Hosted by Claire Musters
This month I’m reading…
Unashamed by Tracy Williamson (Authentic Media, 978-1788932684)
Tracy Williamson works alongside Marilyn Baker, leading renewal days and conferences as well as giving concerts. Having read some of Tracy’s previous books, I knew that she is incredibly sensitive to the Holy Spirit and open about her own struggles. She continues to share bravely and vulnerably in this new book about inner transformation, revealing the abuse she suffered as a child – and the ongoing impact it had on her for many years – as well as her difficulties as her hearing steadily deteriorated.
The book is a mixture of personal testimony, unpacking of scripture, prophetic words and creative writing in the form of parables. There are also moments of reflection for the reader throughout. I tried one of them out with the physical book club that I run and each person commented on how helpful and thought-provoking it was.
You mention that this was a hard book to write – could you explain why, and what was it that caused you to push through despite the challenges?
It was hard because it inevitably brought to the surface many memories of wounding experiences from my past and the need to search my heart to see how authentic my claims of inner transformation really were. Had I truly let God heal a raw area of my emotions or had I just buried things out of fear? Interestingly, I discovered that the very process of writing such a personal and affirmative book exposed my own buried mountain of insecurity, that I would inevitably fail to make the grade. This and other fears almost prevented me from writing it and I had to ask twice for a new deadline, which Authentic graciously gave me. I felt I would never manage it, but then God put on my heart that he wanted to embrace readers with the truth that his love for them was powerful to heal every wound. It was that awareness of his love that gave me the courage to persevere.
I started writing the book thinking I was writing it for others but discovered that it was as much for me as anyone else. The journey of transformation is ongoing for us all and I found that the process opened me up to new depths of God’s forgiveness and comfort but also to the areas that were still deceived and where I was believing lies about myself. I am very thankful that he is walking this journey alongside me and using even my ways of reaching out to others to bring me deeper into wholeness myself.
What are the main keys to inner transformation? There are so many keys and all are essential. A particularly important one for me that I’ve emphasised throughout is the need for us to choose to listen to and take to heart God’s words of truth about us. This sets us on the right foundation and gives us the weapons to confront Satan, who always seeks to destroy our faith and rob us of joy. Keys like forgiveness of those who have hurt us, daring to be vulnerable, coming out of hiding and daring to step into our own unique ways of serving and expressing our faith are all vital.
As someone who is deaf and with coordination difficulties, I had always felt ashamed of how I appeared to others. I wanted to hide away and could never worship freely. But step by step God brought alive in me a love of the beauty of dance. I’ve now been dancing and leading dance workshops for over 25 years and seen many others take that step and realise that things like age, disability, shyness or even deep brokenness need be no barrier.
You talk about when you thought an issue had been dealt with and then God revealed there was more healing to be done – do you think inner healing is often multi-layered?
Oh yes without any doubt. Some things go too deep to expose all at once and over the years we develop so many survival strategies that God in his wisdom knows we can’t deal with all at once either. I, like all of us, am still so much a work in progress but the wonderful thing is God is an artist who never gives up on the masterpiece he is creating within us. So the key is relaxing in his love and letting him shine his healing light on each new layer as it is revealed.
I believe the parables were your first foray into writing fiction – what was that experience like, and do you have any plans to write more fiction? The ‘parables’ were great fun because I was trying to create a viewpoint and personality for such things as a caterpillar, raindrop, acorn etc. I’d always felt I didn’t have enough imagination to write fiction, but it was amazing how the ideas came together. Maybe I can tell you a secret desire? It’s been my lifelong dream to write a novel! Is it possible? I don’t know, but maybe I should at least try.
What is the main message that you hope readers will take away from this book?
My hope is that it won’t just be a good book but a means for them to step forward on their journey of healing and transformation. I hope that the keys I’ve shared will indeed be keys they can use themselves to unlock doors of woundedness and step into the new land of ‘belovedness’. I hope that the sharing of personal stories will help them feel less alone in their pain and give great hope of restoration for themselves. I would love the prophetic insights to touch people at their point of need and open their eyes to God’s love and power to help them. I hope that, like caterpillar, all will hear ‘Blue’ calling them to discover their own beautiful wings and realise that they are destined to fly not crawl.
What is next for you?
I am planning to start up an online course based on Unashamed and this will include being able to offer personal prayer to those participating.
Tracy Williamson on: The books that have changed my life
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
This had colossal impact when I was a young person and still does. I first read it when I was in the throes of my childhood abuse and struggles and, although I wasn’t a Christian then, so many strands of the story spoke to me and gave me hope and inspiration. I ended up writing my degree dissertation on it.
Still Emily by Emily Owen
In recent years, when I became depressed about writing and didn’t know how to progress any further, I read Emily’s personal memoir, and was captivated by her story. Her courage and hope were so inspirational, and I began to feel compelled to think of how I could share more of my own story. It was Emily who got me back into writing and she has been a great encouragement to me since.
Turning Point by Jennifer Rees Larcombe
As an avid reader there are so many books that impact me constantly, but Jennifer helped me write in the first place. This particular book gave me such hope that there could be change and I could find true healing. Alongside all of Jen’s books there are so many others including yours Claire, Taking off the Mask, and books by Mary Pytches giving fresh insight and help for the healing journey.
Haunted by a troubled past, divorced and in debt, Noel Reilly is already on the edge. But when his pregnant ex-partner is murdered and police view him as a suspect, he contemplates taking his life – before a mystical riverside encounter offers a glimmer of hope.
So begins Vision of Light, the strikingly atmospheric thriller from novelist, Gillian Poucher. Challenging stereotypes, it skilfully handles questions of faith and celebrates the unique perspectives of a diverse array of female characters, making it an exceptional addition to Instant Apostle’s dynamic fiction list.
Still doubting his mental state, Noel can’t deny the strange events that begin to unfold, but is bewildered when his elderly neighbour with dementia recognises the visionary figure he saw. Delving deeper into the mystery, Noel discovers their town’s sinisterly troubled past, and the pivotal role he has to play in combatting evil forces overshadowing it. If lives are to be saved, and a deranged killer is to be stopped, he will need help from unexpected friends and the light of a newfound faith to guide him and the community through the enveloping darkness.
Highlighting the power of the human spirit and friendships transcending age and convention, we are delighted to be publishing Gillian’s compelling and life-affirming thriller.
Vision of Light by Gillian Poucher is available now and was recommended by Nigel Freeman at Instant Apostle.