People have been asking me this question: why did you write this book?
Subtext: there are millions of books already in existence. Is your story worth killing trees over?
Well, I have lots of answers to that question.
Answer #1: Every voice matters, every story counts.
This is how community gets built, how the great unity that Jesus prayed for happens: when we all tell our stories, and we tell them real, from our hearts. I believe that for you, and I believe it for me, too. This is my story. It matters. It counts. (Plus, we are doing print-on-demand, so the book only gets printed when somebody orders it. Respecting the trees.)
Answer #2: It was therapy for me.
My dear friend Katrina Ryder edited this book for me, and she just would not stop pushing at me, asking me why, saying that things still didn't make sense. I needed that so badly. I needed to be pushed into the guts of this story until I finally saw, on the third or fourth draft, what God had really done. I had huge, healing experiences writing this book. I didn't expect that. It was amazing.
Answer #3: This project, as much as I love to write and thoroughly enjoyed the process, absolutely terrified me.
I figured my level of fear about putting this story out there made it the next right thing for me to do. Right when I got serious about this project, all those Brene Brown TED Talks about vulnerability and courage came out. I figured, I could either talk about how great it is to be vulnerable and courageous. Or I could just do it.
Answer #4: Andy and I have lived in crazy places and done crazy things. It's like wanting to know how astronauts poop in space. Admit it, you want to know how to birth a baby in a third-world country. You don't want to do it yourself, but you'd love to read about the lunatic who did. You're welcome.
Answer #5: I could not find this book when I needed it myself. "We read to know we're not alone," says the C. S. Lewis character in Shadowlands. When I was alone, I needed this book so badly. So here it is, for the next person who needs to know they're not alone.
Answer #6: I want to bring hope to people in hard times. I don't think that hope comes by saying "Look how good we did! Look how we made our lives come out so perfect! If you're just as perfect as us, you can be happy, too!" If we're hoping in ourselves that way, that's a vain and foolish hope.
The real hope is: God redeems. He's never out of options, and none of our sin or stupidity is big enough to stop Him.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Next Monday, September 1 is official release day! I'll put up the link then, so you can click over to Amazon and go crazy.
Just a heads-up: when you buy a paper copy of the book, you'll also be able to download the Kindle version for free. I've always thought that would be the fair thing to do, and since I'm in charge of my publishing universe, I get to make it fair. This way we can all share generously, and still have a digital back-up.
Here's the back-cover description, just for fun:
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.