I love it when a book with both great power and deep compassion is released. This week sees the launch of my friend Tracy’s new book, Unashamed, and Tracy has answered my questions here on the blog today. Firstly, here’s my endorsement and review of this incredible book:
“Unashamed is simply beautiful. Tracy Williamson weaves together honest and often vulnerable stories from her own life with others’ stories to lead us into the alluring truth that we can still hope in God when times are tough and we can be set free from the wounds of the past. The book covers themes that all of us can struggle with: forgiveness, rejection, negative words spoken over us, shame, and fear. In all of these things Tracy gently guides us on a path towards the loving arms of our Father God, where we can be fully ourselves and fully unashamed. In our culture today we so often feel compelled to hide the pain we live with, and sadly this can be true in our churches, too. This book is an antidote to this pretence with its audacious proclamations of who we really are in Christ. With warm, gentle prophetic sections that will speak deeply to readers, sections for reflection, Biblical study and application, prayers, and well-crafted stories that underpin the material, this book is a treasure trove of great golden riches. Allow these words to sink into your heart, to speak into your soul and to shape new ways of thinking about yourself as beloved, unashamed, and free.”
Over to Tracy!
To start with, let’s find out a little bit about you. Tell us 3 things about you.
Well 3 things about me – I love reading and always have my nose in at least 4 books at a time, one of which will always be a novel.
I love chocolate and can only resist until a box of chocolates is actually open, then I keep finding reasons to go near the shelf where they are kept and…
I am addicted to the cookery competition, Masterchef even though I’m no great shakes as a cook!
Tell us about your new book, Unashamed, and what led you to write it.
I came through much hurt and brokenness in my childhood and as a young person and became so despairing that I was suicidal. But God drew me to Himself in an amazing way and after giving my life to Him at age 19 He began very gently to lead me on a healing journey. In many ways that is still ongoing but as I’ve looked back and seen the different keys He showed me to becoming whole I felt a growing longing to share the hope of transformation and inner healing with the many others who are also broken by life and as I prayed into that, Unashamed came into being.
There are so many themes in Unashamed that will speak to many readers, like forgiveness, overcoming shame and fear, and how we can combat negative words spoken over us. Can you share a little of your own story that led to you being able to so authentically write about these themes?
There were 3 major strands of trauma in my childhood that caused many problems as I grew up and a deep rooted sense of shame. The first was that at age 2.5 years I had a serious illness, Measles-Encephalitis. This caused a kind of paralysis initially which I needed a lot of physio to learn how to walk and use my arms again but I was left with permanent coordination difficulties. It also damaged my hearing and eyesight but my hearing loss wasn’t discovered for another 10 years because it was a neurological deafness which meant that I could still hear sounds but I couldn’t make sense of them. I was thought to be slow learning at school because of my failure to follow what the teacher was saying. I experienced a lot of teasing and bullying.
The 2nd area was that my dad died of cancer when I was just 7. I didn’t understand that he had died and throught I had done something bad to send him away.
The 3rd area was my stepfather who came along when I was about 9. He abused me verbally and sexually and caused me great emotional harm as I came to believe his constant shouting that I was rubbish and mental etc.
All these things made me go into a shell and the older I got as a child and young person, the more I hated myself and also hated those who hurt me. I was full of fear and couldn’t communicate properly.
I love the prophetic sections in your book. They are so warmly written and will speak to so many people. Tell us about how you write things like this, and how you hear God’s voice as you write them.
Yes these have been very exciting to sense God speaking as I’ve been writing and to realise He is giving me a word or insight for the future reader! I leant to listen to God soon after becoming a Christian and hearing His voice has been one of the foundation stones of me becoming whole. With the book I would find that as I was sharing a teaching point or a story that suddenly I would sense Him with me and an idea would form in my consciousness which would clarify as I started writing it down and it would become a picture or a prophetic message for the future reader. A beautiful thing that He was so involved.
What would be one piece of advice you’d give to somebody who wants to break free from shame?
There are many ways in society that people are encouraged to help themselves overcome hurt and shame, mindfulness for example, seeing a counsellor or therapist. All these ways are good but to me the most important thing is opening our hearts to the God who loves us and through Jesus did everything to destroy the power of shame and guilt and set us free from areas of enemy attack, eg strongholds of rejection or inferiority. He has always loved each one of us and it is that love that brings such deep change.
Finally, are you working on anything new? What comes next?
At the moment I am not working on a new book but do hope to attempt my first novel at some point soon. But I really want, with God’s help, to get ‘Unashamed’ out in the public’s eye as I feel its message is so important. I would love to go into schools and speak to ladies groups etc. I’m praying God will open the right doors. If anyone is interested in knowing more or buying Unashamed they can visit the Unashamed website www.unashamed.org.uk
I work with Marilyn Baker the blind Gospel singer/songwriter and we do healing conferences and online events too and it is wonderful to be able to pray together for those needing healing and release from hurt. www.mbm-ministries.org