God is strange. Every time I think I get a grasp on grace, He amazes me. Last week is a great example. It was a discouraging week on the surface, and as a result I have some re-evaluating to do of things I've assumed and taken for granted. Death of a dream stuff. Hard stuff for the heart. But then, I go to small group and one of the couples shares with me how something I said helped get their marriage through a rough patch. So crazy...I would love to be married, to be involved in marriage ministry of some sort, to use what I've learned and experienced to help a generation raised on divorce to have great marriages...and yet I can't even get a second date! And just went I'm discouraged about that, someone I respect tells me that I've had a positive effect on her marriage. The irony.
Maybe that's just it, maybe my dream for influencing marriages is something that I'm meant to do as a single. It's certainly not my first choice, but then, the Catholics don't seem to have an issue with single priests ministering to engaged and married couples. It just seems that a person has more credibility when they are speaking from experience rather than theory. Frustrating though, because on one hand, I can't make someone chose me, and at the same time, I don't know how to move forward with my dream alone. And that's when God's grace steps in.
This week, in addition to the encouragement at small group, I received a book from a woman who cited Generation Ex in her new book, When Your Marriage Dies. Laura's book is for spouses stuck on the wrong side of no-fault divorce. God's grace is demonstrated again in the way my book has been embraced by divorced parents.
The last bit of unexpected encouragement I want to share with you has to do with another new book. Jesse Butterworth was the lead singer of a band called Daily Planet when I met him a few weeks back. His song, "Six String Rocketeer" does a wonderful job of showing how children of divorce can escape into a hobby (music for him, writing for me) as a way of coping with the pressures and stress of parental divorce. (You can read the lyrics to SSR at my site). Jesse has now written a memoir based on the song and I was asked to endorse it. I get a bit frustrated when I go to sites or see authors only promote their own work, as if any one person can get a complete handle on a topic. So I was happy to see another child of divorce get his voice out there. As soon as the manuscript arrived, I jumped in. Jesse is a vivid writer and reading his manuscript was a emotional experience for me. He does a wonderful job of bringing those emotions to the surface, even as he revisits them through the objective eyes of an adult. As I was reading I started thinking of how to craft my (first!) endorsement. And then I got to the end. The original conclusion was misleading, I thought, and to endorse the book as it was would be to contradict one of the major points of my books. I felt stuck. I really wanted to support Jesse's book, but wasn't sure how to do so without being a hypocrite to my own views. So I wrote a letter to the publisher, sharing my concerns and offering a couple of solutions. She wrote me back, very graciously, and thanked me for reading the manuscript, even if I couldn't endorsement. End of topic...or so I thought.
She forwarded my email to Jesse's editor, who in turn, forwarded it to Jesse. I am humbled that Jesse took my concerns to heart. Jesse and I emailed a few times and he made a few tweaks that I believe will make his book more powerful and effective to his readers. So mark your calendars, folks, Six String Rocketeer by Jesse Butterworth is coming to a store near you this September, with this endorsement:
As a child of divorce, Jesse’s song, “Six String Rocketeer,” is on the soundtrack of my life. Now with his book, Jesse has crafted a poignant memoir, introducing readers to the important first step of acknowledging that parental divorce has lasting effects. His gracious approach and discerning insights invite readers to visit his past, and in the process, better understand their own.
-Jen Abbas, author of Generation Ex: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain.