second servings.

sweet tea

Shame sticks

to folks like sweat on a glass of iced tea on a hot summer day,

the condensation of cool, sweet hope as it

slams

up against thick and humid heat of pain.

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No one asks for shame

and the folks who dish it out don’t know any better. Better to assume they don’t, because the alternative would be that they shove the blame of their pain onto someone else on purpose, the recipient simply collateral damage of a load,

indeed a pall,

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no one was meant to bear.

Do you feel shame,

your shoulders aching from the weight of it, your frame bent and caddywampus from the way it makes you lumber through the days?

A sack of salt blistering your tender palms?

Because as much as we want to give up the shame we carry, most of us want to own it. If we’re honest, flat out honest, the shame feels good, and we appreciate the applause of those who notice the hunch of our tired backs, who inadvertently encourage us to hang on to the heavy instead of releasing it like the only One in history

His-

-story

who was able to say–and mean it

forgive them, Father. They know not what they do.

Here, Abba, take the shame. Because the double portion isn’t only for the shamed, but also for the one who’s dished it out, the one who piled the double portion of sorrow on the plates of others and for whom grace

oh, elusive grace

grace says the shame-throwers deserve a double portion, too. The ones who roll the dice at our feet and fight over the shredded aftermath of our soul killings, they’re captives, too, after all. They just don’t know they are.

Which is worse

Than letting go.

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Drop it, then.

A double portion waits for you and waits to overflow, runneth over, pour into the brokenness of the shame-throwers’ empty hearts.

Feels like lassoing stars, this business of dropping our beloved shame bags and sharing double portions but somehow the Gospel can handle this sort of greed and apparently joy and freedom are two of the few feasts where even in our gluttony we’re never filled.

We can’t receive even a single portion when we’re clinging to the thing we can’t give up.

But when we do, we

you

even me

even they

will be

radiant.

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*****

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance. (Isaiah 61:7-8)

*****

Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him… (Psalm 34:5-6)

*****

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*****

The Harlan family struggles with emerging from generations of shame in the novel How Sweet the Sound. For a limited time, you can order the e-book version of the novel for only $2.99 (or even less at some retailers). Click here to choose from your favorite e-book retailer today.

And see why folks like Rachel McMillan at BreakPoint are saying How Sweet the Sound is not your grandmother’s Christian fiction (click here to read her gracious article).

 

second chances

second chances

 

*****

“A Southern story of second chances.”

That’s one of the tag lines for How Sweet the Sound.

It’s fitting, I think. So many of the characters have been through trials and are just plain tired of trying to find a God who seems so elusive in the midst of their pain and shame.

But strange things happen when we reach the end of our selves.

Second chances come around.

More because we choose to take them than because they’re handed to us.

How might God be asking you to take a chance today?

The good news about secrets.

secrets

 

*****

In my new novel, How Sweet the Sound, the Harlan family knows a lot about secrets. They learn some pretty tough lessons, too, about what happens when sin is allowed to fester and weave its way unchecked through the generations.

Just like in II Samuel 13:20, when folks are told to keep pain to themselves, the innocent and the broken have no choice but to live out their days in the desolation of silence and shame.

Find out how the Harlan family learns to live different, and how the grace of light and the mercy of forgiveness are available for all who seek.

*****

“He shines a spotlight into caves of darkness,
    hauls deepest darkness into the noonday sun.”

Job 12:22 (TMV)

*****

How Sweet the Sound is available wherever fine books are sold, in print and e-readers formats. The best place to buy it is always at your local, independent bookstore. But here’s a few more places you can buy it too:

How Sweet the Sound at Amazon

How Sweet the Sound at LifeWay

How Sweet the Sound at Barnes and Noble

How Sweet the Sound at Books a Million 

How Sweet the Sound at Christian Book Distributors (CBD)

How Sweet the Sound at David C. Cook (Publisher)

How Sweet the Sound at Family Christian Stores