I remember like it was yesterday. I was at my first women’s conference with some ladies from my church. One of the speakers came out onto the stage and I thought, “Wow, she looks like an angel.” She quickly had us laughing at some funny stories, and then she started to share some of the bad decisions she had made in her life. I could totally relate to bad decisions, and when she shared that she had been sexually abused as a child I remember feeling alarms go off inside of me. I sat there stiff, holding my breath wondering “How did she become an angel? How?”
I knew right then and there that whatever had happened with her, could never happen with me. Any hope that sparked was overturned by the loud voices in my head screaming that I was not like her! It was as if I was stranded on an island and the helicopter that came to rescue me was flying away in the opposite direction. I couldn’t and wouldn’t be rescued. I could only continue to do what I knew how to do – survive and keep my mouth shut.Fourteen years later, I started my own healing journey and was in counseling. I had just read the book The Wounded Heart by Dan Allender, but I still had that nagging question. How can I be healed? How do you go from hiding the single biggest secret of your life to even talking about it?
I would walk into used book stores, head down in shame, and buy any books I could find on Childhood Sexual Abuse. I would pay cash and then hide the books. Some were helpful, but very few had a Christian perspective. I simply wanted to know the answer to this question – How can I go from living in the pit of shame to being healed by Jesus and what does that process even look like? It was a mystery to me and it seemed impossible.
Today, that book finally exists!
Crystal Sutherland just released the book that I wish I had found four years ago when I was desperately looking for a map that said, “This is the way! It is possible. You are not alone. Keep going!” Her new book, Journey to Heal, guides readers through the seven essential steps of healing. Crystal combines personal stories and scripture to point to the light and hope that Jesus offers for survivors. Each chapter ends with a Journey Essentials section which includes prayer, scripture, journaling and thanksgiving.
I found her writing engaging and transparent. As you read each chapter, you will feel like you are meeting with a friend over coffee. The steps are so helpful and while you may take your steps in a different order or at a different pace, they truly are all essential steps. Crystal is a wonderful cheerleader and encourager along the way.
My favorite quote is, “The abuse we suffered is a part of our individual stories, but when we trust God with our lives, He writes the final chapter. He has the last say. What the enemy of our soul meant for evil, God can turn around for good, and He is able to turn our ashes into something beautiful, and to turn our grief into joy, and to bring us from the pit of despair to a place where we overflow with praise. (See Isaiah 61:3)” I love that she shares this beautiful promise as she walks with you through each step.
This book is not only for survivors. It is also an excellent resource for friends, family and ministry leaders to help them better understand the recovery process and how to provide encouragement and support for sexual abuse survivors.
I’m so excited about this book and it’s message, I’ve decided to give away three copies. Simply comment on this post or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday – May 14th at midnight to be entered in the drawing! Also, please be sure to sign up for the online study that Crystal is offering starting June 1st. Click on the link below for more information!