Have you read this week’s Featured Story? “Forever Changed,” by Kasey Van Norman, is beautiful, powerful story about a rape victim who found hope and healing in her darkest hour and is now able to share her story to help others. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to head over there right away—we’re sure it’ll make your day. Then come back here, since God Makes Lemonade recently had a chance to catch up with Kasey.
GML: Tell us about your family.
Kasey: Well, I am married to my best friend and college sweetheart, Justin Van Norman. We are both from Nagodoches, Texas, and currently live in College Station, Texas, near Texas A&M University. We have two children, Emma Grace who is six, and Lake who is three.
GML: What do you do?
Kasey: First and foremost, I am a full-time wife and a mother. On the side, I am the president and founder of my own teaching ministry, Kasey Van Norman Ministries. I teach and write for women all over the country who are searching for truth and healing. When I’m not doing that, I’m a certified counselor and I’m working on a master’s of biblical studies at Liberty University. And I sing on the worship team at church!
GML: What inspired you to write your lemonade story?
Kasey: I am continually inspired by the many women I counsel and come in contact with who desperately need to be encouraged and healed following sexual abuse. As I have had the honor of counseling sexual abuse victims over the years, I have learned that just as each story is unique, so is the way in which individuals heal from abuse. Many people, like myself, hide hurts deep inside and mask their pain with an “everything is fine” attitude. Others take out their hurt on those closest to them. Some run away from their pain, cover over it, give into it, or even blame themselves for the deep-seeded hurt and doubt they are experiencing. I want my lemonade story to speak hope and truth to sexual abuse victims because I have personally learned that when someone hurts us, we have only two choices: we forgive our abuser or we get bitter. Bitterness can make us into a poisonous person. I desperately long for all women who have been hurt in this way to come face to face with this truth: If we do not choose to forgive and let go, we will inevitably find that we are the ones being held captive by what happened, not our offender.
GML: What was it like to see your story printed in the book?
Kasey: Truly humbling. I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of gratitude and awe. Seeing my story in the book represents another beautiful piece of healing in my life. I am a prime example of how God can transform a life.
GML: What have others said about your story when they’ve read it—or you told it?
Kasey: I have received a few emails from women who have also been raped; they felt God spoke hope to them through reading my story. I am continually blown away by the power of sharing our stories. Wow!
GML: Do you have any updates on your lemonade story since it was published?
Kasey: My story will also be included in the Named by God book, study, and video series to be released by Tyndale Publishers in May 2012. Like everyone, my life has been a roller coaster of joyful triumph and heartbreaking disasters. Not only is my story about one who was hurt, but I also have been the one who has hurt others—including those closest to me. My lemonade story is only one piece of my journey to having a greater understanding of finding myself. I’m a Christian and for the majority of my life, I just didn’t get the fullness of life God was offering to me. Becoming an individual who lives life as one intimately named by God is no easy task. In my work, and in my soon-to-be released book, I take my audience deeper into the beautiful and wretched details of my personal story, while equipping my audience with the Biblical concepts and parallel stories of living daily in redemption and surrender. I challenge my audience to peel away layers of their pasts, wrestle with their faith in the present, and finally, step into the promises of God for a more thrilling, purpose-filled future. You can find more information about my work at my website, blog, or via Twitter.
GML: Thanks for sharing such a hopeful story with us, Kasey. Just for fun, will you tell us one more thing: if you could go on vacation anywhere today, where would you go and why?
Kasey: Although I have never been, my dream vacation is anywhere in South Africa. I am obsessed with the place. If the Lord willed it, my man and I would hop a plane headed straight there today! I often stalk South Africa via Internet in my free time. From what I have seen and heard about South Africa, the scenery is beyond captivating there, too. I can only imagine the sights, smells, food, and people would be more than my “small-town Texas gal” senses could handle!
Thanks for stopping by and getting to know Kasey a bit better. Come back next week—we’re already working on another interview with the author of our next featured story. Or you can pick up a copy of God Makes Lemonade, where you’ll find more than eighty inspiring stories like this one.