As people are beginning to purchase my book it is more more in the forefront of my thoughts that some will raise their brows at a pastor telling her story the way I did. I told someone recently, it is difficult to narrate experiences that were filled with so much evil in a polite and comfortable way. My story is not a stroll in the park on a breezy summer day with all the flowers blooming and couples walking hand in hand. My story, like that of many others, is rough and jagged with deep ravines of darkness stretched across a rocky terrain that was quite difficult to navigate as a child and even as an adult. I have grappled with this often since the recent release of my book. What will people think? What will people say? Will they see why I felt it necessary to use the raw and honest voice of a victim turned survivor, rather than the filtered voice of a pastor? Will they see the radical collision of grace in my life story? Will they hear the cries of a young girl reaching the heart of her Father and His response of extraordinary love and redemption? I pray they will.
This morning I was taking all of this to the Holy Spirit once again, asking for peace. I didn’t write this book for the person who will gasp at what they read or come away from it with a religious criticism that it wasn’t told in a holy enough manner. The Father laid on my heart to write this book to those who would not be moved by another polite book telling them that Jesus loves them; those who are even now being held captive for what they have experienced in similar atrocities; people that need to hear and see the radical and redemptive love of our God for those who have been living in hell on earth and maybe even still are.
The Holy Spirit reminded me of those who go on rescue missions to save children from sex trafficking rings. They have to learn the language of the perpetrators. They have to act like them, learn to think like them, and lay their eyes on such horrid sights it would make the average person nauseated. They have to hear such terrible things that they can’t unhear and cast their eyes on such insidious evil they can’t unsee. I can’t imagine the double world they choose to live in. What they see, what they have to say, the people they have to mingle with; it all must be so incredibly hard to “wash off” when they go back home to their families. But they willingly do it to rescue the children.
They truly are heroes. And while I am certainly NOT a hero or comparing myself to them, I do look at my book as a similar mission, the difference being is that I don’t have to “pretend.” I AM that child, that young adult that has lived through being abandoned, trafficked, abused, and mentally manipulated like other survivors who have gone through the same. And if I know anything, I know those victims and survivors will not be convinced of what God has done for me if they don’t hear and see themselves and their perpetrators in my story, unedited, unfiltered, and undone. When I begin to doubt myself, the Lord keeps encouraging me because He knows that there is a language these precious sons and daughters of His need to hear before they will be willing and capable of learning a new language, His language of love and redemption.
So for those who might question my narrative style and utter words such as “She could have told this story in a more godly way,” I say, “Unless you have traveled through this jagged and harsh terrain for yourself, please hold your judgment.” The Father and I are on a mission here. And that mission is to reach into the darkest places, the deepest ravines, and the hidden-away corners of broken hearts where captives are being tormented and show His love, grace, and healing power. Don’t question the method. Pray for the outcome.
My suggestion to you would be to share my book with someone you know who has suffered similar things in their life and then hear what they have to say about it. It just might change your perspective. Bless you, my friend. And pray for every captive to be set free.