Little Black Sheep: A Memoir
Authentic Story of Hope
Little Black Sheep is one of the few non-fiction books I've read this year, and perhaps only the second memoir I've read in 2013. My reason for reading very little non-fiction is simply personal preference--I prefer my books to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. My reason for reading even fewer memoirs is a bit more controversial....
I believe we all have stories to tell, but that our lives (and therefore, our life stories, our memoirs) need to be mile-marker signs that point to Jesus, that give Him glory. Otherwise, my story, your story, his or her story often becomes a self-indulgent act of vainglory, of airing dirty laundry, of unforgiveness. This is especially true now that self-publishing is fingertip-available to anyone who believes the have something to say. I've read far too many memoirs in my lifetime to be convinced otherwise, and although I'm sure there are vast quantities of exceptions to my blanket statement, I've yet to see evidence for myself.
But every once in a while, I'll stumble upon one written by a person I highly respect, not because of their accomplishments or because of their notoriety, but because of the way they present Jesus to the world. Usually these people are fighters, scrappers, brawlers, down-and-outers, who have experienced the healing that can only come by turning and facing the ONE who pursues, the ONE who isn't afraid of dark alleys and dirty ditches, Jesus.
Ashley Cleveland is one such woman. She periodically shares her music and her heart at our church, and every time she stands on stage, I know she's not up there alone. And so, when I learned that she was putting out her memoir, I signed up to be on the list to help spread the word.
Ashley's story is raw, painful, wretched; the pages filled with the straight-forward talk of a woman who's walked too long down a dead-end road. But between the lines, between the falls, between the blisters and tears, Ashley keeps breathing in that "little bit of hope" she mentions in the above trailer, and that little bit of hope is the story of her redemption.
"I don't understand why He cares, why He wouldn't spend His time on a more worthy individual; I don't understand it at all. And yet He relentlessly pursues me with such tenderness and love, that ultimately, I can't say 'no.'"
I read Little Black Sheep in one sitting, then I couldn't stop thinking about it - and talking about it! Ashley's story is the kind of story we NEED to hear, we NEED to share. It's the kind of story that can bring that little bit of hope to a world of people who believe there is NO hope.
Ashley's book is truly "Hope Through Storytelling" and I'm thrilled to be able to share it with you, to be able to help her promote this book.
Thank you, Ashley, for entrusting me with this beautiful picture of you.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
November 14, 2013