A time to speak…

It’s an ugly time to be an American.

In many ways we are experiencing what our society at large has asked for…

…no consequences…

…no shame…

…no truth…

All the “free love” of the 60’s is now the cheap love of today, and if you ask me, we deserve to be slogging through the pig sty we’ve made of our spacious-sky country.

While I make it a point to steer clear of online political commentary, we all have our breaking points. I can’t be silent any longer, because in my humble opinion, these two presidential nominees are both abominations. One stands by and enables a pedophile and rapist. The other speaks words that tear and dehumanize the most precious and sacred parts of a woman.

My first novel, How Sweet the Sound, is a modern day re-telling of the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13. Tamar was raped by her half brother. Her father, King David, did nothing. And Tamar spent the rest of her life ostracized, condemned, untouchable.

Not much different from the way sexual sin plays out today.

On the one hand in Tamar’s story (and that of the character Comfort Harlan in my novel), there’s the act of the rape/incest itself.

On the other, there’s the silence, the refusal to acknowledge the lifelong devastation of rape and incest, and the refusal to stand up and speak out against it as well.

As a survivor with years of healing work behind me, I struggle to this day to know which is worse.

Today, my heart breaks for my country, which is so broken, so annhilated by sexual and moral sin, we are now faced with our current leadership predicament.

This is what happens when people do and say nothing about power hungry people who hurt the small and voiceless.

This is what happens when people are more concerned with saving face than with the life of another human being.

This is what happens when all we value is what feels good and we no longer care about what is right and what is good and what is true.

I have spent over a decade speaking and writing to survivors of sexual assault, rape, incest and molestation. I have spent over a decade watching the tears run down the faces of women, beautiful, precious women, who have had the parts of them created to love trampled by people who use them for macabre prowess, for humor, for sport. And I have spent my whole life dealing with the lingering effects of that abuse, too.

I’m not writing today with political answers.

After all, that’s not where the answers are.

The answers are in the hearts of good men and women who, rather than remain silent, choose to stand with survivors and speak out…

…in the voices of brave hearts who say loud and clear that at the very least, sexual innuendo, misconduct, disrespect are wrong, and that we will not tolerate a culture of rape, sexual abuse, molestation and incest in our world, our country, our states, our neighborhoods, our churches, and yes, even and especially in our homes…

…in the arms of those who will embrace survivors and say to them, “I believe you. I see you. You matter. You can heal. And you are beloved…”

…and in the healing grace of God.

I’m so tired of this season in our country.

While I don’t have political answers, I do have prayer.

And I have hope.

How Sweet the Sound is set on a pecan farm in southeastern Alabama. As Comfort says,

“Even as the pecans drop all around the trees, I am sure there will be a spring–sure as I am that the branches will once again display the splendor of their journey through rock-laden soil and torrents of storms because of the beckoning sun. Because of the rains that soak them. Because of the hands that turn the soil.”


The only political stand I am taking is that both of these candidates are sick and wrong.

The only thing I endorse today is freedom for survivors held captive by the groping hands, the words, and the silence of twisted people who were supposed to be trustworthy.

The purpose of this post today is to SPEAK  for those who feel they cannot. 

As a nation and as individuals, we can stay in the pig sty we’ve made for ourselves, or we can leave the muck behind us and run toward goodness and grace.

May November come and go swiftly.

And may the Lord have mercy on us all.

The inky truth of grace


The words of the old hymn caught my ear as I fiddled with the church bulletin and struggled to settle in to the Sunday service, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Some Sunday mornings are like that, after all. 

The cross hangs in the front of the sanctuary, and yet my world is spinning around it so fast I can hardly focus on it. So much grief and atrocity, illness and loss,  temptation and the subtle idolatries of daily, suburban survival cloud my mind from the peace and easy yoke my Savior offers.

And that’s just the external concerns of life.

Internally, I struggle with being good enough to deserve God’s redemptive, adoptive, unfathomably unconditional love, let alone write stories about it. 

And yet, as the words of the old hymn poured over my restless doubts, my wandering heart, and my stained and ugly soul,  I realized I’m right where God wants me.

Although God might appreciate a perfect life, He knows firsthand there is no such thing.

And so He chases after the unfettered soul.

He salves the bleeding heart.

He woos the wayward sin-whore.

He runs to the pig-sh**-laden prodigal.

He catches us with His mercy.

He showers us with His grace.

He doesn’t just put white-out over our sins and stains and pain.

He removes them.

He forgets them.

And then He co-authors a new story with us.  

A story no scroll can hold.

A story no ocean of ink can supply.

A story of grace, eternal.

There’s some glory in that, friends, isn’t there? 



“God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him.”

Psalm 103:9-13 (TMV)


One is the loneliest number…until…

Half the battle, you know,
is in feeling alone


until someone comes along and believes
in something
more than we can see


in ourselves, the mirror a
dull reflection, a shadow of all the grace
in our lives unnoticed


the hand of God a mystery until we look back and know
we weren’t ever alone, that


He was just stitching us up with the threads
of others,
the whole


Then Sings My Soul is a story like that, of lives discouraged and full of hurt and questions and loneliness. But the story doesn’t end there. You won’t believe what happens to Jakob and his daughter, Nel. And you won’t believe what happens to you when you read their story, too.

Then Sings My Soul. Available now wherever your favorite place is to buy books.


“He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3 (NIV)