Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Revived by Grace by Emma Clay (Review, Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway)

About the Author:

Emma Clay is a writer who shares her own experiences about her encounters with self and her bad decisions. She shares how she transformed a life that seemed hopeless and seeks to give answers to your own questions.  She is dedicated to sharing her true stories with others, in the hopes they will avoid the same pot holes, pitfalls, and detours in their own lives.

She loves people, and her need to share this love will hopefully encourage others to find their own way.
Her latest book is the Christian inspirational memoirRevived by Grace.
Visit her website at www.EmmaClay.com.
Connect with Emma:

About the Book:

Emma Clay lived a life of rebellion, led astray by her own desires and her attraction to an indulgent life and a difficult man. This book is her memoir, telling the powerful story of her downward decline and the way God brought her back to himself through his love.

Moving between personal storytelling, Biblical reflection, and political application, Revived by Grace is a book that speaks to the wounded place in all of us that can be healed only by the grace of God.


Revived by Grace

Title of Book: REVIVED BY GRACE 

Genre: Christian Memoir 

Author: Emma Clay 

Website: www.EmmaClay.com 

Publisher: Metokos Press 

PURCHASE Revived by Grace



It shouldn’t have been a surprise, especially to Emma’s family, that she joined the Army when she was seventeen, in order to travel and get away from the farm. As a child, they said she would crawl into the backseat of every stranger’s car that came to the orchard to buy apples. It was like she was always wanting to leave, thinking there was more than just the farm out there. You shall not covet… (Exodus 20:17).1 

This is one of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses for his children’s wellbeing. God knew we needed these instructions to live life to its fullest. He wanted the best for us, and he knew this was the way to have that. This concept is best described in Merrill C. Tenney’sZondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. He defines the word “covet” as a “selfish longing” and “greed for material gain.”2 This means setting your heart on something someone else has instead of being content with the gifts the Lord has given you. That is why the Bible says Thou Shalt Not! 

But as disobedient children, we sometimes go against the grain and do what we want instead of what’s best. And Emma was not listening to the Lord, but was instead listening to the hounding of her own desires. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone (James 1:13). 

The Army was the way Emma thought she could escape from the farm and from something else that she was hiding from—something deep inside that had recently happened. 

Her parents didn’t have the money to spend on college, and she didn’t want to go anyway. Since she would need no money to join the Army, it seemed like the only option. She talked a friend into going with her on what they called the “buddy system.” This meant she could go with someone she knew and not be all alone on the adventure. Emma figured she could travel all over the world, and they would even pay her to do so. The idea was quite inviting. She was promised a career, and they would train her and teach her in any area of work she would like to choose. She chose the medical field. 

The Army would even pay her room and board and give her a salary while she was trained, which would allow Emma to save the money she earned. What a great option for those who cannot afford college. It seemed like a good deal to Emma, so she joined at age seventeen. Her parents had to co-sign, which just about killed her mother. 

The week they were supposed to leave, her friend backed out on her. But Emma had made a commitment, and she couldn’t back out. Everybody knew she had joined, and they even threw her a going-away party. 

The Army turned out not to be the travel adventure she’d hoped for. It was regimented and disciplined and exactly what she needed—but not quite what she expected. This life is depicted well in the movie Private Benjamin, which was released in theaters just two weeks after Emma graduated from boot camp. 

Emma actually did well in the Army at Ft Jackson, South Carolina. She had been appointed squad leader, and she was great with her M-16 rifle. She also made a great friend in her squad, and together they would pray in the barracks at night to overcome their homesickness. 

She recited the 23rd Psalm every day, even in the chow line with her hands behind her back. She prayed for the Lord to be with her and help her get through her uncertainty. 

She was afraid. She was in an environment that was very different from the way she had grown up. Her parents seemed to be saints compared to the people around her, and she wanted to go home. She realized what she had at home had been wonderful, and she had taken it for granted. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters(Psalm 23:1-2). 

Emma imagined running through meadows of green grass, swaying in the summer wind. She envisioned herself back home again, running over to the creek that flowed through the valley. She would lay down by the stream and listen to the water flow down the brook and stare up to the blue sky as the clouds floated by. ”Attention!” she heard a voice say, and then her drill sergeant told her to drop down and give him twenty. “You weren’t listening to a word I said,” he yelled. 

Emma was shaken back to reality, and the heat from her fatigues and her boots made her sweat terribly. You see, they were not allowed to leave their shirts out. Their shirts had to be tucked into their pants and their pant legs tucked into their boots. This left no room for the air to circulate, and it was a hundred degrees outside. She knew this was so they would learn to handle the heat better. 

Emma was living with people who didn’t look like her. Many were black, and she was white. Even her two drill sergeants were black. You have to remember, she had been sheltered most of her life from anywhere except the farm, with only an occasional trip to the beach with her parents. 

The color didn’t matter to Emma; she looked inside people for love and kindness. She knew God made us all. She would hum to herself a children’s song: Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world

Basic training was coming to an end, and just like in the movie, her life seemed to run parallel to Private Benjamin. She realized she had used travel as an excuse to not to deal with the true, underlying reason she joined. 

Just like Private Benjamin had joined the Army out of sorrow for her husband dying, Emma joined to escape the guilt she felt over an inconvenient truth—also involving death. 

Homesickness set in even more after her graduation ceremony and the reunion with her mom and dad. She got her assignment to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. It was there, with all the new found freedom it offered, that loneliness truly set in. Unlike in boot camp, where she was housed in the barracks with forty other soldiers, there she was alone. 

The Most Influential Book, Guest Post

When I think about the things that influenced me in writing Revived by Grace and my other books, the influence I always think about first is the Bible.
After reading my books, people say to me all the time that I make them want to read the Bible more. You see, my books show how deeply the Bible has changed my own life, and readers can see the transformation take place on the pages as they read about everything that happened to me. As they learn more about me and my life experiences, they say they can see my heart changing like they’re watching it on TV. I hope that makes sense.
It was a leap of faith to write these books because I did not like the things that I had done. I had to face them for myself and then deal with them head on before I could finish the first book. The Bible prompted me do this. It inspired me to take the risk and to tell the truth in the hopes of preventing someone else from making the same mistakes that I made.
You see, this is not a pretty story, and it is filled with my own ignorance and a lot of chaos because I constantly chose the wrong things while leaving the most important thing out.
I was like Noah on the ark—just sailing along, forgetting who got me on the ark in the first place. I will soon be 51, and I mostly regret that I spent so many years in vain without a true awareness of why I was here on earth at all.
I feel like I let God down in a lot of ways—the one who gave me everything—because I just never put him first. I thought I knew the better way, but in reality I only knew the worst. It was the Bible that brought me through this stage in my life.
That’s why I always say that the Bible influenced me more than anything else in writing Revived by Grace and all my other books. It changed my life, and then I was able to put my life into words.

My Review:

I read through this book in one sitting and said, "I need more." And, then I hopped on Amazon and proceeded to buy the rest of Emma Clay's books. She pulled me in with the Prelude: 

"We should ask why, when lost in the forest, we wouldn't follow a compass if we have one. We don't consciously decide to forsake God. Instead, it's a slow, subtle slipping away as we focus on our own desires and selfishly strive to meet our needs on our own. This causes a domino effect that takes us farther and farther away from peace and harmony. We deny ourselves the best, which can only come with a right relationship with God. 'Avoid anything that puts your own desire above God.'

When you attempt to do anything apart from the Lord's will, you will fail. All you'll be left with are ashes, and precious time will be gone forever from your life, time that you cannot make up.

From this story, you will see what it's like to be a coward - someone who believes but doesn't live out her faith in obedience to the Lord. She was concerned with what other people think instead of what God thinks. 

Instead, she should have been loyal to her Father's Word. It should have dominated her thoughts, and her actions should have reflected it. She should have put everything else aside and been committed and controlled by the Holy Spirit who lived inside her. Though she was challenged, she shouldn't have compromised. 

She should have done all of this out of love, since she'd been saved by Jesus Christ. She could have done all of this through the Christ's strength and leading.

This story shows the failure and the self-inflicted pain of trying to live a life without Christ. Hold on.

It's truth or dare time.

This is your only line of defense in this world."

There are many times in our lives when we take the wrong path - "if you are the receiver, you accepted the bribe. If you are the giver, you initiated the bribe. The bottom line is someone is lying, and they take someone else into the lie with them."

The author's words will grab you and have you recycling many memories in your mind. She doesn't mince words. She writes the good, the bad, and the ugly of a time in her life, where the lines of right and wrong criss-crossed so intricately that she could no longer distinguish right from wrong. Emma writes with extreme honesty and you will read passages that will have you questioning your own morals at times. When you finally close the book, hopefully you will understand that anyone's life can take a turn for the worse, and how much faith it will take to turn it around again.

"Just as the Israelites wandered through the desert for forty years because of their disobedience, Emma would wander from her 21st birthday in 1983 until New Year's Eve 1995."

"Then a ray of light appeared. Maybe even a miracle, she thought. It would be a good time to remember that Satan sometimes appears in a ray of light."

"Remember bad company corrupts good morals, and you do become like the people you spend the most time with."

Truth or Dare time folks - which is it?
Comments are welcome.

Revived by Grace Tour Page:

Disclaimer/Disclosure. I received a complimentary copy of this book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art, book description, and any excerpts are courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm. Book Trailers are a free feature. All videos are provided by the author who has granted My Life. One Story at a Time. permission to post them on this blog. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of My Life. One Story at a Time. My Life. One Story at a Time. is an advertising affiliate with Amazon, a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

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