After a lot of hard work, countless hours at the keyboard, serious soul-searching, and many highs and lows, I’m finally ready to share my book, Restoring Virtue, A Testimony of Healing Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (Amazon, Createspace)
Restoring Virtue is about how I was able to access the Atonement as a way to recover from the effects of childhood sexual abuse. How I changed a traumatic experience into a life full of blessings, happiness, and service. Essentially, this book is my testimony of God’s love, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and every other good and correct principle.
Two years ago a combination of events aligned perfectly causing me to see my life with more honesty and clarity. My book describes these events in detail and how writing my story influenced the final step in my healing process.
The still small voice, just a whisper, planted the desire to write my testimony. The more I wrote the stronger this prompting became until it consumed my thoughts. I had to write. I had to get it out. I felt like Parley P. Pratt when he described reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. “I [wrote] all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred [writing] to sleep. As I [wrote], the spirit of the Lord was upon me … My joy was now full, as it were, and I rejoiced sufficiently to more than pay me for all the sorrows, sacrifices and toils of my life.” (Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual. Chapter Six: Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003. 79-88. Print.)
This is not my first experience with the healing power of words. I’ve kept a journal since I was 15 years old. Even before God, the first place I found hope was in my journal. In its pages I said all the things I wanted to say out loud but was afraid to. Restoring Virtue is the culmination of 20 years of journal entries.
This book is not about standard treatments such as counseling, medication, or other common resources. It could be for someone who has explored standard treatments, but still feels like something is missing. Really, it’s for anyone who contemplates their relationship with God and is open to hearing how someone else experiences His presence.
The orchid on the cover is a symbol of my healing process coming to a close. I experienced a tender mercy when a spike emerged from the orchid sitting on my kitchen windowsill the same week I began writing my story. It grew as my story grew, as if being fed by my testimony. After a period of blooming, it then died the week my story was complete. Like the orchid stores up its energy to bloom from beneath the ground, my testimony grew from the darkest trials to become something beautiful, something new, and bright.
“Every time rain clouds hang on the mountains and the sun shines from the west, a full arcing double rainbow stretches over my backyard. A token sign of God’s promise. Evidence that with the perfect combination of trials and hope, a testimony is born.”
I did not write this book for or against anyone. It’s about me and I found great spiritual healing while working on this project, but I didn’t write it even for myself. Not to get gain, attention, or profit. I wrote my story so God may speak to another one of His children through my words. So other victims of abuse may experience hope.
I’m so grateful for the people who crossed my path during the past two years. My guardian angels who kept me moving forward on the right path. For an amazing editor, Sarah Belliston, who generously gave her time and support. Also for the cover art and formatting by Rebecca Belliston. She also arranged a beautiful piano solo of my favorite hymn, Nearer My Savior to Thee, as a companion to Restoring Virtue.
I don’t know where this book will go or where it will take me, but I know I’m in God’s hands now. I’ve made many mistakes throughout my life. I’m trying to do better and be better.