Born and raised in the Amish-Mennonite community of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Anne Beiler grew up surrounded by faith and family. During these years, important life lessons were permanently weaved into the fabric of her life. She attended traditional Amish school until the 8th grade and eventually met and married her teenage crush – Jonas Beiler.
Jonas and Anne’s peaceful life as newlyweds and young parents went into a tailspin after the death of their 19-month-old daughter, Angela Joy, who died tragically in a farming accident in 1975. Anne, in her mid-20s at the time, found herself descending into a world of darkness and depression, and eventually on the brink of suicide. Despite being a faithful churchgoer, she didn’t feel she could share her pain with friends or family members. She became silent and lost her voice.
Jonas and Anne drifted apart. They didn’t know how to talk about the deep pain they were both experiencing. Instead, they remained silent partners who simply lived together and went through the motions of family life.
Anne sought counsel from her pastor, who used the vulnerability of her grief to manipulate and abuse her for more than six years. This abuse of spiritual power propelled Anne into intense pain, blame, and shame that she thought would kill her.
After confessing all of this to her husband, Jonas and Anne sought counseling and began a journey towards healing. The Beiler’s reconciled as God restored their marriage. Through the repair of their own marriage, Jonas found himself wanting to help others that were suffering from the same despair and hopelessness. He had a vision of offering free counseling services to their community.
To support Jonas’ vision to help others, Anne bought a concession stand in 1988 at a busy farmers’ market in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Their soft pretzels were a hit and Auntie Anne’s® was born.
Out of her pain came a purpose to help others. As Anne grew Auntie Anne’s into the world’s largest pretzel franchise, she continued to deal with depression and defeat. She felt the secrets she kept inside of her were keeping her in darkness, and she desperately wanted to find freedom and healing.
So, she began to confess. She shared her story publically – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and something amazing happened. She felt lighter. She started to feel freedom. Anne continued to share her story whenever she could, and as she did, she was able to work through all the issues that tormented her – guilt, shame, pain, anger, depression, and the list goes on.
Anne discovered a new view of confession and a new passion to help other women experience the same freedom she does.
In 2005, Anne sold Auntie Anne’s to speak to audiences on leadership, purpose, and the power of confession.