I’m very excited to announce that I’ve signed with The Good Book Company to publish my first book. A global publisher with locations in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, their authors include Tim Keller, John Piper, Albert Mohler, Matt Chandler, Trillia Newbell, and many other household names. Their books are distributed throughout the English-speaking world and translated into over 40 languages across the globe. You can read more about them, here.
My book maps out the spiritual recovery process following child abuse, domestic violence, and emotional trauma. Part memoir, part theology, and part self-help, it’s very different from any other book I’ve been able to find on the topic. It’s not written by a doctor or pastor but from the deeply personal perspective of a survivor. It’s also not a series of disturbing horror stories or lurid details, but a mapping out of spiritual and emotional milestones that marked my progress toward recovery.
How I found The Good Book is a typical story of God’s providence, sovereignty, and sense of humor.
It all started with the breaking of some very personal relationships. For over a decade I’d been longing to write about my struggles but was worried about upsetting loved ones. I was also still processing too much of my pain to view it objectively. Then something happened that really cemented the impossibility of ever reconciling with my abuser, and also rendered benign my fear of hurting my family.
Suddenly, I was free to write, and it was like the breaking of a dam; as if the book had already been written inside my head and I could barely type fast enough to keep up with my brain. In 9 months I wrote over 100,000 words (and that’s not including blog essays or articles for various publications).
Throughout the writing process, I was sending my chapters to my Pastor, Robert Arendale (now Executive Director of Houston Reformed Theological Seminary, RTS). He loved my book, believed in my work, and began encouraging me to research publishers. He also introduced me to his friend, author and theologian, Dr. David Murray, of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.
Dr. Murray also loved my writing, and last January I sent him the first draft of my completed manuscript. He began sharing it with his friends and colleagues in the publishing world, but since many publishers take three plus months to review submissions, it was a tedious process. I cannot tell you what an honor it was to have the author of one of my favorite books, Jesus On Every Page, value my writing enough to pitch it to others. Around this same time, the friend of a friend, Dan Lynch of Brentwood Studios (formerly B&H Kids and Tommy Nelson), also started sharing my manuscript with some of his contacts.
But God seems to enjoy using situations like this to remind me that He’s in charge. Month after month, publisher after publisher, we had no response. The single rejection we did get was very encouraging. My book just wasn’t what they were looking for. Another semi-rejection was incredibly encouraging, because they basically said, “We’re a small publisher and your book needs to reach a huge audience. Keep submitting to larger publishers, but if you don’t find one, we are here.”
Then, a few months ago, The Good Book Company followed me on Twitter.
Any time a publisher follows me on Twitter, I go to their website and scout out what genres and authors they work with. When I saw The Good Book’s repertoire – names like Piper, Keller, and Sinclair Ferguson – I started to get excited. There were books on depression, anxiety, sexuality, broken relationships, and other topics that complimented mine.
I asked Dr. Murray what he thought of The Good Book, and he said I should definitely submit my proposal (which included three chapters, my bio, and some other rather boring information).
So, I did.
I wrote a nice little email to their generic “submissions” account, attached my proposal, and then put it out of my mind expecting to hear from them in three-hundred years (I had grown rather pragmatic by this time).
10 days later, I got an email. They wanted my full manuscript. In fact, they joked they were having difficulty getting work done because their whole team was distracted reading my sample chapters.
It was as if God said, “Yes, you have many amazing contacts and they’re very kind and encouraging, but I’m your Agent and I’ve got this.”
I won’t bore you with everything that happened after. There were lots of emails, a few Skype sessions with my future editor in London, contracts negotiated, and contracts signed. Several pastors and my friends wrote recommendations for me (like the references you’d get for a new job), and we developed a game-plan for editing and prepping the book for publication.
Once we finish editing and enter the marketing phase, I should have more details to share such as title, cover design, release date, etc..
Meanwhile, I’d like to specially thank …
My sweet husband, Jason Greenberg, who stood by me through thick and thin. You were my bulwark as I recovered from PTSD, cut ties with my abuser, and endured so many other challenges. Outside of the grace of Christ and sanctifying work of the Spirit, good husbands are God’s best method of healing his daughters. You are mine. I love you.
Robert Arendale, who encouraged my writing from the beginning, took time out of his busy schedule to read and discuss my work, and advised me on topics from theology to ministry goals. His faithful preaching taught me so much and helped me navigate many of my chapters. His complete lack of surprise when I said I was writing a book gave me the confidence to finish it. Christy, thank you for lending him to us for so long. You are both generously kind.
Shona & David Murray, for taking time to read my manuscript, and for so much encouragement, advice, referrals, and patience. Having you guys believe in my work was such an unexpected Godsend. In addition, your articles, podcasts, and video discussions on motherhood, depression, forgiveness, and abuse, have helped me formulate my own beliefs and arrive where I am today.
Jason & Amber Arcemont, who painstakingly read every chapter as I wrote them and have always believed in me. In fact, Jason gave me my first “real” job as PR Director at BrightBox marketing agency. Jason’s leadership and passionate entrepreneurial drive taught me that I – even as a young mom with a rough background and no college degree – could do absolutely anything God wants me to.
Rachel Green Miller, my dear sister and best friend, who published several of my articles on The Aquila Report. She also read through every single one of my chapters, despite being in the midst of writing and editing her own book, which will shortly be published by P&R.
Pastor Todd Bordow, who I knew by reputation and heard preach several times since I was 11 or 12 years old, but who God miraculously wove into my life as my pastor only recently. Todd is a wise counselor with profound insight into how the Bible says God thinks and feels, and what that means for us as creatures created in His image. Todd authored the book, What Did Jesus Really Say About Divorce? and can currently be heard teaching on the Glory Cloud podcast.
My 60+ Anonymous Beta Readers, all of whom suffered horrific abuse, most far worse than mine, who read chapters, gave feedback, and poured their hearts out so I could focus-in on important topics and identify common milestones. You helped me see that the pain we feel crosses genders, ethnicities, belief systems, and all other demographics. Because of this, the same Truth heals us all. Imago Dei. God bless you all.
And of course, all my many friends in the media and social media who were generous with their time, contacts, and professional advice. There are too many to name … Erin Rothchild, Chad Felix Greene, Dr. R. Scott Clark, Joel L. Watts, Rebecca Lemke, Pastor Richard Shields (ALTS), Pastor David and Betty Brack, Suzanne Badger, Jana Muntsinger (you encouraged me to write this book years ago!), Dave Muntsinger, Adam York, Rachel Darnall, Leslie Loftis, Darlene Brock, Tracee Evans (you’re a WARRIOR!), Henry Neufeld, Keri Smith, Scott Mendel, Bob Hostetler, Velvet Kelm, Ken Shepherd, Lee Irons, Jim Hoekstra … All of you in one way or another have contributed to helping me arrive at where I am today and encouraged me along the way. And like I said, there are many more. Sincerely, thank you.
Jennifer, I am so happy for you and Jason and those precious girls! But to finally tell your story and maybe help other women as God helped you will be amazing. I know he will use your story, there was a purpose for your pain my sister. I look forward to reading the book💖
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