Friend, I’ve been preparing for this day for months now. Today this excruciating book releases. There may be tears. There will be joy. In some ways, I feel like I’ve been fighting the longest battle of my life, and I have finished the last battle with sweat, tears, and blood as I hope and pray things change. May this book be a catalyst for a new way of loving the broken in our midst.
I want to bring you into the loop of what this book means and the journey I’ve been on to write it. It is not an exaggeration to say We Too is the book I was meant to write. If you trace my writing path over the years, you’ll see the hand of God in this counterintuitive path.
Here are some highlights.
I began sharing my story in a limited way in the 1990s, though I was terrified. Sexual abuse was not something one talked about in church, so I found myself sharing in vague terms. Words like “difficult childhood” or “abuse” peppered my story, but I could not bring myself to say it stark. I also worried incessantly that the people in my life who were present during that abusive season would somehow catch wind of my sharing, and I would be “in trouble.” Ours was a family of curated secrets, and our way of handling things was to pretend all was well.
All during that decade, I pursued publication behind the scenes, writing line upon line of unpublished text. Writing had been my dream for a very long time, birthed by one observant (and sweet) second grade teacher who opened my world in the best possible way when she said I was a good writer, one of the brightest spots of my school career.
We moved to Texas from Seattle in 1998 while my dream to write remained. And by 2000, we found ourselves in the suburbs of Dallas while my husband pursued a THM from Dallas Seminary. From 2000-2004, I began to pointedly pursue my dream of publication. I met a mentor, attended writers groups, and went to my first major writing conference, where I met a literary agent. My first book, Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (a devotional for moms) released in 2005, followed by Building the Christian Family You Never Had (a parenting book). In the latter, I finally garnered up enough courage to tell my story, including my ongoing sexual assault at five years old, on the page. The whole process of writing my story, though it only occupied one chapter of the book, made my stomach churn. I cannot tell you how many times I panicked. I almost contacted the publisher to tell them to cancel the book; that’s how scared I was.
I feared that others would react poorly though I secretly hoped they wouldn’t. Sadly, my deepest fears were confirmed. I experienced this verse from Job 3:25: “What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.” But something happened after that, something that deeply surprised me. I realized I was okay. My greatest worry of upsetting those close to me came true, and yet I still was alive. I lived Psalm 27:10, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” The Lord showed me that our worst fears can be realized, but we will be okay because He will never leave us.
This experience gave me the bravery to write Thin Places: A Memoir, where I detailed my growing-up years in stark stories. Though I was afraid to release the book, God gave me a settled peace. When one publishing executive finished the book, he closed his office door and wept. He cried because of what I faced as a child.
I still cry, but with hope.
As I write this, I am walking through the wilderness of trauma therapy, and although it is difficult, one of the things I am taking away from it is this: God can bring healing and meaning to the most traumatized life. I’ll never be 100% healed this side of eternity, but I am progressing. Tragedy and hope. Pain and joy. Brokenness and healing. These are the paradoxes of our lives, and God intersects it all.
Since my first parenting book, I’ve written nearly 40 more titles, but I count We Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis as my penultimate work. It combines elements of my story with my heart for the church and my desire to help sexual abuse victims no longer feel alone. It is pro-church and pro-empathy, underscored by a sincere desire to see change in our church landscape. As you can imagine, with an issue like sexual abuse, there is spiritual warfare surrounding its impending release, so I will end this email with a sincere request. Would you pray for me, my family, my church family, and Harvest House Publishers as We Too releases today?
I believe one of Satan’s greatest tools against humanity is instigating sexual predation, yet I also believe that God’s beautiful (messy) church is facing a crisis in how it embraces the sexually broken. We Too bridges the gap between those two realities. In writing the book, it is my desire to shed blinding light upon the dark schemes of the evil one so that survivors can be set free, the church can powerfully and empathetically rise up, and revival can fill our world.
After all, the way we treat the most broken in our midst is the way we treat our dear Jesus.
If you’d like to celebrate today’s release, click below to purchase this (hopefully) church-changing book: