Come on in, let's get to know each other.
However you landed here, I'm delighted you stopped in. Perhaps you are looking for resources to help clear the fog around your relationship struggles. Or maybe you want more information about A Door of Hope: Trauma-Informed Peer Facilitator Training.
In either case, I invite you to explore my site. Get to know me, my heart for you and my confidence in your ability to thrive.
I already know something about you!
Taking time to search online and explore my site reveals a strong desire to move into a new season in your life ahead. It's also probable you experienced seasons of joy, celebration, and beauty as well as seasons of sexual betrayal, grief or loss.
And, perhaps that last season drew you online, brought you to my site. After experiencing sexual betrayal, are you exploring the possibilities of new life on the other side? Do you want to help others in their healing journey as a small group facilitator? Click here for more information about A Door of Hope: Trauma-Informed Peer Facilitator Training.
Knowing where to turn, and who you can trust while moving forward, often feels overwhelming. As a peer-facilitator trainer, my goal is helping you step into a flourishing life filled with grace, hope and confidence.
'Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.' Søren Kierkegaard
Looking back, now? Entering a clinical depression in my late 30s shouldn’t have surprised me or anyone else. Seeing my journey through a trauma-informed lens, I understand the impact our early childhood traumas had in each of us - and thus our marriage. Grief and loss, adding to layers of traumatic events included multiple miscarriages, and too-early deaths of my sister, father, and mother.
Now, through sharing our stories, with training and experience, I understand my husband's hidden, decades-long journey into using unwanted compulsive sexual behaviors as a coping mechanism. “Sexual addiction does not necessarily happen in a vacuum but may be predicated on a predisposition towards compulsive behavior, in an attempt to curb the emotional pain of childhood trauma. … If we are attempting to change our sexual behavior without dealing with the trauma causing us emotional pain, and that instigated our need to protect ourselves, we will not be able to effectively overcome sexual addiction. We must heal the wounds of trauma if we want to live in freedom and well-being.”
Our journeys as Christians began in our late 20s, and together we immediately threw ourselves into church life. Invited into church leader roles, we learned from those further along to practice what is now understood and described as "spiritual bypassing."
I ignored, then buried grief, despair, and confusion. Hopelessness shadowed my days when counselors missed identifying depression, and a "dark night of the soul" began, bringing with it making dreadful choices severely wounding not only my soul but others.
That season also included a deep awareness of the presence of the One who sits with the suffering as author Nicholas Wolterstorff describes in Lament For A Song. "Through the pain of my suffering, I have seen a suffering God. It is said of God no one can behold His face and live. A friend said perhaps this meant that no one could see His sorrow and live. Or, perhaps His sorrow is splendor."
Over time, with skilled and safe people providing counsel and God’s continual infusions of grace and truth in and through safe communities, I discovered a door of hope. And to my utter surprise, I discovered that life - a flourishing life - was ahead; a life I fully entered into, frequently sharing my journey in various settings, and my husband often joined me in telling our story.
While that was an incredibly rich time I couldn’t ignore a just-below-the-surface troubling disconnect poking holes in what otherwise felt like our new-found intimate relational connection. With his dismissal of my periodic observations or questions, I decided my discomfort was related more to our stage in life than our relationship’s health.
Until I couldn’t. Until I discovered my husband’s life-long, secret sexual behaviors that had been eroding the heart of our marriage for decades.
Everything I thought I knew about who I was, who he was, and what our life had been was upside down. Confusion, anguish, rage, fear, and embarrassment impeded my earliest attempts to understand what I needed or where to turn for help. On my own, I scoured websites, read every book about sexual addiction, partners’ recovery. So did my husband. We talked through each truth we discovered. And with every step, his actions – more than his words – displayed his deep relief after discovery and commitment to doing whatever was necessary to be free and for us to heal.
While his forward movement was apparent, so were unnerving triggers. Every.day. At inopportune times. I felt like I was going crazy. As it does for every partner, my healing journey wasn’t linear; it took grace, truth and time. And a lot of hard work. Meeting other partners, working through partner material together began to help me stabilize, manage the triggers. I saw a door of hope again, I began to believe that life just might be ahead.
Like a dormant tree sprouts new buds each spring, we - and our marriage - began showing signs of new life. Walking forward through an open door of hope led to my decision to become certified as a life coach, followed by certification as a CPSAS (Certified Pastoral Sex Addiction Specialist) as well as completing the highly respected Multidimensional Partner Trauma Model training through APSATS (Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists).
I loved working with partners in the coaching relationship, both one on one and in groups. However, my passion is more in alignment with training, equipping and supporting those with a passion to facilitate groups in their local churches, communities or online. That passion ultimately led to the creation of A Door of Hope: Peer Facilitator Training. My preparation for creating curriculum, training peer facilitators, and providing ongoing support also includes training as a Stephen Ministries leader, developing curriculum and a training experience as a Hospice Volunteer Director and Manager of Volunteer Services in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin hospital.
I'm passionate about peer support. Internationally, well-trained and supported peers have a respected place at the table of healing professionals. I'm also passionate about group because of the forward movement traumatized people experience in safe groups facilitated by well-trained and supported peer facilitators. Leading and co-leading groups during my ten years serving in Discipleship Unlimited's incredible prison ministry, as well as leadership responsibilities in three churches I called home for 30 plus years, further developed my understanding of the power of processing life in safe communities.
About my faith journey
Becoming a follower of Christ in my late 20s initiated an adventure that continues to this day. My faith experience, as well as my training practice aligns with Dr. Dan Allender’s observation:
"You have been damaged. But you have great hope. The mercy of God does not eradicate the damage, at least not in this life, but it soothes the soul and draws it forward to a hope that purifies and sets free. Allow the pain of the past and the travail of the change process to create fresh new life in you and to serve as a bridge over which another victim may walk from death to life."
The ADOH peer facilitator workbook, training experience, and community is grounded in the loving, supporting and equipping others through people. Regardless of where someone is on their spiritual journey, all are welcome. While I support statements of faith on which churches across denominational lines and Christian ministries and organizations stand, I chose the Nicene Creed to reflect mine. I love the breadth, depth, height and scope of its history. When I read or speak these ancient words, I reflect on all those who’ve gone before us, that great cloud of witnesses. Oh what stories they tell. Stories of triumph and failure, of great sorrows and great joy. Of Him.
Hope-filled lives experience joy
I RELISH joy-filled moments with family, friends, and peers - and those I meet along this journey in our incredibly complex, sometimes brutal, but still astonishingly beautiful world.
I experience great joy connecting with our children and grandchildren - in person and through the wide range of possibilities today.
I enjoy listening to... perhaps better said, experiencing a wide range of music... and the same could be said about watching movies, favorite television shoes (OH the joy of Netflix) traveling, walking, exercise, cooking, and the arts in all their forms.
And almost any moment, any season, experiencing the wonder of God's creation... like sunsets over Tennyson Bay in Door County Wisconsin? Joy floods my soul. Each sunset reminds me, yes this day is ending.
But each sunset also holds the promise of God’s steadfast love and new mercies every morning.Wherever you are in life or on your spiritual journey, I’m delighted you found your way here. I'd love to hear from you... so if you'd like to contact me, click here.