New Book and New Song: Restoring Virtue and “Nearer, My God, to Thee”

 

Back in the spring, Emily Hope approached me about designing a cover and doing some formatting for a book she was working on. We’ve been working together ever since on this lovely, inspiring project.

What a privilege it has been!

(Emily also asked me to arrange a hymn mentioned in the book, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” This is a companion to her book and has become my new favorite hymn. The words and melody are gorgeous! More info below the interview.)

Emily’s book is now published and available. It’s called:

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Restoring Virtue Front CoverRestoring Virtue: A Testimony of Healing Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ

For Victims of Sexual Abuse

LINKS:  Website | Facebook | Amazon | CreateSpace 

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REBECCA: What is this book about and who can it help?

EMILY: Restoring Virtue is about how I was able to access the Atonement as a way to recover from the effects of childhood sexual abuse. How I changed a traumatic experience into a life full of blessings, happiness, and service. Essentially, this book is my testimony of God’s love, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and every other good and correct principle.

This book is not about standard treatments such as counseling, medication, or other common resources. It could be for someone who has explored standard treatments, but still feels like something is missing. Really, my book is for anyone who contemplates their relationship with God and is open to hearing how someone else experiences His presence.

REBECCA: I felt this as I read your story–that it is for more than just those who have been haunted by childhood abuse. It’s really a story of growth and spiritual healing. It’s beautiful.

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What prompted you to tell your personal story?

EMILY: Two years ago, a combination of events aligned perfectly causing me to see my life with more honesty and clarity. My book describes these events in detail and how writing my story influenced the final step in my healing process.

The still small voice, just a whisper, planted the desire to write my testimony. The more I wrote the stronger this prompting became until it consumed my thoughts. I had to write. I had to get it out. I felt like Parley P. Pratt when he described reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. “I [wrote] all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred [writing] to sleep. As I [wrote], the spirit of the Lord was upon me … My joy was now full, as it were, and I rejoiced sufficiently to more than pay me for all the sorrows, sacrifices and toils of my life.”

Ultimately, I wrote my story so God may speak to another one of His children through my words. So other victims of abuse may experience hope.

REBECCA: And how glad I am that you did. Unfortunately abuse, specifically sexual abuse, affects more people than anyone would ever care to imagine. One statistic says that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. That number is disturbing and disgusting. And yet, I believe it. I know too many friends and loved ones whose lives have been traumatized by abuse. How wonderful that you’re willing to talk about it and share your healing.

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Why an orchid on the cover? Tell us about its significance.

EMILY: The orchid on the cover is a symbol of my healing process coming to a close.

IMG_0549
Emily’s Orchid

I experienced a tender mercy when a spike emerged from the orchid sitting on my kitchen windowsill the same week I began writing my story. It grew as my story grew, as if being fed by my testimony. After a period of blooming, it then died the week my story was complete. Like the orchid stores up its energy to bloom from beneath the ground, my testimony grew from the darkest trials to become something beautiful, something new, and bright.

Traditionally the orchid symbolizes love, beauty, strength, wealth, and protection. The spots are sometimes used to symbolize the blood of Christ and a new beginning.

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REBECCA: Can you share a favorite quote/scripture/excerpt from your book?

EMILY: My favorite quote is from Elder Richard G. Scott, may he be at peace. He sums up the process in a few short words. “Love is a potent healer.” When you understand the meaning of true love, you hold the key to the mysteries of God.

Excerpt: 

“Each time I was blessed with God’s love, whether in small or significant ways, a little piece of my heart was healed. It could have just been a comforting feeling, a blessing, a prompting from the Spirit, a scripture I read, or one of the more significant moments when God’s grace pulled me out of the darkness. With each piece my heart was restored not to its original form, but to a new form God had created. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). I did not become the person I always yearned for, a flawed version of perfection, but the person God wanted me to be, the daughter He had thoughtfully gifted with eternal qualities.

“In each healing moment I learned something new and took another step towards God and towards becoming united with Him.”

REBECCA: Thanks for sharing. (See what I mean by beautiful?) This book is filled with quotes from church leaders and the scriptures, plus Emilisms, little truths Emily has come to know. I love that.

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Do you plan to write more in the future?

EMILY: I won’t be writing any more books. However, I will continue writing on my blog (Restoring-virtue.com) as inspiration strikes. For spiritual insights and growth taking place beyond the pages of my book.

REBECCA: Thank you again for sharing, Emily! I know your book will be a help and comfort to those who struggle!

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IMG_0555ABOUT EMILY: I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend. I love cold weather, which is why I live in the beautiful state of Alaska. I love biking, picking berries in the wild Alaskan frontier, discount movies with my best friend, sharing spiritual experiences with my children, and the comfort of my husband’s hugs. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My life is blessed in more ways than I can count.

And if you have any questions or thoughts for Emily, make sure to comment below.

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And now a little about the hymn mentioned in Restoring Virtue. This is Hymn #99 in the LDS Hymns, and is not very well-known. But just read the words and you’ll fall in love with it, too.

“NEARER, Dear Savior, TO THEE,” ARRANGED BY REBECCA BELLISTON

Available in: Piano Solo | SSATTB

Nearer, Dear Savior Cover Piano Solo

Nearer, dear Savior, to thee, nearer, nearer to thee–
Ever I’m striving to be nearer, yet nearer to thee!
Trusting, in thee I confide; hoping, in thee I abide.

(Chorus)
Take, oh, take, and cherish me,
Nearer, dear Savior, to thee.

Nearer, dear Savior, to thee, nearer, nearer to thee–
Proved by my trials, I’ll be nearer, yet nearer to thee!
Humbly I come to thee now; earnest, I prayerfully bow.

Nearer Cover SSATTB(Chorus)

Nearer, dear Savior, to thee, nearer, nearer to thee–
Let me by holiness be nearer, yet nearer to thee!
When all my trials are done, when my reward I have won,

(Chorus)

  • LISTEN: Audio
  • BUY: Piano Solo | SSATTB 
  • FREE DOWNLOAD: I’ll be offering both the Piano Solo and SSATTB versions for FREE to my email newsletter subscribers tomorrow, so if you’d like to get either version for FREE, sign up here.

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Thanks again, Emily, for the chance to work on this project!

Questions for Emily? Comment below.


 

 

.Elder Schwitzer Notes of the Gospel

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Author: Rebecca Belliston @rlbelliston

Hopeless romantic and author of CITIZENS OF LOGAN POND, SADIE and AUGUSTINA. Music nerd and composer of RELIGIOUS and CLASSICAL-STYLE music. I live in Michigan with my husband and five kids.

2 thoughts on “New Book and New Song: Restoring Virtue and “Nearer, My God, to Thee””

  1. This sounds like a very pertinent book. I’ve heard those same statistics, Rebecca, and am always blown away by them. I love how Emily was moved upon to write her testimony to help others. I’m looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the interview to tell me about Restoring Virtue.

    Liked by 1 person

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