to be used as a preventative tool.
Pflugrad says, “The shame that is connected to a child who trusts someone and is lured into doing or allowing someone to do something to them comes back on the child. They tend to feel guilt for it. They feel as if it was their fault, that they caused this bad thing to happen. This is why they do not speak up. Children need to know that it is okay to listen to the warning signs going off in their minds; to trust that not all things that spark their curiosity are good for them, but in fact can be very harmful.”
While “stranger danger” has been taught and most children are aware of what to do in the event of an attempted abduction by strangers, there is not a lot of awareness about the abuses that take place by those we do know. Pflugrad’s goal is to make this book available to all people and organizations who spend time with children in any capacity. She wants children to learn “luring” signs and to listen to their inner voice.
COVID and Child Abuse
COVID-19 has shut down many corners of the world. Because of need, desperation and inability to go to schools or trusted daycare facilities, children are being left in environments parents normally would not use. There are concerns over the reported abuse cases on the rise during the virus, which makes the publishing of this book timely. “While child molestation is nothing new, it is reaching the point that awareness and action need to meet. Cautious steps must be taken to protect our children, so they don’t have to go down a path that I did.” says Pflugrad.
Her goal is not to make children distrustful or cause unmerited suspicion; however, parents need to ask more specific questions when leaving their children in another’s care. “The devil has a way of trying to destroy the lives of children, and this was a catalyst for writing these two books,” says Pflugrad. “First I needed to get to the root of my own issues and find healing from the repressed trauma I dealt with from my own childhood sexual abuse. Then as an educator, my desire to bring this epidemic to the surface sparked the children’s book, You Have a Voice, which can be seen as a companion book to the first.”
Pflugrad was asked to be a part of the 2020 Ministry Expo at the NAD CALLED Pastors’ Family Convention and display her book in Lexington earlier this year. Due to COVID-19 the CALLED Convention was postponed, as well as other educator conventions where she had hoped to participate. Her book will be available in Adventist Book Centers and Advent Source in the near future.
Visit Marie Pflugrad’s website for more information and educational resources: www.youhaveavoice.org She is passionate to share her message of hope and is available for speaking engagements. “My God ‘hole’ has been filled. I am now God ‘whole’,” she says.