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Alan and Denise Jackson's life seemed like a fairy tale: high school sweethearts marry young and leave small-town Georgia to pursue big dreams in Music City. They pay their dues, work hard, weather deep disappointments. Then their dreams come true.
In fairy tales, the Jacksons' material success?plus their "perfect" marriage, their three beautiful daughters, and their supportive families?would have signaled a happily-ever-after ending.
But real life is different from fairy tales.
At the pinnacle of their success, the Jacksons separated. For Alan, musical renown fame, and wealth still did not make up for the marital problems the Jacksons had struggled with for years. And for Denise, building her life around Alan and riding the tide of his success had somehow left her hollow, unsure of just who she really was.
You don't have to be rich and famous to go through struggles like these. Sooner or later, we all come to the point when we relize that real joy and peace isn't just around the corner of the next achievement, the next relationship, the next new thing.
That's why Alan and Denise Jackson's story isn't just a great read and a dramatic, intimate look at the golden world of celebrity. It's a story of the greatest love of all, the love that will never let you go . . . and how to find it, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you've done.
"Denise's story is an inside perspective on the results of the ups and downs of fame. Her personal struggles with life's ordinary and extraordinary consequences, her passion to have a stronger marriage, and her desire to have a closer walk with God make for a truly inspiring life." ?Carrie Underwood, 2005 American Idol Winner, ACM & CMA Female Vocalist of the Year
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
It's All About HimFinding the Love of My Life
By Denise Jackson Ellen Vaughn
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Denise Jackson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Cinderella Story?
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Livin' on love, buyin' on time Without somebody nothing ain't worth a dime Like an old fashioned story book rhyme Livin' on love It sounds simple that's what you're thinkin' that love can walk through fire without blinkin' It doesn't take much when you get enough Livin' on love Alan Jackson,"Livin' on Love"
In some ways my life feels like a fairy tale. I grew up in a little brick house with a gravel driveway in Newnan, Georgia. My daddy was a mailman. As a small girl I'd help my mother can green beans from our garden. I never dreamed that one day I'd live in an immense castle, showered with jewels by a handsome prince.
But that's what happened. Today tour buses pass the perimeter of our gated estate; people hang out the windows and take pictures of our mansion. Private planes, boats, and dozens of cars stand ready to take me whereverI want to go, anywhere in the world. Three lavish vacation homes are staffed and available to enjoy at any time. Employees cook, clean, shop, and run errands for me.
I've been photographed in shimmering designer gowns on more red carpets than I can remember. I've spent time with actors, musicians, celebrities, and presidents. Reporters have interviewed me, eager to portray my private life for newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Strangers often ask if they can have my autograph, or if they can have their pictures taken with me.
Why have I received all these benefits?
It's certainly not because of me or anything I've done. It's because I'm married to a country music superstar named Alan Jackson. Alan's award-winning, multiplatinum albums and his enormous career success over the last two decades have made him wealthy beyond his dreams; he's a celebrity whose fans adore him.
Because of our relationship, I receive these gifts as well. Out of Alan's graciousness and love for me, he has showered me with extravagant pleasures I haven't earned. I am rich-because of him.
Riches Anyone Can Have
Recently it's struck me how all this so closely parallels my relationship with Jesus Christ. I enjoy spiritual riches, not because of who I am or what I've done, but because of who God is and what He's done. I'm rich in love, joy, and peace because I'm in an intimate relationship with a gracious God who loves me just as I am.
Obviously this parallel isn't exact. As Alan would be the first to say, he's human, full of flaws, weakness, and sin. So am I. We've gone through hard times, when each of us hurt the other. We've struggled in our love and commitment. We've fallen apart, separated, and come back together again. We've experienced the raw fact that wealth and fame really don't buy joy and peace.
We've learned in hard ways what is truly important: the priority of faith and family and the ties that bind us to the God who is always faithful, even when we are not.
That's why I've felt that perhaps it's time to share some of our journey. I don't know why you've picked up this book. You may be a fan of Alan's, and you're curious about his private life. Or maybe you've never heard of Alan Jackson and couldn't care less about country music ... but you're curious about how God really works in people's lives, and how He might change yours.
Wherever you're coming from, our story is here to let you know that regardless of your situation, you can have the very richest blessings we enjoy. This is because the best assets aren't houses, planes, boats, cars, and diamonds that only the wealthy can possess. The very best gifts in this life are absolutely available to everyone.
Recently I met a woman who asked if she could take pictures of our estate. She was a Sunday school teacher, and she'd been telling the kids in her class about how Jesus said that He was preparing mansions in heaven for them. Since these kids had never laid eyes on a mansion, she wanted them to see pictures of one so they could better visualize the wonderful splendor of Jesus' promise.
I'm grateful for our beautiful home. Every time Alan and I drive into its big gates, we're floored that we actually get to live in such an incredible place. But it's made of bricks and mortar, and it will one day crumble. Christ's heavenly mansions will be more beautiful than we can imagine, and they will last forever. And they're available not just for the select few who make it big in this world, but for all who look to Jesus.
Better Than Material "Stuff"
I've learned through a lot of tears, over a lot of time, that possessions alone will never satisfy the hunger we all have inside. The only thing that can fill us up to overflowing is a real relationship with Jesus. That's not just nice religious talk. It's true. While material stuff is great fun, and I enjoy it and try to share whatever I have, I could give it all up tomorrow. But I could never give up Jesus, and more important, He will never give up on me.
Softly and tenderly, He calls each of us, His arms flung wide to hold us tight. He can give us real joy, true peace, and fulfillment forever. This isn't about religion or going to church or looking holy or trying to do all the right things. It's about being in an unbreakable bond with Jesus, living with Him in a cherished connection of love. He longs to bless us abundantly, beyond our wildest dreams.
As is pretty obvious, I'm no theologian. This book isn't a sermon on prayer, God's will, forgiveness, trials and temptations, or any of the other big topics on which it touches. I'm not trying to instruct anyone as if I'm an expert; many excellent authors have written with great insight about these subjects.
But I do know what I know. I'm like the blind man Jesus healed in the Gospel of John. When he was questioned as to exactly why this miracle had happened, he said, "I don't know!" Then he went on, "One thing I do know. Once I was blind, but now I see!"
That's a little bit like my story in this book. One thing I do know: Even though I had all the material things we chase after in this world, I once was miserable, full of uncertainty and fear. But now I have real joy and peace!
This transformation is why I have felt so strongly about writing this book. A life lived in the sweet riches of God's amazing grace is far better than any so-called fairy tale you could ever imagine. I know this firsthand. So can you.
It's all about Him.
Excerpted from It's All About Him by Denise Jackson Ellen Vaughn Copyright © 2007 by Denise Jackson. Excerpted by permission.
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