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Freedom Day 2019

by | Dec 15, 2019 | Cult, Freedom Day, The Year of Gratitude

Freedom Day 2019

Four years ago today I took my first step away from the cult that had held me prisoner for most of my life. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea what was normal. I had no idea the lies I was believing and living. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Stepping away was hell. Up until that day the cult had been my veiled sanctuary; a safe bubble where I knew exactly what was expected of me and what I needed to do in order to gain my community’s approval.

What I learned December 15, 2015 was that Jesus was supposed to be my sanctuary. And more than that, I didn’t need His approval; for He redeemed me on that cross 2,000 years ago and declared with His dying breath IT IS FINISHED.

Four years ago signed my name to a court document officially joining the list of 17 other women who were willing to testify against the cult leader who had changed our lives in such devastating ways.

We decided we needed a word or phrase to cling to during our fight; our maxim, our battle cry. Kia Kaha — an old Maori phrases which meaning “Stay Strong” — became that battle cry for us. We had custom bracelets created with Kia Kaha carved into them and as I tied on my bracelet every day as a piece of armor, my courage grew knowing that there were 17 other women bearing that same armor and fighting alongside me.

To celebrate my fourth Freedom Day I decided to have Kia Kaha engraved onto my body as a permanent reminder of my fight for justice and for the freedom found during that fight. My incredibly talented boyfriend, Joshua, designed and illustrated the art by hand. ?

Kia Kaha represents strength, grief, valleys, mountains, hope, redemption, friendships, love, and victory. The butterfly next to it represents my physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation since coming out of the cult and stepping into the Gospel of Grace. For truly we are a new creation in Christ, unrecognizable from our old self.

As I reflect today on the scared little girl who stepped into a counselor’s office four years ago feeling so lost and confused, I wish I could go back and tell her one thing:

Have courage dear heart, because Love Won. ?

~Em

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About the Author

Emily Elizabeth Anderson is a Christian blogger and rising activist for people who have experienced abuse within a Christian environment.

After growing up in a fundamentalist cult for 23 years and experiencing childhood domestic violence, Emily began her journey to recovery in 2015 and eventually found Jesus to be her ultimate healer. She soon turned her passion for writing into a blog and her story has since been featured on several media outlets including NPR.

She married her best friend, Joshua, in 2020 and together they are passionate about educating on the realities of trauma survival and recovery, as well as supporting survivors they meet through their online community.

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