Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Little Black Sheep by Ashley Cleveland

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
The book is an unlikely tale of redemption. It details the crazy drama that is the daily life of a middle-class American addict. It also explains the joy and drive of being an artist, pulled into music above every other calling.

From the honest heart of the writer, we begin to understand the lack of responsibility and character damage that substance abuse inflicts on us. And we hear the longing of the soul to be whole, drawing us back toward healing.

And we hear the tender call of God to each of us, “Come to me and I will give you rest.” Regardless of our own view of ourselves – whether we think we are worth redeeming or not – this story offers encouragement that God remains the same: loving, forgiving, and welcoming.

In Cleveland’s honest voice, we hear our own brokenness. My heart groaned at the destruction and lost years but rejoiced at the possibilities for each of us. I was grateful for the Church that extends God’s hope when we feel most hopeless.

I admit that when I attend church, greeting the pastor and those around me, I sigh with relief. Internally, the refrain that loops in my head in all its variations, is this: “We welcome you, O God, who knows and still loves us. Welcome to us all! For we are broken. Broken. Broken. Broken. Yet forgiven and beloved in Christ. What a wonder to gather together!”

Cleveland tells that story in her memoir.

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