To Write, To Heal, To Gaze on the Face of God

All of my life, I have been obsessed with healing. Growing up in the evangelical Christian faith, we were taught from an early age to believe that God heals and to expect healing, sometimes in miraculous ways.

I went out of my way as a teenager and in my early twenties to see God heal. I think I had a false belief that if I could just see something miraculous, I’d know for real—for really, really, certain sure—that God is real.

I never saw a miracle.

I should amend that. I never saw a miracle until I gave birth and gazed into the face of my newborn son, the most beautiful thing that I’d ever seen, and I knew somehow that I was also looking upon the closest thing I’d ever get to seeing the face of God.

As a writer, not surprisingly, my books focus on this question of healing. What does it mean to seek healing—from others, from God, from the universe, from ourselves? What does healing look like? Can we ever find it? These are questions I ask about all levels of healing—physical, spiritual, emotional.

I grew up feeling broken—perhaps a truth, or perhaps a byproduct of the brand of religion stamped on me at an early age. As an adult, a pastor figure once said to me, with a tone that approached fond exasperation, “Jessica, maybe you don’t need healing. Maybe you’re already healed.”

For me, this exploration of deep questions about what it means to be a whole and healthy human being in and of itself is a healing exercise. My writing is a constant expression of faith in the human need to seek truth and light and love, and that art is a place where it exists, where we can keep returning our bruised selves to find what we need to carry on.




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