Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace

Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace

by Anne Miller


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780849945991
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 08/30/2010
Pages: 194
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Anne Marie Miller lives with her husband, Tim Miller in Franklin, Tennessee. Under the name Anne Jackson, she wrote two books: Mad Church Disease and Permission to Speak Freely. Anne speaks at colleges, conventions and churches on the topics of social justice, sexuality, health, addiction, and biblical themes of grace and restoration. She writes for Relevant Magazine, and has been featured in publications such asChristianity Today and Outreach.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Part 1 Ghosts in Cathedrals


1 Meet Fear 3

2 Church Clothes 8

trust is not a four-letter word

3 The First Brick 16

4 The Final Brick 19

5 Losing Faith 23

6 Finding Love (in All the Wrong Places) 27

What's Done Is Done

7 Shattered Pixels 31

8 Ghosts from Churches Past 36

9 Listening 40

10 Following in the Footsteps 44

Lady Trust

11 The Realization 50

12 Let It Be 55

13 Speaking Up and into Freedom 60

Part 2 Finding Sanctuary


14 Broken 79

15 Sanctuary 82

16 A Conversation in Eden 86

17 A Father's Pursuit 91

18 The Older Brother 97


19 The Voices in Our Heads 102

20 Stupid Cat 107

21 The Valley 110

22 Hope for a Broken Heart 113

23 Whole and Healed 120

Part 3 A Precarious Path to Freedom

The Rescue

24 The Gift of Going Second 147

25 Ezra's Confession 156

26 To New York 160

27 An Unexpected Cab Confessional 167

28 We Get To 171

Amazing Grace

29 Seven Steps 182

Acknowledgments 189

Notes 193

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Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
mojo_turbo More than 1 year ago
Anne Jackson's, second book Permission to Speak Freely is a compilation of her own journey and artists submissions about the valley of the shadow of death. While she doesn't say it like that, she does use personal history and great tact to basically come right out and say what so many people are fearful of; to admit that Christianity isn't wrapped up in tiny little bows. We all know that is true, we all know that life is messy and there is pain. Whatever that pain is; addiction, abuse, doubt; mainly sin. Sometimes the sin is ours and other times it is the sin of others that has been thrust upon us. We struggle with wanting to talk about it. Because talking about it brings it out into the light. Admitting it is the first step to healing, forgiveness, or even awareness.
klampert More than 1 year ago
Permission to Speak Freely By: Anne Jackson I am a bit late on this review because I have had the book a LONG time. Ironically though I finished this book in a day. The books tagline is "Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace" and it is just that. Anne is a very transparent writer as well as speaker. Anybody who follows her blog knows she bares it all. She is a broken woman and seeking after the heart of God. She posed the question of "What is one thing you feel you can't say in church?" Hundreds responded with letters, emails and postcards. Some of the book was inspiring and a bit of it was sad to see the oppression in the the church walls. The book is formatted much like postsecret. As a matter of fact I'm confident that was their inspiration for the style it was written. Images and graphics are interwoven with heart-wrenching stories. There are essays and testimonies in the book that will make you want to pray harder for the state of the "Church". The book is also sprinkled with tons of graphics and "postcard" style art with secret testimonies that will shake the brains and hearts of naive people in the church. She does address the hope in Christ, but we also know this is an eternal journey so sometimes it seems there is not much hope on this side of death. All in all I really enjoyed reading this book and having met Anne before it just made me pray harder for her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Roye_Glass More than 1 year ago
Anne Jackson's, Permission so Speak Freely stems from this one question, "What is one thing you feel like you can't say in church?" The church is to be a place of love, grace, family, hope, forgiveness, and safety for people. Let's be honest, often-times the church finds itself in an alarming state where these values aren't held in high esteem. The question Anne poses is a pertinent one for those who serve or who have served in a pastoral staff position. She unpacks her own question by giving herself permission to speak freely about her own life and at the same time challenge others to do the same. Often times our churches won't allow the staff to speak freely and be honest about their own brokenness, failures, and sin. I've known several who have been bound up by their own sin because this freedom was not there... until it made the paper, blogs, and Twitter. Unfortunately, by that time everyone else is talking about it. In this book, Anne Jackson has opened a door for this discussion. It's a talk the church needs to have that is long overdue. Lives are messy and those of us who make up the church need to have the freedom to speak freely. It's time to be honest and it's time to be real. Anne is open and honest with her life, her brokenness, and her sin. She is on that journey of finding freedom. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.combook review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
wlpersh More than 1 year ago
This book at the center takes on the issue of sin and the need to deal with it through God's grace by the writer telling her story of struggling with addictions and abuse as she seeks to find healing and peace. She also shares the journeys of several other people as they also find their way to healing. While I found this book to be quite visually stimulating with the use of illustrations and liberal use of poetry I still found it to be quite incomplete and inconsistent in the approach it took to the subject matter. While it is important to recognize sin and to ask God to give us grace to deal with the challenges we face we must remember that it is through Christ that we are able to, and are called to, have victory over sin and not sit in it. (1 Corinthians 10: 13; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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JessicaST More than 1 year ago
Anne Jackson posted a question on her blog "What is one thing you feel you can't say in the church?". Tons of responses are included in this book. It is full of confessions, art and Anne's story. She speaks about her fight with depression. I had a hard time reading this book, because the fight with depression hit a little close to home. I have fought with depresion off and on for years. When she started talking about depression, I had to sit the book down for a little while. It was so good for me to read something so transparent. By the time I got to the end of the book, I felt like I had sat down with a cup of coffee and listened to Anne tell her story. I felt like I knew her. The art and the answers people shared were nice, but it was Anne's story that made the book for me. The book felt so honest and real. You could almost sense Anne's pain when she talks about the hurts she has been through. Reading this book made me feel like no secret is too horrible or too shameless to confess. I am glad I read this book and I imagine I will read it again one day. I need some time to digest it first. I would recommend this book to any of my friends. If you want to read a book that is real, open & honest, this book would be a great choice. It is a very challenging read that makes you examine your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lauren_elizabeth More than 1 year ago
Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson is quite possibly one of the better books I've read. It's subtitled "Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace" and I believe the subtitle is a very accurate description of the book. It's an easy read, I've read it through twice...and it took me about an hour/two each times. It isn't a hard book. It's not even super deep and theological to the point that people like me have trouble digesting it. Anne doesn't use those big scary words that some authors use...and that turn me off. The book is also full of wonderful pictures. But, they aren't just normal This book reminds me of PostSecret...because as part of her journey to write this book, Anne asked her blog readers what they felt like they couldn't discuss in church. And, in turn, her readers sent in postcards/artwork with their answers. She created a website with some of the artwork that is in the book (along with some new ones. My favorite part of the novel occurs on the first page- of the first chapter- in the first sentence. It reads, "Fear has always been the antagonist in my life, and most of the time, I welcomed him. Ironically, he felt safe enough, and I would allow hi to tag along as I walked through my day. I guess I'd liken him in some regard to my little brother, always following one step behind and occasionally running ahead of me." Fear is something I live with. Sometimes it seems to consume all my thoughts and feelings. But, I'm working to a better and brighter future. And this book? Is a step in the right direction. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through the Book Sneeze blogger review program. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions expressed are my own.
HappyJG More than 1 year ago
I've been checking my mailbox every day multiple times a day in anticipation of Anne Jackson's newest book Permission to Speak Freely, a book about fear, confession, and grace. I found it in the mailbox last Saturday, sat down with it tonight, and finished it in less than two hours. It felt like a satisfying visit to her blog: interesting, provocative, warm, and vulnerable. Anne's own struggles have been deep and diverse, and I felt blessed to hear her speak of them with candor and confidence. If you're unfamiliar with Anne's life, she's become an outspoken advocate for women recovering from pornography addictions and for those fighting depression, living a life characterized by the honesty and openness she advocates in this book. I wish Permission to Speak Freely had been a straightforward memoir. Far and away the strongest parts were the stories. I kept wanting more of a glimpse into her head, into her feelings. I had hoped to find that in the poems. Only "The Rescue" really satisfied my desire for something more concrete, specific, tangible. I struggle to criticize this book because of the courage it must have taken to write. So I won't say anything more. Okay, one thing more: It was too short.
jcisonline More than 1 year ago
This is a review for Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson. So I love reading different things. Anne Jackson is an author that I just can't get enough of. She writes in a way that draws me into the story. I read this book in two days. I couldn't put it down. I absolutely love the way that she crafts stories. I tracked on her blog when she asked the question: "What is the one thing you feel you can't say in church?" I grew up in church. I love the church. But, I had some things that I always wanted to say as a teenager. I had some stuff that I still want to say today. But honestly I feel like I can't. Especially in a world of limited accountability like an online space, where people say things just to get noticed, not really to see change happen. But Anne pursued this further than asking the question. She sought to tell her story of how the church caused her some pain and some hurt. I think we can all agree with her on that point. The depth of my pain isn't comparable to Anne's or most, but I do deal with some of those hurts everyday. The lack of diversity, the lack of compassion, the lack of commitment are all things that I saw growing up in the church and I really became disheartened by as a high school student. My thoughts: it's gritty, it's real, it is a bit rough. But it's needed. The thought that I continue to think about is how the church moved from a place of sanctuary for people that could find pardon for their sin towards a place where people don't feel accepted or loved and instead feel judged and unwelcome because of their lifestyle. Lifestyles haven't changed all that much in my opinion but the way that we react and act towards others has changed. You can place blame wherever you like, what you can't do is read this book and not take responsibility. It will cause you to look inside at the hurt and find healing and it will also cause you to look (if you work at a church like me) at how you are contributing or working to change the feeling that others associate with the church. Great, Great book. Loved it.
jrforasteros More than 1 year ago
Anne Jackson is one of the best examples of a person who has leveraged the internet to raise the level of conversation. Her blog,, is a window into her soul, and through her own openness and transparency, she's engendered frank and honest conversation about a lot of what's wrong with the American Church. This particular book began with one question on her blog: What is one thing you feel you can't say in the church? The result was an outpouring of confessions from people all over the country. Jackson took the confessions, wrapped them around her own journey towards authenticity and has now launched a second site,, which creates a Post-Secret-esque space where readers can share their secret confessions as artistically as they wish. This book is a beautiful centerpiece for Jackson's confessional campaign. Once you know Jackson's story, her passion for authenticity and healing is understandable - her father was a pastor of small Southern (Texan) Baptist churches until he was fired when Jackson was 16. She left the Church for quite a few years, and her journey away and back again is the framing story she's used in a couple of her books so far - Mad Church Disease and now her newest offering, Permission to Speak Freely. But whereas Mad Church dealt with how the Church can wound us, Permission to Speak Freely is more about what happens to us in our wounded places. It's about being in the Valley of the Shadow of Death (a metaphor Jackson uses to great effect) and what that darkness does to us. The shame and pain it creates in us. In Permission, Jackson's own story becomes a confession of her own hurts and dysfunctions. She bravely lays out exactly how her own history wounded her, what sorts of struggles she's overcome and where she's still hurting, still growing and healing. The Anne Jackson you meet in the pages of Permission is not a miracle-working guru sitting with all the answers serenely atop a mountain. Rather you meet a fellow traveler courageously sharing her story, an artist inviting you into her pain, inviting you to say, Me too! The book is beautifully written and Jackson uses her own poetry, story and theology to great effect (and affect, for that matter), especially as she mixes them with confessions from many of her readers. It feels like Jackson gave Post-Secret a theological orientation, and that makes all the difference. Bottom Line: This is an exploration of the sacrament of confession and reconciliation for Evangelicals who've long abandoned the practice.
gandalf239CJ More than 1 year ago
This book is about fear, confession, and grace. The fear that so often grips our lives, the healing power of confession, and God's covering grace. In telling her tale, Mrs. Jackson deftly wields her pen like a skillful surgeon, candor her blade. She paints a vivid portrait of her formative years, the dark places fear took her, and how the grace of God carried her to a place where she was free to find healing in confession. It is her contention that this freedom is available to us all. While the specifics are different, my own life story carries with it some pain (as I'm sure we all have). Thus it was that I was drawn to Mrs. Jackson's story--through the shared pain that is common to all humanity. It is a compelling narrative--a journey--from innocence to hopelessness, and back to the loving arms of God. Honestly, I would be afraid to bring to light the things she confesses to, but am encouraged by her relentless honesty, and ardently desire the freedom that comes from confession. Thank-you, Anne, for sharing your story. Would that all believers could be as open as you are. I've no doubt such authentic lives could turn the world upside-down all over again. Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by
pt1225 More than 1 year ago
The gift of going second, that's is what Anne Jackson's precious gift to the reader. By sharing her own addictions and brokenness, she ultimately open the door to topics which previously kept in the dark in the Christian communities. Issues which are taboo before, now are more readily to be openly discuss. This in turn contribute to more people being freed and reconnected with God. I have a mixed feeling about this book when I first started reading it. As part of the title says "Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace", I am consciously looking for compilation of articles shared by different people. However, what I found is Anne's personal sharing throughout the book, mixed with different type of medias, such as sketches, photographs, postcards, poems which double as illustrations for the book. Once, I got pass my earlier assumption, I began to enjoy the book. I also appreciate Anne's effort for not turning this book into a typical self-help book, as if all the problems in our life can be categorized into particular category and can be solved by Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 . etc. Life is much much more complicated than that.
Jesse37 More than 1 year ago
Anne Jackson has put together a powerful book in Permission to Speak Freely. This book, a collection of "essays and art on fear, confession, and grace", grew out of a collection of responses to a question she had posted on her blog ( back in 2008. The question: What is the one thing you feel you can't say in the church? The response was overwhelming, and Anne quickly realized that this question resonated with a lot of people. Anne talks about her own experiences growing up as a pastor's kid, and her later struggles with certain sins. She discovered at a young age that many Christians/churches are very unforgiving of sin in people's lives. Through her own experiences and the many responses from her blog readers she discovered that people everywhere are in desperate need of compassion and healing, but we're all too scared to share our struggles with anyone else. She talks about the freedom that can be found in confession and how we can help so many people by encouraging this mindset. Anne explores why so many Christians hide behind their masks of fineness, instead of being honest about the struggles in their lives. By confessing our sins and struggles to like-minded Christians we can both help others and be helped ourselves. When we hide our struggles from everyone it's easy to start thinking that we're the only ones walking through the valleys. But when you speak up and reveal the brokenness in your own life you soon realize that there are others all around you that are just as broken as you are, and you all help to carry each other through. In the end, it all comes back to each of us being a sinner in desperate need of the Savior. Don't look down on someone that is broken, for we all are broken in different ways. Pick up the broken, and help them to see the love and grace that Christ offers. This is a really good book. You can buy one here, should you be so inclined. I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
freesamplequeen More than 1 year ago
In a sea of brokenness, Anne Jackson breaks the silence by sharing her journey through life, allowing the reader to see honestly into her hurts, addictions and questions. She challenges the reader to consider their own secrets and the possibility of speaking about these things, whether taboo or looked down upon, and doing so freely with the confidence that one might be allowing another with the same hurts and issues a chance to follow their lead. Through essays, poetry and artwork, Anne shares thoughts and responses herself and others have shared related to the question, "What is the one thing you feel you can't say in the church?" A little outside of the box in format, Anne's book is easy to read and follow. Challenging ideas and stories bring about a self-reflective thought process while reading. While a Christian, Anne frankly shares her insider's view of the way the church seems to handle shushed topics and challenges readers to consider their actions when hearing confessions of another. Whether a church attender or not, any reader can get insightful and helpful information from reading this book in a non-threatening and non-preaching way. Recommended for all adult readers as it addresses an issue everyone has faced, brokenness and the grace we all desire and need to feel accepted. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
MRSKELLIB More than 1 year ago
"More dresses. More patent dress shoes. And more brushstrokes for the picture that I was learning to paint : I had to impress God by impressing Gods people". Impressing God. Impressing people. Hiding from God. Hiding from people. Wanting to be honest with God. Tired of pretending with people. This book is incredibly simple. Simple yet profound in the sense that it unmasks the truths we all have hiding within us. We all have issues. Issues from rough childhoods. Issues from abusive relationships. Issues from church hurt. Issues from questions never answered. Issues. Alcoholism. Low self-esteem. pornography. Drug abuse. Manipulation. They're all addressed in this book. This book....a safe place for those of us who are afraid to "speak freely" in church; all the while we deteriorate inside....broken and eaten alive by our "issues". This book is a lifeline for those who feel alone in their struggle....a fresh wind for those of us who are tired of the pomp & circumstance of "church life" without any true transformation. This book is real, dysfunctional, unpolished, and greatly needed. Possibly the best book I've ever read.
CrittyJoy More than 1 year ago
I started following Anne on twitter a few months ago when she went to Moldova with Children's Hope Chest (poor Anne became sick and had to return early but the impact she made on my heart while writing from there will be forever etched). I like that Anne is challenging with her thoughts and words. So when Permission to Speak Freely came available for review I jumped at the chance. The first thing you will notice about the book is that it is beautiful. The binding, pages, and print of the book are unique and I was immediately drawn to the artwork throughout the book. I immediately read the introduction and was intrigued. Then I put the book down. It held so many things I had lately been asking myself and it made me uncomfortable. After struggling with the essential question Anne ask, What is one thing you feel you can't say in Church?, for several weeks I picked up the book this past weekend and read. Permission to Speak Freely is thoughtful and insightful look not only into Anne's life but also the life of many Christians who are struggling with brokenness and wanting acceptance in the very place that it should be most available. The Church. Through a series of essays about her own life and the stories of others we come away with invaluable knowledge of at least two things. We are all messily broken and we are not alone. Anne's unique look into this question and the results that follow held me captive on Saturday afternoon as I explored the book.the words and the art. As I closed the book it was with a profound relief of not feeling alone in my less than perfectness and my dissatisfaction..and hopeful that other people, including Anne, were wanting something more. If you are struggling with questions about you, other Christians, and the Church I cannot recommend Permission to Speak Freely high enough. It is an engaging and transparent look at the heartbeat many people are beginning to feel. A unique stirring to want more for the Church..and more from ourselves.
AllyC More than 1 year ago
In May 2008, blogger Anne Jackson put up a question on her site-- "What is one thing you feel you can't say in church?" Her readers' response was huge, and out of that came Permission To Speak Freely. Part memoir, part unconventional self-help, Permission to Speak Freely is a beautiful four color book, full of original essays and poetry, with readers' own confessions between chapters. In it, Jackson speaks honestly about her struggles with addictions and depression; that she truly believes vulnerability within community is of utmost importance is evident in her encouragement to her readers to also find the courage to speak freely. She also mentions multiple organizations that were helpful in her journey toward healing; among them, Dirty Girls and To Write Love On Her Arms stand out. As a fellow PK with a similar story, this book was a gentle reminder that I am not alone. As I read, I felt more hopeful than I had in months and with that came a new sense of freedom to be vulnerable within my community. Permission To Speak Freely is one book that will not simply be put back on the shelf, but will stay within reach to grab and reread at a moment's notice. I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who've bought into the lie (as I did) that we cannot speak freely.
lindseygirl More than 1 year ago
There are so many things that people are afraid to speak out about, especially in the church. Anne Jackson, an avid blogger, asked the question, "What is one thing you feel you can't say in church?" It turns out there are a lot of things that people feel they can't say in church as she received hundreds of responses on her blog. In Permission to Speak Freely, Anne shares these confessions in the form of essays, poems, and art. Permission to Speak Freely definitely isn't what I would consider to be theologically moving. It is, however, honest. It begged me to explore my own thoughts and fears. As I unearthed a part of myself that I had strategically kept hidden, I felt as if a weight had been lifted off of me. I discovered that I wasn't alone and that there was freedom in knowing that truth. Many of us cringe at the thought of exposing ourselves, metaphorically naked, before the community of faith. I highly recommend Permission to Speak Freely to those who find themselves struggling through issues, fears, and doubts. You just might find that you aren't so afraid after all. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
PrudyChick More than 1 year ago
I had been anxiously, anxiously awaiting the release of Anne Jackson's second book Permission To Speak Freely from the moment I heard she was writing it. Her desire to speak up motivated me, encouraged me. I was unsure which path she was going to take in her essays, but I believe her avenues were completely different than what I expected. Over the course of 29 essays Anne shares her testimony of being silenced by church folk and shares her testimony and others' testimonies of being able to confess. Many of the essays I read through tear blurry eyes as I related with my own stories. She shares her heart and allows you to walk with her as she gives voice to silence. She bookends segments of essays with art and poetry. Beautiful art with tragic confessions submitted by those who wanted to speak freely. The book is a fairly quick read, though as I mentioned a meaningful one. Anne's words weave a beautiful story. I highly recommend reading it especially if you've experienced being silenced. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
WingedOne More than 1 year ago
Wow! Normally I start my review with a summary of the book but this time, I am starting with my comments. Very different book in that it is filled of the thoughts of many, not just one person. It all started with a question Anne Jackson posted on her blog one day "what is the one thing you feel you can't say in church?" and so evolved the book. She is a southern Baptist pastor's daughter who herself has led of hurt, challenges and addiction. The premise being we can all lead lives that are whole and healed when we open ourselves to confession or "what is the one thing you feel you can't say in church". Others wrote in their confessions, speaking freely and courageously leaving fear, hurt, shame and pride to the side. It is a very inspiring book as one cannot help but feel that we are all in this together. Everyone suffers at some point to some degree. People feel varying degrees of shame. It is through acknowledgement and confession that we are able to move forward. Very good book for personal reflection or a church study group. It is a very straightforward book that encourages the reader to move forward with their own personal healing. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
Chickfilady More than 1 year ago
What is the one thing you feel you can't say in church? That is a pregnant question with multiple burdensome answers. Yet author Anne Jackson asks the hard questions and records the sometimes difficult answers for us to read. With an openness that most people would shrink from, she shares her own struggles in searching for a way to speak about topics that are "unmentionable" in church. The things people want to hide in their closets and pretend they don't exist. It is so easy for us to hide behind our stained glass masquerade and pretend...act as if life is fine, when life is anything but fine and we are crumbling on the inside. You know it's easy to do. We all do it. Permission to Speak Freely doesn't give a specific outline on how to walk into a church and boom...begin the difficult conversations. It does offer hope. It does show that there are other people in this world with the same questions, feelings, comments. It lets us know we are not alone. It shows there is healing in confession. " have a story. And this story is made up of your past and present and future, and many things color it." Ultimately, your story, my story, may help someone else. Prevent mistakes. Defeat loneliness. Allow healing. However, we will never know if our story could help someone else, if we don't break through the self-imposed barriers of the church. If we don't speak freely.