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Friday, December 9, 2022


She Seems So Normal Kick-Off Package

About the Book

Book: She Seems So Normal

Author: Leigh Mackenzie

Genre: Nonfiction, documentary narrative on biblical trauma healing

Release date: November 15, 2022

In She Seems So Normal: Shatter the Plastic Princess, Embrace Authentic Faith (Brookstone Creative Group, 2022), author Leigh Mackenzie draws from scriptural expertise as a former Bible research assistant for megachurch preachers and personal experiences as a childhood sexual abuse (CSA) trauma and military rape assault survivor to speak openly and courageously about biblical trauma healing

Release date: November 15, 2022

In She Seems So Normal: Shatter the Plastic Princess, Embrace Authentic Faith (Brookstone Creative Group, 2022), author Leigh Mackenzie draws from scriptural expertise as a former Bible research assistant for megachurch preachers and personal experiences as a childhood sexual abuse (CSA) trauma and military rape assault survivor to speak openly and courageously about biblical trauma healing.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

As a sermon research assistant at a multisite midwestern megachurch, Leigh Mackenzie shared her love and talent to delve deeply in Scripture and extract original perspectives on teaching and personal application for her preaching team.

Known as “The Church Girl Writes” (one of 2017’s Pureflix’s Top Christian Mommy Bloggers), her professional work regularly appeared in Christian Standard magazine on subjects ranging from child trafficking and church core values to thrift store ministry and the attributes of Hannah. Her Bible study questions for The Lookout magazine, one of the nation’s oldest Bible study guides for adults, and online communion meditations for Christian Standard equipped leaders for ministry. She also has written devotional material for The Upper Room.

Catch Leigh (rhymes with “bee”) narrating “She Seems So Normal”  on her podcast, reflecting on her own trauma healing journey, shattering the plastic princess, and embracing authentic faith. Follow her on IG xoxo_leighmackenzie and FB @LeighMackenzie.

Loving audiobooks and sunshine, Leigh and husband Christopher passionately explore the world, eating ethnic food, and enjoying good wine together. With a son in computer sciences at UIC and an Ethiopian daughter attending high school, the Mackenzies delight to reside in Chicago, IL with rescue dogs, Scout Charles and Louie Vuitton.

Leigh’s Superpowers: Vulnerable Honesty, Biblical Knowledge, Trustworthiness

Ministry Goals: Embrace, Encourage, and Empower trauma survivors to heal biblically, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.


More from Leigh

What inspired you to start a podcast and publish a book on biblical trauma healing? Why now?


I held my breath watching the Olympic gymnasts’ abuse testimony before Congress, bracing myself against a PTSD episode of my own in response.


Epstein, Cosby, McCarrick, R. Kelley… names representing mankind’s disturbing sin reverberated within me. Many survivor stories remain deeply hidden, scarring the souls of the abused and their abusers. Questions arise: How could this happen? Where was God? Is Jesus enough?


At the time, I felt like there weren’t a lot of hopeful, non-triggering stories containing solid answers from a biblical, medical, or community standpoint of healing. It was frustrating, so in December 2021, I began my indie-publishing odyssey.


She Seems So Normal: Shatter the Plastic Princess, Embrace Authentic Faith is a documentary narrative of a journey to unearth long-hidden, heinous childhood sexual abuse. As a megachurch biblical researcher for preachers, I was the picture of “put together, Plastic Princess” on the outside, but inside I was dying, believing the enemy’s lies, and wondering what’s wrong with my faith. When I stepped away from the grave of fearful rule-following legalism and into the gardens to embrace authentic faith, I found avenues of recovery and restoration for anxiety, trauma, and shame with Jesus, mentors, prayer warriors, therapists, and the work of the Holy Spirit.


Can we start a church movement of welcoming messy stories and accepting transparent instead of perfect so you can feel free to #ShowYourCrown, too? I think we can.



Who supported you through your valley of trauma therapy?


There were so many who prayed and supported me in this process, giving me courage and hope and, at times, a swift kick in the fanny to keep me going. I can’t name them all, but you’ll see how Dr. Michele Novotni, my family, and Allison Harris rallied around me through the horrors of the cemetery to bring me into the gardens of God’s delight and rest.


Friend and mentor Dr. Michele Novotni was my “old ox” leading, encouraging, and energizing me throughout EMDR therapy, helping me process post-session, developing coping strategies, and grounding me in faith with prayerful intercession.


Then there was my unbelievable little family… my faithful husband, Christopher, and our incredible kids, who unreservedly offered pickle jars, lullaby songs, and cooking lessons on clarifying butter for baklava… but you’ll have to read the book to understand. 


Another friend in church leadership, my magazine publisher’s wife, Allison Harris, told me to write through this season (this is all her fault!) and supported me through prayer as I courageously marched into the trauma therapy that helped resolve my underlying issues for long-term PTSD, panic attacks, nightmares, suicidal ideations, and eating disorders (all of which are common symptoms as a result of sexual abuse). 


Wait, do you have a legit recipe for Baklava?


Yes, but you’d have to torture me to give up our friend’s family recipe! It’s SOOOO good. And I’ve suffered enough trying to make it… ha-ha. 


No, seriously.


Tell us about some cool extra features you included in She Seems So Normal.


Writing a sensitive book about sensitive subject matter, I passionately wanted to provide more multimedia resources for getting the help, support, or knowledge survivors, family, friends, or pastoral staff might need while reading. So I’ve sprinkled QR Codes throughout the book instantaneously linking people to online sites. You’ll also see little crowns with numbers corresponding to 60 podcast episodes where I’ve narrated and commentated my post-writing thoughts. BONUS: I included interviews with a couple key players you’ll not get inside the book because I wanted you to hear other voices of my champions, not just mine.



Isn’t it enough to just pray and have faith that Jesus will heal you? What role did the medical community play in your journey?


When I accepted Jesus Christ, I tried my best to clean up my act. Heck, I even stopped cussing and getting drunk! From Bible study and praying to leading small groups and serving funeral dinners, everything I saw other respectable Christians doing I began copying to act normal, becoming like a “Plastic Princess.” I served till the cows came home; I was just so thankful Jesus saved my soul from hell.


You can put lipstick on a pig, but that doesn’t make her a lady. For years I wondered what was wrong with me, why I didn’t always have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I begged Jesus to forgive me, to heal me, to rescue me from myself, wondering secretly, Was I even saved? 


Severely traumatized and needing professional medical help, my therapist and other doctors helped me find peace with my past abuse by unravelling abusive grooming cycles to reveal my true identity in Jesus Christ. Along with the glorious work of the Holy Spirit, they played a valuable part in sweeping up the shattered pieces of Little Me, Middle Me, and Teen Me to make me whole and serve the Lord once again.



Who should listen to the podcast or read “She Seems So Normal”?


Many women silently endure the after-effects of trauma, so I am writing

for the 1 in 3 women in the U. S. who have experienced “sexual violence.”

( This book is

for the suffering Christian who may question her salvation or be losing

hope that Jesus is big enough to heal her, who has limited outlets to begin exploring

these topics (mental health wellness, predatory grooming, suicidal ideation, sexual abuse) except between the covers of a book. She may look the picture of “put together”

on the outside but on the inside, she is dying, believing the enemy’s lies, and

wondering what’s wrong with her faith. 


The podcast and book are also for FAMILY, FRIENDS, and CHURCH STAFF looking for ways to support and understand those in their lives who have been traumatized.



Are you working on other projects?


Yeah, I’m jazzed and honored to be co-authoring with the amazing Randy Petersen on two projects. The first, Stories Not Shared on Sundays (and Why We Feel Like Imposters In Church), will combine modern stories of Church people with many lesser-known, uncomfortable Bible stories (and their messy characters!) not normally preached in a 52-week sermon schedule to help churches create more authentic, transparent environments with a broader acceptance and understanding of those who aren’t “perfect” for them to encounter a Savior who is.


As an extension of his work for the American Bible Society’s State of the Bible in America, we are also in the beginning planning stages for The Five Major Cultural Shifts the Church Has To Make To Be Relevant based on research and statistics over the last ten years by ABS about the state of faith, the church, and Christian culture in America.


There are a few other books in the works, too, about parenting across two generations written with my Gen Z son; a few evangelistic death stories; and “The Rest of the 23rd” as well.


Stay tuned.


I was not looking forward to reading this book because I knew it would trigger me in many ways. However it was so important for me to finish the book and hear from another person who has experienced trauma like me. Many of us think we are the only ones out there who have gone through sexual abuse,  but sadly there are more than we realize. I appreciate the author’s insights and how she used scriptures and Biblical stories to illustrated that with Jesus we have hope.

Like her, I thought people would protect me especially my parents. How wrong I was. It was like a fake happy family when in public, but the most dysfunctional family behind closed doors for me. Who did I have to save  me if my own parents wouldn’t? After all they were part of the abuse so why would they? After many years I found my answer. God was there every moment, taking my pain and surrounding me with His grace and mercy. 

The author explains the feelings of abandonment, anger and rejection as some of the feelings she went through on her journey. I discovered that she also had an eating disorder like me. It was a tool I used to try to cope with things and also for me it was to punish myself. Oh yes I felt guilt every time I was abused. 

I appreciate how the author is candid and shares experiences that were painful and emotionally traumatic. I love how she includes verses at the  end of every chapter for readers. I am very thankful she addressed  mental health and how the Body of Christ doesn’t quite understand it. There are scriptures about renewing your mind and I know that one well. As the author explains, God gave her coping gifts. I never thought about this before. He allowed her to “forget people’s faces, fierceness and strength. 

The book is heavy at times with real emotions and trauma that the author walked through. I liked how she had a supportive husband and friends that surrounded her as she went through this healing. We may see on the outside that someone looks fine, but beneath that face is pain that is hard to describe. Thank you for writing a book that encourages others and gives us hope as we walk our own journey to healing. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit.The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, December 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 13

Inklings and notions, December 14

An Author’s Take, December 15

Cover Lover Book Review, December 16

Splashes of Joy , December 17 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 17

deb’s Book Review, December 18

Guild Master, December 19 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 20

Spoken from the Heart, December 21 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, December 21

Rebecca Tews, December 22


To celebrate her tour, Leigh is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card along with a “She Seems So Normal” #showyourcrown pin and sticker along with a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. Thank you for sharing your review of  She Seems So Normal and your own personal experiences, I too have shared these experience and feelings and although I think that reading this story may trigger some long-buried emotions, I believe that it will be worthwhile

    1. Darling Bea, there are three parts to the story... the early lead up (something seems wrong, but I can't put my finger on it), the valley of the shadow of death (wowsers, things are making sense now!), and the lessons I'm continuing to learn now I know the truth of the past. Start in Part Three, Chapter 17 first for a huge list of practical coping mechanisms for anxiety, trauma, and panic attacks. I love The Triple BBB De-escatation Techniques I teach to others because it's been so effective in bringing down all the emotions, dissociations, and such! Also, Bea, I omitted details of most circumstances, only giving just enough to know what happened, because I wanted to protect the reader from triggering. I loved what Deana wrote above in her review... I pray you'll read (or listen to the She Seems So Normal podcast!) and find it worthwhile. ~leigh xoxo

  2. Thank you for the review. Sounds like a good book.

    1. @Rita, take a gander at the reviews on Amazon so far! Would love to hear your thoughts on it whether through the podcast or after you've read the book. I'm proud of the work and its impact so far on survivors, their support, leadership, and the religious and medical communities who have endorsed it. ~leigh xoxo

  3. Thank you for the review.

  4. Replies
    1. @Emma, it's been encouraging to hear many who have read the book say, "Wow! I never knew or even thought about this before now!" or "I didn't know this is what it's like to have PTSD" or "There are so many things we can to do help become more trauma-informed." The narrative is like a novel-personal diary-Bible study all smashed into one... fast moving and energetic with many word pictures.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. It sounds like a difficult yet important read.

    1. @K, thank you for commenting. Pastors, preachers, Catholics/ Protestants/Evangelicals, doctors, therapists, and people who work in trauma and who have been traumatized have endorsed it... I tried my best to carefully shield readers from details while being authentic to the struggles and solutions as I could. I really hope you'll consider reading it. ~leigh xoxo

  6. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

  7. Thank you for reading this review @slhan! When I wrote it, I took care to shield the reader from triggers while encouraging them onward in faith with help from family, friends, and their faith communities. We have all been betrayed and hurt in some form, so even if you haven't endured what I did, there is space and love to learn and have compassion for yourself and others. ~leigh xoxo

  8. Marisela, I really hope you consider reading the book or perhaps giving it as a gift to someone you know who may have struggled with abuse. There are so many who need the love, understanding, and compassion of Christ reflected in fellow believers. ~leigh xoxo

  9. Deana, thank you so much for the honor of reviewing "She Seems So Normal: Shatter the Plastic Princess, Embrace Authentic Faith" and for the thoughtful interview you had with me. It means so much to hear from other trauma survivors that the story had a positive impact on your journey. Would love to hear your thoughts about the podcast or the QR Code link experience if you tried either of them. Again, I appreciate the opportunity to be featured on your blog!! ~leigh xoxo

  10. I absolutely love Leigh! She is an amazing testament of God's goodness. This book is a game-changer for so many of us who grew up with abuse or brokenness of any kind. God is using Leigh to touch many, many lives and help them step into the freedom that only God can bring!

  11. this sounds like a very emotional book to read, great review