Chapter OneA Cinderella Story?
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Livin' on love, buyin' on time
Without somebody nothing ain't worth a dime
Like an old fashioned story book rhyme
Livin' on love
It sounds simple that's what you're thinkin'
that love can walk through fire without blinkin'
It doesn't take much when you get enough
Livin' on love
Alan Jackson,"Livin' on Love"
In some ways my life feels like a fairy tale. I grew up in a little
brick house with a gravel driveway in Newnan, Georgia. My
daddy was a mailman. As a small girl I'd help my mother can
green beans from our garden. I never dreamed that one day I'd
live in an immense castle, showered with jewels by a handsome
But that's what happened. Today tour buses pass the perimeter
of our gated estate; people hang out the windows and take
pictures of our mansion. Private planes, boats, and dozens of
cars stand ready to take me wherever I want to go, anywhere in
the world. Three lavish vacation homes are staffed and available
to enjoy at any time. Employees cook, clean, shop, and run
errands for me.
I've been photographed in shimmering designer gowns on
more red carpets than I can remember. I've spent time with
actors, musicians, celebrities, and presidents. Reporters have
interviewed me, eager to portray my private life for newspapers,
magazines, radio, and television. Strangers often ask if they can
have my autograph, or if they can have their pictures taken with
Why have I received all these benefits?
It's certainly not because of me or anything I've done. It's
because I'm married to a country music superstar named Alan
Jackson. Alan's award-winning, multiplatinum albums and his
enormous career success over the last two decades have made
him wealthy beyond his dreams; he's a celebrity whose fans
Because of our relationship, I receive these gifts as well. Out
of Alan's graciousness and love for me, he has showered me with
extravagant pleasures I haven't earned. I am rich-because of
Riches Anyone Can Have
Recently it's struck me how all this so closely parallels my relationship
with Jesus Christ. I enjoy spiritual riches, not because of
who I am or what I've done, but because of who God is and what
He's done. I'm rich in love, joy, and peace because I'm in an intimate
relationship with a gracious God who loves me just as
Obviously this parallel isn't exact. As Alan would be the first
to say, he's human, full of flaws, weakness, and sin. So am I.
We've gone through hard times, when each of us hurt the other.
We've struggled in our love and commitment. We've fallen apart,
separated, and come back together again. We've experienced the
raw fact that wealth and fame really don't buy joy and peace.
We've learned in hard ways what is truly important: the priority
of faith and family and the ties that bind us to the God who
is always faithful, even when we are not.
That's why I've felt that perhaps it's time to share some of our
journey. I don't know why you've picked up this book. You may be
a fan of Alan's, and you're curious about his private life. Or maybe
you've never heard of Alan Jackson and couldn't care less about
country music . but you're curious about how God really works
in people's lives, and how He might change yours.
Wherever you're coming from, our story is here to let you
know that regardless of your situation, you can have the very
richest blessings we enjoy. This is because the best assets aren't
houses, planes, boats, cars, and diamonds that only the wealthy
can possess. The very best gifts in this life are absolutely available
Recently I met a woman who asked if she could take pictures
of our estate. She was a Sunday school teacher, and she'd been
telling the kids in her class about how Jesus said that He was
preparing mansions in heaven for them. Since these kids had
never laid eyes on a mansion, she wanted them to see pictures of
one so they could better visualize the wonderful splendor of
I'm grateful for our beautiful home. Every time Alan and I
drive into its big gates, we're floored that we actually get to live in
such an incredible place. But it's made of bricks and mortar, and
it will one day crumble. Christ's heavenly mansions will be more
beautiful than we can imagine, and they will last forever. And
they're available not just for the select few who make it big in this
world, but for all who look to Jesus.
Better Than Material "Stuff"
I've learned through a lot of tears, over a lot of time, that possessions
alone will never satisfy the hunger we all have inside. The
only thing that can fill us up to overflowing is a real relationship
with Jesus. That's not just nice religious talk. It's true. While
material stuff is great fun, and I enjoy it and try to share whatever
I have, I could give it all up tomorrow. But I could never
give up Jesus, and more important, He will never give up on me.
Softly and tenderly, He calls each of us, His arms flung wide
to hold us tight. He can give us real joy, true peace, and fulfillment
forever. This isn't about religion or going to church or
looking holy or trying to do all the right things. It's about being
in an unbreakable bond with Jesus, living with Him in a cherished
connection of love. He longs to bless us abundantly,
beyond our wildest dreams.
As is pretty obvious, I'm no theologian. This book isn't a sermon
on prayer, God's will, forgiveness, trials and temptations, or
any of the other big topics on which it touches. I'm not trying to
instruct anyone as if I'm an expert; many excellent authors have
written with great insight about these subjects.
But I do know what I know. I'm like the blind man Jesus
healed in the Gospel of John. When he was questioned as to
exactly why this miracle had happened, he said, "I don't know!"
Then he went on, "One thing I do know. Once I was blind, but
now I see!"
That's a little bit like my story in this book. One thing I do
know: Even though I had all the material things we chase after in
this world, I once was miserable, full of uncertainty and fear. But
now I have real joy and peace!
This transformation is why I have felt so strongly about writing
this book. A life lived in the sweet riches of God's amazing
grace is far better than any so-called fairy tale you could ever
imagine. I know this firsthand. So can you.
It's all about Him.