A Sneak Peek by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush
Releasing a creative work into the world can be a truly scary experience. Will people like it? Will it minister to them? Will people embrace it - will they see my heart and how I tried to convey the message the Lord gave me to share with the world? By nature I am introverted which can seem strange since being a Christian artist, worship leader, author, teacher and preacher requires me to often put myself at the forefront, and although it is uncomfortable, I am compelled to do it. So I birth the things the Lord has given me and pray that they reach the people ordained to hear His words.
I thought it might be kind of cool for you to get a sneak peek into my new novel, Daughter of Grace which released earlier this month.
Daughter of Grace is the story of the meteoric rise of a Grace Parker, grounded in faith but chased by generational curses, life changing bad choices and addictions. It is also the story of her daughter Anna who struggles with similar challenges and at the death of her mother must uncover her mother’s secrets to find the freedom that is offered in Christ. Will Anna finally understand that Jesus is enough or will she choose to live lost unable to access the power of God?
So here's sneak peek into the lives of Anna and Grace.
Grace's Diary October 2010
The microphone didn’t love me anymore, overcome with emotion, my head bent as a battle of sorrow and self loathing roared within me. Could it really be gone? The thing my soul treasured more then anything, second only to Anna, simply vanished? Rubbing my throat, the many eyes of those involved in the process of music making felt like lasers searing my skin. The truth was evident, my voice had gone rouge. The room was so still the hum of the fans cooling the recording equipment could be detected in the silence. Emotionally reeling, there had to be a reason, maybe it was just a lack of practice, I hadn’t recorded in almost five years.
Excuses rose and then were swallowed down bitterly, this is what it must feel like to suffocate. Perhaps my drugs, drinking and wild lifestyle had ruined my voice forever. Grasping at straws, arguments, and answers I tried to make sense of my current predicament. Maybe some good vocal coaching was needed? Had I warmed up before I entered the booth? I couldn’t remember, but I knew enough to know that even if either of these were true, it could not account for the strained sounds my vocal chords were producing.
I had come into the booth so hopeful an hour ago, ready to work and share with the world all of the new music I had birthed. But the high notes that use to come with no effort were elusive, so outside of my grasp that they had been replaced with a breathy break and sandpaper vocal. There was no one to blame but me and everyone knew it. Tension built as folks began shifting nervously in the control room. Jeff was leaning over and speaking to Kandy Kane, one of the hottest new producers on the scene that he’d hired just for this occasion. The recording of my comeback album, except it didn’t look like there was going to be a comeback after all. Jeff continued to whisper, and suddenly the room was abandoned.
Coming into the foam padded, dimly lit booth, Jeff took a seat on a stool in the corner and waited for me to speak. A wistful smile took up residence on my face, the corners of my lips not quite reaching the proper placement. It seemed more like a grimace masquerading like a smile.
“I have come undone…” my voice trailed off and I collapsed into free flowing noiseless tears.
Jeff said nothing as he studied the ceiling as if searching for wisdom about the brokenness of my voice.
He whispered softly, “Gracie, there have been few singers who have not had a moment in time when they lost their voice or their way.”
I chortled, “The Velvet Throat is no more, my friend.”
“I refuse to believe it Grace. Didn’t you tell me that there was nothing God couldn’t heal? Nothing broken He couldn’t fix? What is a set of vocal chords to the Creator of the Universe? All you need is that faith the size of a what… a pumpkin seed!?”
Despite the gut wrenching agony of the moment, an explosion of giggles escaped me. “A mustard seed, Jeff! A mustard seed!”
“A freaking mustard seed, a pumpkin seed, a sunflower seed, whatever! They are all small, fragile and produce something we can use to live on. All you need is faith – and perhaps a great vocal coach, a few more months off and a good vocal doctor.”
“But do I deserve to have it back? I’ve spent years squandering this gift. This precious gift, that was taken for granted and now it’s gone. I would rather sing then breathe. It is my very lifeblood, the best way, the only true way I communicate those hidden things of my life. Is there even a way to apply faith to this situation? I don’t even know if I have any faith left.”
I looked at Jeff reluctantly, expecting some kind of comfort. Instead, what was reflected in his eyes caused me to take two steps backwards. His eyes could not mask the rage and his face was tinted a blotched crimson, Jeff Aberdeen was pissed off!
“Grace Parker, snap out of it!” He exploded. Moving as close to my face as he could get, he looked down on me from his six foot, two inch perch. His breath rapid, he gripped me with both hands, hard on my arms. Pain shot through me, but I didn’t dare move, I’d never seen him so livid.
“You do not have permission to feel sorry for yourself. Even if you never sing again on an album, if you never have another number one hit, or sing on a stage before millions of adoring fans, you have no right! You have been more then blessed in this industry, living a dream thousands would sell their soul to the devil for. God has blessed you with wealth, a beautiful daughter, and an unimaginable talent. It looks like it’s gone maybe, and you can blame yourself, but only for a moment. Suck it up and stop feeling sorry for yourself. You want to sing again, do the hard work that needs to be done to do it! Everything has always been so easy for you, you’ve lived one heck of a charmed life. I know you’ve had some tragedy, but who the heck hasn’t Grace? And you claim to know Jesus, you really have no excuse. But you stuck that stuff up your nose, turned from the God you say you serve and now you are living out the consequences. Yeah, I said it. Stop the crying and get to work. Maybe you’ll never sound like you did before. But even if you don’t you are still beyond blessed!”
Finished with his tirade, Jeff pushed me away and I stumbled backwards as if slapped. And in fact, as the words he had spoken hung in the air between us, he had slapped me good and hard. Slapped me mentally in a raw and violent way. Spinning around looking for my purse, I located it, zipped it open and pulled out my sunglasses. Covering my eyes with the huge brown shades I strode quickly to the door.
“Grace…” Jeff called after me, his voice frailly echoing his emotions.
“No.” I said coolly. “Cancel the rest of the sessions, have Missy find me the best throat doctor and the best vocal coach and call me next week.” He was right, but I was outraged, madder than a wet hen in a cold barnyard. I just couldn’t figure out who I was madder at, Jeff, Jesus or myself.
Want to know what happens next? Ready to figure out how Grace got to this point of desperation? I hope you'll pick up a copy and live and learn with and from Anna and Grace through the story that unfolds! You can order your copy here: Purchase Daughter of Grace
Dr. Naima Johnston Bush is the founder of The Refreshing Life with Naima, an organization dedicated to giving women the tools and resources they need to have powerful prayer lives, pursue joy and cultivate an gratitude of gratitude.
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