"Can you tell me where the shelter is? Our pastor's wife is there, and we need to talk some sense in to her."

The late Rexena Barrington, then around 85 and my best friend, fiercly advocated for victims of domestic violence. I'd bring her farm eggs. She'd make me egg salad sandwiches. We'd sit under her carport and talk shop. She wrote too. With arthritic hands, gummy veined. Red pen she used waaaaay too frequently when editing my work. She told me about some ladies who approached her, wanting to know the whereabouts of the shelter which housed victims of domestic violence.

"Wait, a pastor's wife?" I held the sandwich mid-air, mouth agape. I'd never heard of such.

"Oh, Christy. Sweetheart. Just who do you think a victim is?"

And so began The First Drop of Rain because at that moment, I realized the horrible stereotype I held of victims. Drug depedent. Poor. Lower class if there is such a thing. I sunk in my chair, realizing the lesson before me.

The social equalizer that is this disease.

I learned the need to project the perfect image is every bit as binding to an abuser as financial or drug dependency. The victim is your neighbor. The PTA president. The co-worker with long sleeves who's "always falling down."

The pastor's wife.

I wrote The First Drop of Rain in order to eradicate the stereotype as much for myself as others. And somewhere, someone needs to read the message.

You are loved. You are worthy. You deserve better.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Buy a personalized copy here.