by April D. Byrd
Author Alissa R. Jones is the founder of Survivors With Voices Foundation an organization to help survivors heal, find their voices, and have a platform to commune. And She is the Author of the book "The Stones That Built Me Strong" a powerful message of overcoming and how with God, hurtful stones can turn around to be the building blocks of success.
I am so thankful that I was fortunate enough to interview her. The way God has blessed her and how she shares her testimony with the world is powerful. In this exclusive interview I asked Author Jones a few questions about how she came to trust again, and how she gets through the hard times of life now. Alissa experienced tragic and life changing trauma at a young age. She was sexually abused as a child and her life begin to spiral into even more devastation afterwards.
She has risen to become a prolific Author, a sought after Speaker and a primary Advocate for survivors of abuse. I won't try to be cool there were tears in my eyes as I gathered her responses in the interview the first time myself. Jones's introspective is Inspiring, Poignant, and insightful. The questions were issued in perspective of Her new book "The Stones That Built Me Strong".
BOLDJournal: You've said you walked through life with hatred for your mother because of the abuse you endured. Did your mother know what was going on at the time that it was happening to you? At what point or age were you when she did find out, and how?
Alissa R. Jones: I was abused by a man that my mother let rent the basement of our home. Going through a divorce and struggling with the fear of financial instability, my mother opened the door to a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The man that rented a room in my home became my biggest fear. My mother was not aware of the abuse at the time the abuse was going on. However I feel as a mother she ignored the signs. During that time I attempted suicide. At the time I felt Death would be easier to deal with. After dealing with abuse for close to a year and a half after turning 12 I finally opened up to my friend Guyia. It’s amazing how God steps in our lives in just the nick of time. Guyia spoke of the incident to our school counselor who in turn, phoned my mom.
BOLD: How did the abuse stop occurring? Was your mother or someone else a part of ending it?
Alissa: After my friend Guyia spoke of the abuse to our counselor the police were called that day and met us at our home. The abuser was made to move out of our home. I thought things would get better instantly but I’d never felt so alone. Even after the abuse occurred she acted as though nothing ever happened. She never asked me what he did to me which in turn made me furious. The saying “What goes on in the house stays in the house” took center stage in our home.
BOLD: What led you to forgive yourself? and those that hurt you?
Alissa: Realizing that I was walking through life with hatred in my heart and the repeated bad decisions I had made throughout my life. After experiencing divorce and dealing with life after divorce, I entered a relationship on the rebound which didn’t last long. He had a problem with alcohol and the unexpected happened where he caused me harm after being intoxicated. That night I pondered on the situation I had put myself in trying to find love instead of letting love find me..I knew I needed to take the time to find myself and to go deep inside of all the hurt & pain life had caused up until this point Not only that – the pain I caused my mother by not awarding her “Forgiveness”
What I started to understand was that God was telling me to figure out who I was & work on the issues I had deep inside. Not fully dealing with the foundation of my life, I was holding in feelings and secrets that I never dealt with.
One to my abuser
In this letter I poured out my heart letting him know what he stole from me, how he affected my life, & how I walked through life with hate for him.
One to My Mother
The woman I blamed for it all. I let her know how I hated her for not protecting me and how I felt she abandoned me when I needed her most. I also told her that I walked through life trying to hurt her and make her feel the pain I felt
One to My Inner Child
The last letter I wrote was a letter to my inner child, letting her know she is loved and that it wasn’t her fault her innocence was taken from her. I did this so I could let go of the anger and bitterness I held inside. Once I understood forgiveness was for me & not the other person, I understood that healing could take place in my heart
The process of writing these letters has become the foundation of what I encourage other women and survivors to do as they navigate their own paths towards becoming stronger, more stable people. It was one of the most healing things I have ever done. I encourage anyone to do it and I believe it was one of things that helped me to both see clearly and to confront the things I needed to in my life
There are others who I consider hurt me as well however finding forgiveness made me focus on forgiving them for me and not for them. Life for me became livable and fulfilling once I forgave and that became the KEY point to Healing from the inside out.
BOLD: You're married now. How did you start to trust people again?
Alissa: Yes I am married now and I will say I didn’t trust him or people at first. When I say “people” I mean men. Although the love that we found was great and all I still was battling my issues within. Actually I look back and ask how did he even deal with me and my insecurities and not just leave. What helped me is that my current husband loved me past my scars (both seen and unseen) and the baggage. When I pushed him away he pulled me in- by showing me he was different than the men I encountered before.
When we are hurt in previous relationships as women we tend to group all men together instead of separating certain behaviors. My husband was STRONG enough to deal with the issues I had. He helped me unpack my Baggage. When you ask him how he dealt with it all- He would simply say “Prayer”. That answer alone brings tears to my eyes because he cared enough and loved me enough to Pray for Me and Us even when I didn’t pray for myself. I truly feel his Prayers helped our marriage and brought US as one closer to God.
When a man loves you past your PAIN –it helps you to Trust & Believe that there is this thing called Love.
BOLD: When the unsettling issues or contingencies in life happen to you now, How do you deal with it? are there tricks that you have to counteract the stress?
Alissa: I actually write in my Journal. Writing in my Journal helps me get the words out of me that I feel I can’t say with my mouth.
I also learned to have “Faith” and talking to God. That was something that was missing from my life in the past. When things went bad I would go into depressed mode and spoke negative instead of positive. I am less stressed because I know understand the importance of giving my issues to God to handle. Physically stress is handled by exercising and eating right.
BOLD: At what point in your life did you find God for yourself?
Alissa: I would say at the age of 32 and I’m 35 now. I was yearning to heal and didn’t really understand who to turn to. We attended a church on the West side of Texas and the sermon was on Forgiveness. That sermon spoke to me, and after accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior another Life started to unfold for me.
I began to realize everything I have experienced was God’s way of bringing me closer to Him. Showing me that through even the Hurtful Stones my Life has caused-His hands was on my Life even then.
I stand today walking in freedom of my Hurtful Stones that is
“The Stones that Built Me Strong”
I’m Alissa R. Jones and I’m a Survivor with a Voice.
To Learn more about Survivors With Voices Foundation visit their website at www.survivorswithvoices.com
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