Oh Happy DAY! Not only did I figure out how to log into my blog again, I have a fabulously terrific reason to be blogging again.
One of the ways that I occupied bits of my creative energy during my unplanned blog sabbatical was by helping my friend Kay Bruner with editing her memoir, As Soon As I Fell, which launches TODAY. If you’re into brevity and want the blog punchline, here it is. THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. It is available in Kindle and paperback HERE.
If you need some convincing or want the whole story, here the blurb from Kay’s blog.
What happens when being radical for God brings you to the edge of disaster?
When Kay Bruner and her husband, Andy, took their young family to live on an island in the South Pacific, she found the purposeful, adventurous life she’d hoped for—along with isolated living, dangerous sea travel, tropical illnesses, and a floundering marriage. As they worked on a Bible translation project with a local language group, Kay sank into burnout and depression while Andy medicated his stress with a pornography addiction.
Bringing life back from the brink required a radical reinvention of life, from a ministry and marriage built on high performance and spiritual heroism, to a nourishing daily walk of grace, freedom, and intimate connection.
This is a story about going to extremes for spiritual acceptability and failing dismally, only to find that love and grace transcend failure. For anyone who’s ever asked, “When will I be good enough for love?” This book resoundingly answers: “Right now. You are loved, right this minute, in this mess.” While few of us will live on a tiny island in the South Pacific, many of us will find hope and healing in this story of a painful fall into the arms of love.
I think that pretty much perfectly describes this book except that it fails to mention how truly hilarious this story is in places. There is a bad-hair story that seriously had me weeping with laughter. If you like to read my writing, you’ll LOVE to read Kay. For one thing, she’s way more concise. She’d have had this blogpost over two paragraphs ago. (I kept making her add more stuff to the book so it would be longer than a pamphlet. ;))
I met Kay almost exactly 9 years ago in Papua New Guinea, right after Jeremy and I arrived with our 4 month old baby and our bag of dreams. She showed up at my door one morning with some kind of baked good, two barefoot boys, and a greeting that had kindred spirit written all over it. We were both from missionary backgrounds. Both of us were English majors. Both of us liked books. Both of us liked baking, and Alias, and pretty things. She didn’t make fun of me for shipping every single Christmas decoration that I owned around the entire planet so I wouldn’t be homesick during my first tropical Christmas. She agreed that Addie was the cutest baby alive, so what more could a new mom want in a friend?
UNLIKE ME, however, she and her husband had four kids and had just finished a New Testament dedication in the Solomon Islands the month before, so I concluded that they obviously, had MADE. IT. At least in terms of the whole “perfect missionary” thing that I was going for.
I decided to follow Kay around to get some of the wisdom and experience and holiness to rub off on me.
I wonder now if God chuckled a little bit when he looked down and saw her standing outside our door holding that plate of cookies. Little did I know how our friendship would teach me more about how to give up than how to try. That sounds awful, but if you’ve ever been REALLY tired, you know it’s about right.
In our conversations, Kay shared with me about her many years performing, sacrificing, and exhausting herself in a guilt-based radical missionary lifestyle. This led her to a life trapped in fear, loneliness, and desperation. Without seeming to be counseling me, her story revealed honesty, transparency, and gentle caution every time we talked.
Could she tell that I was the same kind of girl? WORKING out my faith in fear and trembling. In other words . . . faking it?
She told stories of giving birth in third world hospitals, navigating waters in dugout canoes, homeschooling her kids in a remote village of mostly illiterate islanders. I waited for the standard punchline about how rewarding that life was. I wanted her to tell me that it was all worth it. But her answers were always a paradox. How brokenness brought wholeness. How a wrecked marriage birthed a beautiful one. How giving up led to rescue. How falling led to . . . well, can you guess?
Even though this memoir is Kay’s story, as we worked on it, I began to see that in so many ways, it was mine too–and yours, and that of any girl who has spent time climbing up a hard road to acceptance and goodness, only to fall very short and, eventually, be carried. In a lot of ways, I feel like knowing Kay, knowing her story, knowing the hope that she found, well . . . this story reminds me of God’s readiness to save me from that perfectionistic tendency to endure that long hard unnecessary climb. I truly hope that you buy this book AND I’d love you to share it with others. Here are some of Kay’s posts about the story.
AND, in other news, my youngest child, THIS ONE, starts Kindergarten tomorrow, so there is a teensy weensy chance that you may see my words back in the blogosphere. I’ve missed this writing thing, my friends. I really have.