Clinical psychologist and clergywoman Lucille F. Sider adds her voice to the chorus of women in the #WhyIDidntReport and #MeToo movements. This is Lucille’s story of resilience and hope as a survivor of sexual abuse. She explains the challenges of finding her way out of a fear-based spirituality into one that is full of grace, hope and forgiveness. The unique richness of her book is that she wrote it to spark healing discussion. As she describes her experiences in these pages, she also steps back and offers helpful analysis as both a psychologist and a clergywoman. At the end of the book, she includes a complete study guide with questions for reflection for individuals, small groups and classes.
Lucille was just 6 years old when she was abused both physically and sexually by a hired man on the family’s farm. Lucille’s inner conflict about these experiences propelled her into a childhood of guilt and shame. While Lucille was an outstanding student, singer and athlete, she lived with an underlying fear, loneliness and mild depression. A second sexual abuse by her brother-in-law, when she was just 15 years old, added to Lucille’s fears. When she tried to tell her parents about this, their response was only to pray for her—so, she kept these painful events secret for years. Many years later, her brother in law was arrested for molesting a 15-year-old girl. Lucille and others, including his own daughter, testified against him and he was incarcerated.
Raised in a conservative household and faith, Lucille went to college and seminary to search for a theology that was full of grace and forgiveness. She found this especially at Yale Divinity School, though she always lived with a mild depression. Her struggle to understand both her faith and psyche led her to earn a PhD from Northwestern University in psychology and religion. She became a clinical psychologist and pastoral counselor and later the Executive Director of The Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center in Evanston, Illinois.
At age 50, when her husband suddenly divorced her, Lucille was cast into darkness and despair which resulted in major depression. Lucille became dysfunctional and had to step down as Executive Director of her counseling center. Years of therapy led her to new ways of offering and sharing her gifts, which included writing stories and ministering to seniors, especially those suffering from dementia.
In Light Shines in the Darkness, Lucille F. Sider shares her unique story of sexual abuse and severe mental illness, including depression and PTSD. She describes her legal battle in fighting for justice and her ongoing persistence in finding ways to remain stable. She calls these her mental health and spiritual practices and they include: counseling, medication, meditation, healthy diet, exercise, daily prayer and church attendance. In sharing her story, Lucille now is helping others along their journeys from sexual abuse to stability—to find their own hope and their own light that shines through the darkness.
About the Author
Lucille F. Sider is a clinical psychologist and clergywoman. She earned both a master of arts in religion from Yale Divinity School and a master of science from the University of Kentucky. She was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Northwestern University in the fields of psychology and religion. She is an ordained minister by the First Congregational Church, Evanston, Illinois.
Lucille was Executive Director of The Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center in Evanston, Illinois. While there, she was licensed as a clinical psychologist and became a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Lucille is now retired but remains active as a volunteer in the Lighthouse program at Edgewater Presbyterian Church in Chicago and also at two retirement communities, focusing on people with memory disabilities.
She also is a popular speaker, writer, teacher and workshop leader.