A middle-class woman in rural America and war-affected children in Africa find common ground in their journeys from brokenness to redemption.
Author and psychologist Bethany Haley Williams shares how her own emotional healing led her into treacherous war zones, where she provides care to former child soldiers and young girls used as sex slaves.
Faced with her own battle with shame and a rocky journey toward healing, Bethany founded Exile International, a nonprofit that implements art/expressive therapy and long-term, rehabilitative care to restore and empower war-affected children—including children rescued from Joseph Kony’s LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army).
One of those rescued young men, Solomon, was abducted at the age of ten after being forced to watch LRA soldiers maim and murder his father and grandfather. His younger siblings were left behind, and his mother was instructed to “raise them well…for one day we’ll return to take them too.” Solomon is one of hundreds of thousands of boys and girls who have had their innocence stolen and are forced to do the unthinkable on a daily basis. But their horrific experiences are just the beginning. The real story is what happens after.
Once these children learn to face their pasts, they are given hope for a future and a vision for changing the fabric of their countries by becoming leaders for peace and advocates of the power of forgiveness.
Bethany Haley Williams is the founder and executive director of Exile International, an organization that exists to restore Africa’s former child soldiers and children orphaned by war. With a PhD in counseling psychology, a master’s in clinical social work, she is a leader in the specialized field of war-affected child rehabilitation with worldwide organizations such as the United Nations and the Global Trauma Recovery Institute. With more than twenty years of experience in the field, Bethany maintains a small counseling and coaching practice in Nashville, Tennessee. She and her husband, Matthew, reside in Nashville, Tennessee, and lead the work of Exile International together. To learn more, visit ExileInternational.org, BethanyHaleyWilliams.com, or ColorofGraceBook.com.
"Bethany is a force of nature and loves everyone in her blast radius with the kind of focused attention and compassion that Jesus gave to the people around Him. Bethany doesn’t just pass along some theories she’s read about in this book. She shares the pain, the hope, and the wonder that have become her life. Buckle up. You’re going to love the journey you're about to go on with someone who knows and lives what she’s talking about."
– Bob Goff, author of Love Does
"I meet Jesus anew in Bethany's stories of these children. It is my prayer that you will, too. It is my prayer that all of us will know and believe that Jesus can turn our greatest pain into our greatest joy, if only we will invite him."
– Katie Davis, New York Times Bestselling Author of Kisses From Katie and Glamour Magaine's 2012 Women of the Year
"The Color of Grace poignantly addresses a lesson I learned long ago: when people are sick, homeless, or hungry, words are not enough. They need help for when they hurt. Drawing from her professional training and her personal experiences with trauma, Bethany provides that help for children who are wounded both physically and emotionally. This book will inspire you, inform you, and enable you to see God’s grace in the midst of pain."
– Josh D. McDowell, Author, Speaker
"I couldn’t put the book down. Bethany’s words are raw and vulnerable. Each chapter made me want to read more and to go deeper into the story of redemption. This book illustrates more than ever the beauty and healing that can spring forth from the most painful things in our lives."
– Esther Havens, International Humanitarian Photographer
"I recently traveled to Uganda with Bethany and the Exile team and was blown away by the impact art therapy can have on these young children. The pains of their past are unspeakable. But through Bethany and Exile International, I got to see the dreams of their future take shape right in front of my eyes. The powerful stories that we got to hear are now in this book, and they will surely have a profound impact on the lives of the readers, just as they did mine."
– Jeremy Cowart, Photographer, Founder of Help-Portrait and See University
"How bad can life get? And how can people pull through when life gets beyond bad? This is the story of how Bethany Haley Williams found hope and healing from PTSD, and then brought that same healing to former child soldiers in Africa. This is a story of responding to God's grace and power. When I first heard Bethany's dream in 2008, I thought it would never happen. But that shows how little I knew about Bethany. A compelling read. Heart-breaking and inspiring. Overwhelming and uplifting."
– Dr. Harriet Hill, Program Director for the Trauma Healing Institute at American Bible Society.
"The Color of Grace by Bethany Haley Williams is an honest portrayal of her struggles and how she was able to overcome them and make a difference in young people's lives. Bethany has found her own way to connect with young people and in that process of gaining knowledge and wisdom, the young people are able to heal and find purpose in their lives. With Exile International's trauma-care program, Bethany uses art therapy to help youth that have been affected by war. Bethany is a true peace soldier and an inspiration to many."
– Emmanuel Jal, Former Child Soldier, Peace Activist, Musician, Actor, Humanitarian and author of WarChild: A Child