The story ‘Behind the Smile’: Author chronicles her difficult childhood and her journey to Jesus | Local

HUDSON FALLS — A Thursday night church group turned Betty Viehmann Raymond into an author.

“We share what we’ve learned during the week,” Raymond said. “Wherever the Holy Spirit leads.”

The group had always encouraged her to share her testimony—her journey from foster care to creating her own beautiful family—through writing a book.

Still not ready to write down her story, the last push came one night as she scrolled through Facebook. A little note at the top of the page said, “Time to start your book.”

Raymond spent the COVID-19 pandemic handwriting his manuscript. She printed it at Staples and a family friend helped her navigate the world of self-publishing.

“Behind the Smile: My Story for His Glory” is an account of how through Jesus Christ, Raymond recovered from a devastating childhood and built a beautiful family of her own.

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Abandoned by their father, Raymond and her sisters were taken away from their mentally ill mother and sent to live with family in West Glens Falls, and area she called “Shantytown.”

The book chronicles Raymond’s journey through shame, fear, inferiority, abandonment, rejection, insecurity and panic attacks caused by her tumultuous childhood and her journey to Jesus.

“I want people to know dysfunction is not their fault,” Raymond said. “You’re a product of what you’re brought up in… but that Jesus steps in and you can be made whole.”

The book is dotted with Scripture, which helped her get through her journey.

“Reach out to Jesus,” Raymond encourages readers. “There’s a prayer in there for salvation, a prayer for giving somebody.”

Raymond’s home is covered in framed photographs of her three children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren — with one more great-grandchild on the way.

“I was in a depression, because I could not get help because I was not going to be mentally ill like my mother,” she explained. “The trap.”

The book mimics what’s happening with young people today, those experiencing panic attacks and bouts of depression.

“All these emotions that I define here,” said Raymond, 78, “a lot of people have these.”

The book is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. The paperback on Amazon costs $10.22.

But Raymond didn’t write the book to make money. And she doesn’t plan to write any more.

“I wanted to get the word out,” she said.

Gretta Hochsprung writes features and hometown news. She can be reached at 518-742-3206 or ghochsprung@poststar.com.

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