We first met Michele Perry when she wrote me an email in February 2008, which I posted on my blog. What happens when God invites a single, 30ish, one-legged white woman from Florida to go on an adventure with him in one of the cruelest corners of the earth? And she goes!
Her new book has just been released. I had the joy of reading some of it in manuscript form quite a while ago when she was considering publishing it with Windblown Media. Unfortunately for us, a publisher she had previously approached decided to pick it up before we had a chance to review it. But in reading her self-effacing humor, her brutal honesty, and her insights about the Father I love, I grew to appreciate this young woman I’ve never met and the courage with which she follows her Lord.
Love Has a Face: Mascara, a Machete and One Woman’s Miraculous Journey with Jesus in Sudan is now available and I just finished reading it. If you want some encouragement in your own journey, you might consider picking this one up.
This is not the usual mission books, meant to solicit guilt that you’re not doing enough for Jesus, or to evoke pity for the author. This is a real life adventure about following God in a very dark place and watching him work his purpose in spite of our humanity and lack of resources. I came away encouraged in my own journey to follow Jesus where he has asked me to go, and filled with an infusion of trust for a Father that is so much bigger than my limited knowledge and resources. I’ve already bought some copies for others.
That said, however, I’ll warn you that Michele uses some of the revivalistic language that regretfully may limit the audience for this book. I know it turns off many people who see through some of the excesses of that movement and how it unwittingly trivializes all the ways in which Father works. If you’re used to that slice of the body you won’t even notice it and most people who are don’t realize how off-putting some of their expressions of God sound to others. If you don’t understand or appreciate some of that language, you can easily read around it, just don’t let it discourage you from reading.
But do read it. Your faith will be encouraged, your love for the downtrodden will grow, and your passion for Jesus will be freshly fanned into flames. Here are some excerpts to show you what’s in store:
This love does not start wiht a good program. It cannot. It starts with being in love, being intimately connected to Jesus. It starts with knowing first that I am loved. I cannot give what I do not have. It is supernatural. It cannot be apart from Him. All living fruit in my life has come only from a living relationship with Him.
(When she felt God asking her to let go of the need to be responsible in the face of overwhelming need and a dwindling bank account.) I knew the world looked at our ministry in the Sudan and said, ‘Look at all those children! Wow, you are responsible for so much.’ The Church saw the promises Jesus gave us and said, ‘Wow, what a lot of responsibility Jesus has given you!’ I had begun to believe the myth called responsibility, and it turned what had been spontaneity into suffocation in my soul. It made even breathing hard work. The storm around me stopped being an opportunity to dance with Jesus and started to loo like a sentence of drowning.
All the while, Jesus was saying. No!
Slowly I began to realize that Jesus did not give me his promises for Sudan as a responsibility to carry. He gave me His promises as a playground to embrace with him. All he desired was my ability to respond to Him. The lie of false responsibility actually stole the joy and even the ability to respond to the spontaneous moving of His Spirit.
“What would a people look like who are fully embraced by love? What would a people become if they were totally set free to live out their own identity and sound? What would an army of love be, released from the darkest corners of the nations to carry the light of His face, seen through their own, as they see who they are in Love’s eyes?
“The wave dancers and light carriers are being released. The unpaved road is an invitation to the depths of Loves’ heartbeat. Watch out. Here they come: the unstoppable lovers of God whom nothing can deter. They bring with them life in abundance, light so bright that the darkness flees before its coming and night becomes as day at the rise of His glory in an through their lives.”