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, ...
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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 ...
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The One Song that Changes Everything

Early in my life, I noticed a pattern. Whenever I’d meet older adults, those in my parents’ demographic, our interactions would follow a predictable course. We’d exchange names, and then I’d look down, both because I was shy and because I knew what was coming next. They would start singing. …
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Spend It Offering Light: Week 4 & Giveaway

What happens when you expect judgment and shame, and receive grace instead? That’s the question addressed by our two brave guests today, Carly Gelsinger and Stephanie Gates. This is the last — for now! — post in our “Spend It Offering Light” series. (#OfferLight) First time reading? Learn the story behind our series here. “Spend It Offering Light” features real people turning their fears into something that helps others, into light. …
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“Please Don’t Go Crazy If I Tell You The Truth.”

Have you ever heard the Snow Patrol song How to Be Dead? Snow Patrol, 2004 It's about an intense conversation (read: a fight) between two people, one of whom is on drugs. They're trying to work things out, but control issues and lies are getting in the way. The song's opening line is, “Please don't go crazy if I tell you the truth.” This line haunts me, and I suspect it haunts all of us people-pleasers. And you know why, right? Because it's the plea of our hearts. It's what we would say if only we had the ...
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Fellow Perfectionists, Come See Me

Recently, I received a message from the moderator of a Facebook group of which I am a member. It read: “Caroline McGraw, please inbox me...I need to ask you something.” There was a plummeting, zooming feeling in my stomach. I clicked away, thinking: This isn't the first time I've felt that the ax is about to fall. *** All at once, I was back in first grade. My teacher, Mrs. Sanosi, had just returned our assignments. I was a good student, accustomed to seeing “Excellent!” atop my worksheets. But this particular paper had See Me written in red ink. Dear ...
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Coming Home: The Liberation I Found at L’Arche

Happy Memorial Day, U.S. readers! This article was originally published in America, February 11, 2013, and is reprinted with the permission of America Press, Inc., americamagazine.org. I remember exactly where I was standing. It was in a small hallway at a L’Arche home in Washington, D.C., when I met my friend and housemate Pedro. At the time, I was visiting L’Arche for a series of interviews. I had not yet received an official job offer, but even so, I knew that I would be coming to live and work there. I could feel it in my bones; this was where ...
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