Loved as I Am: An Invitation to Conversion, Healing, and Freedom through Jesus (Ave Maria Press, 2014) is written by a religious sister who has experienced conversion in a very dramatic fashion, but this book is for anyone who is wounded, suffers from addiction, or feels unloved and/or unlovable.
Sr. Miriam James Heidland, a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, has experienced a great deal in her nearly forty years of life. Adopted as an infant, she felt abandoned by her birth parents. A victim of sexual abuse, she kept silent and felt shamed, turning to alcohol to ease the pain. In college, she lived a life of drinking, parties, and men, until a kind priest reached out to her. As Sr. Miriam writes, “He saw beauty in me where I saw only ugliness, and he continually encouraged me to seek an authentic life with God, rather than waste my life in sin.”
Sr. Miriam understands the desire to be loved and the ways that desire can lead us to find comfort in created things rather than God, especially because that is the prescription that the world at large offers us. The “voices of the world . . . tell us that happiness lies in acquiring possessions, wealth, and popularity, and these same voices often try to push God out of the picture. In Loved as I Am, Sr. Miriam offers a different way, rooting one’s identity in God, and discovering our value as his children. It is only in “choosing true and authentic love of God, ourselves, and others” that we will find true happiness and peace. The other road only leads to pain.
Making that choice is an on-going process, and Sr. Miriam acknowledges that the road can be long and hard. She, like the rest of humanity, is a work in progress, but her conversion story is truly remarkable. Loved as I Am is a quick read that you won’t want to put down. It is an amazing story of God at work in Sr. Miriam’s life, the lessons she has learned, and the powerful message of healing that she wants to share with others.