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Remarks from Dr. Saundra Wall Williams



“Healing, when it takes place, can be a long and emotional process. However, regardless of the situation, healing must happen in order for the person to continue and move forward with life.

Vanessa Johnson’s THRIVE: A Journey to Healing is a more than an account of her healing process from sexual abuse. It is a process on how to heal and it gives inspiration for your journey to healing from the pain you experienced and continue to face. In this astounding and confrontational book, she helps you come face to face with your abusers, your emotions and yourself. In addition, she helps you to communicate with the people in your life today who love you.


The opening chapter gives her transparent testimony of her home environment and her predators, who were waiting to “destroy her innocence.” While most seven year olds in the late 1960’s enjoyed outdoor games and the love of parents, Vanessa endured a kind of love that was indescribable for most people. Yet, in her book Vanessa has vividly described not only her emotional abuse of feeling “damaged and ashamed”, but her physical abuse as well. As a reader, this content brought me to tears.

Vanessa’s answered questions that only a person who has experienced this suffering could understand. She gives us a persona account of the range of emotions – fear, rejection, anxiety - and how when they are “left untreated” . . . it is like a “slowly administered poison.”


I must admit that my favorite chapter is Chapter 4: Tug of War. Why? This chapter describes her breakthrough and her real identity. I can only imagine the suffering, pain, and issues of trust one experiences, but when I read about the freedom that can take place in Christ, I was so excited! “Don’t let anyone create a perception that is opposite of how you see yourself” is a proclamation for anyone that is suffering from any type of abuse!


THRIVE: A Journey to Healing is more than a book of emotional healing; it is also a book of courage, forgiveness and hope. Vanessa Johnson has the courage to break her silence and tell her story so that other victims of sexual abuse can step out and be helped and move towards their healing. Through the questions of reflection at the end of each chapter, the reader is challenged to look at their own life and take the journey back to their past so that they can be healed in their present. It is not an easy journey. For some, it may not be a journey that you are ready to take. Vanessa Johnson has told her story to encourage others during their journey. This book is more than just a “good read.” It is the reader’s opportunity to experience healing with a challenge to work through your own inner battles that have kept you bound and suffering.


Congratulations Vanessa! I am humbled to have been a part of such a phenomenal book. You have not allowed “silence to erase your destiny.” Your voice has now created a new destiny for others!

To all who read this book . . . I congratulate you on your courage to make the choice to step out and be healed.”



Dr. Saundra Wall Williams

Author | Speaker | Higher Education Executive | Vision Building Strategist™

Founder and CEO, Vision Building Institute™

Founder T.E.A.C.H., Inc.


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