Survivors Empowering Survivors

Spirit and Truth.

I found Alison’s submission particularly intriguing because of my own recent pull towards spirituality. I’ve never been a religious person, and at many points during my angst-filled youth, I thought not to kindly of any kind of God. I’m quite fascinated by any survivor who walks toward God/Love instead of away, given the fire she or he has had to walk through.

Alison describes the services she provides as a Spiritual Director and Healer as:

… follow[ing] the nudges and leadings of the Spirit to bring about healing in your life.  We will savor those moments that are filled with awe and wonder, and look for glimpses of the Spirit in those moments where it seems She is far removed.

Alison’s message in this incredibly personal, raw and inspiring piece embodies the kind of empowerment that can help move all of us forward in our own journey to heal.

My name is Alison Hendley.  I grew up in England.  I am a pastor of a church in California, a spiritual director and wilderness guide.  I have just begun fostering a 13 year old boy, thrown into being mother to a teen with all the joys, worries and triggers that brings!

I wrote this piece to speak at a healing service for a gathering of some 250 pastors.  The theme was Too Deep for Words, and a refrain the main speaker used was Spirit and Truth.  It was my first testimony using this style, and the Spirit came to me at midnight, the night before I was too speak, with these words

spirit and truth1


My earliest memory

6 months old

my nappy dirty and my

belly empty.

I’m in a pram

beneath the tree

crying and crying

and no one comes

exhausting myself as I lie in the filth

until angels come and hush me

their lullaby soothing me

their breath blowing the leaves


and quieting the pain of abandonment

too deep for words



Then, before I turned three,

my grandfather raping me

pushing inside me

telling me I was a bad girl

that this was all my fault….

and when I tell my mum

my fear and pain and shame

reflected in her eyes

as she tells me I have

a good imagination

beating me into silence

pushing down that pain to a place

too deep for words



Over the next 16 years

Grandfather, father, mother,


all push their

tongues and fingers, penises

and hate and anger into me

raping me

blaming me

telling me I’m bad….

but they love me

I’m the one causing this

and I can’t tell

for no one will believe me

and the spiders

will come and crawl in my body

and kill me



So I push it all down

pretending it does not happen

leaving my body when it does

and asking Jesus to save me

even as he holds me in his arms

while they

violate me



Age 9

I decide I’m done

and throw myself

down the stairs.

Angels catch me

and set me gently on the ground

my pain denied

my life continues



Age 15-20

I try to drown this pain

too deep for words

alcohol becomes my best friend

for it numbs

it makes me forget

it keeps me from home

and sometimes,

just sometimes

it lets me cry

the tears releasing some of

that overwhelming pressure

of the

pain too deep for words



Age 20

My brother tries to kill me

and in that moment

I hear God speak

“You don’t have to stay

you can change

I will be with you.”

I pass out

and somehow

I am alone

when I come to

knowing something has changed



It takes another 7 years

before I begin to talk

The first time I speak of

that pain too deep for words

I’m convinced I will

not be believed

that it’s all my fault

that now I will be killed

by the spiders

or them



One sentence I spoke

then silence

for another year or so


One sentence

and nothing struck me dead

One sentence

and no one told me

I was lying

One sentence

of that

pain too deep for words



Slowly I began to speak more

the truth

seeping out

as the memories and


and pain

flooding back

that sentence unleashing

a torrent

over time

the truth flooding out

the spirit flooding in

healing slowly happening

as I began to believe

that maybe, just maybe

it was not my fault

that maybe, just maybe

I could be loved by God

that maybe, just maybe

I was not bad

that maybe, just maybe

I could live


spirit and truth123

These two things

still work in my life today


when I get triggered

by a man

high and unstable

who finds a way

into the locked building

and catches me by



Spirit and truth

come as I speak

and discover what memory

this awakes



When I get triggered

by my 13 year old foster son

processing his own

pain too deep for words

feeling anger arise in me

that leaves me


fearful that I might be

like them

even when I know I’m not

Spirit and Truth

come as I speak

and see

that I am me

and not a monster



When I get triggered

by a gentle touch

that catches me


all the fear

rushing back

breathing shallow

heartbeat fast

frozen inside into that

place too deep for words

until Spirit and truth

come back

and I will myself to the

present time






Still this pain

too deep for words

can catch me unawares

but now

I know what to do

I know how to greet it

I have people who know

the truth

and remind me if I forget

this pain

too deep for words

has risen to the surface

and I cannot be silenced




Words must be spoken

the pain cradled and


and loved

and held

and given space

and bathed in the light


Spirit and truth


for they know my name

and call me by it

each day.


alison2Alison Hendley is a pastor, spiritual director, healer, wilderness guide and new mama to a 13 year old boy.  She grew up in England and came to America 20 years ago, where her healing journey began.  In her past she has been a nanny, Waldorf teacher and worked for a bank.  She enjoys being in nature, kayaking and being creative in as many aspects of her life as possible.


You can follow Alison of Facebook, and learn more about her the services she provides as a spiritual director and healer at her website: 

“My soul is striving to remember who I am, to make who I am compatible with who I was born to be, to bring who I am into synch with who I will be.”  Steven Foster

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