SELAH Team Members
“Now the Lord who created you says:’Don’t be afraid, for I have ransomed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.'” —Isaiah 43:1
Sherry France LMSW
Sherry France – Team Member Bio
I have worked all of my professional life as a clinical social worker. Early on in my career I specialized in child sexual abuse and trauma, and currently I work as a therapist at a local counseling agency. I have been a widow for 2 years since my husband’s 8-year battle with cancer ended. I have 3 wonderful daughters and 2 awesome sons-in-law. I enjoy a variety of personal interests including camping, spending time at the lake, sailing, and capturing memories through photography. I also enjoy studying the Bible and leading a Bible study group.
When my friend Vicki approached me about starting SELAH, I felt that it was an answer to my prayer of “What’s next, God?” My family system had been going through many changes and adjustments over the past 2 years, and my roles as wife, caretaker, and mother had significantly shifted. I enjoy doing therapy as well as leading groups, but I was less interested in expanding my work hours. However, SELAH became an opportunity to build on my strengths and life experiences while being obedient to God’s call in my life to show mercy to those who are suffering. I have grown professionally as I have researched and learned more about domestic abuse specifically. Although SELAH is a program in its infancy, I trust that God is in control, and He will do more than we can ever ask or imagine.
Vicki Willams – Team Member Bio
My passion for starting SELAH was born out of my own personal experience with domestic abuse. I know firsthand the destruction, confusion, and fear that domestic abuse brings. It may surprise you to know that 1 in 4 women experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. Women in every walk of life find themselves in abusive relationships. Often, women find themselves in an abusive relationship and know that something is terribly wrong, but they can’t explain it because abuse is generally so insidious in nature. It often starts with subtle behaviors such as jealousy, manipulation, or gaslighting and gradually increases to include isolation, threats, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and even physical or sexual abuse.
Women who find themselves in an abusive relationship often don’t know where to go for help. They feel very alone. They feel that nobody will believe them, and they often find themselves paralyzed in fear and unable to move forward. It’s my desire for SELAH to be a safe place for each woman to share her experience and receive the help and support she needs.
I currently work full time in church ministry, and throughout the years I have met several women who have found themselves in an abusive relationship. The numbers for women in the church in abusive relationships are the same – 1 in 4; however, some studies suggest that it can be as many as 1 in 3 because women in the church are often more afraid to speak up. There is no system in place to help them, and they are afraid that no one will believe them. Because of this, my heart was set on building a ministry that can educate, support, and walk alongside women as they sort through the complexities of an abusive and destructive relationship. With the encouragement of one of my pastors and a series of events that could have only been orchestrated by God, SELAH was offered office space and received a donation to help with start-up expenses. Sherry Norman, a licensed social worker and therapist, agreed to partner in developing SELAH, and together we trained at Safe Haven Ministries to develop an educational and support program.
My prayer is that, through SELAH, women will regain the value and self-worth that has been taken from them because of abuse, and that they will fully embrace their identity in Christ as they move forward in healing and into a deeper relationship with Him.