Holding and Beholding
This year has been a struggle and a marathon for many, just to stand still. At Muddy Pearl we look back, catching our breath, and we are humbled and thankful to see how the Lord, our friends, authors and readers have helped us through. We have released a workbook, our first fiction titles (one achieved the Best Historical Fiction award in The Christys!), joined forces with independent bookshops around the UK with bookshop.org; published the very lovely Living for Eternity in October, and two more wonderful books in November. Even after all that, we have one more thing to rejoice over as we start the celebrations for Christmas.
Today, we are delighted to announce the safe delivery of the so-very-eagerly awaited Amazed by Jesus, by Simon Ponsonby. Commissioned four years ago, after thinking long and hard about who I could ask to write a book on Jesus. We talked, and at first, he said he wouldn’t know how, and I thought it was back to the drawing board.
Then we talked again, and he sent me seventy chapters, which completely overwhelmed me. And then as so often happens, it came together very quickly, at just the right time. Simon had a deep and fresh revelation of Jesus, in a café, and then wrote the final draft in a few days, carefully honing the seventy down to just nineteen. Then, through the nine months of lockdown, we have worked on it together, through the miracle of zoom – Simon walking through the green countryside around Oxford or looking out across the dreaming spires, me often on my terrace in the early evening, looking out over dusty Arabic rooftops towards the desert…
And as the calls to prayer would sound, that familiar clamour of different voices in different keys and each with slightly different intonation and timing, rising from the neighbourhood towers, I would lift my head from checking, correcting references, learning something new about, and just reflect on … Jesus. The irony and sheer wonder would strike me again, here in the middle east, in this unlikely context, which is yet more like the real thing than we might know, we are creating a new book, to go out to thousands, all about Jesus!
As the months have gone on, anticipation has grown to excitement, peppered with the frustration of delay at the end, just like a new birth. And so, as I think of the many many mothers won’t see their children this year, the chapter ‘holding and beholding’, goes around in my mind, the incredible miracle that the Lord of all the earth, became a little child, to be cradled, his head held in the crook of a mother’s arm. This to me, although I have no idea when I will hold a copy, and after all that this year has thrown at all of us, and the circuitous journey this manuscript has taken, is like the best Christmas present ever.
Wherever you may be spending this festive season, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over these months. It has been amazing to see the engagement even in these difficult times! Here’s the rounding out this year in an appropriate way – with reverence, reflection, and reliance on God, who is bigger than all of this, who is Immanuel, God with us, and who has come to us. If I may be permitted, I would like to encourage you to reflect on Jesus this Christmas, to return to him as first love, to go deeper and truly experience him as Living Water during these times of disruption. He is amazing.
Happy Christmas everyone!
A beautiful and vital exploration of person and work of Jesus at a time when the Church has lost sight of its first love, Amazed by Jesus follows the life and teachings of Jesus, and what they mean for us today. Marshalling the multi-faceted names and descriptions of Jesus in Scripture, this book helps to restore our vision of Jesus and expand it, so we can know him better and see him as he is. This is a clarion call from Ponsonby to the Church to go back to our first love, to go deeper and truly experience the living water – a discovery that will impact on the whole world.
In this lovely light-hearted little collection of quotes and sayings, Katharine Hill and Rob Parsons – both grandparents themselves – offer ideas, strategies and practical tips on this vital role within the family. Whether we are over-eager or burnt-out grandparents, very involved or unsure how to help, this hilarious, engaging little book is sure to bring sunshine and a smile, and a little help as you make the very most of your grandparenting years.
In Nazi-occupied Poland, British-born Sophie Kumiega awaits news of her husband, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though she is determined to keep her unborn child safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her. Meanwhile, Rosa Dunovich faces a terrifying reality: to save her daughter, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her again – if they survive – is her medallion, cut in two. A tale of courage, sacrifice and survival, inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes.
In a small, North Carolina mountain town in the 1970s, Hannah Sterling struggles with forgiveness after her mother, Lieselotte’s, death. Thirty years earlier, in Berlin, on the cusp of war, Lieselotte’s father quickly ascends the Nazi Party ranks, and Lieselotte’s in love – with the wrong man. As their stories unfold, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past and how their legacy will shape her future.
A profound invitation to get to know the God of forever, Kate Patterson explores what it means to be ‘eternally minded’, keeping our eyes on the one whose eyes are on us. Eternity unveils the freedom that being eternally minded brings, enabling us to live fearlessly, knowing that God is making us more and more Christ-like as we journey with him.