Year Wrap Up...We Survived 2020!

I remember feeling the excitement of the beginning of the year saying “new decade, new life” just like everyone else. 
But then, just like everyone else, this year turned out nothing like what I expected.
Here are some of the challenges my husband Joshua and I had to face...
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Freedom Day 2020

Five years ago today, I began my journey out of a cult. 
I walked into a counselors office for the first time in my life and asked for help. 
I didn’t fully understand what kind of trauma I had endured; after all, it was my “normal”. 
I began the incredibly hard work of facing the reality of my trauma. I got angry. I grieved. I accepted. I healed. 
I then began to deconstruct everything I had been taught about God. Was He a God who only loved me if I did...
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The Modesty Files: A New Podcast on Toxic Fundamentalism

I woke up just a touch nervous today. This morning a podcast episode has been released where I talk quite frankly about the messy details of my trauma story. 
A few months ago I received an email from a group of three sisters who run a new podcast called The Modesty Files. They found Thriving Forward on a whim while doing research on the Christian Fundamentalists culture and they began to read my story.
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The God Who Rescues

In these uncertain times, I want to share a reminder that our God is bigger than you think. ☺️
Nine years ago I traveled to Chicago and stayed the week at the headquarters of what I now know was religious cult. During that stay I was asked by the cult leader to make my stay permanent. 
He promised many wonderful things...
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Called To Peace Ministries

Living in a marriage with domestic violence is terrifying; wondering how to protect your children is even more frightening. Many women choose to stay, believing that it’s better to attempt to hold on the marriage for the sake of the children. They believe the stress of divorce would be worse.  
That is usually not the case, however...
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Happy Six-Months, My Love!

Happy sixth month anniversary to the love of my life!! I never dreamed marriage could be so sweet, but I guess that‘s what happens when you marry your best friend. 💗
I’ve absolutely loved our continued traditions of four-hour long coffee dates, spontaneous “Haagen-Dazs Emergencies”, and late-night Downton Abby dates. ☺️ 
I’ve treasure our evening strolls together around the apartment and how we sometimes...
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Justice At Last -- Finding Freedom in Divorce

We’ve been preparing for the today for months. Actually, 40 years is probably more accurate. And finally, it is finished. 
After abandoning my mother six years ago and leaving her financially destitute, bruised, and broken, my father finally decided to file for divorce last year. Once it was made clear my parents were headed to trial, I was asked if I would be willing to testify against my father.
After growing up with domestic violence...
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The Body Holds Trauma

The body holds trauma.
This past week I’ve dealt with an unexpected flare up of my chronic illness.  I’ve also dealt with a frightening stream of relentless nightmares and last night a rare panic attack appeared out of no where.
After the panic attack told my husband I couldn’t figure out why my body had gone haywire this week.  He asked, “Is there anything significant about this time of the year?”  And then it hit me.  This week is the 9th anniversary of my brief stay at the cult headquarters. The week that forever changed my life.
Though this happens every year...
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I Am No Longer Praying For Healing

In the last two months I have made a large shift in my belief system.  I am no longer going to pray for God to heal me of my chronic illness.
You may have noticed I’ve been very quiet lately.  Almost immediately after my marriage in March, my health took another drastic turn.  I’ve suffered from a severe chronic illness for the past 16 years and the last two years have been especially difficult.  Even though I live in daily physical pain...
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When Suffering Feels Too Great

The last few months have been some of the most trying times I think this country has endured in decades. Unspeakable pain and heartache has flooded into countless lives and hardly anyone has escaped the devastation.
As I read my Bible this morning this passage stuck out to me...
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