Interested in a free Kindle Fire HD6? (Who isn’t?)

On the heels of my recent posts on how to spot a perpetrator, and healthy responses to sexual behaviour in children, I wrote a blog on how to recognize victims…. Well! It disappeared! So I tried to rewrite it, and it fell flat. So, instead I’m posting an opportunity to enter for a Free Kindle Fire HD, when you purchase ‘Between 2 Gods; a Memoir of Abuse in the Mennonite Community’ through eLectio Publishing.

kindle draw

If you’ve been thinking of buying my memoir,  here’s a good reason to do so now… Because until August 15 you are automatically entered to win a Kindle Fire HD when you purchase a paperback. And, if you haven’t been thinking about buying a copy of Between 2 Gods, maybe now you should… because if you win the Kindle, you will be able to read a kindle version of my book  that comes with every paperback purchased through eLectio Publishing. And you can share the paperback… but only if you want to of course.

All the best in the draw! And please let me know if you win!

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

A Whirlwind, Forty Years & A Trip to Aylmer to Reconnect with Lost Friends

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. An exciting whirlwind, spinning wide open in a dance, just like they did in Mexico in the dust. How I loved the way they spun and twirled, rushing across the yard! And that’s sort of how I feel right now, about life. Oh, there’s been some ‘downers’, like the death of my beloved Mazda 3, nicknamed Rustbucket. In the weeks before its death, I had started to call it Rattletrap, and even joked that one day the tires will just keep rolling down the road, and the rest will fall off, and there I’ll sit. Fortunately, it gave up the ghost, slowly and safely. Anyway, that was distressing, and made even more so because we hadn’t had a chance to do anything about replacing it yet, when the brakes on our van went, leaving us with any vehicle. But enough of the depressing things… Overlapping with this some very exciting things happened…

It started April 21, 2015, to be exact. I had received a friend request on Facebook, a day or two earlier, from Peter and Mary Froese, and accepted. The name stood out, but I didn’t give it a lot of thought. We Germans have a lot of Loewens, Reddekopps, Klassens, Froeses and, well, you pick the name and there’s just a lot of us, so I didn’t even consider trying to figure out if it’s a family I know.

I had been in a meeting, and when I came out that afternoon, there was a Facebook message posted to my timeline from Peter. It read as follows:

Hello Trudy. Thank you for accepting our friendship. I read your book last weekend. Wow, I have never read a book as fast as this one. It only took me just over two days and I’m not a reader. Many memories, since, I was your neighbor boy back in the old country. I remember many of the events you are sharing in the book, including your moves, the house without windows, plus the three funerals. I was very surprised of the details that you remembered. I must say the book was very well done. But what interested me most was the point of it all. To bring out and point out the real God from the harsh God of religion which is indeed no god at all.

I’m looking forward to your next book. The rest of the story. How you got from there to where you are now. The healing steps, the growth etc.

May God continue to use you for his Kingdom and bless you.

I can’t quite describe the emotions that filled my chest. These are people I knew as a youngster in Mexico, and have never seen again, since moving to Canada. That’s forty years of separation, this summer. This month it will be, in fact, to be specific; we left Mexico in May 1975.

family in mexico

Days later I received a friend request from another familiar name. Herbert Hildebrandt. Again, the name caught my eye, but again, I didn’t over analyze it. But, again, the following message landed in my inbox.

Hi Trudy, I first heard about your book thru Ira Wagler, intending to buy it some time when I come across it. Only yesterday we realized that our family has a personal connection in that you lived on my grandparents property in #82 (David Hildebrandt). My dad is Henry, he vividly remembers your family being there and the fact that your brother had the ability to determine what brand of tire a vehicle had by the tread pattern left on the dirt road and yard! He’s told that story since I was a little boy…so yesterday someone in Aylmer let us know what the connection was to you and the book. Having said that, is there a place to buy the book locally? If not, we’ll order a few online for the family. Two of my uncles died of cancer in the past decade, not sure if you remember them – John and David. We admire for you speaking out in word and print, blessings to you and your family. Herbert Hildebrandt

It was almost surreal, this double chain of events, and rediscovering neighbours from the same community, one living to the left and down a ways, and the other to the right, if my memory has it accurately. There is a connection and a bond that happens in early childhood, that cannot be recreated, and it flooded back, after all these years. I could hardly absorb it all, that these re-connections were spilling in so soon after the release of Between 2 Gods. These are things you don’t think of, when you write a book with the hope of reaching a few broken hearts, here and there. The radar simply doesn’t extend that far. At least it didn’t for me. So it has come as a complete surprise, and an incredible blessing; the payback and the gift of these invaluable connections.

Some quick brainstorming with Peter and Mary, and with connections at The Central–an amazing restaurant in Aylmer, and my favourite place in town–we planned a book signing for Saturday, May 2, 2015. Peter checked with deBridg radio in Aylmer, and sure enough, they agreed to do an interview. Could I make it Wednesday, April 29, for 2:00pm, they wondered. Yes, I told him, even though I wasn’t sure how I’d get there without a car. Something would work out.

Fortunately Tim’s mom had let us borrow a vehicle for until the brakes were the van brakes were repaired, so we had that, but so many things happening in our household. Five children. Three jobs.  My client appointments. It’s a busy household. By Saturday April 25 we had found a decent used vehicle–a gorgeous and incredibly under-priced Honda Accord, which the owner sold at less than two-thirds of going wholesale price, and less than half of going retail. The perks: leather interior, manual, and just a sweet looking vehicle. The downside: two-door, therefore slightly higher insurance, but with the price, still a better deal. The ultimate bonus, of course, is that it falls in the ‘Honda and Toyota’ category. I trust those vehicles. A lot. That car is a little miracle, in every way. Still, there was a lot to be done, and I had no guarantees I’d have it on the road for Wednesday.

Wednesday morning, having purchased and done the E-Test and Safety on the vehicle, I drove it to the Service Canada office to register it, having acquired insurance at 4:45pm–15 minutes before close–on Tuesday night. By 10:00am Wednesday morning, it was a done deal. My car was ready. Well, almost. I still needed the right plates on it.  Tim had put a ratchet and screw driver on the passenger seat, for me to install the plates before heading to Aylmer. I pulled into the Foodland parking lot, surrounded by trucks and truckers headed into Tim Hortons for their coffees, and there I attached the plates, all dressed up and ready for my radio interview. Tim, in the meantime, printed out the insurance slip because our printer was not working, and I drove over to his work, to pick it up.

When I arrived in Aylmer for the interview, Hein Rempel greeted me, and immediately we jumped into German conversation, preparing for the interview. “We knew some Rempels in Mexico,” I said, casually, not expecting there to be an easy connection. “Isaac Rempels,” I added as an afterthought.

Hein chuckled. “I had a brother Isaac,” he said. Hein looked too young to be a brother to the man I remembered, I thought to myself, but I pursued it.

“He was a bit of a ‘frotz’ (clown),” I said, injecting a German word into my English sentence. Hein nodded, adding a chuckle, and said his brother was too. “He used to get my brothers to hide under the table,” I said, “and if they would stay under it for a given length of time, he would promise to give them a peso. Then he would proceed to pound on the table and do anything to make them come out.” This had fascinated me as a little 4-year-old, and I wished Mr. Rempel would offer me a peso too. I’d sit there for it.

Now Hein laughed, almost certain it had to be his brother. And then it popped in my head, the moment of being in the Rempel home, and seeing their daughters, and hearing their names. Memories that had long disappeared into whatever unknown place they visit, when you don’t think about them for almost 40 years. “Did he have a daughter Utje…” I asked, intending to also ask about the other daughter.

“Yes!” Hein said, “and Sushje.” It was confirmed. I had just connected with yet another family member of our friends in Mexico!

We did the interview then, and  shared with the Aylmer community a wee glimpse into the ‘why’ of my story, as well as the ‘what’, and let them know that I will be back on Saturday to hopefully meet many more. I don’t really know what to expect, and how many friends and relatives I will see, or if some other unexpected past connections might happen. What I do know, for sure, is that Saturday is going to be a very exciting day! We left Mexico in late May, 1975. Now, in May 2015, I will see friends I played with… or ‘tried’ to play with, since they were a bit older and I was still the ‘pesky little sister’ who liked to tag along. How cool is that?!

I walked to my car, accompanied by my friend Maria Dyck, from deBridg, to get her a book from my trunk. We stood on the sidewalk and chatted a moment, when a woman stopped, after Maria greeted her with a, “Hi Helen!” She saw the book in Maria’s hands. “I just read that book,” she said, and explained how she borrowed it from a friend. Helen looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her until she told me we recently connected on Facebook. Moments later another friend walked by, a woman I met at a speaking engagement; Mary. I realized again, how small the world is, and what a blessing relationships are.

Checking on messages, I found one from Peter, saying he hopes the interview went well, and then added a note he received from a pastor in Mexico:  “Her story is not unlike many others in our Mennonite world. Really sad but so blessed that Trudy has the guts to reveal what’s going on in so many homes.” 

I walked to The Central to finalize details with Peter, and inside was greeted by more friends. People I met in the eight months, when I traveled to Aylmer to meet clients for sessions at The Central. It’s a friendly town, and th ‘familiarity’ from days gone by, even in the accents, make me feel at home there.

My last stop, before heading back home, was at my mom’s. I spent about an hour and a half with her, listening to her tell stories, and answering questions. She told me she supports me telling our story publicly, because so many victims are stuck in shame, and get all suicidal, and give up hope. “It’s cost too many lives,” she said.

I warned her the book wouldn’t be an easy read, and I’d be happy if she never gets her hands on it because of what I think it would do to her. She understood, but made no promises, which was fine since I wasn’t looking to tell her what to do. She’s a big girl and whatever she decides, I will bless. It’s not really my business anyway. It’s just that I’d rather she not need to feel and walk through all that again, in story form. I know what it did to me in the writing process.

“People will start asking you about it,” I warned. “They might give you a hard time for me speaking out.”

She chuckled and told me how it’s starting, the questions and wondering. Even as I arrived to visit her, a group of women saw me coming toward the building, and when mom said my name, they asked, “Is she the one on the radio, who has written a book?” and mom just giggled and said she doesn’t know about the radio, but yes I am the one who wrote the book.

She’s taking it all in stride, this thing of having the ‘outside world’ peek into the windows of our family’s story. I’m glad for that. And I hope it stays that way. And I hope it never becomes an attack on her, or a rejection for giving birth to me and raising me, for those who don’t like this ‘telling’.  But that we leave in God’s hands.

book signing poster

Tomorrow is just a day away now, and I’m excited. The action starts tonight already, when I meet with a reporter from the Aylmer Express, who will do a story on the book, and will come again tomorrow to interview ‘characters’ from the book. Some Froese family members and hopefully some Hildebrandts, will answer a few questions the reporter has. And I’ve called Mrs. Wolfe, to whose place my mother fled when dad threatened to kill her and our family the summer before I turned seven, and asked her to come for a book and to talk to a reporter. She will come, she said. And that makes my heart so very happy!

It’s going to feel like a regular family reunion, being among my Plautdeutsch friends like that, and in one of the communities in which I lived. It is beautifully mind-boggling.

I’ve asked my cousin Helen Knelsen, if we could slip over to see her mom and dad, my Aunt Anna & Uncle Jake, so we’ll be doing that after the interview wraps up. And then I will head back to Helen’s house and crash… hopefully…. if I can sleep tonight…  Few things get me so excited that my sleep is interrupted, but this just might!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend, and if you’re in the Aylmer area, please pop by! We’d love to see you! The Central has offered to serve coffee and refreshments, and we’ll be doing a draw for a few prizes, so don’t miss out!

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Excerpt (Chapter 18): Between 2 Gods

The following is an excerpt taken from Chapter 18, Between 2 Gods; a Memoir of Abuse in the Mennonite Community. This portion takes place in my ‘rebel years’, shortly after my 17th birthday, as I try to navigate living arrangements and party life, running from God, evening denying Him, yet finding myself, face to face with the reality of His love. 

EXCERPT:

[…] And so it was that only weeks after I moved in with Cheri and Annette, I moved out again and settled into my new home with Kyle and Amy. We had arranged one quick meeting for me to check out the bedroom and agree on rent, and it was a done deal.

I arrived at their door with my belongings and was greeted by a large black dog, barking furiously. Dogs are wonderful pets, when they like you, and you are familiar with them. Large, strange black dogs, who bark like you’re their lunch, are not so nice for pets.

Fido was gated in the kitchen, so that he could not come to my room, but every day I had to step over that gate, dodge through the kitchen, jump over the other gate, and go downstairs to shower before work.

I refused to admit it, but that dog terrified me. “No, no, I’m fine,” I said, when Kyle or Amy asked, but every time I faced that dog when they were gone, my heart first stopped when the dog barked or growled at me, then restarted with furious energy as I braved the kitchen. For several weeks I silently endured that dragon-sized beast. Daily I imagined my remains on the floor, for Kyle and Amy to clean up when they returned home. But each day I survived the mad dash, and landed on the other side of the gate laughing from the adrenaline rush.

Needless to say I didn’t eat much when Kyle and Amy were away, as I never lasted long enough in the kitchen to scrounge together a meal. Gradually I accepted these inconveniences as part of my new environment, and stored food in my room.

Then, suddenly, everything changed. Kyle and Amy decided they wanted to parent me. They set a curfew. I would need to tell them who I was with, where I was going, and how long I planned to be gone. And any other detail they would like to know, I would be required to tell them. I had been on my own for a year, with no one demanding those things, and I was not about to play that role in a tenant relationship. I came and went as I pleased. I was responsible for my own meals and groceries, except the occasional dinner in the evening, so there was no need for them to know my plans. I was renting a room. Nothing more.

[…]

About that time I met up with my past party friends again. In conversation I told them about my living conditions—the dog, the “babysitting” and curfew—and they offered me a room in their apartment. I accepted immediately

We drove to Kyle and Amy’s to collect some basic items, and I informed them of my decision to move out. I made arrangements to return for the rest of my belongings the next day. […]

So began the adventures, in early December 1986, of living with my party friends. They were “responsible” party friends, and great roommates.

[…]

It wasn’t much of a life, really, working and partying, but it kept reality at bay, and prevented me from facing memories of home and childhood. And it effectively drowned out the voice of God, so that I didn’t need to contend with Him, or the reality of my sin and rebellion. Most of the time…

Every now and then, when I watched 100 Huntley Street, and listened to the testimonies and stories of Jesus, or when I was alone at night, and sober, His voice would whisper, and I would find myself contemplating God, and my eternal destiny. When friends or roommates were present, I boldly cursed Him, even dropping the “f-bomb” when we stumbled upon Christian TV programs. But in the absence of company, I listened and wept. On one occasion, I even called in for prayer, after listening to Reverend David Maines, and a sweet Grandma prayed for me and encouraged me. Still, had someone asked me, I would have said God didn’t exist, that I didn’t believe in Him and, at best, I was an agnostic. Probably atheist. There was no way, in my mind, that a loving God could exist, given the life I had known up until that time, and with my experiences in church. But in those moments, alone, when I heard His voice, and felt Him move deep in my fragmented spirit, I was compelled to believe.

What was more, in those moments He was not condemning or harsh. When that Grandma, in her shaky, aged voice, told me of God’s love and prayed for me, it was as if God Himself reached down. And the voice I heard in the stillness, alone in my room, was one of love and invitation. Standing at my window, looking up into the night sky, I felt as though my chest might burst and the tears would fall, unashamedly, as my heart cried out to this Being, whoever He was. And, if just for a moment, my spirit would come alive, and life would breathe into my soul. And then the moment would pass, and life, with all its harshness, returned.

On the harsher days, when God was far away, I scoffed and mocked the very God who breathed that life into me. On one such day, walking down King Street just outside King Centre Shopping Plaza, a group of Beachy Amish Mennonites congregated, handing out religious tracts.

I resented my cultural background and wanted to be rude, but I recognized the man reaching out his hand with the tract. Elroy Wagler. He didn’t recognize me, but my older sister had worked for him and his wife, Dianne, and I had visited their home and played with their children, Anita, Lynette, Loretta, Nathanial, and Timothy. Suddenly it was personal and I didn’t have the heart to decline or be rude. I didn’t identify myself, but I smiled and graciously accepted the pamphlet.

As I walked away, I shredded the pamphlet and tossed it in the garbage can on the sidewalk. Why did the people seem so nice when, in my reality, so much of the culture had been harsh? Were they all pretending? Was any of it real?

[…]

I was forced to see good and evil, so that I could not simply write religion off as a curse or a fantasy. And always I would find some chaos, drama, or party to push that reality far away, and leave God lost in the shadows of the past, the shadows of religion and time.

Had I known how to look past both—good and evil—to see only God’s pure love, and His desire for relationship, then I might have believed and been transformed.

–Conclusion of excerpt: Chapter 18 Between 2 Gods; a Memoir of Abuse in the Mennonite Community 

BETWEEN 2 GODS is currently on sale (paperback) on Amazon USA, for only $13.61 (04/27/2015) I have no influence on how long it will be on sale.  

On the roller-coaster of those teen years, there were highs–literally–and there were lows. Reconnecting with my friends was a high, but only weeks later in that very apartment, I would experience an all-time low. I would be raped by a friend, triggering a flashback, and derailing my roller-coaster completely and leaving me lost and wandering. But each tragedy, over time, became a pathway that would lead me back to the love I had searched for so desperately; a love that had been there all along, lost behind the shadows of my broken story.

I pray that you, too, find love, acceptance and hope if you have not yet. And if you have, I pray that my story encourages you to continue clinging for dear life to the One who gives that love freely.

Love,

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

The day Heaven Knelt in the Sand…

canstockphoto24298179 b

(….)
I was confronted with love, so pure and unadulterated, I almost couldn’t absorb it. Deep love, for me. The God of heaven, kneeling before me—positioning Himself as my servant—and writing in the sand to scatter my accusers. The God of heaven, looking up at me to say, “I have no condemnation to offer you. Go, you are free from the sin that had you bound.”

The God of heaven who disregarded the law—even broke it in the eyes of those religious ones—to show me love, asked for nothing in return. No money. No sexual favours. No strict adherence to any law, for this freedom to be mine.

Love: a gentle offer, a quiet invitation. Yet, a bold confrontation of all I had believed, demanding a response; bold, only because of its stark contrast to my beliefs and experience. It defied almost everything I knew, and to accept it required trust; a thing that was destroyed in me, almost immediately after my birth. How was I to trust Him, a strange God? And would it last? …

To read entire blogpost: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/2015/03/26/2-gods/#ixzz3VV5g1528

Love

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Between 2 Gods Facebook Page

To Donate: Generations Unleashed (Help Victims of Sexual Abuse Churches
(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)

When Strangers Pray & Plan

It was a mid-afternoon interruption…

Sound asleep in my chair, March 7, 2014, the doorbell startled me awake. It had been an exhausting few weeks, in my search for an agent to represent my book, and I had signed on with Vanessa Grossett, only days earlier…

In my exhaustion, I sent our son to the door; assuming it would be a sales person, he was instructed to politely tell the person I was not available. Moments later he appeared at my side with a message, “it was a friend of our neighbours’… something about having tea and praying for you…”

By this time I was wide awake. Isobel’s friend… tea.. praying…  What was this about? I walked next door, to Isobel Frey’s home, rang the door bell and waited. A bubbly woman, whom I recognized as Isobel’s good friend, Heather Tompkins, and whom I had met several times, answered the door and welcomed me in. She apologized for having disrupted my nap, and explained that a group of five women had been enjoying an afternoon tea, discussing the book I was hoping to publish, and wanted to pray with me and for me.

Isobel welcomed me into her living room, and together she and Heather introduced me to three other friends, whom I had never met: Gladys McClurkin, Mary Bell and Heather Martin. Several were pastors’ wives–which stood out because of the general reticence of churches to broach the subject of abuse–and all were passionate about breaking silence and offering healing surrounding the topic. They shared how they really believe this is a God-thing, and wanted to get behind me on it.

DSC_1056

There I was, moments later, surrounded by a group of godly women, mostly strangers, praying for God to open doors and work out the details for the book. Though I sensed the very things they spoke–that God was in it and had a healing plan–I also had fears to contend with.

The weeks leading up to that moment, and the months that followed, were filled with deep soul-searching, as I edited, reworked, prayed and started the process all over again. One fear was that making my story public would not bring the healing I prayed for, and the enemy would take it and bring destruction. Another fear was that I would be so attacked by those resisting exposure of abuse, that it would push me to a place of unhealthy retreat and escape. I even feared that people would read it, pity me, and leave it there. I hate pity! But, little by little, as God brought prayer warriors alongside and around me, I came to a place of peace. I moved from fearing the outcome, to asking God to speak His message, His love, His truth through my story, so that my story would be all but lost in the shadows of His story, His grace…

canstockphoto12805479 (1)

By May 2014 I signed a contract with eLectio Publishing and by August I was working with a private editor–Eric Stanford, to whom I credit the ‘shaping’ of Between 2 Gods, with deep appreciation–and by October it was ‘finished’ with only minor changes and edits needed. And by early 2015 my five praying strangers resurfaced…

Heather Tompkins contacted me to say that she and her friends would like to plan a Book Launch on my behalf; would that be okay? Would that be okay? Wow! Yes! I was excited, humbled and honoured all at one time! And amazed that a group of women, whom I’ve only met a few times, would go out of their way for this, because they believe God is bringing a message of hope.

So tonight, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm we will be at Gale Presbyterian Church, 10 Barnswallow Drive, in Elmira, for Between 2 Gods Book Launch. I’ve invited several ‘characters’–what do you call them in a non-fiction?–from my book to attend, and one is able to make it, for sure–barring an unforeseen interruption.

I had also asked a client to do an interview, and it fell through, so gave that up until Wednesday… I received a message from a current client, Kim Chapple, asking if I would allow her to come and share. I was taken off guard, as current clients seldom have the courage to speak out and be so vulnerable. After some ‘back and forth’, ensuring she understood both the risks and the feeling of the public eye on our stories, I felt at peace.

My heart in ministry is the same as my heart in my book, that it will never be about me, and that healing will flow to others. For this reason, while I will do a short reading and share a few words, tonight is about offering hope and healing to those present. If I missed the mark on that, I know God could still bring that healing, but I’d so much rather be ‘about my Father’s business’ and work alongside of Him, than to try and steal center stage.

We’d love to have you come tonight and join us! For more information or to ask questions visit: Between 2 Gods Book Launch

Love

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Between 2 Gods Facebook Page

To Donate: Generations Unleashed (Help Victims of Sexual Abuse Churches

(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)

One Day Giveaway: World Book Day (Contest Closed)

The Contest is Now Closed and the winners are: Sara Reimer (paperback) and Talitha Lepp (Kindle). Thank you to all who entered!

****

This morning I discovered that today is World Book Day, so I did a quick search to see what it’s all about. In short, it’s a celebration of all things ‘books and reading’, and if you want to do more I suggest a Google search of ‘What is world book day’, which gives you better results for today than simply using ‘World Book Day’ for your search.

To celebrate the reader–that’s you–I am doing a giveaway of a Kindle version of Between 2 Gods, and one hard copy. Simply send an email to (Contest Closed: Email has been removed) with ‘World Book Day Giveaway’ in the subject line, and all your contact info in the body, with a short ‘blurb’ about why you should win.

That’s all there is to it, there’s nothing more….

IMG_2712

Available in Canada, USA, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Must be 18 years or older to qualify. No purchase necessary. Duty fees may apply if shipped internationally; these are the sole responsibility of the recipient

Love

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Between 2 Gods Facebook Page

To Donate: Generations Unleashed (Help Victims of Sexual Abuse Churches

(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)

Soul Stripped Bare, I Stand Before You, Dancing

It is quite a feeling to wake up one morning and realize you have officially placed your soul in front of the world, naked. It’s been a process, the peeling back of the layers, to get to this place. Sometimes a painful process, sometimes exhilarating and sometimes just ‘plain old normal’ and peaceful. All have been good; all have been necessary. For today would would have felt overwhelming if one of these things had been missing.

canstockphoto8478813

I was tired last night, but it felt a bit like New Year’s Eve, so I played Angry Birds to keep myself awake. Seconds before the clock said 12:00am, I shut everything down and waited. I posted a short status update: “Today is 3/3/15.” It’s all that would come to me, believe it or not, in a moment like that–excited and tired.

Tim, who had dozed off, as he should have, opened his eyes, “How long now?” he asked.

“It’s past midnight now,” I said.  He leaned over, gave me a kiss, whispered, “Congratulations!” and he was gone again. It took me less than 60 seconds to join him in dreamland.

To wake up this morning with that ‘Christmas morning’ feeling, or, better yet, “Easter morning”, took me a bit off guard. Between 2 Gods has been on pre-order since January 30, and the publisher, my friends and I have been busy sharing about it. It’s almost like it’s been out there for over a month. In fact, this week, as people started to receive their orders, and private reviews trickled in, it all became very real. With that reality came the encouragement of countless people identifying and encouraging me to keep pressing on. People from my former church denomination–some still in it–contacted me, also encouraging me, appreciating that I had not bashed my culture, and that I had not shared the abuse scenes graphically.

This morning notifications popped up on my iPhone.. messages on Twitter, on FB, in email… And the first one I opened was from a conservative Mennonite pastor. If I hadn’t been so excited, I think the tears would have started. I could feel them spilling all inside of my heart, washing out things that were there so long, but they wouldn’t reach my eyes. (Unlike now, as I try to put into words how that feels, to have a pastor–whose wife wears a veil/covering–bless what I have done. I will hold on to that for a great long while, and thank God that, on this day, it was the first thing I read. And, of course, now I’m sitting in a coffee shop where an outburst of tears might distress those around me, so I hold back again…)

Watching the Bestseller rankings rise and fall on Amazon has been fun. Making it to #1 in main category, and #1458 in all of Canada is a big deal to a newbie. (You seasoned authors have the right to laugh; you know exactly what I’m talking about, if you did the Amazon scene.) And staying on the Amazon Bestsellers for all of the 32 days since opening for pre-order was also thrilling.

We are humans with feelings and emotions; we should be excited about milestones and achievements. Truth be told, there will come a time when the memory of these moments will carry us through hard times, and remind us that we can trust God. It’s one of the advantages of years of experience; we see God’s faithfulness to redeem hard times, and we celebrate the good times, but always we hold on to His promises.

Whatever lies ahead, of good or of pain, these days of reading reviews, men and women alike connecting with my story, have blessed my heart in ways I’ll never forget. I’ll always remember the the first people to read Between 2 Gods, and offer that feedback were a couple, Dave and Becky, who spoke truth over me for almost a week before the official release. I’ll always remember that the first message on this day was from a conservative Mennonite pastor, and that he thanked and blessed me. And I’ll never forget the first three Amazon reviews were 5-star, with kind words, promoting the truth of Jesus.

I’ll always remember that my Heavenly Father smiled on this day, this project, and that He called me, and I answered. And that’s really all that matters.

Thank you all for the incredible support you have showed. Whether words of encouragement, sharing links, or reading Between 2 Gods, you have blessed me, and blessed others. If no one  was willing to read it, it still would have brought much healing to my heart, to go through the process, the tears, the prayers, and the struggle. But hearing from others, knowing they’re finding hope and healing in reading it, and finding Jesus in their stories, is my greatest reward; it is what I longed for most!

canstockphoto19544301_cropped

My heart is full, my spirit dances!

Love

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Between 2 Gods Facebook Page

To Donate: Generations Unleashed (Help Victims of Sexual Abuse Churches

(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)

Social Media and ‘Self Promotion’: Did Jesus Start All This?

This thing of ‘self promotion’, on Facebook, Twitter and any number of other social media platforms–‘follow me’, ‘like me’, ‘friend me’–is it blatant, arrogant self promotion? Is it obnoxious and rude? Or did Jesus start it all when He tweeted, I mean ‘spoke’, those two little words: “Follow Me”? And did the Apostle Paul, who was as human and imperfect as you and I, add to this with his own name-dropping tweet: “Follow me, even as I follow Christ”

canstockphoto23743328

Were Jesus, Paul, and other heroes of faith promoting themselves? And the prophets who galloped through towns, warning the people to hear what they had to say, and act in response, were they just full of themselves? What about Queen Esther, then nothing more than a Jewish girl, with no ‘platform’? (You know, like that person who follows you, and you check out their profile and they’re following like 400 people, and 9 are following them back, and you’re like, “Whoa… you must be a creep! No one wants to follow you. Yeah, that was Queen Esther.) Was she simply trying to ‘step on heads to get ahead’?

Or is it possible that God called each of these individuals to deliver a message, and they decided “… ‘come hell or high water’, I’m delivering it. And even if half of my friends ‘unfriend’ me, and most of my ‘followers’ unfollow me, I will deliver”? Is it also possible that they faced the same attacks, in different ways, as men and women today face, for speaking truth?

The pastor who reads a particular scripture–like perhaps the one on gluttony, or gossip… er… Ummm… I mean, the one on homosexuality–and half the people gripe or don’t come back. Should he stop preaching on gluttony, or gossip, to appease those in the congregation who struggle against it, or (especially) those who indulge and really don’t care? Should he rather focus on homosexuality, so the others feel good about themselves, and go home to celebrate God’s goodness with yet another massive meal, while heaping condemnation on the man or woman who spends every night on his or her knees, pleading with God to take that same-sex desire away? Should he be silent? Or should he say, like Jesus, “Follow me”, and like Paul, “Follow me, even as I follow Christ”? Even if he is judged for it?

Maybe it’s the person who preaches love and grace, because of the grace he has experienced in his own life, and he offends the ‘hell fire and brimstone’ preachers, with his offering. Should he stop? Should he preach something he is not anointed to preach, in order to appease those who want to manipulate minds, by using truth out of context, in ways it was never intended, by God, to be used?  Is this preacher touting his own agenda, and trying to lift himself up?

What about those of us ‘crying in the wilderness’ today… the wilderness of abuse, like my friends *Boz Tchividjian  and **Pastor Dale and Faith Ingraham, or those fighting to end the sex trade and create awareness, like my friend ***Kelita…  Are we putting ourselves in the front-lines of a despised topic, to draw attention to ourselves, to create a following? Or, like the prophets, like Jesus, and like Paul, are we saying that God has given us something, often through painful personal experience and redemption, that will bring you hope? I propose that we are crying out, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, because He is coming to you… to us… to the broken’!

One of the things we who are called to share a message of hope have to become comfortable with,  in today’s world, is ‘getting out there’ and putting our message in front of people. Gone are the days of the publishing companies doing the legwork. “If you are not comfortable marketing your product, you’re best off to self-publish and print a few for your close friends,’ is a bit of advice that came my way, because the publishers don’t do it for you anymore. This was a bit jolting for me, to learn this, at first.

The truth is, I love marketing things… and other people… if I know those people and things will help someone. But marketing my message, my story, my book? Putting it vulnerably on paper, and then setting it in front of crowds, through blogging, social media, news stations etc, that was a stretch. None-the-less, I resigned myself and pushed forward with the process of traditional publishing. Is it comfortable? That would be overstated. Am I confident about it? Absolutely! Does it mean a few friends and acquaintances misunderstand me, are offended,  and judge me? Yes. But I am okay with that.

Every life-changing spiritual message that ever was uttered or written, was judged, and offended many. I anticipate the same. So, like Jesus, I will say, “Follow me…” being quick to add, “I know One who can heal you!” And like Paul I will say, “Follow me, even as I follow Christ!” And like Jonah, every now and then, I’ll board an excursion to the bottom of the sea, until the fish can stomach my nonsense no more and throws me up on dry land, so that I face reality, and once again declare the message God has given me.

Ultimately, you and I have but one question to answer: Did we do it for Jesus, to lift Him up, to spread His Love, to offer our hearts in compassion? Or did we do it for ourselves?

Love

~ T ~

*Boz Tchividjian is the grandson of Billy Graham, founder of G.R.A.C.E. (see link above by clicking his name) and a professor at Liberty University. I am honoured to call him friend, and that he wrote the foreword for ‘Between 2 Gods’!

**Dale & Faith Ingraham are faithful advocates for abuse victims in the church, addressing this difficult topic, and offering healing to victims. To learn more, click on their name above.

***Kelita Haverland, who had a very difficult start to life, has founding healing in Jesus and shares her message of hope, through the talents God her.  She is a talented musician and comedian, with the ability to move an audience from laughter, to tears, to both at the same time. She will be in southern Ontario in early May, and we will partner together for events. If you would like to schedule an event in your church or community, please email info@generationsunleashed.com, and we will send through available dates.

© Trudy Metzger

To Donate: Generations Unleashed (Help Victims of Sexual Abuse Churches

(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)

First Blog: September 2010, “Running on Empty”