Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gal who grew up on a houseboat gets a love email from God

By Ann Lee Miller

An e-mail from God showed up in my in-box November 16, 2010, during a year I strained to wring out the deeper novel my literary agent was convinced I had in me. At a seminar I learned that I needed to scrape out my emotions and smear them on the page. But I only knew how to shove them inside.
I was raised by an I’ll-give-you-something-to-cry-about father and a mother who wore a happy mask, even through a divorce. If I wasn’t such an Eeyore, if I had an ounce of gratitude, I would have said my childhood was okay. A lot of people suffered worse.
At nineteen I hurled myself at Jesus, finally Someone who listened to my heart.
For three decades I locked my childhood and my emotions behind Get Smart steel grates. But an e-mail from a stranger burst open the doors.
A fire fighter sat at his desk in Florida one night when the memory of a fifth-grade girl walking home from St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami flashed through his mind. His carpool passed me every day as I plodded through a ramshackle, black neighborhood. He was a sixth-grader who could never understand why his station wagon wouldn’t pick me up and drop me off at the marina where my family lived on a sailboat.
Though we never spoke, the man wrote, “I always thought how sad and lonely you looked.” Now in his fifties and a Christian, he googled me and found my web site where he discovered God had rescued me.
Through his words Jesus pressed three fingers into my right shoulder and said, “Yes, your childhood was sad.”
Finally, I could walk back through the doors with God to the little girl who had been silenced and free her.
As a child my emotions were too loud and bothersome to my family, and I shut off my voice because it wouldn’t be heard or believed.  Just now I’m starting to come all-out with my husband, children, and friends. They hear and believe me. They embrace me. I am showing them the core of who I am. Color and intensity are shooting through my deadness. I am learning to pen pain and joy on the page.
Ironically, in my writing, public speaking, and one-on-one conversations, people have told me for years that my unique voice is my strength. Could it possibly be that what I have to say needs to be said, that there are people desperate for my message, that my words are valuable?
God is connecting my pre-Christ years with my adulthood, making me the whole person He originally designed. I have found those years again, and they no longer sear me with pain.
God went out of his way to love a girl nobody would listen to and to prove He is an emotional God who hears.

Tattered Innocence Book Blurb:
    (Chosen by Michelle Sutton as a 2013 Top Read)
      A tale of passions indulged, denied, and ultimately forgiven:
        On the verge of bagging the two things he wants most—a sailing charter business and marrying old money—Jake Murray’s fiancĂ©e/sole crew member dumps him. Salvation comes in the form of dyslexic, basketball toting Rachel Martin, the only one to apply for the first mate position he slapped on craigslist.
       On a dead run from an affair with a married man, Rachel's salvation is shoving ocean between her and temptation.
       Rapid fire dialogue and romantic tension sail Jake’s biker-chick of a boat through hurricanes, real and figurative. A cast of wannabe sailors, Rachel’s ex, Jake’s, a baby—go along for the ride.
       The many-layered story weaves together disparate strands into a seamless cord. Mother and daughter look eerily alike—down to their lusts. Their symbiotic bond, forged in the blood of childbirth on the kitchen floor and cemented by their secrets, must be cracked open. A son must go home. Sin must be expunged.
      Tattered Innocence is for anyone who’s ever woken up sealed in a fifty-gallon drum of their guilt.

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Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn't writing or muddling through some crisis-real or imagined-you'll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids' lives. Over 96,000 copies of her debut novel, Kicking Eternity, have been downloaded from Amazon.