Coming Out of the Fire

I had the opportunity to talk with crisis coach Faydra Koenig on her podcast recently. You can join Faydra, America’s Crisis Coach, on iTunes as she interviews high-achievers who faced unimaginable obstacles and came out on top. She presents a bold approach to crisis management. I hope you’ll take a minute to listen!

Grab your listen here:

A Journey to Heal

I am so excited to introduce you to Crystal Sutherland and her newly released book, A Journey to Heal. Crystal and I met as a result of our similar journeys and her book is a wonderful resource for anyone who has been affected by sexual abuse. Journey to Heal is a path of hope and healing for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

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In this book, a woman who was sexually abused as a child is confronted with many internal questions: Am I worthless? Will I get past the pain? Do I matter to God? These and similar questions can carve a deep hole in an already wounded soul. Too often, the lies of worthlessness are believed, the pain becomes too much to handle, and survivors find themselvesmaking choices that lead to more heartbreak. With over 42 million survivors (both male and female) in the United States alone, the need for a clear path to healing is great.

11143532_10208014282210795_3670148504723465899_oCrystal Sutherland-herself a survivor of CSA -knows that while the recovery process iscomplex, healing is possible with God’s help. For women who want to progress from simply coping to living abundantly, this book guides readers through seven essential steps to recovery found in Scripture.Candid and open about her personal journey of healing, Crystal comes alongside her reader as a friend who understands. Infused with biblical truths, stories of hope from other survivors, and practical wisdom, this book leads women to discover the life of wholeness God has for them.


I am so excited and humbled this morning. I just found out that my book, “Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light” has won the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award for Non-Fiction!

When I first published this book, I was full of fear, but trusted God in every step of the journey. I share my story to provide hope and healing to others and have had the opportunity to meet many incredible people and hear other women’s stories of abuse. Thank you to everyone who has supported my journey.

God is so good!


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Me too!

Isn’t it reassuring when you find out that someone else has a similar situation or problem as you? When we are filled with doubt or concern, the words ME TOO, can make us feel less alone. Perhaps it’s a situation at work or difficulty in a relationship. Maybe it’s something from the past that we’ve been nervous to share. We begin to wonder if it’s just us and when we make that connection it is a relief! Finding others who have a similar past or current situation is comforting. This is why it’s important that we share our journey with others.

When a counselor who I had been seeing suggested that I share my story, my initial reaction was to laugh. I had kept my past, my secret, for all these years, why would I share it?


But something kept nudging me and her words kept replaying in my head, “What if you could help someone who is suffering like you did for so long?”

I remember the sick, scared feeling I had in my stomach the first time I shared my story of being sexual abused with others. I feared being judged and feelings of shame and guilt from the past flooded my thoughts. When I finished, I was surprised to find that audience members were coming up to thank me for sharing. And then something that I hadn’t expected happened. The guests, people I didn’t know, starting telling me that they had a similar past…..what? Women told me that they too had never told anyone. As much as it comforted me, I also felt angry and sad.

How is it that in a culture of tell-all, reality TV, there are so many suffering in silence? We donate money and time to help others in foreign countries, but aren’t addressing the serious issues that are in our own churches, neighborhoods and schools.

We need to come forward, get past the shame and guilt and help each other heal. The more we do, the more we can bring attention to this all too common issue and prevent it from happening to others.

This is why I share my story.


I recently had the opportunity to appear on Real Life and Real Life 360 on Cornerstone TV in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I shared my story with the hope of helping others realize that they aren’t alone. God loves us…messy past and all!

My story is not just mine.

When people read my book, I often hear, “Wow, you’re brave.” Telling a personal story that involves pain is scary and makes you vulnerable, but I feel strongly that it is important in order to help others. I kept my secret until I was 43 years old. Scared of being judged, I was full of guilt and shame. Today I am able to tell my story as a testimony to God’s grace. I will continue to share in order to help other women understand that they are not alone. My story may shock some, but it is one of many….

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN):

Victims of sexual assault are:

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

I am one of the lucky ones. Thanks to God’s grace and my ability to forgive my abusers, I am able to live a life full of love. As you can see from the statistics above, many aren’t as lucky.

My goal is to help others find freedom and healing through God’s grace. This is why I chose to share my story.

My story is about much more than just me. l-298041

Can you imagine?

Imagine being a young child trapped in a seemingly hopeless situation with a sexually abusive father and alcoholic mother- with no one to tell and no place to go.

How would you survive?

Imagine hanging onto a faith that you haven’t been exposed to, hoping that there is a God who will help you.

How would you pray?

Imagine spending every day of your life pretending to be someone who you aren’t.

How would you keep smiling?

Imagine being determined enough to keep searching for freedom when all you feel is trapped.

Where would you find hope?

Imagine if survival required denying and avoiding the past.

Would you be able to forget?

Imagine the joy in finding what you searched for your whole life?

Would you feel worthy?

Imagine feeling called to forgive the two people who hurt you.

How would you respond?

Imagine having faith strong enough to get past a lifetime of hurt….

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To be able to come out of the darkroom and into the light.

I invite you to come on this journey of faith and forgiveness with me.

Available November 23 and

The story behind my blog


When I first started blogging, I chose the title “Grace” and Ephesians2v8 because I believe strongly that it was God’s grace that allowed me to survive a childhood of physical and emotional abuse from my parents. I pursued Him my entire life and once I understood what it meant to have faith, developed a relationship with Christ, and believed, He gave me the strength to forgive them. Not long after that, He gave me another gift; the power to share my story with others. I have written a book and hope to have it published by the end of this year.

This scripture means a lot to me and know that I can’t take credit for what I have accomplished. It is a gift from God!

Forgiving the unforgivable

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I survived a childhood of physical and emotional abuse from the two people who were supposed to love me the most. My coping mechanism was to avoid (the memories) and deny (that anything was wrong). I struggled with the idea of forgiveness for a long time. I didn’t want to forgive my parents, because I believed that they didn’t deserve it. What I learned was that by forgiving, I was able to release my pain and entrust justice to God. My forgiveness didn’t excuse what they did; it allowed me to stop being the victim.