One Year Ago Today,,,

Wow. What a memory. This plane ride marked the beginning of the most challenging and beautiful week of my life. I wasn’t allowed to publicly reveal my true reason for going to Chicago until several...
Read more...

The Modest Files Podcast -- Part Two

Part Two of my interview with The Modesty Files podcast is live! 
In part one I explained how I got involved with my cult and my personal experience with the cult leader, Bill Gothard.
In this final episode things gets a bit more raw. I briefly explain how I got involved in a lawsuit against Gothard, how I found my way...
Read more...

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...
Read more...

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.
Read more...

Lawsuit Update: It Is Finished!!!

1,604 Days
That’s how many days I have been fighting in a court for legal justice against my ex cult leader, Bill Gothard.
One thousand, six hundred and four long, exhausting, treacherous, grief-filled, gut-wrenching, heart-stopping, healing, redemptive, beautiful, victorious days.
In January 2019 I at last sat in the witness stand of a Chicago court room and told my story before a judge.  Bill Gothard had filed sanctions
Read more...

I Couldn't Do This Alone

“Your courage was not wasted or in vain.”
Today I received this beautiful, hand-crocheted lavender lap blanket and encouraging letter from a woman I have never met.  
This is not the first gift I’ve received from a supporter over the last few years. Seemingly small (but deeply meaningful) tokens of appreciation such as a handmade journal, books, tea from Germany, and other care packages have made their way to my front door from all over the world from fellow cult survivors whom I have never met...
Read more...

Our Day in Court -- One Year Later

One year ago today seven courageous women said “no more”. 
No more would we be silenced.  
No more would we remain victims.  
No one would we stuff away the past.  
NO MORE. 
On that cold, bright morning in a Chicago courtroom we faced our demons.  We faced our ex-cult leader, our past, our old chains...

Read more...

The Power of $3

What can $3 do?
The last month my fellow plaintiffs and I have been raising funds for our continued court battle with our former cult leader.  Even though we walked away from the lawsuit in 2018, he decided he wanted revenge and sought sanctions against us.  The battle continues as he is now appealing the ruling the judge made earlier this year that the plaintiffs were “highly credible” and that our lawsuit was valid...
Read more...

Lawsuit Update: Appellate Court

October 20th, 2015.  
Yesterday was the four year anniversary of the initial filing of the lawsuit against my former cult leader.  
Four years.  Who knew one’s life could completely change in just four short years?  Today I sit back in awe of everything I and my fellow plaintiffs have walked through and how each of us has grown.  I’m so proud of my fellow warriors and so incredibly grateful for their support...
Read more...

I Forgive You

Three Not-So-Small Words
Last night was a difficult one for me.  In my dreams I was once again haunted by memories of my former cult leader and his actions which stole my childhood innocence.  As I finally rose from my bed at noon I felt so much heaviness over me.  
But then, I witnessed something beautiful: a video of Brandt Jean telling the woman who was just convicted of murdering his brother, “I forgive you”.  The scene that unfolded in that courtroom yesterday was a picture of the Gospel in all its raw, pure, and holy authenticity. 
In April of 2016, just six months into extensive therapy, I wrote a 10,000 word, ten page letter to my former cult leader...
Read more...
 
Read Older Updates