Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse
By Steven R. Tracy, Zondervan, 2005
Endorsements from Christian leaders:
Mending the Soul is by far the best book I’ve seen for integrating biblical foundations and scientific research as it describes abuse and its effects, reaching it height in the comprehensive model for healing abuse emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. Pastors, counselors, and teachers alike will relish this excellent resource.”
Gerry Breshears, Ph.D., professor of theology, Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon; past president of the Evangelical Theological Society
“Steve Tracy has made an enormous contribution to our understanding of the biblical, social, and psychological dimensions of abuse and its impact on our society and the church. As a pastor who deals often with the effects of abuse, I am deeply indebted to him for providing this useful instrument to help heal and mend souls.”
Wayne R. Lehsten, pastor of counseling and marriage ministries, Scottsdale Bible Church, Scottsdale, Arizona
“Steven Tracy deals honestly and profoundly with the troubling and long-neglected issue of abuse in this much-needed work. It demonstrates biblical fidelity and pastoral concern while raising awareness of the problem—especially for the church—and showing the path to healing.”
Dr. Kenneth Magnuson, associate professor of Christian ethics, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
“With the biblical wisdom of a theologian and the counseling insights of a therapist, Steve Tracy has crafted an invaluable resource for those concerned with abuse in all its forms. Tracy offers a scripturally anchored model of abuse recovery that includes practical suggestions and copious real-life examples. Chapter 9 by itself (on rebuilding intimacy with God) is worth the price of the book. This volume deserves to be read and reread by every pastor, counselor, and serious people helper.”
Sandra D. Wilson, Ph.D., seminary professor, spiritual director, and author of Released from Shameand Into Abba’s Arms
“As part of my work at the Institute for Prison Ministries, I am privileged to regularly teach at the local county jail. It has become quite common, unfortunately, to hear stories of men and women who are survivors of an abusive relationship, be it in their family of origin, in an intimate relationship, in the workplace, church, or correctional facility. Their stories are heartbreaking, but the real tragedy is that they often believe they are responsible for the abuse and that they somehow deserve it. Their lives are broken, marred by violence, addiction, rejection, and alienation from their Creator. As a society, we tend to marginalize groups that are different from us (such as the incarcerated) to create space between them and us and thus not have to feel the pain they experience. If they are not us, then we can feel better about us and attribute the pain of their lives to whatever defines them, be it ethnicity, criminal background, gender, socio-economic status, nationality, or something else … A high percentage of those currently incarcerated once sat in our Sunday schools, attended our Christian colleges and youth groups, and worshiped the Savior we serve. “They” are us.
Dr. Tracy’s review and understanding of current research in the social sciences is impressive, but it is his thorough understanding of Scripture and ability to communicate that understanding that makes this book an absolute “must” for every Christian educator’s shelf.Whether you are ministering on a college campus, in the board room of a non-profit, in the local church, or even in a correctional setting, this topic is one you are bound to face and one that requires a great deal of compassion, empathy, and skill. Abuse tears the soul, Dr. Tracy states, and as Christian educators, we are given the unique responsibility to minister God’s healing and mending. In order to do that effectively without inflicting more harm, we must be better equipped. In this reviewer’s opinion, this book stands heads above others that are currently available on this topic in helping to equip us to minister to the abuse victim as well as the perpetrator.”
Brenda Ratcliff, Institute for Prison Ministries, Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL [(from a book review in TheChristian Education Journal5 : 463-466)
Endorsements from medical and mental health professionals:
“Steven Tracy’s book on abuse skillfully weaves together sound theology, insightful biblical exegesis, and the best of psychological findings about the horrors of abuse and the road to recovery. Featuring many case examples from his extensive work with survivors, the book stands as a substantial challenge to the church: Stop recictimizing survivors and begin facilitating their healing.”
James R. Beck, author and professor of counseling, Denver Seminary
“Steven Tracy does a masterful job weaving victim’s experience with adept biblical exegesis and sound trauma psychological understanding. Placing the work on reconciliation squarely on the shoulders of those who abuse, the book provides healing salve to victims. Dr. Tracy reviews the nature and effects of abuse, including such sensitive issues of perversion, shame, and powerlessness. Dr. Tracy tackles head-on traits associated with abusers and abusive families. Finally, he provides hope as he outlines how victims can rebuild relationship with God, with themselves, and with others.”
Patricia Warford, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Warford has worked with victims of domestic violence since 1992 and with men who have been abusive since 2003. She has been qualified in state and federal courts as an expert on domestic violence. She has served as a member of the (Oregon) Governor’s Council on Domestic Violence and the Yamhill County Domestic Violence Task Force.
“Mending the Soulintegrates very well the biblical-theological-psychological understanding of abuse. It is a pragmatic, insightful, candid evaluation of the problem and contains specific recommendations for healing psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.”
Ralph Earle, Ph.D., family therapist, psychologist, author, and past national President of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
“As a family physician for thirty years, I saw the faces of many of my patients as I read the pages of Dr. Tracy’s book—patients who presented with difficult sets of cryptic symptoms—and realizes what their real diagnosis was. I will have multiple copies of the is book on hand to help patients suffering from these issues and I’ll be recommending it for all my colleagues, including residents and medical students, for whom this should be required reading to sensitize them to this devastating problem.”
Jacqueline Chadwick, M.D., vice dean of academic affairs, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix Campus; former Chairman of the board of directors, Phoenix Seminary; former president (and first female president) of the Arizona Medical Association.
Endorsements from lay people and abuse survivors:
“Thank you again for all that you have done to support my sister. For so many years she has appropriately sought out help from many professional counselors and church leaders for her abusive marriage. My sister and her husband have been in church leadership most of their 27 years of marriage. No one ever seemed to GET IT until, God in His graciousness, led my sister to you and your resources. I have marveled at how far she has come in just one year!”
“The minute my friend told me Mending the Soulwas available I ordered it from Amazon. It arrived early evening yesterday. I picked it up around 10 o’clock last night and didn’t put it down until 4:30 this morning. It is a PHENOMENAL work… an answer to my deepest heart cries (since our children’s abuse in 1989.) It far exceeds what I’ve petitioned the Lord for all these years. Thank youfor your obedience to Him in doing the difficult work, staying the course and delivering the most instructive and informative, Biblically sound and completely honest piece I’ve encountered. I pray that it will land in the hands of all whom the Lord sovereignly selects, its truths penetrating into their very shoe leather, to redeem and restore the souls of those impacted by one of the enemy’s darkest deeds. If I had the means I’d be passing Mending the Soulout on street corners!”
Parent of sexual abuse victims
“I am a Christian survivor of incest. I have read many books on dealing with and healing incest issues. This is the first book I have read that presents material for Christians, and it has had a profound effect on the issues I have faced. Not only does it address the nature of abuse, it also addresses the aftereffects of abuse: shame and powerlessness. In my opinion, the most important section of the book is The Healing Path. It gave me hope and explained the steps needed for the survivor to know God can indeed heal the soul. Other books address the mental and emotional aftereffects of incest. This book addresses the most important part of abuse: the damage it does to the soul. As a believer in God, it gave me a path to follow to heal my soul. For anyone raised in a church and felt abandoned by God because of incest, this is a must read.”
“I have read many different books on abuse, from both the abused point of view, and the counselor’s point of view. This is the most thorough, concise and “user friendly” book I’ve ever run across. It’s thorough and concise in that it gives strong teaching in not only what abuse looks like, but how to unlock the damage done. It’s “user friendly,” in that it provides several “real life” illustrations that more clearly define the teaching that’s being done. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to both abuse victims, and their counselors. I learned more from this book than I’ve ever learned from any other given resource. If you are an abuse victim, or one working with an abuse victim, this book is a DEFINITE “must have.” I recommend that you read it slowly, and carefully. It’s RICH in content.”
“Reading all the materials and viewing the When Love Hurts Video, finally stated in a clear and understandable manner what my daughter’s experience has been. I am now able to understand her and to offer the support that she needs. Thank you for your work!”
“I am a 22 year old university student from a large university. I have been in accountability and discipleship groups my whole life and in student leadership in my church. I have never understood why I keep ending up in such abusive relationships until now. Doing a Mending the Soul Bible Study in my church was the help I needed to identify the abuse in my relationship and to begin to set appropriate boundaries. I have never healed like I have this year. How can I thank you for your ministry and materials?”
Marriage at the Crossroads:
Couples in Conversation About Discipleship,
Gender Roles, Decision Making and Intimacy
by Aida Besancon Spencer, William David Spencer,
Celestia Tracy, and Steven R Tracy
InterVarsity Press, 2009
“At last we’ve been given a sane, nuanced, thoughtful conversation around differing viewpoints on gender issues in marriage. This book will help all Christians come to a deeper appreciation of the miracle of marriage as God intended it. The glory of marriage–in spite of the pitfalls–shines through virtually every page.”
—Alice P. Mathews, Ph.D., Lois W. Bennett Distinguished Emerita Professor of Educational Ministries and Women’s Ministries, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
“This dialogue between professional scholar-ministers who are also couples living in exemplary marriages is incredibly helpful because they show theologically and personally the similarities and differences between complementarians and egalitarians. Because they dialogue respectfully as friends, the clear presentation of their similarities and differences is all the more helpful. It’s a must-read for scholars who want to explore theology and exegesis, pastors and counselors who want to do better marital counseling, and people who need examples for more Christ-honoring marriages.”
—Gerry Breshears, professor of theology, Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon, former President of the Evangelical Theological Society
Steve and Celestia Tracy bear the beautiful and awful assignment from God to see children and youth trapped in sex trafficking rescued and restored. Facilitating this calling are their years of investment in the theological bedrock of God’s heart for such as these combined with the mental health tools specific to this abuse and trauma. Their background has produced this significant work, truly a gift to those of us who work with so-called throw-away children and youth. Each chapter is essential, each truth is required. And to the church, globally, the next generation of God’s people who love the least, last and lost, the Tracy’s have given an extraordinary foundation upon which to build. Equipped for the work we prayed to do, as we prayed for His Kingdom to come.
President, Neighborhood Ministries, Phoenix, Arizona
Thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated, Princess Lost will reach beyond survivors’ pain to greatly aid their healing process. I am deeply grateful for this breakthrough resource. It is gentle yet comprehensive in its approach. The Tracy’s unwavering compassion for the abused is matched only by their thorough research. What a gift this is in times like these! Princess Lost is an invaluable gift to those from whom so much has been taken. I believe its pages will spur hope and healing in many; heaven surely celebrates its release! For too long, our lost princesses have been devalued through the lies and abuse they have endured. This book sets the record straight; they are loved and adored by the One who knows their stories.
For those dedicated to helping “set captives free,” Princess Found will prove an invaluable resource. For too long, such heroes have been asking for a guide like this. Their wait is finally over! It is precisely because their hearts have been “unalterably broken” by contemporary slavery and abuse that Steve & Celestia Tracy are so effective. Every page of this priceless resource displays a mix of heavy compassion and thorough research. What a gift to those called to guide survivors safely toward wholeness!
Princess Found combines sound theology with thorough research to provide counselors and mentors with the most comprehensive volume on child sex abuse trauma available today. All of us who care about our lost princesses are deeply indebted to the Tracy’s for this unparalleled resource! Princess Found is an invaluable aid all who seek to navigate survivors through the lies and deception they have believed for too long. For those of us that long for a day when our lost daughters will find their way home, the release of this volume is cause for celebration!
Rev. Brad Pellish, Pastor of Outreach
Bethany Bible Church, Phoenix, Arizona
It is easy to find a book about sex-trafficking but nearly impossible to find healing curriculum, particularly material that not only explains the effects of sexual abuse and trafficking but offers biblically based steps towards healing. As the founder of a nonprofit organization working with prostituted women in Africa, our staff has long been asking for material that we could use for counseling and disciplingthe prostituted women in our programs and now it is finally here! ThePrincess Lost/ Princess Found curriculum is precisely what we had needed. Dr.and Mrs. Tracy have beautifully intertwined Scripture, research, and real life examples and arranged them into a clear pathway to help caregivers and counselors directprostituted girls toward healing. Abuse and the sexualization of women and girls are all around us and have affected all of us. I highly recommend these worksfor anyone who wantsto understand the dynamics of sex trafficking and desires to reach out and help victimsheal.
Abigail Tracy Kakeeto, founder and director of A Perfect Injustice, Kampala, Uganda
Sex-trafficking has increased greatly in the last two decades because of the collapse of communism, globalization, and the fear of AIDS. Over 100 million girls are missing from the globe today. Steve and Celestia Tracy have provided part of the solution: a reliable, tested, and informative guide for mentors of sexually exploited girls, including several interactive exercises, music, and art. They go beyond psychological and sociological frames, providing a biblically-sound and theologically rich reading of alienation, shame, and redemption.
John DelHousaye, Associate Professor of New Testament, Phoenix Seminary
By weaving a masterful tale of redemption in the face of appalling evil and cruelty, Steve and Celestia Tracy provide hope for all the ‘daughters of our city’ based upon the truth of Scripture and the only Hope – Jesus Christ.
Paul Madson, founder and president, Global Training Network
The completion of Princess Lostand Princess Found only magnifies what a profound need there has been for such powerful resources. For several years I have worked with abused children as adult survivors of childhood abuse. With little success, I have looked for tools that would help facilitate healing to those places in a child’s heart that have been so deeply wounded. The PL& PF curriculum has a way of doing this like no other resource I have ever seen. The story of PL captures a beautiful picture of who God designed us to be; a picture that children and adults alike can deeply connect to and find hope. Children of all ages and cultures embrace the beauty of art, music, and story, contained in this curriculum, to touch areas which are often so impenetrable in the heart of a survivor
This curriculum is a powerful tool that not only give survivors of abuse a way of understanding all that has happened to them, but a sense of hope that they can hold on to as they journey towards healing. It also provides those who work alongside victims of abuse a glimpse into their world, which is something that survivors so desperately long for. Whether you are a professional with years of education and experience or the friend or loved one of someone who has been through the ravaging effects of abuse, you will gain a newfound depth of insight and understanding into the far reaching effects of childhood sexual abuse. At the same research based strategies for helping victims are presented which leaves the reader with an enormous amount of hope for healing.
Samia Kamel-Ohm MA, LPC, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor, Hope Restores Counseling
Princess Lostis not just a beneficial resource for girls who have been commercially sexually exploited, but also for the individuals who seek to better understand their experience, love them in their process of healing, and advocate for their freedom.
With brilliant use of metaphor and imagery, Celestia has compassionately created a powerful story of heartache, sacrifice, and redemption that will leave its readers transformed. Princess Found is both an expressive and practical guide for the compassionate caregivers who desire to lead others into relational, emotional, and spiritual healing. The Tracy’s emphasis on the importance of healing within the context of relationships, combined with a clear discussion of current research and relevant use of Scripture, allow Princess Lost and Princess Foundto be incredible resources for those desiring to walk alongside of sexually exploited girls in their process of healing.
Kim Chaves, MA, LPC,
Steve and Celestia Tracy are truly a match made in heaven. Only God could bring these two truly gifted individuals together to share their passion and intellect on a subject that many do not want to discuss – sexual abuse.The Tracys have taken dark and evil topics and provided both abuse survivors and their mentors the tools to bring their stories into the light and presence of God’s grace.Princess Lostis a well-written story with beautiful pictures and graphics – readers will want to linger on each and every page. Princess Foundequips us to journey into the depths of this complicated subject – providing valuable insights and discussion topics.The two books together are absolutely brilliant!
Jody Ann Noon, RN, JD
Administrator, Office of Community Health & Health Planning, Oregon State Health Division
Board Member, Door to Grace (outreach to prostituted girls)
Board Member, Girl’s Inc of the Northwest
Running through Princess Found and Princess Lost is the mission and insight of Steven and Celestia Tracy for the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women. The combination of the fairy tale (Princess Lost) and the Mentor’s Guide (Princess Found) anticipate both the needs of the exploited and the training of the advocate. While the social science brings vital explanation, I was especially stuck by the quality of theological insight that adds prophetic urgency and enables pastoral care. Here is no fairy tale, but the archetypical story of plundered women. The “Interactive Exercises” closing out each chapter are practical and downright therapeutic. Social worker, pastor, and therapist now have a balanced and integrative tool—thanks for removing our excuses!
Andrew J. Schmutzer, Ph.D.
Professor of Biblical Studies, Moody Bible Institute
Author/Editor of The Long Journey Home: Understanding and Ministering to the Sexually Abused
Mending the Soul Ministries is inspiring an awakening in churches and organizations around the world who are bringing the message of hope and healing to the thousands of walking wounded who are abused and rescued from sex trafficking.Many have answered the call to help these girls yet were without the tools necessary to care for them amidst the complexities of the aftermath left in their souls by what they have endured.Princess Lostand Princess Foundgive us the foundation and understanding we need to ensure every church is a safe church and every leader a safe leader for “our girls.”
Tammy J. Smith
Pastor of Spiritual Formation, Paradise Valley Community Church
The Princess Lost/Princess Found curriculum offers an accessible, beautifully written resource for mentors to walk with survivors of commercial sexual exploitation through the pain of their past into hope for their future. With its engaging illustrations and prose, Princess Lost invites the reader to use the story of a young princess to reflect on the inner experience of being lost and thoughtfully consider the joy in being found. The accompanying guide for mentors, Princess Found, artfully weaves current research, theory and Scripture in such a way that will prepare mentors to serve survivors with great patience, respect, and love. Princess Foundcontinually points us back to our divine mandate: to love in Jesus name, affirming in each survivor her original design as a beloved daughter of the King.
Vice President of Aftercare, International Justice Mission
Through the curriculum I started to learn more about abuse, what it actually looks like and how it could affect you, not just in the moment but the devastating and lasting effects it has on your life. I was making connections to my earliest incidents of abuse and how each one impacted the next. I could relate to every aspect of Regina’s story in some way; her story is truly our story. In every chapter I learned more about myself, and the realities of what the survivors need. I was learning truth and gaining confidence. I started to see what healthy life looked like.
My healing didn’t just come through the curriculum. It happened through the community of people that I was surrounded by, the ones that did their own healing, the ones I could laugh, cry, and share with. This is why the Mentor’sGuide is so crucial to the process. The fairytale, music, and journal are amazing tools, but without a team, a community of people working together to support these girls… well it’s just a fairytale, and for them there’s no happy ending.
It’s hard for me to even try to describe the sense of peace and well being I have discovered in this process. My heart yearns to share it with the world. This curriculum needs to be shared with the world. It’s going to transform generations.
Amira Birger, sex trafficking survivor
I am writing this as an endorsement for the Princess Lost/Found curriculum. As I pondered the words to express how it has changed my life, I was flooded with too much to say. I was first of all tremendously honored to be a part of something so instrumental to outreach to sexually exploited youth and grateful for how this curriculum has UN-distorted my life. I have such a unique and undeniable story, that I feel over whelmed with relief and appreciation for the peace, strength, and wisdom that have been given to me by the grace of GOD through this material. I have always known Jesus as my Savior, but as I’ve learned, my view of him was unwillingly distorted by evil, trauma, and shame. When read Princess Lost/ Princess Found, they help me realize the truth, that God has seen me, outside looking in, during my whole struggle, and helped me understand- Physically, Psychologically, Emotionally, but most of all, Spiritually for what was going on and what I was feeling for so long. It was my long prayed for answer to a gaping wound that I buried in my soul. Mending the Soul has truly become my anchor to the truth and my bridge to redemption! I know now what is real and I understand how to use my sorrow to help others, which has been for me, the only way to heal. I will be forever thankful for you Celestia, and what you are doing. You have inspired a strength in me that I never knew I could have. One voice is all it takes…..and I will return to the darkness, strong, fearless, with my Mended Soul ready to speak the truth and save those precious lives from this invisible hell on earth.
Kay, sex trafficking survivor
From an African culture where story telling is part of our culture, there is no better way to start this journey of healing with the ladies with a story! The story is very captivating and explains the motions of girls and women who have gone through abuse in a non threatening manner. I love how the themes, if I may call them, of Shalom, Tragedy and Redemption have been brought out. The pictures perfectly bring out these themes and one does not have to go through school to understand them. Regina lost in her world. Everything is beautiful and good and believes in her father able and mighty reminds me of the Garden of Eden, a place of Shalom. Tragedy begins with the coming of the wicked Step uncle who defiles her. Evil has a name, character and job description. It distorts the truth. That which was beautiful and innocent become shameful and what is to be hidden. Due to the shame we forget who we are and run away from it. And fear creeps in, very evident in the chapters 5-8 of this book and evident in the lives of all who have gone through sexual abuse. Thank God for the gift of love that always brings redemption!
Wow!! An amazing guide book! Very profound. No other way to give insight into the life of prostituted girls. From this I have heard the cry and the plea of prostituted women both young and old, commercially and non-commercially exploited in a way I have never heard before.
The Guide through Princess Lostdoes not just tell us about the theme of each chapter but also expounds on what the bible says about the specific theme, the implications to the mentors and the interactive segments for the mentors and the girls. The authority of God’s word hand in hand with professional insight has been used to offer guide to the mentors. The guide is very practical and in settings where the girls cannot read and write, Princess Found can be used because of use of drawing, music, collage and imagery is applicable in the sharing and expression of feelings.
Two things that stick out for me:
Dependency on God cannot be over-emphasised. As mentors we cannot play God in the lives of these girls and women. We cannot and do not have the ability to change and heal anyone. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. Only God can and unless we acknowledge that, we will get frustrated and disappointed. The importance of soul/self care for mentors cannot be over stressed too. Many times as mentors we get too carried away with the issues of the girls and we forget that we need to care for ourselves too.
Appendices A, B and C clearly explain how the journey is like. This prepares the mentors and helps them to count the cost. We have had people coming on board and wanting to mentors, volunteers in our ministry but they give up along the way as they were not able to pay the cost of mercy.
The importance of soul/self care for mentors cannot be over stressed too. Many times as mentors we get too carried away with the issues of the girls and we forget that we need to care for ourselves too.
Appendices A, B and C clearly explain how the journey is like. This prepares the mentors and helps them to count the cost. We have had people coming on board and wanting to mentors, volunteers in our ministry but they give up along the way as they were not able to pay the cost of mercy.
Full Circle (outreach to “commercial sex workers”), Nairobi, Kenya
Hello, the book Princess Lost was recently sent to me by the member care person in our sending agency, also located in Phoenix. It has been very helpful to me in moving forward, and in continuing to work in the Middle East for the sake of the Gospel. In this area, there is a lot of sexual abuse, and a lot of harassment that women receive on the street. It’s really started to wear me down; I felt that this book has really helped me to process some of it with Papa.
The women on my team have all read it, and we are wondering if there is by chance an Arabic translation of the book. We feel that it would really connect with women here, especially the story book format.