I sit at my desk and stare at the wall of books in front of me and am still in awe to see The Practice of Love. I am a published writer. That feels surreal.
When I first began to write my story I knew it would be difficult. I finished the first paragraph and fell to the floor weeping. This story, my story had never been told in such raw form before. And my name would be on it for all the world to see. All I kept thinking was “people will finally know the truth.” There was a brief moment of hesitation before I got up and began to write again. As I wrote each word, each line I was thrown back into that terrible place. A place filled with fear, anger and thoughts of death. A few times I allowed the enemy to whisper “no one needs to know. Stop writing.” But each time I prayed and cried my way through it, continuing on believing that my story needed to be told. Someone, even just one person needed to read my words. I was confident of that.
And now as I look at the book on the shelf I am encouraged and hopeful. My story is out there for all the world to see. No more lies, no covering or hiding anything. The truth has been written and I have been set free. As I read each of the other stories I pray the other writers have had a similar experience. Our words, our stories matter.
Reading Phil Shepherd’s story was refreshing and caused me to breathe easier after being reminded that “it’s all connected” and loving God, ourselves, others and even our enemies isn’t easy or perfect, but very much needed. Jake Kampe challenged me to continue loving my enemies and pursuing opportunities for redemption. Kathy Escobar’s story of the “invisible” encouraged me to love and see beauty in all I see and whomever I encounter. I found myself understanding and relating to Dave Everly. I too believe and can declare that I am worth fighting for. Bradley Jenkins reminded me that love is a choice and one that I want to make every day- no matter the cost, no matter how painful it can be.
I’m so grateful to have been part of this project and encourage you all to purchase a copy and read through the stories of ordinary people living lives committed to the practice of love.
You can also read some of the other writer’s thoughts about the book on their blogs:
Kathy Escobar: Loving God by Loving People
Idelette McVicker: Loving Myself, A Woman
Marian Struble: Practicing Love
Jake Kampe: The Practice of Love
Jeremy Myers: Grilling Your Enemies
Alise Wright: The Practice of Love
Ray Carroll: The Practice of Love