Why Fifty Shades of Grace?


In February 2014, the Lord took me through a journey that has literally changed my life. As a result, I am confident that I will never be the same.

What color is pain?

Is it black? Is it red? Or is it grey? Maybe it’s purple-ish black-brown like a bruised face? Or is it pinkish red and yellowy-brown from an iron burn on your arm? Is it hot pink like the dress you were forced to wear as you were raped over and over again? When I close my eyes and try to see it, it’s not just one color to me. Grey isn’t just one shade. The colors themselves are multiple shades of each other. Pain too, has many shades, each shade similar but different. As we do life, more and more shades of painful colors get added to the ugly, devastating shades, painted onto the very canvas of our hearts.

Valentine’s week I became ill. I couldn’t eat. I mean nothing. That just NEVER happens to me. The Lord woke me up and began to walk me through door after door of my physical and sexual abuse as a kid. He gently took my hand and showed me things that I hadn’t thought of or visited in many years. All the gut-wrenching, painful, wicked sexual acts that I was forced to do, and the exhausting, physical torture that wounded me deeper then I could ever truly understand.

At first I was confused because I’ve worked REALLY hard on all of that. My platform in ministry has been “deal with your crud.” In order to be free of sin, hurt, pain, or anger, you must look at the hurt and pain. You must honestly look at it, see it in your head, see the ones who hurt you and “deal until you heal”.

I’ve learned that true forgiveness means you release those that hurt you from the debt that you think they owe you.

No one gets to tell you how long that will take or what that process will look like for you. Dealing with your crud is hard. Brutal. But it’s the ONLY way to truly live. Jesus Christ is truth. A relationship with a Holy God demands truth. He knows your “crud.” You can’t hide your “crud” from God.

I’VE worked hard on my crud. So I couldn’t understand why Jesus would lead me through all of that horrible pain again.

A couple of nights later, I’m still sick in bed. Why is it that when the mom is sick there’s no chicken soup for her soul or sweet back rubs or at the minimum…’I’ll watch High School Musical with you again because I love you mom’! Instead, it’s as if the Ebola virus is alive and well and NO ONE wants anything to do with mom.

So, the Lord starts talking to me about Rick.

Rick and I met in our church youth group. He’s been the best friend I’ve ever had. He is the only human being that I’ve ever allowed to get close enough to see the person that I am. So when God started talking to me about Rick, I was shocked. I said, “What about Rick? He and I are GOOD. Best friends. Youth group sweethearts. Lord, You KNOW this!!! What could you possibly have to say about Rick and I?” And then just like only Jesus can do…

He said, “What about this over here?”

And the Lord showed me that there were things that I was holding back from Rick because of what had happened to me when I was a kid. I was floored. As Jesus continued to reveal all of this to my heart, I knew it was true. I WAS holding deep feelings back from Rick. Of all the people in our lives, it’s our spouse that holds our heart in the palm of their hands, (the two become one) and therefore they have the POWER to crush us in a way nothing else can.

The truth was, I didn’t want Rick to have that much power over me. I didn’t want ANY human being to have that power over me. I didn’t want to “need” him that much. I didn’t want to be vulnerable so somewhere deep down, I withheld the deepest parts from him. And here’s why. Over and over again, the reality in my life has been – people who should know better, NEVER do better. They say that they love you and then they hurt you.

To give my body to someone, I know how to do that. That was EASY. I enjoy sex. Sex has been fantastic and without being crude, ‘the mechanics’ have always been…how does Jay Jay say it…DY – NO – MITE! Even with everything that has happened in my past, I like sex. SEX was NOT the issue.

But to give my heart to someone…that is the ultimate risk of hurt and pain. Because of my past and because of what I had heard, what I had seen, and what had been done to me, I was NOT going to allow anyone to hurt me like that again. So I stayed silent.

And I had NO idea that those feelings were inside of me. I had always thought of Rick and I as good. Best friends. Complete. And we were. We ARE!!! That’s all true. It’s not like I went through my entire relationship with Rick NOT telling him that I love him or that I need him. I tell him everything. Or so I thought.

Saying what I felt, what I wanted, communicating the depth of feelings I had for Rick, was TOO RISKY for me to admit or show. I felt all of those things deeply and it scared me. So I held back and refused to communicate it in the deepest way that I knew I felt it. It was the intimacy (communication) that was out of whack. If people who know better never do better, then WHY should I give him my whole heart? Why risk it? He’s going to hurt me someday anyway.

Then God said, “Is Rick not worth your best? Am I?”  And it stopped me in my tracks. I was like, “Yes. He is. Yes, YOU are.”

Then the Lord shows me the biggest revelation of all.

This has been a hard year. This has been a very hard year. I had been asking the Lord every day since August, “Lord, why is this thing so hard for me? Why? Why am I so hurt by what they did? What is it? I’ve been through WAY worse things than this. Why can’t I get past this?” And He wouldn’t tell me. And He wouldn’t tell me. And He still wouldn’t tell me. After months of asking and not getting an answer, I stopped asking. I didn’t WANT to know. If Jesus wasn’t willing to tell me, it MUST be really, really bad.

I was dehumanized for years, so much so that I didn’t even feel alive. I was numb. I was a sex slave, groomed and forced to do evil, sick things, tortured, betrayed, and beaten. ALL I ever heard was that I was bad, unlovable, unworthy, dirty, damaged, trash, and disgusting out of the mouths of people who should have known better but didn’t do better by me. I was a shell.

Then I met Jesus. He changed my life. Radically. Immediately. Completely. I absolutely KNEW He loved me. No strings. No lies. Just love. I think it’s crazy – that of all people, in my broken condition, in His goodness, Jesus revealed His truth FOREVER and sealed it in my heart. I absolutely KNEW that Jesus loved me.

Jesus showed me that when I got saved and began going to church, church became my “human” connection. No slaps. No punches. No sex. No hurt. Just kindness and love. I came in as the dirty, disgusting, unlovable, nobody- wanted girl. But at church, the Bible said, I was no better and no worse then any other human being at that place. I was finally HUMAN. It was a place where SONYA could possibly be considered worthy to be loved. Everyone at church was a sick twist that needed to be saved by Jesus. So everyone BELONGED.

So for 32 years, I’ve been sharing Jesus and serving in the church – loving people and sharing my story. I loved it. Not only was I serving in full-time ministry with my husband, Rick, my entire family was serving in the local church.

Then August 22, 2013 happens. A small group in the church made a decision. Our jobs were done and we were not to come back.

For the first time in my life, the people of God (who know who Jesus is and know the truth) – the CHURCH – said, “We don’t want you.” And this time it wasn’t just happening to me. It was my faithful husband. It was my boys who have been in the church their whole lives. Watching them hurt and knowing that there was nothing I could do was excruciating.

And Jesus showed me that all the fear, hurt, and pain from the deepest, darkest, ugliest shades of darkness was hiding there – so hidden away, that even I did not know it.

And deep in that pit of darkness, I believed that I was unworthy to be loved. And in that moment, I became unworthy, unlovable, disgusting, bad, dirty and unwanted again. God’s people said, “we don’t want you, Sonya,” and they proved it by their actions and their words. And once again, people who should’ve known better…did NOT do better and somewhere fifty shades deep, I now believed they were right!

I was deeply grieved. Sure it’s not fun to be dumped. Sure it wasn’t cool to lose jobs in this economy. But the depth of the pain that this event triggered, was way beyond the loss of a job. It gutted me like a pig. I had NO idea that I had such layers of self-loathing deep in my soul. So all these years of serving, was I trying to earn love? He made it very clear to me that I never tried to “earn” His love. What I did in regards to the church, was fill a HUMAN connection. That void was so deep in my life. I craved and searched for it. I didn’t understand that the CHURCH made me feel HUMAN. The church allowed me to be considered lovable, and therefore possibly loved by people. Which means that deep, deep down I didn’t think I deserved to be loved. The shades of all that “crud” were still in there. I wasn’t worthy. I was disgusting. I was unlovable. I was that dirty, bad girl. I was unwanted. And God’s people said so. And I believed it. And God said, “Enough.”

God loves us enough to not leave us where we are.

And then He said this. “I am a jealous God and you will NEVER get your worthiness to be loved by a HUMAN ever again! You are worthy-because I say. AND You will NEVER do church the same again. Ever. You will love and serve and forgive but you will NOT look for your ability to be loved from HUMANS again. Period.”

As a result of this LIFE CHANGING week, one of the things the Lord has told me to do is to write my story. I’ve never done this before.  I’ve been sharing my testimony for over 30 years. But I’ve never written it down in detail before. So when the Lord told me to write my story, I was like, “Lord I don’t know how to do that. What do I do?” He said, “Just write what happened.” He also told me to write a blog and interview people who also have layers of dark shades of hurt and pain, and then share how Jesus healed and restored. He even gave me the title. (Which I LOVE) So that’s what I’m doing.  I have no idea what will become of this. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Either way, it’s ALL His.

So I’m writing. I’m on the chapter where for the first time, I have been forced to “learn” all about oral sex. My “graduation” was a grown man holding me down and forcing his penis into my mouth while I choked and gagged. I write about all of this in detail. As I see it in my mind, relive it, write it down…I am sickened. I’m right back there seeing myself be hurt.

In order to “silence” me and keep me from telling, he would buy me gifts. Later when that didn’t work, he would use violence. This time, I would NOT stop crying. I’m sure that he was afraid that I was going to tell my mother. But because of the threats and violence he used on me, and eventually my mother, I didn’t tell. You don’t tell. You don’t talk. You stay quiet and take it. And the shades get darker and darker. And this is why communicating deep things-OUT LOUD, is difficult for me and why it’s so amazingly absurd that Jesus – who restores all…has me communicating (speaking and singing) deep things as my life ministry.

After being violated in such a brutal way the night before, he came home the next day with a gift. He was proud of himself. Angry, when I didn’t show appreciation or look him in the eye. I stood there silently – fifty shades of pain. He presented me this gift: a small electronic keyboard.

My very first musical instrument.

THAT is what I learned to play on. I wrote my first songs on it. I never thought about it like that before, but that keyboard was a “don’t tell” gift. That “gift” could have…NO…should have destroyed my heart forever.

And yet…there’s JESUS.

What man would use to take me out…JESUS has used for HIMSELF to draw me and others to His truth, love, hope, and forgiveness. That’s HIS power. His life. How deep and how wide is His love for us. He takes fifty shades of despicable sin and makes it worthy to be loved with His shades of grace.

What shade is His grace? If I had to paint the colors of His grace, I couldn’t choose. Maybe His grace is yellow like the sun that rises with new mercies every morning. Or another shade like hazel and bluish green – the color of my children’s eyes, as I look into their faces and see the hope of a life restored. Maybe His grace is blue like the sky or bright orange like a room full of your friends laughing. Or the beautiful shade of white, like Rick’s sexy smile, who loves me unconditionally by showing me that love doesn’t always have to hurt. Maybe His grace is red, the color of blood, like mine, because He too, was beaten and betrayed and hurt by people who should’ve known better but didn’t do better.

WHY Fifty Shades of Grace? Because. THAT is my story. How many shades of hurt and brokenness and betrayal did I live through? How many shades of grace did Jesus give me? Shades upon shades of grace. Jesus took it all. Why? Because, He gets it. Jesus understands what it means to be hurt because He was hurt. There is NOTHING that we go through, that Jesus hasn’t been through. He gets it. Jesus takes all my imperfect shades of hurt and pain and paints this incredibly original, beautiful picture of grace.

How many different shades of dark despair and sin do people live with?

Right now there’s a girl in Taiwan and she’ll have 60 men ravaging her today. She needs to know that there’s hope. Right now there’s a mom in Ohio, who has been to every ladies event and bible study, and is drinking herself into oblivion, because she can’t stand what she sees in the mirror. She needs to know that there’s hope. And right now, there is a man who is hurting a little girl, and the shades of sin and pain are getting darker and darker and she needs to know there’s hope. He needs to know that there is hope, too.

Jesus Christ is my hope. His love changes everything.

What color is His love? What shade would you choose? What shade is His truth? His forgiveness? His hope? His grace? There isn’t one shade. Jesus takes the dark ugly shades of sin and brokenness and paints our canvas with His shades of love, hope, forgiveness, and truth.

A canvas that’s painted by Jesus Christ in fifty shades of grace.


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Picture of Sonya Brunner

Sonya Brunner

Speaker, Singer, Musician, Worship Leader, Life Coach, Writer, and the founder of Fifty Shades of Grace & the Crud Talk podcast. "I help people learn how to deal with the pain of their past so they can live in freedom. Got Crud? Let's deal with it."

64 Responses

  1. Wow! 2 years already? That is unbelievable. Congrats and I pray that God will continue to bless you as you serve him and share your story. When are you doing another CD?

  2. I just wanted you to know that you introduced me to Jesus Christ this day 2 years ago with this post. It has been a long road to get where I am today, but with God’s help I have overcome some major crud in my life. Sonya, you will never know how much your faith and encouragement has meant to me as I read your story and your blog and every time I do I am pushed deeper in my faith. You are my hero. My sister in Christ and a world changer for Jesus. Congratulations on a wonderful two years and may you have many many more to come. God bless you. Thank you for telling me about Jesus.

  3. Wow, this was really good. I especially loved the part about you and Rick. First of all, you two have a truly romantic beautiful story and it makes me want a man to love me like that. I was married for 6 years and caught my ex husband having sex with his best friend’s wife in our bed. From that day on I vowed that no one would hurt me again. I have a very successful PR company and I’ve worked hard to get where I am. I’m not sure that I’ve truly forgiven my ex. I was paired up with a man at a charity event. He was friends with my ex from way back when were still married. I didn’t know him that well but he remembers me and had heard about my divorce. We’ve been seeing each other for the last 8 months. I believe he cares for me but I just can’t give him my heart. I won’t let myself get hurt ever again. Then I read this and I felt such a hole in my heart. I am ashamed that I can’t move on. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. He has done nothing to hurt me or give me reason to doubt his love for me. But I just can’t make the commitment. I loved the part where you wrote, “The truth was, I didn’t want Rick to have that much power over me. I didn’t want ANY human being to have that power over me. I didn’t want to “need” him that much.” I was like, “Yes. That’s me!” That’s exactly how I feel about this guy. I need direction, please! What should I do?

  4. This made me cry. I have been rejected in my life, as well. It’s the most painful thing and has plagued me my entire life and it’s hard to trust people and to allow anyone inside. I have struggled with cutting for 4 years. At times I think I’m doing good and then something happens and I’m doing it again. I want to know peace. I want to find hope. Some days I think that this is just it. I’m done with everything. Then I read your story and I know that God is trying to get me to see him. I want to know why you believe in god? How did you know that he would help you and forgive you? What happened to your mother or to the man that hurt you? Are they in prison?

  5. This is one of the best blogs out there. It’s funny and full of truth. I found your site by looking up “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie info and clicked on your picture thinking you were one of the actresses or producers. As I read this article, I was fascinated by your story and found myself questioning my own spirituality. I grew up Catholic and have a strong faith. I haven’t been in church for many years. I wanted to ask you how you are sure that Jesus in real? How do you know that the bible is true? You have such deep faith. I believe that you believe it. I want that. So, how do you know it’s true?

  6. Woo to the hoo, Sonya. Congrats and may you continue to share Jesus with the world. Happy 2 year website anniversary.

  7. Thank you for posting this article again. It’s still my favorite one. I had a similar experience with the Lord revealing some “crud” of my own. We must always listen to what Jesus is telling us. It’s meant for our good and not to bring us down. You are a beautiful writer. I love your words. Congratulations and blessings to you as you continue to minister to the world.

  8. Congratulations! You are my hero. Thank you for telling us about Jesus. The world could use a little more of your light and laughter.

  9. The keyboard story broke my heart. To hear you sing and to know that you went through something so evil makes me think that God has a special anointing on your life, Sonya. God bless you and congratulations on your 2 year mark.

  10. Congratulations, Sonya! You are such a beautiful person inside and out. We can’t wait to see what God will do over the next two years or 20. Love you and all that you are doing for Jesus.

  11. Greetings dear sis in Christ from Meru! How the Son shines upon your face. I will never forget your story or how you shared it with us to the glory of God. Your ministry has Holy Ghost power to change hearts and minds for the gospel to Jesus Christ. Meru stands with you in celebration of all that Jesus Christ has done and will continue on to do in you and through you. Msichana Jesus

  12. I am on the floor over this article. What you went through, makes me sick. I want you to know that I have had abuse in my past. Nothing compared to you but I know the pain that you speak of. I am not brave like you but maybe, just maybe I can begin to share my story with others like you do. Celebrating 2 years with you today! Congratulations!

  13. I just love your ministry, sonya! It reminds me of my need to continue to love others and share my story even when it feels uncomfortable. You are a wonderful example of grace and forgiveness. I look forward to your posts and find myself in tears most of the time after reading how awesome Jesus is. Keep going!

  14. I have been following your blog since this very first article, two years ago today. I want you to know that I’m a huge fan. And your words have ministered to me personally. I wanted to ask you a couple questions. What has been the biggest surprise over the last two years? And what has been the most difficult? Prayers and blessings. Celebrating with you, Sonya!

  15. Yes and Amen! Grace and peace to you as you continue to go forth and share the gospel to the world. You have a light that can never be put out. Peace as He increases your territory. – The Jedsen’s

  16. One of my favorite things you say is, “You can’t hide your crud from God.” This changed my thinking forever. I think somewhere along the way I chose to believe that I could “hide” my crud and my sin from Jesus. I was playing games with him and after reading this article, I am convicted to STOP PLAYING GAMES! I want you to know what a special woman you are. It can’t be easy sharing your pain with the world, but you do it with such grace and mercy. I never feel like you judge others. I’m praying for you and your family.

  17. I have a story that is similar to yours and I gave up. Then two years ago on this day, I read this article and my entire life changed. I had held on to my anger and I was bitter. I blamed everyone else for my choices and I even blamed God. My marriage was rocky at best. I was a mean person. I didn’t care about anyone else. We were living for ourselves and I was miserable and lonely. When I read your words, I realized that it was okay for me to be angry. It was okay to tell God that too. You shared your story and I found Jesus. There are no words to tell you what that has meant to me or my family. Since then, my husband has gotten saved and we are faithfully going to a church in Houston. We have grown in our faith and we feel led to serve. Our marriage is stronger than ever and we have hope. It started with you being faithful to share your story. Jesus has changed everything for us. Congratulations and blessings to you as your continue to share your powerful story of redemption. I just love you, Sonya.

  18. Congratulations, Sonya! Dave and I are so proud of you. We are committed to praying for you and your family as you serve God’s people. My favorite is when you play the piano and sing. Knowing your “keyboard” story makes it even more precious. Your light is a beautiful thing because it’s always about Jesus for you. We love you, girl!

  19. You win! You win! I will deal with my crud. Okay? You win. I am so proud of you. Congrats on two years of sharing Jesus with the world, Sonya!

  20. Oh my goodness. I hadn’t read this one. Wow! The keyboard story was precious. I have heard you play piano and sing and never knew this. I can’t imagine what that would be like. Wow. It just took it to a whole other level. To know that the very instrument that you were “bribed” to not tell was the thing that God would use to share Him with everybody else. I always wondered why you cried so much when you sang. I thought it was because the lyrics were hitting you. I’m sure that was true, too. But now I see that there was a lot more to it. Wow. Thank you for the re-post. This is a powerful story, Sonya. Wow. I just can’t stop saying that. Praying for you as you continue this ministry.

  21. We celebrate with you today! Thank you for being vulnerable and for sharing the most painful parts of you to all of us so that Jesus can become famous. Love you.

  22. We stand with you, Sonya! We love your words as they bring grace and truth to some of the hardest topics we face in human existence. Abuse. We have and will continue to pray for you and your ministry as the Lord continues to lead you. We pray peace and protection for you and your family. We also pray for more and more opportunities to share your story with the world. We are celebrating with you today! Congratulations and blessings to you, kid! You are a joy!

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. You both have been such a great role model to those of us that get to know you. You have always made me feel like I could do or be anything I set my mind to. Thank you for that belief in what Jesus was doing in me. Love you guys!

  23. Sorry about this long letter but I had to write to you. When I was 12, I was touched by a coach who I looked up to. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want him to get in trouble. And yet I felt horrible shame. This went on for a few years and then I went on to a different school after my parents moved us. After that I was never okay inside. I felt like a sick freak.

    Then I joined the military and that has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It gave me focus and allowed me to harness some of my anger. I worked out – a lot. I became obsessed with it. I’m a big guy. My friends nicknamed me “Brick”. And let’s just say I don’t think anyone will ever mess with me again.

    I’ve carried around heavy guilt for years over this and I feel like there are days when the shame is winning. I read this and I thought do you ever feel guilty or ashamed? How have you been able to forgive the ones that hurt you? I’ve been angry and I know that I was seriously messed up inside. I didn’t think that anyone would ever be able to understand how I feel until you. Your words brought me comfort. They also gave me the kick that I needed to deal with all of my s$%t.

    I’ve never been religious and the things that you said about Jesus got my attention. I had questions that I felt drawn to get the answers to. So after I got done with your story, I went to our Chaplain and we talked for a long time. We prayed together. He wanted me to tell you that I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Everything you described is true. I feel peace. I feel loved. I feel forgiven.

    I know I have a long road ahead of me. But then I read everything you’ve been through and I know that you are the bravest person I know. I used to think that we soldiers are the brave ones. We go into difficult situations and risk our lives to make people safe. You didn’t give up. You didn’t hide away in shame. You kicked fear in the A$%! And even though it would’ve been hard for you to trust anyone ever again, you trusted Jesus and you share your story with people like me so that we can know Jesus, too. You inspire me.

    Now your brother in Christ,


  24. Your courage to share your story and encourage others to share theirs is inspiring! Truly. I cherish many wonderful memories with you and I hope you will always know just how loved you are.

    1. Shelli, I feel exactly the same way. You were a light in a really crazy time in my life. I too, have many memories. We were UNSTOPPABLE! ha ha! You always just supported the person I was. I pray that I did the same with you. Through all kinds of crazy decisions, heartbreaks, and victories, I am STILL so thankful to know you.

  25. WOW. I have no words. Wow.

    A friend sent me a link to your site. WOW. You have been through so many horrific things, yet the love of Jesus is all over you. I was raped as a teen ager and I have never forgiven the one who did this to me. I knew him. He was a friend of our family. I didn’t tell them because I was ashamed. I felt like I had “asked for it” and wanted to put it behind me. I joined the military and was raped by two guys who were drunk and probably can’t even remember doing it. I have been really pissed ever since. I have been in counseling and did press charges. But my question for you is how are you not mad at God? I am so mad at God.

  26. I was incarcerated for sexually assaulting a child when she was 8. I’ve read your story. I’ve also watched your video. I know that I am not forgiven. I will go to hell. I’ve accepted that. I chose to do those things to her. I also have come to realize that I have been hurt as a child and never dealt with it. We have therapy groups in jail but I mainly just went to get out of other things I had to do. I never took it seriously. I haven’t heard anyone with a story like yours share it out loud before. I admit I felt guilt and shame. I also wanted to make excuses but I could hear your pain. I’m sorry. This might be wrong but I’m sorry for what I did to you. I know I wasn’t the one but I did this to someone else. If that can bring you healing in some way, I hope it does.

  27. Blown away reading through the responses to your post. Transparency is such a powerful and authentic way to help and be helped. So grieved for all you had to endure, and so thankful to see your willingness to let God have those broken pieces to see what beauty He brings from it all in the way only He can do. Love you and your family very much. <3

  28. Thank you for all the comments! I am so blessed that so many have the courage to share their stories. I will do my best to answer each of you but understand that sometimes what I need to say is too much for public viewing and needs to be sent to you privately. That’s why we ask for your email address.

    Many have had questions about giving “advise” to people and the seriousness of this task. Let me say emphatically that I am NOT a professional counselor. I’ve never claimed to be anything but a Jesus girl, trying my best to follow the Lord by His word and trust Him with all that I do. I encourage people to “tell” their spouse, their pastors, their friends, their family and to seek professional help. I do not believe that anything that I say is going to “cure” anyone. What God has told me to do it to share my story and listen and then share Jesus with people. So again, I try my best to do that through the Holy Spirit’s leading. I take it very seriously and understand that nothing I have to offer is worth any significance apart from Jesus Christ.

    Please continue to share your stories. God is the most faithful friend I’ve ever had. He can do everything with anything. Sometimes His plans are different then ours and that is OKAY. It has to be!!! He is God and we are not.

  29. I want to thank you for your courage in sharing this painful story with the world. I was abused in my home for many years, too. I am married and it has been a real struggle to be intimate with my husband. I just freeze up when I know he wants to have sex. I try to force myself to just do it but I know that he’s disappointed. We have not been together in over a year. I know that he turning to porn because he’s not getting it from me. I feel like I’m losing my husband. What can I do?

    1. Oh Melanie! I hear your pain in your words. I want you to know that there is hope. I’m so sorry for your hurt in your home all those years. The hurt that it brings is beyond words. I have much to say to you and I shall share that in a deeper email to you. Thank you for your courage in writing today. I believe that there are no coincidences in this life. The fact that you shared this will help someone else who is going through the exact thing. So for the sake of encouraging others let me say a few things publicly.

      #1 Deal with your crud. You have been seriously hurt by an adult. Get yourself some professional help. (I’ve included this in your email.) That part is “unfinished” in your life and is causing everything else to be out of balance. It will be hard, painful and you’ll want to quit. Don’t. You are worth it to Jesus. Your husband is worth it. Fight! Deal till you heal.

      #2 Have you communicated this information to your husband? Intimacy is communication. It’s the heart of every relationship. Even our relationship with God. Men are fixers and I’m sure he is feeling lost and inadequate to meet your needs. You feel the same towards him. Once you get some help for yourself, I am sure that you both could benefit from deeper communication so he can understand where you are coming from and vice versa. DON’T PUSH HIM AWAY. I’m talking from personal experience here. DO NOT PUSH HIM AWAY. HOLD ON to the one that God gave you. WORK HARD to communicate your love and everything else.

      #3 Who is Jesus to you? Do you know Him? A relationship with Jesus is life. Who is your support system? Are they pointing you to Jesus or are they dragging you away into selfish thoughts and choices?

      The rest is for you, my friend. Look for your email from me.

      Grace and peace to you as you deal with your crud.

  30. I want to thank you for sharing your story. I can’t imagine what you went through. I had a similar childhood to you. My grandfather abused me sexually and I never told anyone. I have carried that all these years and my question to you is how did you find the courage to share this openly without being afraid of what people would do and say to you?

    1. Who says I’m NOT afraid? I do struggle with what PEOPLE are going to say and do with this deeply personal information that I willingly put out there about myself ALL THE TIME. I think about it all the time. People have hurt me a lot. Satan WANTS us to stay silent. He uses fear to keep us silent. “What will people think of me now that they know what I’ve done?” It’s his greatest weapon. FEAR.

      I don’t know how this has happened to me but the Lord has wired me to despise fear and so when I’m afraid of something it seems that I run right to that in order for it not to have any control over me. Even as a girl, I knew in my spirit that I could not stay silent. What had happened was not okay. I got help. I got myself out. I told. That response to my circumstances and the fear was all because Jesus was drawing me…even then. He had a plan. He still does.

      I am sorry that your grandfather hurt you. I am so sorry about that. Thank you for sharing your hurt with us here.

      That same power of courage and strength is freely given to you, too, Sara. Jesus came to free us from our sin. He came to break every chain and stronghold in our lives. Lean on Jesus. His shoulders are very big and can handle anything. Even your crud. Do anything you can do to get help to deal with your crud. It’s the only way to truly live. It doesn’t take the hurt away of what happened. What it does is give you the power of Jesus Christ to live the life that He wants for you to live. He is full of plans and hopes and dreams for you.

      Where did I find the courage to do anything? Jesus Christ.

  31. I was introduced to your site by a friend. I am in the *adult entertainment* industry and this story got my attention. When you said that you were a shell not human I knew what you felt. I used to work streets but graduated to escorts. I have two kids but they have been taken by DHS. I have had abortions (I do’nt want to tell you how many) and I feel like the stripper is stripped. Understand me?

    I feel like every person in my life has been a John. They all want to !$&! me. They use me and so I use them. I guess you can tell that I’m not a “church” goer. Never felt the need to go. When I read your thoughts about Jesus, like I said it got my attention. How do you know that Jesus is real? Why would you trust a God that would let those things happen to you?
    I am tired. Very tired. Sorry if this affended you. I feel like there’s no way out.

    1. Xanity and I have been emailing. Here is what she said I could share with you.

      Xanity does not have a personal relationship with Jesus. Xanity has drug abuse in her life right now and that is why her kids are not living with her. Xanity is seeking professional help.

      This is what I shared with Xanity.

      “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

      For God SO loved..that word “SO” means obsessed. So God was obsessed with the world…that word “world” means apart from God, bad, sinful people. For God was so obsessed with bad people that He gave His Son…His Son is Jesus Christ who died on a cross for all of our sin…for WHOEVER…not the good ones. Not the ones that read their bibles, not the ones who go to church…Not the ones we say get to be saved, but WHOEVER. Whoever is ALL. Whoever is you. that whoever believes in Him…should NOT perish but have eternal life. God is not the inventor of love. He IS love. That means that He is incapable of NOT loving us. He can’t do it. He HAS to love us. That is who He is. He IS love. That means on your best day, He loves you. On your WORST day, He loves you.

      Please join me in praying for Xanity. She is one of the most honest people I’ve ever met. Courageous.

  32. Oh Sonya…I have just now taken the time to visit your new site & read. I’ve heard bits & pieces of your testimony, at both our “previous” church, but this is the first I’ve ever read or heard your whole story.
    I have sat in front of my computer, crying. Crying tears of heartbreak for you, but also crying tears of pride & joy for your courage. I have lots of “crud” too & have never been able to fully deal with it. We may not have the same type of crud, but it all stinks.
    I’ve heard hundreds & hundreds of testimonies over the years from friends, Bible study leaders, etc… and I love hearing them & what the Lord has delivered people from or helped them through. But today, I have read a very real & honest outpouring of a beautiful soul.
    I am sad by what you’ve gone through in your life, I’m angry you had to experience it, but most of all I am honored to call you my sister in Christ. You are showing Jesus & it is radiant on you.

    1. Crud is crud. Doesn’t matter if it’s the same or different…it’s ALL crud. 😉 I am sorry that you were hurt. My motto is “You’ve GOT to deal with your crud.”

      Thank you for your sweet encouragement and for sharing your heart here. There’s something so deeply compassionate that you cried for me. I am humbled and overwhelmed that you did that. WOW! What a sweet act of mercy.

      And with that my sister in Christ…”Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” – Hebrews 10:24

      Grace and peace,


  33. This was powerful. I was hurt by my father, in a similiar way. This was “right on” with what men like this do. They do buy “don’t tell” gifts. I have tried to get past this event in my life but it has been hard. I am married and my husband doesn’t understand why “intimacy” is hard for me. I love him, but I can’t stand to be touched in “that” way. I know that it should be different but I can’t get there.
    I feel like I am stuck. Is this all there is?

    1. Carol – first of all thank you for sharing with me today. I’m sorry that you were hurt by your father.

      Satan wants us all to think that what we see, feel or experience in this life is “all there is”. But that is a lie. What is the most final thing we know on earth as humans? Death, right? When Jesus raised a dead man to life, what was final to us was stopped forever and satan knew that his lie, “this is all there is” was OVER.

      I want to talk to you on a deeper level about intimacy. There are MANY, MANY, MANY people that share your story and your feelings that you’ve expressed on this post. I have sent you a VERY personal email and will only address a few more things publicly here.

      #1 Deal with your crud. Your crud is what happened to you back then and how it’s effected you up till now. You have major hurts going on inside of you. Cut yourself some slack. What you’ve been through would hurt anyone. That would make anyone think incorrectly about life, love and trust. That’s going to take hard work. It’s not fun. It hurts like crazy and it is the only way to heal. God wants you to be free. Deal till you heal.

      #2 Intimacy is ALL about communication. There are things that need to be communicated to your husband NOW, DURING and AFTER you’ve dealt with your crud. In other words, this will ALWAYS be an on-going journey of communicating truth, love and respect to your beloved husband. He needs to know where you are coming from and why and help you supportively in whatever you need to work on your crud. No doubt that your crud has now become his crud. That’s how loving someone works. God wants the two of you to be ONE. I’m sure you have some of your hubby’s crud, too. 😉 Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

      #3 Don’t keep silent. Get professional help. I’ve included some great resources for you in my email. Also, find safe people to talk to and share your story so they can pray for you, hold you accountable, laugh and cry with you. If you don’t have people like that in your life, let’s pray for God to bring people who are trustworthy to be brought into your life.

      This is NOT all there is. There is always HOPE in Jesus Christ.


  34. Hi Sonya. I am sure you don’t remember me but I was at your concert at Chadron State College and I got saved that night. My life has been a yo-yo, to say the least. I struggled then with homosexuality and I believe that the Lord saved me and set me free. It has not been a perfect journey but (like you) I KNOW that I am saved. Cool to see you continuing to do your unique way of doing ministry. Believe me, I have heard many people speak and there was just something about the way you shared. I knew that you meant it. I am grateful to you for sharing your pain and for your faithfulness to share the gospel during your concert. It changed my life. So, when will you be in Nebraska again?

    1. CALEB…

      It’s GREAT to hear from you. I have shared your powerful nameless journey when I speak and do concerts because you blessed my heart so much way back then. I’m glad to hear that your life has not been “perfect” cause I might have to throw up on you…cause mine has NOT been perfect. ha ha ha! You bless me so much and I will never ever forget you. I have NO idea when I’ll be in Nebraska again. Please please please keep in touch.

    1. Do I think that a man who hurts anyone deserves to be forgiven? No. Do I deserve to be forgiven for my sin? No. Do you? No. None of us deserve anything more then death.

      The bible says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
      1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

      I believe there are always consequences to our sin. Some sins are really BIG consequences here on earth…like murder, rape, stealing, drug crimes. Some sin is not punishable by prison time…gossiping, slander, jealousy, but OH SO HARMFUL.

      But here is the thing that I’ve learned. Who gets to decide which are the really big sins and which are not so big? If the ‘wages of sin is death’ who gets to decide which sin deserves death and which doesn’t?

      Bill, I have sinned against God and against people. Jesus died on the cross for all of our sin. I placed my life, hope, faith and trust in Jesus and asked Him to be the Lord of my life and immediately my sins were forgiven. Do I deserve to be forgiven? Some might say yes. Some might say no. I am thankful that GOD is the judge and jury and that because of Jesus Christ, I have eternal life because He gave me mercy and grace. A merciful God says that all the rules apply to ALL people so there is no “favorites” or boasting in position. He gave us His word, the bible, so that we would know His heart and His truth.

      If the bible is true then ALL of it has to be true. It can’t be partially true or only the verses that I like are true. That means that Romans 10:9 if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” ANYONE will be saved. Forgiveness is a gift for ALL who would believe in Jesus Christ and confess in Jesus Christ as Lord.

      In order for me to truly LIVE, I must forgive anyone who has hurt me. That’s what Jesus did for me. Do I deserve forgiveness any more then anyone else? NO WAY! No human being can condemn us. Only God has that authority. And thanks to Jesus Christ, my sin has been forgiven. That’s the ONLY thing I know for sure.

      (thanks for your encouraging email. that meant a lot to me.)

      Grace and peace to you,


  35. Sonya,

    I love that you are sharing your story and giving others the courage to share as well. I love you so much and am so very proud of you. I am so thankful you are a part of my life. I love you my sweet friend. Keep doing what you do. 🙂

  36. My husband is abusive. He doesnt beat me but he hits me when he gets mad. I have left him 3 times already but I feel guilty because the church says that it’s wrong divorce. I want our marriage to work but I am sick of the fear. I never know what he is going to do. I am in a ladies bible study and I pray every day. I pray for my husband and I am a good wife. I can’t take this anymore. I feel hopeless. You wrote that we need to deal with our crud. How do I do that?

    1. Sarah – It’s NEVER okay for ANYONE to hit their spouse. EVER. It’s NOT okay. If you are not safe where you are, you need to go somewhere that is safe.

      Don’t stay silent. You’ve already reached out to me. Tell others what is happening to you. You mentioned a bible study. Tell your leader. Tell your pastor. Tell anyone until they hear you.

      Dealing with one’s “crud” is the most difficult, gut-wrenching task of our whole life. That means that you look at the hurt, anger, whatever it is. You see it, feel it, see those that hurt you and keep doing that until. Until that pain doesn’t control your life. It’s hard. To forgive means that you look at the pain. You look at the one that hurt you and you release them from the debt that you think they owe you. You can’t truly live until you are free from the pain’s hold. Jesus came for you so that you could LIVE. Not just get through but live abundantly. That IS hope. There is ALWAYS hope. Jesus is our hope. There’s nothing that we’ve been through that He hasn’t. He loves you.

      Get help now. There are many resources (I’ve included that in a private message to you) to get help.

      Thank you for your courage.

      Look for my email.

  37. Thank you for sharing this. I have a similar story to yours but ive never had the courage to tell anyone. I was hurt by my brother. He would touch me at first but then he raped me. I started acting out and getting in trouble alot. My parents assumed that I was a premiscuous teenager, and my dad told me that i was a whore. But the truth was I hated my brother and myself because I felt dirty. I didnt want to have friends or be around people. I ended up leaving home and got involved with a man who beat me. I feel like noone will ever love me. A lady from work has invited me to church. I’ve gone a few times. I went to the front to pray and a man came to pray with me. When he asked me what he could pray for, I tried to tell him what had happened to me and he told me that sex before mariage was a sin and that I needed to ask Jesus to forgive me. My family has disowned me. Church people dont get it. They say they want to help but they dont want to hear me. I want to have a family some day but who will want me? I want to stop being angry. How did you stop being angry?

    1. Oh, Kelly. I’m so sorry about your pain. I have many things that I want to say to you and I will send you a private message in more detail. Thank you for sharing your story for the first time, with me. You are not alone. There are many people who have “our” stories.

      Church people are just people. Don’t hold that against God. People WILL hurt us. We will hurt people. What I learned is that my ONLY hope and truth is in Jesus Christ. (I just sent you the email.)

      You have already done the first HARD thing. You said the truth OUT LOUD. Will there be more hard crud? Absolutely. Will you stop being angry? That’s up to you. You can’t control what others do but you can control how you respond. I believe with hard work (there are tons of resources – I provided some in my email) dealing with your hurt, anger, disappointment and pain, yes. I believe with God – ALL things are possible.

      Look for my email.

      Peace to you, you brave girl.

  38. TRUTH really does set us each FREE. Keep telling your truth in His Truth- for He will bring honor to Himself time and time again. Christ in you- truly the HOPE of Glory” Col 1:27. I love you, Sonya. Hugs to your three guys!

    1. Thank you so much. I love you, too. I am so thankful that God brought you and Pastor Benny into our lives. What champions for Christ you are!!!

  39. Sonya, my dear friend. I was so ministered to by this posting. Thankyou for laying your heart open for all to see.
    I’m so grateful The Lord used last years event to heal so many areas in your heart. He’ll use you and your obedience to help many many others to heal and then praise Him themselves. Including me! I love you!
    The color of grace? Surely it’s the color of coffee with the perfect amount of cream in it!! Or my grandsons perfectly caramel colored skin! Or the chocolate brown color of my new husbands eyes!
    Surely His grace among other things so covers the pain that we can see His goodness in our lives!!

    1. Beautifully said, my friend. I so love you. I’m glad that you are and I are friends. I love how the Lord does that. Who knows where this journey will take us.

    1. Thank you, Laurie! You are a Jesus girl and a wonderful friend. Can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in your life as you continue to trust Him and keep cha-cha-cha-ing. 😉

  40. You are such a wonderful, brave and loving person! Thank you for sharing who you are and what God is doing in your life! You rock! 🙂

  41. This was so powerful. Your story is hard to read but makes me think about my own struggles. You have made me face my crud. I can’t thank you enough for that. It’s amazing what the Lord can do and how he changes our hearts and minds to something truly beautiful. I feel stronger and more confident. I am celebrating this ministry that Jesus has given you. God bless you.

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