Wednesday, April 27, 2016
A path of healing for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
A woman who was sexually abused as a child can wrestle her whole adult life with questions such as, Am I worthless? How can I move past the hurt? Do I matter to God? This internal turbulence can carve a deep hole in an already wounded soul. Crystal M. Sutherland’s own experiences as a child led her to write Journey to Heal: Seven Essential Steps of Recovery for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse (Kregel Publications/April 27, 2016/ISBN: 978-0825444012/$14.99).
With more than 42 million victims (both male and female) of child sexual abuse in the U.S. alone, the need for healing is enormous. While there is no simple formula for those seeking recovery, Sutherland believes the Bible contains essential guidance for moving toward peace. Journey to Heal is a practical and comprehensive study of seven steps specifically for female survivors who want to progress from simply coping with life to living abundantly. Calling her book “a road map to recovery,” Sutherland invites readers to process their stories, reject shame and discover God’s love for them.
Many of the lessons Sutherland shares in Journey to Heal were learned in the trenches of her own prayerful and painful recovery. Abused by a stepfather for several years as a child, she lived in a broken state. Acting out promiscuously in high school, she soon found herself in the midst of a teen pregnancy. Even after she married, started a family and reconnected with her childhood faith, she still attempted to mask her pain through food, shopping and staying busy all the time. After years of hiding, her world started to fall apart. She finally responded to God’s call to seek him and his word and found her path to healing. “As the Lord brought restoration into my life, I sensed He was encouraging me to share my journey with others so they too could experience the freedom His love brings,” she reveals. “Telling my story is a small part of this book. I share it so my readers know I am a friend who understands what they are going through.”
Sutherland is now a Biblical counselor and mentors fellow survivors, assuring them that their abuse is not the end of their stories. She speaks boldly in A Journey to Heal, offering answers to some of their toughest questions. With compassion, she deliberately avoids detailed descriptions of her own abuse story, which can be a hurtful trigger for victims, focusing instead on helping them tell their own stories from a healthy place. Infused with biblical truths, stories of hope from other survivors and practical wisdom, readers will be moved along their path toward wholeness.
“My heart is to come alongside other women and encourage them in their journey of faith,” Sutherland says. “I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t have the power to heal their heart, but I will endeavor to point them to the One who does.”
“Crystal Sutherland’s Journey to Heal is an empathetic guidebook for those suffering the ravages of past sexual abuse. Readers will discover a clear pathway through the muck toward wholeness and health in its pages, written by a survivor who understands.”
~ Mary DeMuth, author of Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse
“Sexual abuse hurts children at some of the deepest levels experienced in our broken world, but you don’t have to feel alone. This book can help you reject shame and discover God’s love and care.” ~ Michael Prasse, MACC, LPC, counselor specializing in abuse recovery
Crystal M. Sutherland is a speaker, ministry leader, mentor for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and author of Journey to Heal: Seven Essential Steps of Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse.
Sutherland holds a MA in Theological Studies from Liberty University and has more than 18 years of ministry experience, including women’s, youth, worship and Bible teaching. She is also a biblical counselor at her church. Her work can also be found on her blog and in contributions to lifelettercafe.com.
Sutherland and her husband, Wes, have three children and two grandchildren. The couple makes their home in Wilmington, NC, with their youngest child. Sutherland is in her 13th year of homeschooling, which she says is a pretty big deal for someone who once promised herself she would never be a mini-van-driving stay-home mom! Her passion is to encourage women in their faith and lead them to the hope and healing only found in Jesus Christ.