Valerie Wressell was the winner of the Adult Non-Fiction section of the CALEB Awards in 2021, with her book, Sinned Against: Exploring the Scriptures. We sat down with Valerie after her win and asked her a few questions about her book and her process.
Q: Tell us what your book is about?
Valerie: My book is a series of studies designed, primarily, to connect survivors of abuse with the Word of God with a view to pursuing healing of body, mind, soul and spirit.
To quote from my Introduction ‘Abuse prompts many difficult questions concerning the character of God, the value of a human soul, and the appropriate response of a survivor to the injuries sustained. These deserve thoughtful answers. In this book, my aim has been to guide the reader to consider their own answers to these questions as they engage with the Word of God, the Bible. It is here that we find truth, about God and about ourselves and our world. It is this truth that will set us free to embrace life in all its fullness.’ (p4)
Q. What inspired you to write it?
Valerie: I would have liked to have had access to a book like this when I was navigating my own journey of healing from the effects of abuse. But there wasn’t one. Or at least I have never found one.
My own personal history, and my training in education, in theology and in pastoral care all equipped me to be able to identify with other survivors, ask appropriate questions of Scripture and of God, and enable me to articulate my thoughts on the subject. I believe God nudged me into the project, and kept on nudging as He led me through it. It took six years of work to complete the project.
Q. Who’s the reader and have you had feedback on it?
Valerie: Given the distressing prevalence of abuse in society, the potential readership is limitless! Whether the reader has been subject to abuse or not, they will know someone who has.
I have been careful to try to make the book relevant to men as well as women.
I would hope that it might also be read by pastors and used in pastoral care studies in Bible Colleges.
Given that abuse occurs throughout every strata of society, the content needed to be accessible to as many readers as possible. The two groups of women who helped me write the book pointed out to me any unhelpfully big words I had used. I then had to ruthlessly iron them out, and use simpler language to convey the same truths. —We all have deeply theological thoughts, but we don’t need to use big words to articulate them.
I have used the studies with any number of women before and since publication, and I am constantly surprised by the powerful ways in which God uses them. One lady had valiantly struggled with forgiveness for over thirty years. It had made her ill. But on going through the relevant chapter and the Bible verses, and appropriating the truth she found, she was wonderfully freed!
I am so pleased to win this award, as it might mean that more people can be helped toward healing in their journey of faith.
Where can people get your book?
Valerie: It is available on-line as a print-on-demand paperback, printed in Australia, or as an e-book. Just check the ISBNs. There is a previous, faulty version still showing on some sites that comes up as ‘Not currently available’. The correct ISBN’s are: Paperback 978-0-6487074-4-8 and e-book 978-0-6487074-5-5
We hope you’ll check out Valerie’s winning title and leave a review for her. Congratulations to Valerie and all our winners.