Kristina Cornell was enjoying her career as a country singer when she learned about a situation that would turn her world upside down.
"I was one of the top 40 country music recording artists when tragedy hit through sexual abuse to my daughter," Cornell said.
When her 6-year-old daughter disclosed the abuse, Cornell said, "I didn't know what to do. No words can describe the way I felt."
Kristina Cornell, one of the nation’s Top 40 country singers five years ago, was hit with devastating news in 2008 when she learned that her daughter had been sexually abused. She will share tell her story Saturday at The Lighthouse, Woomer and Bloom roads.
Knowing her daughter's needs were paramount, she canceled a tour and shut down her career. She describes her life during that time period to being in a blender. For months, her days in Nashville were spent at court appearances, doctor's offices and counseling sessions.
About five months into that whirlwind, her sister died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Cornell said.
"My life had been at a pinacle, but within six months, I hit rock bottom."
Cornell will share her story and how she was able to start anew Saturday at the The Lighthouse, Woomer and Bloom roads.
She will sing with her friend Dawn Pardoe, who has been part of Kristina Cornell Ministries for the past two years. They will minister at two sessions a 7 a.m. men's fellowship and a 3 p.m. event that is open to everyone.
Pardoe, who moved to Bellwood in 2008, and Cornell of Nashville have been friends since they were teenagers.
They met at gospel music events where Pardoe, who grew up in the Lewistown area, sang with her family and Cornell, who grew up near Pittsburgh, sang and traveled with her family in an evangelistic ministry.
"We never lost contact. We've always been friends," Cornell said.
"I have known Kristina for 20-plus years," Pardoe said. "We are a great team. I not only get to listen to my favorite singer/songwriter, I get to travel and work with her as well."
She described Cornell as a woman of integrity who doesn't let anything keep her down.
"God is first and foremost in her life," Pardoe said. "He is the reason she does what she does so beautifully."
Although her story is a difficult one to tell, Cornell said she shares it for two reasons.
It is important for people to see a practical application of God's love, she said, and it is an opportunity to address the need for awareness of sexual abuse.
Concerning the faith part of her message, Cornell said people read about faith and miracles in the Bible, such as Noah building an ark when there was no such thing as rain or three men surviving after being thrown into a fiery furnace.
Yet, she said, sometimes it seems unfathomable that miracles still occur, but her story of how her life was turned around is real.
"God restored me," she said. "I have peace, joy and redemption."
On the need for more awareness about sexual abuse, she said the problem is epidemic in America.
According to Cornell, 33 percent of the girls and 25 percent of the boys in the United States are sexually abused before they reach age 18.
"That's one out of every three," she said, referring to the girls. "And that's what is reported."
She said part of the problem is that the child is not believed or not supported. The problem can be perpetuated if no one helps them, Cornell said.
"If these kids tell their story and nothing is done, they don't want to tell it again," she said. "It's not cool to put our heads in the sand."
Cornell said her daughter is doing wonderfully after a lot of therapy. She has also seen her faith in God grow.
"I am proud of her. She gave her heart to Jesus and he has restored some of her innocence to her," Cornell said.
Cornell's singing career is making a comeback, too.
She and Pardoe have had singing engagements throughout the nation. Cornell appeared before 15,000 people at a Liberty University Convocation, and they have sung at women's conferences, churches and other events.
They are scheduled to sing on a cruise ship next year.
Cornell summed up her difficult time by saying, "we have real problems in a real world, but we have a real Savior who meets us with real grace."