The Creaking on the Stairs: Finding Faith in God Through Childhood Abuse
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I think there is real hope to be found, in the middle of our deepest traumas, in the good news about Jesus Christ. I also think that there is a place for us to find hope and community within the church. Because of these two beliefs, I truly think, distant though it may be, that we may even get to a place of peace within our souls and a place of forgiveness for those who hurt us so much.
This is a book that has no easy answers and will offer none. This is a book that tries to get behind the tough questions of why God permits such abuses to occur in this world. Using his own story of childhood abuse, Mez McConnell tells us about a God who is just, sovereign and loving. A good father who knows the pain of rejection and abuse, who hates evil, who can bring hope even in the darkest place.
I really did not enjoy this book… but I am thankful for it. And I am convinced that it is vital reading for us. Mez points to the power of a loving, suffering Lord to save and heal even from the most harrowing abuse. Whether you’ve suffered abuse or grew up safe and loved, read it. It is an invaluable resource as we serve the abused and suffering in our midst with the love of Jesus. Simultaneously, gruelling and glorious.
Steve Timmis, CEO of the Acts 29 Network
The beauty of the book is that Mez tells the story of his own suffering and folds it into the bigger story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is heartbreaking, empathetic, accessible, and pastorally wise. Moreover, it presents the reader with the sovereign, holy and merciful God of the Bible who alone can bring lasting light and hope into darkness and despair. Anyone can read this. Everyone should.
Gavin Peacock, Former professional footballer and Director of International Outreach, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
… even if every question is not answered, you will finish this book knowing these things for sure: You are not alone, God loves you intimately, and Jesus will make all things new. The two–fold testimony of Mez’s vulnerability and Christ’s sufficiency will certainly aid in bringing healing to the broken.
Matthew Z. Capps, Senior Pastor, Fairview Baptist Church, Apex, North Carolina
The Creaking On The Stairs is a relentlessly evangelistic book. If you struggle to imagine a good God due to past abuse, Mez wants you to know you are not alone. You are not forgotten. You are deeply loved. He can testify to that firsthand.
Matt Smethurst, Managing Editor, The Gospel Coalition
I finished it with the sober but thankful realisation that in its pages Mez has given us something incredibly valuable: truth and hope. He has given us truth that can be applied to even the most broken situations, and hope for that day when there will be no more weeping and no more tears. For that reason and many more, I can’t recommend this book enough.
Aileen Challies, Pastor’s Wife
… a painfully raw, sweetly pastoral, and deeply theological word to those who have suffered abuse. This is a book that will speak to the hearts of many, and that will also open the hearts of many to understand the ravages of abuse and the healing power of the Saviour. You don’t just read this book; you experience it.
Greg Gilbert, Senior Pastor, Third Avenue Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, Author of What is the Gospel?
Never have I experienced a book that is for the abused and abuser; the victimized and the tormentor. And the power of the gospel being the answer for all. Stunningly accessible and beautifully written, this book is sure to be a healing balm to the soul of many abuse survivors and a defining book for a generation.
Brian Croft, Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church and Senior Fellow of the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
Raw. Real. Redemptive. The story of Mez McConnell’s childhood abuse, interestingly, neither centres on himself or his tormentors, but rather on God’s good and sovereign providence, and a suffering Saviour who gave himself for Mez, and all who trust in him. It could have been just crushing, but instead it is filled with hope.
Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary
Reading about the reality of child abuse in the life of someone you know is gut wrenching. Realising the prevalence of abuse in our world is overwhelmingly distressing. Mez’s personal account of his life is a hard read, but as the grace and mercy of God is put on display in his life, it proves also to be a hopeful read. On the bleak and dark canvas of abuse, the gospel can shine. It shines brightly on these pages as Mez wonderfully notes hope for the abused and the abuser, as well as for ministers seeking to shepherd both.
Anthony Mathenia, Pastor, Christchurch, Radford, Virginia
For those who have been acquainted with abuse, a new song of freedom and healing will resonate as you hear the message of Jesus’ work on the cross. Mez has carefully crafted a theologically rich, pastorally gentle, Christ–exalting tool. This is much needed in Christ’s global church. Get it, read it, teach it, and heed it.
Doug Logan, Director of the Diversity Initiative, Acts 29 & Co–director of Church in Hard Places
Painfully raw and profoundly helpful, this is a book that speaks into the depths of our darkness and offers extraordinary hope for both the abused and the abusers. If you feel ashamed, hopeless and bitter – or you know someone who does – you must read this.
Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology, Oxford, England
… the hero of the book is not Mez or some nice person or the social gospel: It’s doctrine, including God’s sovereignty and Christ’s atonement. … Those who have hit bottom need not soothing words but the hard Gospel truths of sin and deliverance.
Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World Magazine
This book is heart–wrenching but necessary. It applies the gospel in the worst of contexts and demonstrates its power to save and restore. It is written for those who are hurting and for those who long to minister to them. These pages are void of whitewash, trite answers and cliché, but full of the gospel!
Paul Washer, President, Heart Cry Ministry, Radford, Virginia
Mez writes with courage and compassion. The courage to tell his painful story. And compassion to point us to the place of healing. Read the book and expect to be shocked with depravity and deliverance.
Erik Raymond, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Fellowship Church, Boston, Massachusetts
Mez McConnell is bold and brash, is a powerful preacher and he leads an exciting work among the under–served peoples in the hard places of our cities and communities. He is theologically astute and one would be well advised not to underestimate his wisdom. He is also brutally honest – honest about his own past and honest about his present nightmares. That he has become the man he is today is a tribute to the grace of God at work in him. This book not only tells his story, it gives us clear strategies for identifying abuse when it happens and what steps to take to intervene. All of us will learn from the deep life lessons found here. I am profoundly grateful to know him and for his courage to speak out. To God be the glory.
Liam Goligher, Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
With vivid personal stories, well–stated research, and a storehouse of scripture, Mez takes the grievous and gut–wrenching reality of abuse and holds it up to the light of grace. While I wish this book didn’t have to exist, I’m thankful it does. It’s a powerful and redemptive resource.
Emily Jensen, Co–Founder of Risen Motherhood, Co–Author of ‘Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments’
With honesty and grace, Mez McConnell weaves together the scope of his abuse and recovery with the scope of Jesus’ person and work. In short, accessible chapters he outlines the hope of the Gospel available to both survivors and abusers. Highly recommended.
Eric Schumacher, Shepherd, Songwriter, Storyteller at emschumacher.com, Co–author with Elyse Fitzpatrick of Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women (forthcoming)
This is the most disturbing book that I have ever read, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Rosaria Butterfield, Author of ‘The Gospel Comes with a House Key’ and ‘The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert’
It’s been said that we’re all ‘soaked with the sense of exile’ and long for restored Eden. The hope for the abused and the abuser alike is in Jesus Christ who is indeed making all things new (Rev. 21:5). Born of unimaginable pain, this book will surely be a gospel balm to many.
Chris Larson, President and CEO of Ligonier Ministries, Orlando, Florida
… a deeply personal, gut–wrenchingly candid account of his own struggle with bitter emotions and smouldering resentment. Writing with unvarnished honesty, he describes the conflict between righteous anger and forgiveness—and he points the way to liberty and triumph in the grace of God.
Phillip R. Johnson, Executive Director, Grace to You Ministries, Sun Valley, California
Few things are more horrific than for a child to be tortured by someone who was supposed to love them. Scars of abuse go deeper than burn marks or lashes can leave. Somehow abuse scars the soul and tempts the heart to never risk letting people get close. Yet, in The Creaking on the Stairs, Mez bravely invites you into his painful past and gives hope through the grace of Jesus who entered into our pain–riddled world. Whether you are a believer in God or not, whether you have suffered abuse or not, I cannot more highly commend this work to you.
J. Garrett Kell, Pastor, Del Ray Baptist Church, Alexandria, Virginia
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