I’m pleased to have an opportunity to introduce you to Margot Starbuck and her latest book: Not Who I Imagined: Surprised by a Loving God. I love Margot’s heart of love for her readers. In this book, she tackles the issue of shame with sensitivity and tenderness, offering real hope. All of us deal with shame —to some degree or another. I know you’ll be encouraged by this book. I’m making one copy of her book available in a Book Give-away. See the details below.
And here’s an exciting offer from Margot:
PRIZES for sharing! Anything you share during March about Not Who I Imagined, on social media, tagging @MargotStarbuck—which includes sharing MY (Kathy’s) post, automatically enters you into a drawing to win a $150 Amazon Certificate. Two entries if you share the Amazon purchasing link below. More info here: http://margotstarbuck.com/share-fairy
Here’s an interview with Margot:
Why this book? What inspired you to write this particular book?
I see so many people who are just drowning in shame. We long to be received by God, exactly as we are, but we’re barraged by the voice of the deceiver who hisses that we’re not worth loving. Or that if we work really hard, and lose the weight, or score the dream job, then—at last!—we’ll be acceptable.
That is not God’s voice.
I hear “shame” thrown around a lot. What do you mean by shame, Margot?
Shame is that sneaking suspicion that we’re not really acceptable the way we are. It’s different from guilt. Guilt is when we’ve done something wrong. We confess our sin and we’re forgiven by God through Christ. But shame is that lying hiss in our ears that if others really knew us, they’d be disappointed. It’s the lie that we’re not worth showing up for, not worth sticking around for, not worth loving. It’s the voice of the enemy.
The voice of God says something that’s a lot like the words he spoke at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my child, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
That’s what God’s voice sounds like.
Margot, after you were adopted your childhood home had violence, addiction, divorce. Did this book spring from your own journey in some way?
On the outside I looked like I had it all together. I looked happy, confident and well-adjusted. Ask my first grade teacher. She’ll tell you.
I lived with that shiny smiley mask for over two decades. But after my roommate gave birth to a baby boy, I ended up finding my birth parents. I’d say that that precious baby—who was so obviously worth loving—and the opportunity to know my birth mom—who accepted me exactly as I was, as if I was altogether acceptable—sort of cracked open that shell I’d built around my heart.
When I crumbled emotionally, only God could put this Humpty Dumpty back together.
So, the $1,000,000 question: what does the face of God look like?
Mmm…. (imagine me smiling)
It looks like my birthmom, who thinks I’m fantastic, and truly seems blind to all of my mess.
I think God’s face looks like a man who serves me communion at church. He’s someone who loves God and loves me. I can see that in his face.
God sounds like my Grandmother. Whenever I’d call her on the phone as a kid, she’d always exclaim, “Honey, I was just thinking about you!” Never once did she give me reason to doubt it was true.
God’s face looks like Jesus who received even the dirtiest sinners, but didn’t seem to notice the dirt as much as the person who was worth loving.
So I can’t say for sure whether God has black hair or brown, but I do know that God’s face is the one that receives us exactly as we are, because of Jesus.
You say that people “mask up” to keep others from seeing who they really are. Do we really all do that?
I think we do it in different ways and to different degrees. I also think that some of us aren’t really aware of all the ways we do it!
I’ve just become keenly aware that I really want others to think I’m a little better than I actually am. So I mask up. I smile at church when I’d like to be crying. I wear the absolute most slimming jeans. And if I can’t add something intelligent or witty to a conversation, I may remain quiet.
So, I guess I shouldn’t speak for others, but I’m aware of this impulse in me.
You claim that wearing masks is a disservice to others. Say more…
The reason I know it is because I’ve witnessed the holy magic that happens when we drop those masks.
When someone has said to me, “I’m experiencing depression,” I’m relieved of the heavy burden of the mask I wear. “Me, too,” I confide. “Couldn’t make it out of bed yesterday.”
Or when I’ve said to someone, “My marriage is falling apart,” I’ve seen a wide-eyed sigh of relief. Then the quiet sharing. The confession they couldn’t dare speak of in polite company. When I’ve said who I really am, it sets others free to say who they really are.
If we’ve never done it, we may fear rejection from others.
But those who’ve taken the risk, who’ve dropped the mask, have found that they’re not loved less, but are loved more.
It’s really counter-intuitive. And it’s a good good gift.
Margot, as finally came to recognize a face that was gracious, you say that God spoke four words to your heart. Then eleven. What were those words?
I was suffering emotionally. It was hard to parent. I begged God to show me who He has provided—to be with me and for me—when I most needed it.
Two words fell from heaven: I am.
I simply dismissed them as words I’d read in the Bible. When Moses asked for God’s name. When Jesus explained who he was: I am bread, I am truth, I am Life… I am.
Then, two more words: I am for you.
And because I could still reason away the cerebral words, God allowed me to see a picture—Jesus on the cross—that really changed me. Suddenly, I could see one who wasn’t for himself, but was for me. On the cross I saw that I was worth loving. This wasn’t some cosmic child abuser who submitted his son for torture, but rather the Father gave his own life for me. For the first time—after three years of seminary!—I understood, in part, the Trinity.
Those words changed everything.
Later, God said more: “I am the One who is with you and for you.”
I learned from a friend who’d been at Regent Seminary that one of her professors had them translate God’s name as “I am the One who is with you and for you.”
Try it. When you’re reading the Psalms, and you get to the capitalized word “LORD,” substitute, “I am the One who is with you and for you.”
Margot Starbuck is an author, speaker and editor who lives in Durham, North Carolina. Her newly released book, Not Who I Imagined: Surprised by a Loving God, invites readers to notice God’s gracious countenance that smiles upon them. Connect with Margot on facebook or at her site!
Available at AMAZON and BN.
Here’s my Give-away: leave a comment on my blog OR share this blog post on Facebook (include @KathyCMiller), and you’ll receive an entry toward winning Margot’s book. If you do both, you’ll get two entries. Winner will be drawn on Monday, March 17th.