New book explores how God created beauty from ashes 

16 December 2023
American author Jessica Clancy with her family. Image: Supplied


With an astounding 39.6% of Australians aged 16-65+ affected by domestic violence, 32% having experienced physical abuse, and 30.9% impacted by emotional abuse, it’s no wonder there’s been an explosion of mental health disorders across the country.

The Australian Child Maltreatment Study revealed that child maltreatment resulted in significantly increased levels of major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety, alcohol use, and post-traumatic stress.

One woman who can relate to these statistics is Jessica Clancy, who recently published a book entitled The Quest For Family which outlines her life experiences, and how she has been able to move beyond the pain and suffering of childhood mistreatment to a fulfilled life of love and happiness and the creation of a new family unit.

The book explores her struggles from childhood to adulthood with her life severely impacted by the actions of her negligent mother who remarried several times and moved her around the US where she was exposed to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, and domestic violence.

As she says: “Our lives can often feel like shattered glass, and once it breaks, it is impossible to put back together on our own. We try to pick up the pieces, but just hurt ourselves more, often feeling hopeless and helpless.”

However, with sheer grit, and a strong faith in God, she was able to find peace and redemption to break the chains of her past to become firstly a hairdresser, then a registered dietician with a master’s degree in nutrition with a business minor. She is now a specialist dialysis dietician, and a published author.

The front cover of ‘The Quest for Family’ by Jessica Clancy. Image: Supplied

One of her proudest achievements has been to create a happy family with her husband, and their two children aged 12 and eight.

“I believe our past does not define us. It is only part of the journey if we allow it to stretch and grow us. I am not defined by the things that happened to me. I am defined as a child of God,” she says. “Just as your past does not define you, remember to love others and not make judgements on their past or mishaps. You don’t have to stay hiding in the darkness of your past. You can step into the light to be exposed and redeemed.

“Family may not be inclusive of genealogy and genetic ancestors. It can have many different and implausible shapes and sizes. We all have kindred hearts drawn to each other and community, as we are not made to be alone.”

As 2023 draws to a close, now is a good time to reflect on the year that’s been and the year to come, says Jessica.

“From my own life experience, I wish to encourage others that have been affected by childhood abuse to know that they can move beyond the trauma to live the life God intended for them.”

If you or someone you know has suffered from abuse, this book can help heal past hurts and help you recover and move on to live a healthier, happier life.

And for those who work in ministry in any of these areas, this story will help you reach others in a more impactful way.

The Quest For Family book is available from and retails for US $19.99* (paperback) or US $8.49* (Kindle).

20 Tips for Healing and Redemption

  1. Find faith and pray. Prayer changes things.
  2. Learn to read and strive to learn; teach your kids to read.
  3. Seek mentors and wise counsel. Find those who are successful in their own lives. Welcome constructive criticism.
  4. Don’t be afraid to dream; set big goals and work hard.
  5. Travel. Focus on simple things; nature, and the beauty around you. Seek to learn about other families and their cultures.
  6. Don’t be afraid to talk about your experiences, good and bad. It is healing and helps you understand them better. If you are able to, speak to a professional counsellor or someone you trust.
  7. Exercise, or be active, and focus on eating healthy foods. Research shows exercise can be like medicine for our minds and may help treat depression and sadness.
  8. Accept your body. Don’t depend on weight loss gimmicks like pills, drinks, and unrealistic diet cycles. If it came in a pill and worked, everyone would be thin.
  9. Journal about the experiences that impact you deeply.
  10. Don’t let others define you, especially through social media.
  11. Forgive. This will release you from much pain and help you receive your blessings.
  12. Everything happens for a reason, and those experiences can help grow you as a person if you allow them to.
  13. Help others; give back with your time and resources.
  14. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by having unspoken expectations left unfulfilled by others.
  15. Learn to create safe boundaries to protect yourself and your family.
  16. Practice being appreciative and grateful every day.
  17. Be empathetic. Seek to understand others.
  18. We all have a purpose. Finding and living out your purpose is healing and rewarding.
  19. Don’t accept no for an answer unless you have exhausted all resources and avenues.
  20. Count your miracles. The events that happen to us and influence us deeply may actually be miracles in disguise.

Catholic Care Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains offers family and relationships services that includes counsellors who are trained to work with and refer clients impacted by domestic violence. Contact (02) 8843 2500 for more information.

If this topic raises concerns for you or for somebody you care about, please call the National Domestic and Sexual Violence Counselling Service 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

With thanks to Pivotal Communication.


*Subject to change.

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