Author Archive

sexually abused

under Secret Stories, Written on July 7, 2011

When I first saw the title of your book, Your Secret Name; I thought initially that I really don’t need to read this because I already know what my secret name is. So this book lingered in my Kindle Archives unread until…

I realized that just because you know something doesn’t mean you walk in it.

Nine years ago, I did a Bible study-Experiencing God by Dr. Blackaby. I was routinely answering one of the questions about who God was in my life when I stopped and thought about my life and how God’s redemptive love saved me. I grew up in church and I always loved Jesus, but I didn’t receive Him as my Savior until I was 23 years old. One of the issues I struggled with was being sexually abused by my father as a child. I had repressed those memories, until my sister talked to me about it.

Then I remembered. I was angry at God, my deceased father, myself..I thought why did that have to happened to me,etc. Eventually I came to a place of forgiveness, but it was a long dark depressing journey to get there. When I began writing who God was that day-it started with-

“I He am who loves you. I am He who has restored you. I am all you need. I am He that will never leave you. I am your Hope. I am He who has mendeth your broken heart. I am your victory.” Then that still small voice said that “I have changed your name. You will have the confidence and boldness only I can give you. You are a victor, a conqueror. Start seeing yourself as I see you. You are the victorious one-You will always have the victory over your circumstances.”

So when I began reading Your Secret Name, I already knew what my name was. However, was I living it? Sometimes I felt like a failure although outwardly I have all the trappings of success-Ivy League education and a well-paying job,etc. But why did I feel like a failure? I was not walking in what God has for me. After reading your book, I was encouraged to embrace the name and to seek His will, and not my own. I know that God has a wonderful plan for me and that He loves me with an everlasting love. The attribute of God that reflects how I see Him has always been Jehovah Nissi.

When I took the Name test on this website, I clicked failure and the new name was Victor.

Thank you for writing this book and sharing your own personal testimony.


under Secret Stories, Written on June 25, 2011

With my birth name meaning “gift from God” and having survived a number of suicide attempts I’m inclined to think God has a special plan for me. The problem is even after thinking God has healed me and helped me conquer depression and cutter, it’s still an on going battle. The enemy brings the same attacks over and over making me feel unloved and unnoticed.

I was once called unstable when I was struggling with depression and cutting but it still rings in my head at times because of the ongoing battle. It’s like I’m stuck in between healing and not yet being that ruthless fearless faith warrior I’m meant to be. I’m still struggling with God like Jacob did, not relenting until I receive my blessing.

On the other hand I think I may be after the wrong blessing or at least one for the wrong reasons. Perhaps God is not delivering the blessing I desire because I’m not yet ready or because what I want will be a hindrance to walking with God. Whatever the reason, I know I need to trust God’s provision even though we all know it’s so easy to give in to discouragement.


under Secret Stories on June 16, 2011

My (birth) name is ____________, I currently live in Milwaukee, WI, and I am almost 29 years old. I don’t want to take up too much of your time as I am sure you get a lot of mail but I wanted to share a little of my story with you after recently obtaining a copy of your book, “Your Secret Name”. So here it goes.

I guess you could say that shortly after I received my Birth Name, I also received my first Given Name – REJECTED. My father abandoned my mother and I shortly after I was born. I did not meet him till I was seventeen, but that was short lived as he disappeared out of my life as quickly as he appeared.. only reaffirming my first Given Name.

My mother did the best she could and raised me in church. I was always the quiet, intoverted kid who wasn’t totally excluded but wasn’t totally accepted either. Sad to say, I think most people reached out to me only out of pity or some “religious obligation”. I personally accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in 1996 but viewed God as an absent father, much like my earthly father. If the man who helped bring me into this world didn’t love me – who could an invisible being I’ve never met love me? Needless to say, I became bitter and disillusioned with God and Christianity as a whole. I felt rejected by the whole world – including people who claimed they loved me.

At the age of fifteen, I cut myself for the first time with a piece of broken glass. This would mark the beginning of a 13 year journey of self-mutilation, occultism, substance abuse, sexual immorality, violence etc. I don’t know the exact count but it is a fair estimate to say I have over 100 scars (made up of burns and cuts) on my body.

This was the life I lived in for longer than I care to remember.

It was May 13th, 2010 when I walked back into my childhood church and recommited my life back to Christ. And over the course of this year, the Lord has placed some very integral people in my life to support and encourage me along this way. It is the first time I have heard of God’s grace, His compassion, and His renewable mercies for me. I am learning to walk with Him in a relationship built upon God’s Word, Prayer, regular church attendance, and personal discipleship with my pastor/mentor.

But to say that I have not fallen into old, detestable habits would be a lie. I have not self injured in over a year, but other mental scars and fleshly habits have not been so easily overcome. Each time I fall, I rise back up – claiming the promise made in Philippians 1:6 -“…He he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I wanted you to know that your book and your testimony have been such an encouragement to me. To know there is someone else out there who felt what I felt; walked similar paths that I walked AND overcame – it has really given me hope in my situation. Each day I pray for strength to resist – for indeed in certain areas I am weak.

Thank you for sharing your insights and your own personal journey. I hope, in time, the Lord will reveal to me my secret name – thus, revealing my true identity in Him.

P.S. I also want you to know that I have been recommending your book to everyone I know. Thank you for taking the time to read this. God bless!


under Secret Stories, Written on June 14, 2011

Something happened today that I don’t know if I’ll be able to type out or not, but I will try. The kids are running around, screaming, but I need to attempt to get this down. I was prompted to finish a free kindle book I’d downloaded some time ago (last year maybe?). I tried and tried to get through it, and though it was super interesting, i just couldn’t. Frequent interruptions, you name it – no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get past 50%.

I picked back up yesterday and finished today. It was about finding your secret name. The one God has given everyone. I really wasn’t sure I had one…but I kept reading. About 75% in, the word, “love” was whispered to me. I was just amazed. Could that be my secret name? At first I doubted. Finally, I accepted and went with what was whispered to me. Maybe it was. I let it sink in. That is what God has been working on with me, so it made sense…but I just thought it would be an actual name.

I was so happy with my name never the less! A name picked out by God! After hearing for years and years about secret names, I finally had one. I sat in shock for quite some time, just feeling God’s love. I read the rest of the book and found out about the responsibility of having to walk in your new name. This was huge, considering God had been working on my heart for so long … trying to take my heart of stone and make it a heart of flesh and then to be given the responsibility of having to actually walk the walk…to love. Oh, it was all good in theory. Now though, it was time to ask for God’s love to work through me.

What was once impossible was now being asked of me. Honestly though, I still doubted. Did I really hear right? Was that my name? Love? could that be it? I even took out my bible…opened it and turned to nothing that made sense. Opened my pink, “real” bible, and turned to “do not test the Lord your God” (in Luke, I believe). I knew then to stop doubting, stop asking for confirmation and just believe. Just believe in His love.

I finished my time with Him, as nap time was over, feeling immensely loved and held.

A little bit later, I was washing dishes, looking out the window and a completely random name ( I guess???? wasn’t sure what it was???) came to mind. Phillina. I didn’t know what it was or meant. Not even how to spell it. Phillina? Fillina? I just knew it meant something…or so it felt like. I went to the computer and googled it…the spelling i typed in automatically was Phillina. It came back as a very, very rare name…but it was listed as Greek, and get this, the meaning is, “lover of mankind” or “loving”, depending on the website.

I nearly fell over – except i was sitting. I knew for sure, that was my name. Phillina. I started crying. It’s so beautiful…and I never saw it coming. I sat there, aware that I was in the presence of Jesus, but unable to do much more than smile through my tears. I couldn’t even find the words to pray. i can’t wait to wear my name, like it says in the bible. I guess my question was answered…and how.


under Secret Stories, Written on June 13, 2011

I met Matt Harmon last week.

I am proud of both he and Kara Ericson.

They are brave and courageous and I resepect them greatly.

Here is Matt’s art and story…

I was raised in church from very young, but for the longest time I didn’t understand much about  Church, Christianity, the bible and Jesus. But I what I did know was just all head knowledge. My family was also the kind who would attend for a season, stop for a season, and return for another season of attendance. I didn’t know much about what it really meant to be a Christian and what it meant to believe. So when I found myself in a time of great struggle for the first time I didn’t have anything to place any trust or faith.

I also didn’t have much to find value in myself. I grew up poor, with fighting between parents a lot, my sister getting pregnant in high school, and feeling judged by church people.

When I was 16 I became really depressed. There was no single cause for it. I got bullied a little in school and wasn’t happy with the drama at home. I didn’t know who I was. I wasn’t popular or athletic, was more quiet and introverted. I had friends but most of the time I didn’t feel like I fit in. They were just the group I sort of fell into, and I didn’t react well when I wasn’t invited to events or was the butt of jokes. From school and work I just didn’t feel loved or worthy.

 Being depressed just seemed to make things worse. None of my friends would understand if I was upset and if I expressed myself I was kind of tormented or criticized. That’s kind of how I started cutting. I had tried to take my own life at one point. I’d cut because I had so many confused and bottled up emotions, it felt like a release to cut. I think it started from purposely hurting myself out of frustration and anger and it lead to cutting. This lasted for about a year.

When I went through all that my parents had once sought help from our pastor at the time. He shrugged it all off as normal adolescence confusion and it was just a phase. The pastor didn’t have much to offer me for hope. I couldn’t relate to much he said and he didn’t seem to be very caring. It didn’t help either that the church seemed judgmental of our family. If it was true or not, it felt very much that way.

Somewhere in the middle of the struggling I made friends who had similar struggles but they weren’t very good influences. At times I’d attend other churches. I was growing spiritually curio us I guess you could say. Now that I look back I see God was drawing me closer. A while later just shortly before returning to school as a senior I happened to be invited by a few people on Facebook to a hog roast a church in the next town was hosting. I don’t really remember if it was the music or something the youth pastor said when speaking, but I do remember feeling hopeful of a better future. God had pricked my heart just enough to break the hardness of my heart. Before, I had wanted nothing to do with God or anybody that claimed to be Christians.

I was hurt by them but that day God showed me otherwise.

Fast forward a bit, I gained a friendship with the youth pastor, started going to youth group, made some new friends at the church and started attending regularly. This whole time God slowly changed my heart but I was experiencing a lot of mixed emotions, I was so ashamed of my sin and there were other parts of my life and anticipated future I didn’t want to change because of my faith. Off and on I’d get depressed thinking about it all and I’d cut at times but it wasn’t ad often or as much as a hold on me as before.

 I soon wanted to pursue youth ministry because of the influence I had from my church leaders and because I so wanted to help kids who had similar struggles. I knew the several times I had tried to end my life God had saved me for a reason, He delivered me from my own destruction and I knew he had a plan for me. But I still struggled thinking about my future. I was about to attend art school. I had wanted to make a career out out of my art for the longest time but God put this new desire in my heart and I felt called toward ministry.

 The depression continued off and on because of these struggles and later adjusting to college at art school and trying to fit in. I left later to study youth ministry. Sadly this was where I had my biggest struggles with depression and cutting. Again I had the trouble of not feeling like I fit in, trouble from home, and feeling unliked. My biggest problem was I sought to find my value in what other people thought of me instead of God. My shame from sin also grew much more and I began to hate myself more than ever.

I didn’t feel worthy to live and all the anger, sadness, and frustration I had from all this I took out on myself in cutting. I was angry at myself for not living up to high expectations and admiration from others. I thought there was something wrong with me I couldn’t fix.

 Later I told some friends about my struggles. At first these friends were very supportive and helpful. In the coming months though some friends became the reason for me cutting more. They became tired of me and ridiculed me, calling me horrible names and falsely accusing me of sins or character flaws. It hurt so much to be feel tortured by people who used to be my friends and were Christians.

Very few of my friends cared about what I was going through. It just grew worse to see them have compassion for other but not me, support To Write Love On Her Arms but yet ridicule or bully me, focus more on me sinning by cutting, or saying I was sinning by being depressed. Faculty and staff added to some of the pain as well. It all became too much to bear emotionally and spiritually that I was cutting several times a week for almost a year, cutting until I felt the slightest bit of emotional relief which made it more dangerous for myself.

 I didn’t begin to stop until I finally had to go to the emergency room after one night. I hid it all to well after I got to the hospital. My youth pastor knew I was struggling with it and I ended up calling him to help me go to the hospital while walking out of the house still hiding it from my family. But the did find out later that night.

This was the biggest test of my faith to date to feel so alone in a struggle very feel understood and to have to endure so much ridicule from Christian believers. I grew angry and bitter but I didn’t lose faith in God, just his people. Again God saved me from destroying myself. The months following was a lot of healing. I left school and went back home. The bitterness towards believers continued bu God taught me a great deal about forgiveness, I felt his presence evermore and sense He wasn’t giving up on me.

God also revealed to me my problem of finding my value in others and Jesus beam more of a friend than ever before and I was being shown how to find my value in Christ alone.

One of the hardest parts about all this was the healing. People find it so hard to believe I can heal from all that and a little over half a year after last cutting be fine. All I can say is it was a miracle. I didn’t go through counseling, sometimes they made it worse. It was just God working in my life and it wasn’t by anything I had done, for him to work in me. I wasn’t being religious in my bible reading or church attendance, just continually crying out to God from being hurt, honestly seeking answers and healing, and wanting to terribly to know love and to feel it.

Homelife is still hard and my emotions can still get the best of me. There have been times even the past month I have wanted to cut, or have had nightmares reliving the moments I cut, but it hasn’t had a strong grasp on me like it did before. I know now more than ever God is going to use my story to change my character for the better and to help youth with similar struggles. I feel so honored to be able to use my past as a means to glorify God and share how great He is.

700 CLub / Matthew Harmon and Kara Ericson

under Secret Stories, Video on June 10, 2011
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under Secret Stories, Written on June 8, 2011

It has been about 4 or 5 months since reading Your Secret Name and I did not have a name……….until Monday (memorial day) morning.


I really thought I wouldn’t get one and it really didn’t matter because I know that I love him and he loves me and that is all that matters. The best part is that when you get your name…… you know it. I wanted to share with you the revelation I had.   

I got up and decided not to wait for my friends to get back from bike riding. I took my Bible and my ipod to the beach and I was pretty much alone,  at least compared to the crowds that were there on Sat and Sun. I laid back basking in the sun and cool breeze.   I was so totally at peace.  Beautiful songs playing in my ear and scripture. I laid back to just take it all in.

The presence of the Lord filled me to overflowing and from under my sunglasses tears escaped my eyes. One of the songs was so so upbeat and I thought  “I haven’t danced for so long… and I love to dance.”    All of a sudden, in my meditation,  the Lord Jesus walked over and said  “Pauline,  you are my daughter…come, lets dance together”    And we danced!!!!!!    It was a supernatural experience,  but I danced with my beloved.    We ended up just standing gazing at the ocean and he was loving on me and I on him.     

I am  DAUGHTER!!!!!!!  

I am a changed person!!!!! I so needed that love and exchange with him and he knew exactly what I needed even though I didn’t. I cannot explain the depth of my love for my Saviour.  Hold me up in Prayer. There is more to this story. I put my house up for sale. He is moving me somewhere. Praise the Lord.
PS.   I even picked up my guitar and started playing,  which I haven’t done for years and years from when I used to lead worship.   

700 Club / Kary Oberbrunner

under Secret Stories, Video on June 5, 2011
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bring a YSN event to your town

under Secret Stories, Written on May 17, 2011

Want to bring a YSN event to your context?

Smart move. Download our powerpoint HERE.

See what thousands of others have experienced at their YSN event. 

(takes 1 min. to download – grab a quick coffee while you wait)


under Secret Stories, Written on May 11, 2011

Hello Kary, I attended Your Secret Name conference in March & have been wanting to tell you what I believe my secret names are. I say names because I learned my name from 1 Peter 5:10 — my names are Strong & Steadfast.

I was led to 1 Peter 5 @ 13 years ago when I was going through many difficult times & was trying to understand HOW I could get the Lord in my favor. That’s when I read 1Ptr 5:5

God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.

So I tried teaching myself how to be humble — I did this by defining the antonyms to the word humble & focused on trying NOT to do any of those things. So, I became a better person & felt more worthy (can never truly be worthy) of accepting God’s favor (grace / blessing) and hoped my life would get better. And it did — but not completely — I still felt alone & inadequate.

I kept in mind verse 6:

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

So how long was God’s due time? Would it be during my lifetime? Then when I was at the conference, I remembered my goal of tyring to humble myself — then realized that my life is so full of blessings, I’m not alone anymore, I love myself, feel confident, have a wonderful husband, son, family, home, job, health, …… I believe I have reached God’s due time — so I went to 1Ptr 5:10, & read:

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

So HE made me Strong & Steadfast !! I’m still not sure how I will use my new names for His Glory — but I’m sure I will discover this in God’s Due Time !! Thank you again & may the God of All Grace richly bless you !!

Our next YSN conference is July 30th.