Before I shared my abuse I was absolutely terrified of the outcome. Over the years I had been convinced that secrecy was the only option. Keeping quiet about this horrible thing would keep my family intact and the ones I loved safe and happy. It broke my heart to know this news would hurt my family, possibly break it completely. I had committed to and deeply believed in remaining quiet.


So that's exactly what I did. I kept quiet, for 9 painfully long years. I remained distant from family, friends, my marriage, and pulled away from God. But you know what keeping this secret did? It made me sick. Not just emotionally, but physically sick. I had a poor relationship with food, an autoimmune disease that despite medications and therapies I couldn’t get under control, ovarian and reproductive issues, and the list goes on. On top of the physical issues I was emotionally drowning in anxiety over the secret of my abuse. On the outside, things looked totally fine, but on the inside I was completely falling apart.


Over years of therapy and prayer I decided that I couldn’t live like that anymore. I chose to believe that on the other side of my secret was freedom. Through therapy I learned how to decipher my feelings and the memories that surrounded my emotional and physical pain. I became aware of how strongly my abuse was controlling my life, and I chose to make a change.


It was scary to reveal my secret. Would they believe me? Will they care? Does it even matter?


I can promise you friend. It does.


On the other side of your secret there is freedom. There are healthy boundaries. There is joy, in the midst of pain. There is forgiveness and restoration. There is healing beyond measure. On the other side there are hopeless circumstances changed. There are callous hearts softened. On the other side there is hope.


Looking back I can see God’s hand in every area of my story. He walked with me through my healing and provided me forgiveness, strength, joy, and peace when my heart wouldn’t allow. He was there for me, and he will be there with you too, from here to “the other side.”

Father God,

We thank you for never leaving our sides, even in the midst of abuse, you were always there. We ask that you give us the courage and strength to share our stories boldly, so that we may bring darkness to light and begin the difficult but rewarding journey of healing. Continue to heal our hearts and restore all that was broken. We pray these things in Jesus' name, Amen.



Erin Van Buren is the owner and lead maker of Grit + Grace Candles, located in Middletown, Virginia. She founded the company in 2021 while healing from her past childhood trauma. Erin has an education background with over 7 years experience teaching students with invisible differences. She is a proud mom of 2 toddlers who keep her days busy and joy filled. Erin is married to her high school sweetheart, Scott. She is actively involved in her local church and enjoys being involved in the women's and children’s ministries there. When she's not pouring candles you can find Erin enjoying the outdoors with a good book and a cup of tea.

August 10, 2022 — Erin Van Buren


Linde Howell

Linde Howell said:

God has shinned his ever loving love and blessing at you. So very proud of u for helping all others that are and have been in your shoe’s God bless

Jean Schreiber

Jean Schreiber said:

I am so proud of you and the difference you are making in your world. God is being glorified in you.

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