ENFIELD — Rev. Cheryl Kincaid may never forget stories women have told her about their days of addiction, trauma and homelessness. Those are the women she’s counseled. Those are the ones who inspired her to write “A Forgotten Door Called Home,” her new book about finding peace and a place in the world.
Kincaid is an author, speaker and Christian minister at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Enfield. Before her ordination, she ran support groups for survivors of violence. That’s where she heard horrible stories of women fleeing trauma, only to find there was no place they could call home.
Her new book calls on victims to find direction and take charge, understanding home isn’t a place easily happened upon.
“It’s a place where there’s safety, and you have to create it as opposed to looking for a place called home. We’ve been taught from fairy tales the prince will come and take us home. You have to step into empowerment and create it. It’s your job,” she said.
Kincaid said the stories in her book are fiction, a compilation of what she’s heard in group ministries with women. The stories are for anyone who has been traumatized, abused, abandoned, in foster care or homeless — or anyone who wants to know what it’s like.
Learning to trust is a key theme, but being guarded and cautious are crucial too. “You don’t have to put up with the drama and craziness in life. Women in the book have learned some people they love are not safe, and that’s a harsh lesson to learn especially if they’re your parents — people who are supposed to love you,” she said.
Forgiveness emerges as a central path to healing, but righteous anger might come first.
“One of my pet peeves, and I’m a Christian, is a lot of times what people especially in the church say is, ‘Well, you’ve gone through something hard. Let’s work on forgiveness right away.’ The survivor already knows how to put up with people’s nonsense. They already know how to forgive. They turn the other cheek so much that both cheeks are bruised,” she said.
While embracing peace, Kincaid also says victims have the right to be angry. “You don’t have to be a Christian to understand righteous anger. What breaks my heart in dealing with a lot of survivors of abuse and homelessness is they don’t think they have the right to be intolerant. Instead, we push tolerance on them. They should believe they deserve something better,’” she said.
“A Forgotten Door Called Home” delves into the struggles faced by women in the book, illuminating the vital role faith plays in their recovery. Kincaid weaves together personal narratives, biblical references and spiritual wisdom. She hopes to encourage and inspire people who may be navigating their own way to healing and restoration — and she acknowledges sometimes bad things do happen to good people.
“Most people in the book are Christian, but they’re struggling with wondering how a good God allows this to happen to me. It’s because there’s real evil in this world. But I’m able to go on because I don’t have to depend on my own ability to succeed. There’s someone cheering me on in heaven, someone by my side in the person of Christ,” she said.
“A Forgotten Door Called Home” is now available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The 247-page softcover is $14 and the kindle version on Amazon is $4. The hardcover version of the book is expected to be published later this year.