You Are My Refuge: Self-Guided Retreats
Q. Is your book "You Are My Refuge: Self-Guided Retreats" specific to childhood abuse?
A. While the book is helpful to people who were abused in childhood, it is universal to anyone who knows trauma. For example, anyone who has experienced divorce, domestic violence, the violent death of a loved one, rape or was in the midst of gang warfare will find my book helpful.
Q. The stories and prayers in your book are deeply revealing and emotional. How did you have the courage to publish your writing?
A. I find as speaker, retreat leader and writer that my stories and prayers touch people at the heart level. I feel a call to minister to people through my writing and personal presence. Through God's love and caring, there is healing for the wounded and hope for each individual's future.
Q. Forgiveness is an important part of your story. Is forgiveness essential in order for someone to move on?
A. For me forgiveness came incrementally, not all at once. Forgiveness involves my relationship with myself, with others, and with God. I had insights as to how abuse and neglect impacted all of my life. How sometimes I was my worst enemy and that I needed to forgive myself for creating barriers and unhealthy behavior. How I protected my abuser and that I needed to let go. How the terror I experienced during flashbacks got in the way of living and that I needed to heal. Letting go is necessary to being able to move on, but it happens slowly and with the support of well qualified mental health professionals.
Q. The prayers in your book are based on the Lord's Prayer. Why did you feel it necessary to substitute other words and phrases?
A. While I was working on my doctorate I experienced the terror of flashbacks during many nights. At those times I breathed deeply and centered myself in God's presence. Focusing on the Lord's Prayer, I waited in the silence for the still small voice within. Alternative words and phrases to the traditional Lord's Prayers came to me. Each prayer begins with a name or descriptor for God. I found verses in the Bible associated with those titles for our Beloved Creator. Each chapter ends with those verses. Over time, I received 88 prayers in this manner. I published little booklets of those prayers titled "In the Manner of the Lord's Prayer." "Abuse Survivors: Self-Guided Retreat" includes a selection of those prayers.
Q. Why did you include guided meditations and journaling prompts in "Abuse Survivors: Self-Guided Retreat?"
A. I include guided meditations and journaling prompts in the retreats I lead and people find these practices lead them to deeper healing places. My book is written in retreat format. The reader can pick and choose which chapter to do and go at her or his own pace.