paper princess crowns in toilet water…sometimes this is how God heals…



So there was this one time I wrote a letter to myself and then my therapist and I burned it and flushed it down the toilet. Just writing that makes me laugh. But I’m serious. It really happened.

The whole story goes like this. I started going to counseling several years back because I was having panic attacks. I was raped at age 15 but hadn’t told anyone up to that point. Turns out, my anxiety was a result of keeping this locked inside and refusing to cope with what happened.  I had a really rough time in therapy and because I am more comfortable writing versus speaking, I would write, and then we would discuss what I had written in session.

One day I wrote this letter. It was filled with awful things. Horrible things I said to myself and things I said to the dude that raped me. I took the cap off my pen and just let it rip. No filter. After discussing the letter, we decided burning it would be a good way to let it go. Because we didn’t want to catch the building on fire, we did it near the toilet. That way once it got close to our fingers, we could drop it in.

She held the paper, I lit the paper, and we watched it slowly consume the words that plagued me. It was very therapeutic. Then, as planned, she dropped it in the toilet. Weird thing was, even surrounded by water, it continued to burn. In fact, on the very top of the paper was a pink princess crown. It was part of the decorative notepad I had written on…but the paper continued to burn until all that was left was the crown. The words burning meant a lot to me but the fact that God kept that paper on fire until nothing was left but the crown…it overwhelmed me.

I hadn’t thought about this story in years until a friend messaged me last night. She shared with me that she had also been raped, chose to write a letter to her younger self, and how she let this letter go. It was a beautiful story. And right then and there, my not so glamerous toilet water story overwhelmed me.

I closed my tear filled eyes and let God speak to my heart. I hadn’t cried over this story in years, but the tears just kept coming. And as I laid there in bed, God whispered sweet truth, telling me of His faithfulness to provide. How that princess crown in the toilet really was the work of His loving hand, and that I am beautiful in His eyes. Always have been, always will be. That I am redeemed and remain redeeemed, no matter what. That I can be still and let go in the safety of His arms.

As a therapist myself now, it’s easy to let theoretical thoughts and ideas consume the bulk of what I do. And don’t get me wrong, these things are good. But sometimes I forget what God can do with a toilet, a lighter, a piece of cheap decorative paper, and the heart of someone who cares. That’s all it really takes. God, people caring for people, and listening to the prompting of the Spirit in that moment – that’s where deep and profound healing happens. Therapists aren’t miracle workers. They are just vessels willing to help others be set free.

I’m honored to do this job. I’m honored to carry the torch that so many have carried for me. I’m honored that God would heal this wounded and broken little girl enough to let her help someone else. I’m just honored. And redeemed.

And maybe your heart is broken today over something that happened in your past. And maybe you desperately long for freedom. It seems like it will never come, oh but sister it is coming and probably in ways you never expected or imagined.

Rest your weary head in His arms. He’s got this. His arms are big, strong, and wide open. He’s your Savior. He knows how to set you free. And He will send others along the path to help you.  Do you trust Him? He is faithful.

Redemption is always coming. He floods you with His love and overwhelms you with his grace. Pray for this. It will happen. You are redeemed. You are set free. The pain that plagues you will be consumed and He will leave you with precious gifts. Like paper princess crowns in toilet water. That’s really all it takes.



  1. Jess says

    “I would write and we would discuss what I had written”…sounds just like me…sometimes I feel weird sitting there while my therapist is reading my journal…like why can’t I just bring it up and talk about this? So thanks for sharing. What a great story that is about burning the letter. I’ve written a few angry letters before but I’ve only ever torn them up and threw them away…

    • says

      Jess I find that some of us just aren’t external verbal processors, we are more internal, so writing is perfect for us to communicate. No shame in that girl, just the way God made us!

  2. says

    Love this Stephanie and I can soooooo relate ;-). Beautiful words and beautiful encouragement! Your contributions to the P31 OBS Bible Study have been phenomenal… thank you for sharing yourself with all of us!

    • stephanieclayton says

      Thank you Patti!!! I love doing the Conference Call series with OBS. One of my favorite things to do!!!!

  3. Michelle Stevens says

    Stephanie this really spoke to me. No I haven’t endured what you have been through. I have been abused in my adulthood believe me I have had some pretty nasty words to say about myself as well.

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your testimony.

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