It’s Not About Me

If you’ve read my book, thank you, and you already know what I am about to share. If you haven’t, I’d like to share my purpose in writing it so you’ll know it is not about me. It is written by me; yes, it is a memoir. It is my story.

“The memories are mine, corroborated by my siblings, other eyewitnesses, medical evidence, and military records. All of the names have been changed and any identifiable information removed to protect both the innocent and the guilty. This story is not about the abused or the abusers. It is about the Savior and His amazing grace. The goal in publishing this book is to reveal the true nature of God, His mercy, and His love, in the hope that others may find the peace I have found.”(Excerpt From: Richaven, Carly. “Iridescent Grace”)

Many have communicated to me through various means that they felt God’s love for them as they read my book. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilling that is for me. God is such a wonderful Father and wants the best for His children. That best includes freedom from that which weighs you down. That is why I wanted to get rid of all the rocks in my box. When I gave Him the debt the offender owed me, He paid it at the cross and I received what the offender had taken: respect, innocence, life, peace, a future, and so on.

Please let Him do the same for you. At the cross, unload all the debt that is owed to you. Give it to Jesus, then He will give you what was taken from you, and your offender will stand before God for judgment. (Hopefully, they will ask God to forgive them for their sins, too. But either way…)  You are free and restored. Does it get any better than that?!

Love wins!

Though the details of the secrets I kept for years are there on the page, telling them is not the purpose. My part and purpose in the story is to be an example, a proof. The real purpose in this book is to reveal God’s amazing grace and what He can do for you.

I hope you will let Him.

 

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=1108349533

In Orlando

The 2016 Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association Annual Education Conference in Orlando, Florida—

Last weekend I attended this conference where I was privileged to speak to a room full of wonderful fostered and adopted teenagers. I was excited to talk to them about how they can be truly successful in life in spite of the difficulties they are experiencing.

I also had the privilege of exchanging stories with many who stopped by our book table. What a wonderful gathering of men and women who love children they did not birth.

I am reminded of my foster mom. To me as a five year old, she was beautiful and smelled really good, but what I remember most about her was her care for me. She made sure I was well-fed and bathed. Her demeanor was always calm and low-key, not high-strung like I was used to. I saw many men and women there this weekend who exhibit the same awesome characteristics. I wasn’t in foster care for very long. I was returned to my mother as soon as she was released from the mental hospital. In retrospect I see that if the programs in place now were in place then, I would not have been reunited as quickly. The memory of this episode in my book was written from the perspective of a five year old and all I wanted was my mama, my brother, and sister. I was too young to realize that it was not the safest place for me to be. Many do have a bond with the biological parent and it is difficult to understand how a child could so love an abusive person, but in my case, it was all I knew. Belonging still matters. Foster and adopted kids need to know they belong to someone to will love, care, and provide for them.

I am so thankful for those who are willing to care for children who have been abused and neglected by their biological parents. And though some bio parents see this situation as a wake-up call and are willing to do whatever is necessary to get their kids back, many do not. Progress has been made, especially since the 1950s, to terminate parental rights if they show that they either care more for themselves than their children or don’t have the ability to care for them. Again, thank God for those who step up and either foster or adopt so these kids have a chance at success.

Another point talked about this weekend was the idea of keeping siblings together. There were six of us and we love each other dearly. I cannot imagine life without them, all of them. I am thrilled that a great effort is made in Florida to keep sibling groups together.

Big thank you to Amanda Williams with NexGen Teens for inviting me to speak, and to all those who stopped by my book table. For those who put their first names on my prayer list, rest assured I am praying each day for you until the Lord directs me otherwise.

Much has been done since my childhood to alleviate the pain and suffering of children. God’s grace helped me and continues to work through these wonderful foster and adoptive parents who gathered in Orlando this past weekend.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my sorrow regarding the two tragic events occurring in Orlando while I was there. The  positive feeling of hope and camaraderie at the event I attended was horribly contrasted by the tragedies across town. I am praying for the families of Christina Grimmie and the injured and deceased in the night club tragedy. Our nation mourns.

In Vegas

Vegas is an amazing city. When I was there this past weekend, I understood why they call it Sin City. It could also be called Huge Mission Field. I chose to look at it that way. I met some incredible people in the small city they call Caesar’s Palace.  This hotel is literally the size of a small city.  Of course there is the casino, but more than that, there are shops and restaurants, a pool, and the Colosseum. Celine Dion was in concert on Friday night in the Colosseum and it was the best show I had ever seen in my life. If you have a bucket list, put that on it!

During some free time, as I was wandering around Caesar’s Palace with my oldest daughter, we met some people who asked why we were there. That opened the door for us to share the love and grace of God. Right there, right then. They were very receptive, and several asked us to tell them the name of my book again so they could purchase it online. We gave them a card.

I did not gamble. I don’t judge those who did or do; I am just not interested in it. Personal preference. In fact, I didn’t judge any sin by anyone there. Not my place to do that. It’s my place to love them. I wasn’t pushy, but I did talk about God’s love and grace to anyone who asked. And if you know me at all, you know I’m going to walk through the shops. Though my chin dropped at the prices throughout the Palace, I bought a purse in one of the shops. In Caesar’s Palace! Yes, I did. It was on sale. Does that help my argument?

I met some amazing people at the Book to Screen event too.  God has a plan. He appoints certain times and conversations. I am so glad to be a part of that. I’ll let you know more on that as information becomes available. God is so good!

Yes, even in Vegas.

 

Book Signing in North Central Florida

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The Dixie County Public Library, located on Highway 19 in Cross City, Florida, is hosting a Meet the Author event this Friday, May 20, 2016, from 4-6 pm.

We will be signing books after the author read-aloud and Q/A period. There will be hardcover and softcover books available for sale.

If you are in the area, we would love to see you!

Your Consolation Brought Me Joy

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy. (Psalms 94:18-19)

As I read this scripture on my Bible app this morning, I was reminded of the “great anxiety” that used to be my daily life. I had so many fears and worries. In fact, I worried about everything.

God’s consolation indeed brought me joy; a joy that makes me excited to get up in the morning. I look forward to each day, wondering what wonderful activity, news, or conversation I will get to experience.

If that seems a little too positive, don’t worry, I still have bills to pay, tasks to accomplish, etc., as before. I just do them with a different attitude: joy.

I sure do love Him. He is the center of my universe.

He Loves You Right Where You Are

Within the pages of her book, Iridescent Grace, Carly Richaven takes us on a journey that gives us hope in the midst of pain and tragedy. Very seldom can an author let you experience the weight of such heartache and, at the same time, inspire you with hope to overcome. Carly invites you to read her story, to experience the tragedy and, more important, the truth of God’s redemptive power as He rescues her. Her story will captivate you and draw you in. Once you begin reading this book, you’ll find it hard to put down.

During my eighteen years of full-time ministry, there have been a few times when someone’s story is so disturbing that I knew only God could be responsible for his or her sanity. But sanity in itself is not the end road. Carly helps us see that Jesus came to give us life with abundance. That abundance includes grace, mercy, forgiveness, and perfect peace. I praise God that she allowed the Holy Spirit to heal her so that others may benefit from her experience.

My prayer is that this book will be the catalyst to help others find that same healing that only comes through Jesus Christ. May your pain transform into pearls in the presence of a Father who loves you right where you are.

—Bishop R. Thomas

Bishop Thomas is ordained with the Church of God, headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee.

 

 

Iridescent Grace

My first book, Iridescent Grace, is a memoir that reveals the cruelty of mental illness, the resilience of a child, and the amazing grace of a loving God. A true story that couples the pain of tragedy with the healing power of true forgiveness, it pulls you in and doesn’t let go until everyone is safe. You will laugh, cry, and possibly feel anger, but walk away refreshed in spirit and confident that our faithful God can help us overcome anything.

During one of the most desperate times of his life, Moses sought God’s presence. God met with him and shared who He is: compassionate, gracious, longsuffering, full of loving kindness, trustworthy, forgiving, and just. (Exodus 34:5-7) In Carly’s deepest pain, God’s presence released, regained, restored, and replenished her because of who He is. Invite Him into your struggles and let Him turn your pain into pearls.