Masterpiece: A Love Story (A Memoir About Sexual Abuse) will be published in February 2020.
Pre-orders are not available, but I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter, follow this site on WordPress or follow my Facebook Page for more information in the coming weeks.
Masterpiece: A Love Story is a memoir about recovery from sexual abuse. My story is told through the lens of this Bible verse: ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ 1
I needed creating anew because I spent much of my life tearing myself apart. I grew up in a good family by loving, caring people, but fell victim to a sexual predator. He carefully groomed me and then systematically ripped my innocence away. Masterpiece: A Love Story tells how my healthy, happy world disappeared, and I was cast into a dungeon of shame, fear and anxiety.
In early childhood I had no doubt about God’s goodness and there was no barrier between my heart and His. He spoke to me often. But the sin of abuse spread a dark cloud between us and I no longer trusted Him. My fear of God from a place of love, awe and respect became swallowed by the fear of retribution for sin.
My true identity was stripped away. I hid from shame, first in books and learning, later in an obsession with sex and pornography, and finally through all manner of drugs, soft and hard. In the end, I became a drunkard. Through it all, life became worse, never better, and the people in my life suffered for it.
By some miracle I never lost the belief in my heavenly Father, even if I hated His Son. When I had had enough, God brought His saving grace to me in a dirty motel room. He pulled me out of the pit I had dug to escape Him. I got my life back, as well as my health, my faith, my childhood and more.
It is my hope that Masterpiece: A Love Story will encourage the found as well as the lost. My story is nothing less than the story of Jesus’ love for me. As the Bible says, ‘the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.’ 2 And so I must.
That means if He is willing to do all this for me – a hard-hearted agnostic addict – we can confidently predict that He will do that for all who ask. Why wouldn’t God answer a plea from His own masterpiece? After all, He loves us all because He made us all. 3
Here are three excerpts from Masterpiece: A Love Story, coming in February 2020.
I had tried and failed to burn my life to the ground when I was actively alcoholic. Out of that failure, God had me build an altar for Him, one not made from stones, but from prayers and worship. He taught me how to kindle a fire on it – the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit – and keep it burning. And then one by one, I took all those things that were once so important to me, that I could ‘never live without’ and figuratively tossed them onto the burn pile.
This was not a destructive process, but one of liberation. As the smoke of my sacrifices rose to heaven, I was relieved of the bondage of them.
What replaced them was a dependence on the Spirit of Christ, the guiding voice of my life, my coach and mentor, my comfort and my guide. The more time I spend seeking Him through worship, praise, thanksgiving and prayer, and especially in His word, the more He speaks to me. He is now my best friend.
This is what born again Christians talk about when they speak of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We aren’t ‘hearing voices’, rather the one Voice that comes from the most important partner we could ever have, and the one who never fails us because He is the Living God who does not change.
Life in the Spirit is risky, and sometimes it seems dangerous. To the outsider it can look foolish, but the Bible predicts that. We don’t concern ourselves with it.
This then, is the simple equation describing the Christian life. Mystery = Freedom.
. . . . .
Embracing the mystery is something I ran away from for a lifetime, and then was forced to confront face-down in a dead-end motel room. It has become an increasingly beautiful flower opening before me these past 16 years.
It is easy to believe only what we see with our eyes. I was trained to do that as a journalist. Note facts, reason out conclusions from them and proceed accordingly. Everything, everything in that mindset must be subject to reason and logic. The unreasonable, if unknowable, is unthinkable.
But faith in God changed that for me. Today, it is unthinkable to submit myself to reason alone. Instead, reason is a tool that is best wielded by a hand bearing the Truth. Now, it is reasonable to think about the unknowable and be happy in the mystery.
. . . . .
Who are You Lord,
That You desire to heal broken men?
Scattered in fouled pieces before their idolatrous altars,
The shards of Your pottery, buried and alone.
Who are You Lord,
That You desire to heal crushed women?
Trampled like grapes, their essence gone sour
Not for new vintage, but to feed to the swine.
We become the very things we would ourselves discard:
Disestablished, Valueless, Replaceable.
But because You are perfect,
You see in all things only wholeness and completion.
We are created perfect in Your image,
Which is perfection itself: Whole. Complete. Self-sufficient.
Triune beings like You: Mind, Body, Spirit.
But the moment You place us in the earth
We begin to turn sour in a world
Ruined by the evil essence of our own imaginations.
Rancid by our own choice, we spit in Your face.
Our building of Babel
Obscures what we can see of You.
Our anthems of aggrandizement
Drown out Your children’s praise from Zion.
Our calcified hearts
Crack with stiff resistance.
Our religious spirits
Don’t speak Your language.
But not forever.
Scattered, trampled, ready to be winnowed, burnt, scraped up and trashed,
All of which we have done of our own accord.
And yet You wait. You see something in us.
You feel our soil, test it with Your fingers.
When it is ready, You plant according to Your ancient formula.
For You desire only to see Your seed fall on good soil.
Briars, rocks – they are not from You, so why bother?
We see Your 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold return in the harvest,
But You see it in Your planting.
1. Ephesians 2:10, 2. Revelation 19:10 , 3. Revelation 4:11
(Scripture from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation, Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.)
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