Shannon Dittemore



It is my pleasure to introduce you to my very first Guest Blogger, Karen Daly Cook. I met Karen through a friend and quickly fell in love with her passion to help the broken. Karen describes herself as a therapist-in-training but I guarantee you’ll get so much more than that when you visit her blog, The Couch.

It was a typical summer day and I was seven years old. Skinny, quiet and afraid…I knew what awaited me and yet I lacked the ability to control my own fate.

I was laying on my big four – poster bed. Through the open window I could hear kids playing outside and wished that I could join them, but that was not my decision to make and I knew better than to fight it.

I could feel the cool sheets under me as the breeze fluttered around me gently sweeping over my skin and through my hair.

I think it is this moment of tenderness and peace amidst the dread that stands out in my memory the most.

From my place on the bed, I watched the breeze blowing the curtains as if watching a TV show. The curtains floated with ease and grace as they danced with the wind creating intriguing shadows with the afternoon sun.

Warm summer winds filled my room with the sweet smell of freshly cut grass along with the lingering scent of fabric softener on my pillowcase.

These sweet aromas were a stark contrast to the putrid smell of sweat, hot breath and angry words.

As I lay there with veiled tears and body numbing pain, I would retreat to a place where no one could hurt me.

In my imagination I would fill my room from floor to ceiling, using up every molecule of empty space in my room. I would stack beds, dressers, desks, lamps, bookshelves, bicycles and anything I could think of to pack every conceivable pocket of vacant space in my room to keep the monster away from me.

This was the game I played in my mind to protect my heart and soul from the devastation that was being done to my body.

I felt broken, dirty, damaged, lost and ashamed.

As I attempted to fill the spaces in between, I was unaware that there was another force at work in my life and this force was God.

It would be many years before I would come to know God and begin a relationship with Him, but I see how He protected me, provided for me and prepared me for life in Christ.

As I look back at that part of my life, I see God’s fingerprints all over my life. It is not the life I would have chosen but knowing what I know today – I wouldn’t change a thing.

God has taken a fragile, broken and lost little girl and has redeemed and restored me to be a woman who loves Him deeply. God created in me a heart to know and love Him and to help others find wholeness, health and healing through relationship with Christ Jesus.

So friends, I hope that if you find yourself in a broken, shattered and fragile place, that you will seek the One who can redeem any circumstance or situation.

God can restore us heart and soul and bring us to a place of healing when we surrender our hearts to Him and allow the Lord to have His way with us.

I know it is difficult to trust after betrayal and hurt, and so does God. He gave His one and only Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice so that we could live in right relationship with Him.

He knows a thing or two about trust… will you trust Him with your heart today?

Grace & Peace ~ Karen



  • Comment by Amy Sorrells — June 18, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    For me, mourning doves singing outside the window lifted me to a safe place on their wings and through their song. Safe to the arms of Jesus, who just like you, protected my innermost being throughout all those times of outermost torture. Bless you for your story and courage sharing it. God is already using it in an Isaiah 61 way to transform the lives of others. Awesome.

  • Comment by alece — June 18, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    beauty from such heartache and ashes… thank you, Karen, for sharing so vulnerably and honestly. i know this couldn’t have been easy to write, but it holds out hope so strongly and brightly.

    God is redeeming even this…

  • Comment by Karen Cook — June 18, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    Thank you Amy & Alece…This is the first time I’ve written about my experience. Vulnerability involves risk. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I love the hope and promise of Isaiah 61…rebuild, restore and renew. Our God can and will redeem even the darkest of days. Grace & Peace to you both!

  • Comment by tracee — June 18, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    powerful risk you took to share the part of you, friend. i don’t care how much time has hone by, thinking through it all again leaves the heart feeling anxiously funny. praying for hearts protection as she sits out there today. i hate that you were exposed to duch deep harm and hurt. so grateful you have known that He meets the depth of our pain with depth of his love. you have amazing redemption to offer those who sit on your couch.

    thank you for your risk. your story matters a great deal!

  • Comment by Marni Arnold — June 18, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

    Beautifully written.

    The heartache this had to have stirred up I know had to have hurt deeply – but the courage that was revealed is enormous.

    Our worship team leader shared with me not long ago when I tried out for the kids worship team…”music will reveal where your confidence is.” He made this statement because I put my confidence more in a piece of paper – rather than the blessing God gave me (to sing). He has given you a song to sing, my friend. Through the written word, and the songs you sing in music as well, it’s amazingly wonderful. The confidence your life reveals is Him…truly and deeply…through your writing. I am thankful for you, your courageous heart, and for His life living through you.

  • Comment by Shan — June 18, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

    Thank you, thank you for sharing, Karen. Your blog is heart-wrenching and yet still full of hope. I know others are being blessed because you shared. Bravery rocks.

  • Comment by Karen Cook — June 18, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Tracee, Marni & Shannon –
    Thank you all for your prayers & encouragement. He has met me in the depths of my hurt with the depth of His love Tracee. And Marni I really appreciate the reminder that my confidence is in Him despite the circumstances and Shannon, thank you again for having me here today…a pleasure and a privilege.

    Grace & Peace to you ladies….Karen

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