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Jackie Hill Perry recounts how from an early age her heart was drawn to other young women and how male abuse and neglect only fueled this. Her testimony about life before Christ does not exalt her former darkness, but it does outline her former shadow life. There is no sugar coating, nor anything explicit, but Jackie takes you on a short walk in her old shoes. The intended effect is that we would see her, and others like her, as needing good news, The Good News.
In the midst of Jackie’s darkness, Jesus shined his truth and poured his water of grace on her barren soul. Her testimony is that “without asking my permission, a good God came to my rescue.” One night on a couch, Jackie was struck with the thought that her girlfriend would “be the death of her.” Truth from Sunday school of years past was bubbling up in this crucial moment. She reflects how God confronted her more clearly, not with just her homosexual lifestyle, but with her unbelief. Jackie was unaware of the scope of what was going on, but she felt the call of God to trust him, and with that call came a change of heart.
The morning after that couch-encounter with Jesus, temptation came searching for Jackie at work. Knees weak at her workplace register, she whispered a prayer of desperation and moments later tasted something new: victory over sin. She shares more about her ongoing struggle and how grace is greater than her sin. This part of the book shines for the clarity expressed about what sin is and how Jesus meets us in our sin with grace and truth. As a Christian, your story and Jackie’s story overlap here. Her fight with returning to an old life is no different than anyone else’s. For this reason, her story can encourage anyone about the power of the Gospel to save and also continue saving from temptation.
The last part of Jackie’s story brings us to her new, unexpected life. She never imagined she would marry a man, let-alone bear his child. She followed Christ not knowing what was next. Through her poetry, she met Preston and learned hard lessons about trusting a man. She closes out with encouragements about how to share the gospel with those living a homosexual life. These suggestions are born from experience, but also biblical clarity about Jesus, the cross, sin, and salvation.
Jackie wrote this book for outsiders who have not walked this path. For Christians, so they can look with compassion on sinners and rejoice in the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And for homosexuals, so they can hear a story of someone who believed in Jesus and found power to overcome sin instead of being overcome by sin.
Having finished Augustine’s Confessions recently, the purpose of this book seems very similar: to give praise to God for his work and to share that with others. And like Augustine who turns a phrase to make you pause, reflect, and then pulls you back in, Jackie mirrors this. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy; you won't want to put it down.