Michelle Knight is more than a symbol of rising above unimaginable pain and scars. The first victim taken by the unspeakably brutal Ariel Castro in 2002, and finally freed in 2013, refuses to be a victim in any sense within her own mind and spirit. “I wouldn't break,” affirms Michelle Knight, describing her 11 years of captivity in the house on Seymour Avenue.

The “house of horrors” that contained the nightmare endured by Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus has been demolished, and Michelle Knight has done more than rise from the ashes of her physical and emotional trauma.

She has become a living lesson in human resilience and hope. As evidence of her reclaimed life, Michelle Knight has taken a whole new name, of great meaning to her. She has also found a remarkable new love, as she revealed to Megyn Kelly on April 30, and she is reaching out to others in hopes of giving them strength to rebuild.

Never lose hope

It was Amanda Berry who smashed through a door panel to call out for help on the day she and her sister captives, at last, were found, but by every woman's account, it was Michelle Knight who got the brunt of Castro's evil. She had her arms and legs shackled, and she was left hanging from the ceiling for days and weeks. She hardly can remember a day of not being raped, and even during that horror, the metal constraint was left around her neck.

She was not allowed to shower for eight months.

“Anything he would give you could be taken away,” recalls Knight, "That was his way of control.”

What could never be taken away was the hope that blazed in the mother's heart. Her son was 2 years old when Michelle was taken captive, and seeing his face every day in her mind inspired her to hold onto hope.

Deprived of food, water, and even daylight, Knight began dreaming of a new name for herself while held in captivity—Lily Rose Lee. She found a news article snippet that described how Lily meant “pure of heart.” Rose was in honor of a best friend who “stood by my side, and helped me when I was younger.” Lee is her son’s middle name.

Grasping the dream of that new name was enough to keep Michelle Knight reaching for life no matter the odds against hope.

Selfless and true love

Michelle Knight describes the wonder of just having food, a bath, or rays of sun touching her skin as a “tremendous joy.” She was left so emaciated at just 80 pounds when she was found that her first year was spent in hospitals, but that was not the end of her physical trauma. She had been impregnated five times by her captor, and each time, the pregnancy was “eliminated” by a vicious push down the stairs or beating with a barbell.

Healing began when Michelle was transferred to hospice care, although she was initially told that she had just days to live after contracting a bacterial infection.

The patient further discovered healing in the power of her own words. She feels her family only wanted to intervene in her life after the news media coverage of her rescue, and she told her mother during a hospital visit that she was not ready to see her, and that she would come to her once she was ready. Knight also began pouring words out onto pages, discovering new strength through every description of resolve.

Michelle dreamed of seeing her son through the years in bondage, but another reality prompted her to a selfless sacrifice. Her son had been adopted when he was 4 by a nurturing, loving family who chose not to be part of an open adoption relationship with Michelle. Considering his “difficult young age” and fearing that he would not understand her ordeal, the birth mother has opted to allow her son to grow up in the home he knows.

He is now approaching 18, and Michelle fervently hopes that he will find her one day, “willing and waiting with open arms.”

Her first memoir, “Finding Me,” portrayed the author at the point of finding her footing again, and forming the first bricks in building a stable, new life. In that process, she has discovered that not everyone who portends to be a friend is true. Many tried to become part of her circle out of fascination for her notoriety or her story, but now, she has cultivated bonds with “really good people” who care about the real Michelle.

One of those people who came into Lily Rose Lee’s circle is Miguel, now her husband of three years. The pair was introduced by mutual friends on Facebook, and “talked for a year” before marriage.

Michelle got the most endearing gift from her groom-to-be long before their glowing portraits. When she asked Miguel if he knew who she was, he declined any history, saying “I want to know who you are, not what you went through.”

Her second memoir, aptly titled “Life After Darkness,” is out this month, and Michelle Knight strives to make her message more than one of mere survival, but rather, a path to overcoming abuse, and finding joy. “I have found joy in my life,” assures Knight, who shares her uplifting mantra of strength with numerous groups committed to abuse recovery, whether in domestic settings or sex trafficking operations. She also endeavors to help those in abuse recovery shed any concept of self-blame.

It's not surprising that Michelle notes that her bond with Miguel is “spiritual versus physical,” and her spirit hopes for still another miracle one day. She prays that “a little one” can still be conceived by the couple, despite the physical trauma inflicted by abuse.

“As long as I can get myself up every day,” anything is possible, attests the courageous author. Her life itself is evidence of miracles and more of those happen every day.