LEAVING CLOUD 9
THE TRUE STORY OF A LIFE RESURRECTED FROM THE ASHES OF POVERTY, TRAUMA & MENTAL ILLNESS
A powerful, heartbreaking, and redemptive account of a boy who endured a childhood of poverty and abuse in an American Southwest trailer park named Cloud 9.
Abandoned by his father at age two, Rick Sylvester lived with an abusive mother whose struggles as a member of the working poor led her to drugs, alcohol, theft, and prostitution–and eventually attempted suicide. Rick battled depression, anxiety, and PTSD as the chaos, neglect, and unpredictability of his childhood seemed to doom him to follow in his mother’s footsteps.
Well into adulthood, Rick stumbled through unemployment and divorce, using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain until he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Miraculously, though, he overcame the odds and today is a happy husband and father. How did this happen? Rick’s answer is this: “It was the Lord.”
A message of hope to those who are drowning from an undeserved childhood, Leaving Cloud 9 speaks to millions who grew up poor, feeling ignored and hopeless, and who need the healing power of God. This indelibly American story conveys the steadfast love of Jesus and his power to deliver us from the most devastating of pasts.
This story is an eye-opening account into the reality of so many children in this country, as well as the toll that drugs, alcohol, and issues with mental health can have in a child and family for generations. It also highlights the immense impact even one loving adult can have on a child’s life.
Not only is it an amazing story of a culture many of us know nothing about, but it teaches us about love, forgiveness, the ability to strive, and the ability to change.
REASON TO RETURN
WHY WOMEN NEED THE CHURCH AND THE CHURCH NEEDS WOMEN
My latest book is born of a deep love for women and their profound, complicated beautiful hearts. It’s a love letter to friends longing to know God better and a testament to His unmistakable work in my life, through the Church and over decades and buildings and continents and people.
Do you believe women matter to the Church? What have we forgotten about why the Church matters so much for us? What are we missing when we don’t go? What are others missing when we aren’t there?
It is an incredible privilege to be given this opportunity, to be a messenger for God’s spirit in the hearts and lives of those who will read it. I lay this humbly before Him, and announce it as such to you — my team, my people, my friends, my family, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
PLACES I WRITE
I am a freelancer with articles published in a variety of places. Here are a few of my favorites:
- The New York Times: Why Are Democrats Jilting GOP Voters Who Want to Like Them?
- The New York Times: I’m a Conservative Christian Environmentalist
- The New York Times: Women, Do We Need an Intervention?
- Christianity Today: After Stillbirth, families search for dignity (long-form, print feature)
- Christianity Today: Meet the Pro-Life Activist Who Was Nearly Aborted Twice
- Christianity Today: Uvalde Pastors Mourn Losses Close to Home
- Charisma Magazine: Why churches should step up their abortion ministry