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May 1, 2024

Beauty from Brokenness: A Ministry Update

We occasionally like to share a behind-the-scenes look at the impact of a ministry opportunity or how it was created. We want to share with you the following testimonial from our faculty member, Esther Liu, who published her first book, Shame: Being Known & Loved, in the fall of 2022. We hope you’re encouraged by Esther’s witness to God’s work in her own life, even while she sought to encourage others.

“This book was almost not written.” That’s the opening line of my devotional. It has caught many readers off guard, but it is a deeply honest confession that there were significant moments when I was on the verge of giving up—because the writing process was hard and I didn’t feel like I had helpful words to say, or the writing skills to aptly convey them, or the grit and discipline needed to see it to completion. I felt pressure to be a shame expert, this incredibly insightful, experienced counselor who has helped many other people through shame—why else would people want to read this?

But I didn’t know how to confront the reality that I was still bearing my own personal shame. I didn’t expect to be face-to-face with my own weaknesses, limitations, sins, and brokenness the whole way through. I have often shared that I wrote a devotional on shame and felt shame while writing it. I wanted to give up many times. The book was almost not written.

But this book was written. It was written through the abundant prayers of many people, gracious and skillful editors, and a seed of conviction that maybe God wanted to use me in my brokenness rather than in spite of it. That he wanted me to write words that I personally needed for my own soul rather than the words of someone who felt fully arrived. I wrote it for the many loved ones and counselees in my life—beautiful people with beautiful and unique gifts and stories who couldn’t see it for themselves, who could only see their brokenness and inadequacies and considered themselves disqualified to be used by God for good. In that sense, I see the devotional as a love letter—to myself, to the many people I’ve had the privilege to know and walk with who live with a heavy sense of not being good enough.


This book was almost not written—but it was, from one struggler to another, with the prayer that together we would discover the goodness, love, and hope that is ours in Christ.

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