Writing as a Road to Healing: You Need to Read with Addie Zierman (Plus a Night Driving Book Giveaway!)

“Begin not where you think you should be or with what you ought to feel. Begin where you are.” That’s the healing invitation extended by our next guest in the You Need to Read video interview series, Addie Zierman!

Addie is one of my all-time favorite writers. She’s the author of two rave-reviewed memoirs about letting go of religious baggage and walking her own faith journey, When We Were on Fire and Night Driving.

She’s also a speaker and a blogger who writes about faith reimagined at AddieZierman.com and she writes the “Ask Addie” advice column at Off the Page.

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One Sentence To Set You Free from Fear

Have you ever had your world turned upside down by a single sentence? Have you ever felt someone else’s words unlock a caged place within your heart and set you free from fear?

If so, then this story is for you.

It begins with me spending a month in a residential rehab called The Clearing.

I am here for work – I’m a copywriter on The Clearing’s team, writing ebooks and essays – but I am also here for my own healing.

(They tried to make me go to rehab, and I said yes.)

On this particular day in workshop, we are learning about self-forgiveness. We are offering ourselves compassion for our judgments against ourselves and others.

Then The Clearing’s co-founder and CEO Joe Koelzer tells us, almost offhandedly, “Oh, and by the way, you don’t have to worry about asking God for forgiveness.

At this, I cannot help but raise my hand and say, “Wait … you don’t?”

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When Hope Seems Lost, Remember This

When my brother Willie was diagnosed with autism, he was three years old and I was five. Neither of us had been to church yet, so I didn’t have much of a God concept. But somehow, I’d already arrived at a very clear idea of heaven.

I used to lie awake at night and think about it, so eager for it to be real.

I believed that heaven would be just this: a place where I could talk freely with my brother. It would be a place without the limits of autism on his part or lack of knowledge on mine, a place where I could ask him a question and receive a complete answer.

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