At the death of Becca Stevens’ father and subsequent child abuse, the life of this five-year old was shattered. Although she was a victim, she proved to be a stronger survivor.
“At age 5, I didn’t have the language or words to describe what was happening to me,” she shared. “Anybody who experiences sexual abuse or any other type of abuse, it impacts their life. And we only kid ourselves if we think it doesn’t.”
She never held a lot of resentment inside. “I don’t know why,” she admitted. Stevens said she felt safe at the good home her mother provided. Later, she had the support of teachers and credits the Nashville school system for her education.
Fast forward to 1991. She had graduated from college, entered divinity school and married. That year, she was ordained as a priest and gave birth to her first child — all in the same month. “For me, this was an amazing time. A time of births.”
As a new priest she worked downtown Nashville with home- less men and women. As the bare necessities were given to them, she was touched by the lack of individual attention they received. A seed was planted in her heart to open a two-year sanctuary for these women who were victims of prostitution, trafficking and addiction. In 1997, five women were welcomed to Thistle Farm to heal. How befitting is the name of this sanctuary — Thistle Farm. Thistle plants produce thorns and beautiful purple flowers on the end of each stem.
Today, there are five residential communities in Nashville where women stay for two years at no cost. They support each other, and along with housing, are provided medical care, therapy and are educated.
Forty organizations across the country have replicated Thistle Farm’s housing model, all united in the belief that love is the most powerful force for change in the world.
Stevens has written several books, including Find Your Way Home and Finding Balance, yet, Love Heals “is finally the book that epitomizes the whole community of Thistle Farms,” Stevens said.
In Love Heals, readers will find principles that have transformed the lives of women who never seemed to lose hope despite their circumstance. Each chapter brings encouragement and practical steps for anyone going through a difficult season or searching for a deeper faith. True stories of healing and joy are shared within the pages of this beautifully written book that is a must read and a book to be shared. Stevens’ passion for the change love has made in the lives of these women is evident. As one who was wounded, she healed and is a living testament that Love Heals.
Early praise for Stevens’ book comes from Amy Grant, who said she found “a beautiful place of encouragement and hope” after reading Love Heals, which provides “a meeting point for us all to experience community, healing and love.”
The book is available at Target and Parnassus in Green Hills, and online through Amazon and Google.