With vulnerability and transparency, Susan Joy Simkins shares her island girl’s journey through surviving domestic violence and sexual and pastoral abuse.
With vulnerability and transparency, Susan Joy Simkins shares her island girl’s journey through surviving domestic violence and sexual and pastoral abuse. As a single parent, she pursued a Ph.D. and became a full professor. If you want to find hope, Divine Reversal provides a powerful story of healing from abuse and the restoration available through God’s offer of transformation. Susan Joy Simkins courageously shares her own journey so that others surviving abuse, lost in the deception of shame, and in need of hope may know that pain doesn’t have the final word. Ashes can be transformed into beauty, brokenness made whole, and depression swallowed up by joy. May this story of hope launch you into experiencing and
This book is the result of a team effort, not only during its writing but throughout the story of my life. How grateful I am to the visionaries who saw this book long before a single word was written. Sherren spoke prophetically over my writing when I was in the thick of life’s mayhem and couldn’t envision having a story worth writing about. Michele, always the forerunner, had already decided who she’d give this book to years before it came to be. Betty Lou helped me identify the Divine Reversal title almost a decade before its publication. Stephanie’s hand-written poem summoning me to write my story became a mainstay of reinforcement through the lengthy writing process. Many people who heard me speak about my journey in women’s groups and conferences voiced that they would purchase my memoir if I wrote it. This wellspring of encouragement helped me to start and keep writing. My pillars—Ken, Megan, Fred, Becky, Mark, and Carol— prayed me through an intense three months of writing the first draft as well as subsequent drafts. Their accountability and uplifting kept me in front of the keyboard when I wanted to flee. I am so appreciative to Amber, Fred, and Michele for reading my first draft and for so graciously conveying that it read like an outline with sentences needing to be expanded into paragraphs. What a marvelous gift to have Amber be the most ardent proponent of writing and publishing this book. I continue to marvel at her courage and wisdom in communicating that I had not yet begun to tell my story in the first draft. Nothing short of this feedback from my own daughter would have compelled me to divulge what I had no intention of sharing. Amber generously read through every new version despite the emotional toll it required of her. I am grateful as well to have two sisters who have been such stalwart supporters of writing about our family history. I relied on Birdie and Lisa to jog my memory of details we all wanted to forget. The feedback my friends Michele, Reggie, Linda, and Denise provided was so overwhelmingly reassuring that it sustained my motivation for months at a time. The Christian Writers Roundtable of Central Pennsylvania provided the technical expertise to help me transition from academic to narrative writing. As Laurie, Emma, Virginia, Patti, Connie, Karen, and Nancy carefully edited draft chapters, I learned to simplify complex sentences and include dialogue and descriptive context. Under Laurie’s warm leadership, I not only
grew as a writer but was surrounded by a strong community of support as members regularly affirmed the courage to share my story. My editor Jeanette Windle was indispensable to the writing of this book. Her influence ranged from suggesting sweeping structural changes to polishing minute details to providing enthusiastic support. The drafts after Jeanette’s high-level feedback and edits were so much improved that I cringe to imagine this book without her impeccable judgment and skill with the written word. Pastor Fred generously read multiple drafts throughout the evolution of the book and offered valuable insights. When my focus ebbed, his passion for this work never waned. His repeated exhortation to minister hope to others through publishing this book propelled me forward when I wanted to shrink back. I thank John, the love of my life, for urging me to attend writer’s conferences and for uplifting me with love and humor when I was discouraged. He has been nothing but patient and accepting of the long hours I spent in front of the computer, even when it came at the expense of our time together. Writing my story has been a humbling reminder of how indebted I am to so many who have come to my spiritual, financial, parenting, emotional, academic, and social rescue over the years (e.g., Mick and Elaine, Iyun and Sylvester, Michele, Megan and Ken). My heart wells with gratitude to be the beneficiary of such an overflow of blessing and generosity by the hands of so many throughout my life. I do not know how to even identify, much less begin to credit, all who have paid the price of intercession on mybehalf. Most important of all, I give glory to God for being the Author and the Finisher of my faith and everything in between. In Him I live and move and have my being. No one pens a story with as grand a culmination like the Storyteller Extraordinaire, and my life is but one example of His Divine Reversal.