Monday, June 7, 2010

Guest Blogger Jan Parrish, Bold & Free Ministries

I love a good secret – the wondrous kind that bursts to be told. But there is another kind of secret – an evil kind. The kind that digs deep into a child’s soul and poisons it. The kind that is too shaming to tell. The "don’t tell your mother” kind. It’s the kind of secret Satan uses to taunt and produce insecurities.

These evil, poisonous kinds of secrets have a way of festering until one day, when you least expect it, an emotional explosion occurs. There is no good time to talk about incest or sexual abuse. It’s a horribly painful topic. But the ugly facts are that it’s happening in homes all across America. Chances are it’s happening in your neighborhood right now. And, tragically, it happened to me.

Initially, it seemed easy to dismiss. He was a member outside my immediate family. He begged my forgiveness and I gave it. We then agreed never to talk about it. He was genuinely repentant and never reoffended. (After years of counseling abused women, I’ve learned that this is extremely rare. Typically, the cycle of repentance and abuse continues for many years.)

But stuffing my feelings down didn’t make them disappear. Denial is only a temporary emotional Band-Aid. Eventually I had to face the demons of my past.

I wish I could say that once the incest stopped, life returned to normal, but nothing was ever the same. I’d lost my sense of security and battled deep-seeded feelings of shame and self worth. I also began to question my Christianity. After all, a family member betrayed me. What other beliefs was I naively holding on to? Even my personality changed. I became withdrawn, angry and rebellious. I hated high school and failed most of my classes due to truancy. I didn’t take drugs or drink excessively, yet there are entire blocks of time in my freshman year that I simply can’t remember. This is indicative of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Throughout my teen years and into adulthood, I continually dealt with sexual assault and harassment. I had no idea I was projecting a victim mentality.

In my late thirties, I was plagued with asthma and a variety of associated ailments. I was losing my voice and that terrified me. I went through a plethora of doctors, praying one of them would heal me. It never occurred to me to ask the ultimate physician for healing. Then one Saturday night during worship, I brokenly cried out to God and begged him to heal me.

He spoke to my spirit, “Today you have touched the hem of my gown. I will heal you in mind, body and spirit. “

“When, Lord?”

“Within the year.”

My physical healing happened very quickly. My voice came back and I am no longer an asthmatic. Then the Lord led me to Alabaster Vessels. As I healed from the abuse of my past, I began to counsel others. Finally, I searched the scriptures and exercised my gift of prophecy. Just as God promised, He healed me mind, body and spirit.

I’m humbled and honored by the women who contact me to share their painful stories of incest and abuse. It’s my prayer that God will use my story to inspire others to begin the healing process.

Perhaps you have a similar story. Allow Him to heal your mind, body and spirit. Healing from childhood abuse is not an easy journey. But you are older, wiser and stronger, and Jesus will be with you all the way. I started my journey just before I turned forty and I will be forty-six this month. It’s never too late to reclaim your life. Shame and guilt held me in bondage. I wasn’t living my life to the fullest. Now I am free from the chains of my past.

As a rape and incest survivor, I am passionate about empowering women to become all God made them to be. Because it is only through Jesus Christ that we can truly be Bold & Free.

Jan Parrish is a barely boomer known for her vibrant presence and unbridled enthusiasm. However, it wasn't always that way. Jan is a rape and incest survivor. Her own transparency puts women at ease as she delivers her message of hope beyond tragedy. Jan is director and speaker for Bold & Free Ministries, writer, speaker, wife, mother, gramma, caregiver, business owner and daughter of The King.

Jan’s email:

Bold & Free Ministries blog:

Examiner Site:



Recommended reading:

The healing salve in this book will soothe all manner of traumas, tragedies, and disappointments. For the single parent and the battered wife, for the abused girl and the insecure woman, there is a cure for the crisis!

A Door of Hope by Jan Frank
Victims of abuse--any abuse--need to know how other people have made it through the recovery process. As a victim of incest herself, Jan Frank understands the myriad emotions that victims struggle with and offers ten proven stops toward recovery in DOOR OF HOPE.

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
If you're one of millions who suffer from worry, doubt, confusion, depression, anger or condemnation, you are experiencing an attack in your mind. Overcoming negative thoughts that come against your mind brings freedom and peace. Find out how to recognize damaging thought patterns and stop them from influencing your life.

Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer
In BEAUTY FOR ASHES, Joyce Meyer outlines the major truths that brought healing to her life and describes how other victims of abuse can also experience this healing, including how to deal with the emotional pain of abuse, how to understand your responsibility to God for overcoming abuse, why victims of abuse often suffer from other addictive behaviors, how to grab hold of God's unconditional love, and the importance of God's timing in working through painful memories.
Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
What WILD AT HEART did for men, CAPTIVATING is doing for women. Setting their hearts free. This groundbreaking book shows readers the glorious design of women before the fall, describes how the feminine heart can be restored, and casts a vision for the power, freedom, and beauty of a woman released to be all she was meant to be.


  1. Thanks for inviting me to guest blog, Gina. It's a pleasure to be here.

  2. Thanks Gina and Jan for starting our health and therapy week off!

    Jan, I'm sorry to hear about this incidence in your youth and the many years that you carried the burden of all that comes with it. But God certainly has a way of using our pain to heal others. I'm praying your post here today draws a reader who needs to see it... the same for all our guests this week.

  3. Thanks, Jan for coming to the Inkwell today. I think your experience must come under the heading of Beauty for Ashes. What the world does to us, versus what God does for us. Thank you for your message of hope!

  4. Jan, thanks so much for coming and sharing today. Recently, I've been talking to a woman who suffered sexual abuse as a teen. In her case, it has caused some confusion about sexual orientation. Do you have any specific advice or recommendations for this sort of situation?

  5. Jan, you truly are Bold & Free! Thank you for sharing with us. May this post find its way into the hands of those who need to know that God wants to heal them, too!

  6. The shame of past abuse enslaves so many women that I knew you had a message worth sharing. Of the books you recommended reading, the only one I have is CAPTIVATING. Well, I did read WILD AT HEART too.

    Both books helped me recognize and overcome the resentment I held against my dad for what I viewed as his willful refusal to unconditionally love.

  7. Thank you ladies for your warm welcome. :)I pray that my message gives hope and help to someone who has experienced abuse.

    That's an excellent question. It's common for someone who has experienced sexual abuse from a member of their own sex to become confused about their sexual identity. That's what happened to Ted Haggard.

    Our bodies are created to respond to sexual stimulation, even when it's unwanted attention. The abuser uses this to place blame on the victim and it causes confusion.

    Even if your friend was not abused by a woman, she may have feelings that women are safer b/c a man violated her. I've counseled many women who thought it might be safer to become a lesbian. Unfortunately, many lesbians have also been abused and they end up repeating the cycle.

    I recommend your friend find a good Christina counselor who deals with sexual abuse to help her sort through all this.

  8. Thanks, Jan. The girl in question has been seeing a Christian counselor for a few months. Hopefully the counselor is a good one, and in time everything will work out.

  9. Jan,
    Is most of your ministry involved in giving talks or as a one-on-one? How are people contacting you that long to share their story? Can you give us a typical story of someone who is benefitting from this ministry of yours? (not their personal story, but how they are able to find counseling with you?)


  10. Great question Debra,

    I have been doing individual counseling until just recently, when God called me to do more speaking and writing. So the ministry is in a transition phase.

    Most of the women I talk to send email or private message through Facebook. Online interaction is a little bit more anonymous - which help those who are struggling with shame issues.

    My blog deals with portions of abuse at a time, ranging from poor self image to depression.

    Lord willing,I'll be speaking online in the near future. I am in the final stages of my Bold & Free book as well. But, like I said, we are in transition, awaiting confirmation on which avenue to pursue.

  11. We will be praying for this transition, and you! Thanks again Jan.

  12. Thank you for posting at the Inkwell, Jan. Such a worthy campaign. Hopefully more women (and men) (and kids) will know there's help available and they don't have to suffer alone.

    Bless you.


  13. What a powerful testimony! Praise God for all He has done in your life and for using you to speak to others on this level - this deep and intimate level! It is sad and scary the prevalence of rape and incest. God Bless you, sister!


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