A former megachurch worship leader comes to terms with her ailing marriage and a religious system that simultaneously elevated and marginalized her.
As a teen, Hammon, the writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools in Houston, was a vocal major at the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan. She was well on her way to carving out a career as a songwriter and performer when she became an Evangelical Christian in her mid-20s. It wasn’t exactly the path she’d originally imagined, but her newfound faith and her musical gifts seemingly aligned when she moved to Houston and eventually married her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Matt. The two often led congregations in worship as a team, though they also sometimes took jobs at separate churches. Whether she was fronting the duo or working solo, Hammon began to realize that her scope of influence was limited in the church because she was a woman. In this debut memoir, she chronicles her journey toward a “spiritual midlife,” where she dares to face questions and inconsistencies that are often at odds with conservative Evangelical doctrine. With a rare combination of candor and grace, the author exposes some of Evangelicalism’s frailties without disparaging or dismissing those who are still believers, making her narrative accessible to a wide audience. Hammon wisely focuses on storytelling and lets readers take away what they will. She also details her romantic obsession with another man; though she takes full responsibility for it, she illustrates how patriarchal religious systems and/or disengaged husbands can, among other things, leave women feeling abandoned and secretly longing for extramarital intimacy. Hammon’s story will resonate strongly with anyone who’s become disillusioned with conservative Christianity, especially women who are “trying to find a way to survive their unhappiness without dismantling their lives.”
A generous and unflinchingly brave memoir about faith, feminism, and freedom.