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Welcome to my



Rising from the Ashes of Spiritual Crisis

with Restorative Christian Practices

​​​​​​​​Poetry-infused, story-telling, warmhearted, 

research-based, trauma-informed, and practical, 

Burned will bring hope and healing to those who have experienced life crises, toxic religion, and disillusionment.


This Is My Story

Burned Up

Burned Out

Rise Up and Walk



















Epilogue: Rise


Rise, rise, up I rise

The life I knew is gone

Burned up, burned out

The embers glow, sparking still

The ashes may settle,

but I will not

My new life awaits,

full and free

In hope, I will rise

Through grace, I will rise

To joy, I will rise

Rise, rise, up I rise.



Burned: Rising from the Ashes of Spiritual Crisis with Restorative Christian Practices is a guidebook for the weary and wounded Christian.

It is what I needed when my soul was burned up from toxic religion and burned out from fatigue and cynicism. I wanted to collapse right there in a (metaphorical) heap of ashes and just quit, even after decades as a believer.


Instead, I chose to rise up stronger than ever. That is an amazing grace. But there were also means of grace which helped nurture and heal me. This is what kept me going then. This is what keeps me going still. This is why I write this book.


Starting with my own story of rising from the ashes, I will explore reasons why so many of us struggle with our faith, even as longtime dedicated followers of Jesus. Most of the chapters, though, are about spiritual practices, things we can do to pursue grace rather than passively fizzle away. 

When you see the chapter titles, you might not think of all of them as truly spiritual. Or you might not think of them as practices. I was about to say, “Trust me on this. We’re going somewhere.” But you don’t already know me, so you don’t have to trust what I say until (or unless) you are ready.

Bring along the life you’ve got, dip in your toes if you dare, and see for yourself. What will you find here? A balm for the soul, a reason to believe, a way to rise? I hope so.

I am many things, but one of them is a poet, which is obvious at the start of each chapter. I am also a storyteller, parent, grandparent, educator, crisis advocate, homemaker, seminary graduate, and lifelong theological researcher. These parts of me come out to play, too. Most of all I am a child of God, a follower of Jesus. Still.


I am honored that you would click on this website (and hopefully buy my book when it is published!) and read my words. I know there are so many other books on spirituality and healing, each encouraging readers in its own way. This one is gleaned from the lives and words of many who have come before me, in the hopes that it will nourish those here now and those yet to come.

Virginia Knowles



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