A Wretch Like Me: A Modern Day Mary Magdalene Saved by Grace
Miracles Manifested LLC (2023)
Nancy Major is an award-winning nonprofit and business executive with more than thirty years of professional experience. She’s also a professional speaker and certified Christian trauma coach. Her primary area of focus is helping women overcome sexual shame and trauma.
Recently she added, ‘bestselling author’ to her bio, wAith her newly released memoir entitled, “A Wretch Like Me: A Modern-Day Mary Magdalene Saved by Grace. “It offers a glimpse into her lived experience as a former prostitute, “outed” by a client bent on revenge. Her courageous story tackles themes of childhood sexual abuse, shame, public humiliation, redemption, and the immeasurable gift of grace.
Nancy often jokingly refers to her colorful life as one that might lead others to think she was either in the witness protection program or running from the law. She has been known by many last names and has moved so many times that the US post office has “unfriended” her!
Today, Nancy is a wife of eleven years, a mother, stepmom, mother-in-law, and grandmother to six beloved and cherished cutie-pies. She and her husband, Jesse, live in southeastern Wisconsin with their two silly pooches, Lulu Bell and Jilly Bean.
Hi Nancy, Welcome to Reader Views. Tell us about your book “A Wretch Like Me: A Modern Day Mary Magdalene Saved by Grace” and the inspiration for writing your story.
Thanks so much for having me! In all honesty, and I talk about this in my book, I felt an undeniable prompting from God to share my story. That the time for this kind of bold truth-telling was NOW! The urgency was unmistakable and in my soul, I understood that God wants me to share my story to help others who might still be stuck in silent prisons of shame, guilt or untold secrets.
How does your story relate to Mary Magdalene and what are the similarities of your shared experiences?
I chose the subtitle for my book with a great deal of thought and care. I wanted to be upfront about the context of my story from a faith perspective, and I also felt a deep connection to her story.
In my understanding, Mary Magdalene was caught in the act of adultery and, as a result, was publicly humiliated by the religious leaders of that time, who considered her “sexual sin” punishable by death. She was considered a prostitute and, according to the laws of that time, would have been stoned to death. The religious leaders brought her to Jesus, to try to trick Him into saying something unlawful. They told Him what she had done and then asked what He would have them do with her.
I’m paraphrasing, but Jesus said to these men, “Let He that is without sin among you, cast the first stone”, and one by one, the men left. Then Jesus spoke to Mary and said “if they haven’t condemned you, then neither do I. Now go and sin no more.”
In my story, I talk about my personal experience as a former prostitute/escort and the significant shame I carried for years after being “outed” by a client bent on revenge in 2006. The public humiliation was devastating. I believed ending my life was the only answer until I had a personal encounter with Jesus that changed everything.
Your book is both deeply personal and relatable. There’s no doubt “A Wretch Like Me” will have an incredible impact on readers. What did you learn about yourself during the writing process?
Thank you so much for your gracious feedback. It truly means a lot to me.
What I learned about myself is that I have more courage than I would have ever imagined, and an incredible degree of resilience. As I was writing and, out of necessity, reliving some of the more painful parts of my story, I came back time and again to gratitude.
I’m still in awe of the gift of incredible grace that God offers us. In Him, I have found the strength to persevere, to face my greatest fears head-on, and to rise again.
How did you navigate writing about some of the difficult and traumatic events, and what advice would you offer to other writers who may be struggling to tell their own stories of trauma and healing?
Writing my story was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and it was also extremely cathartic. After spending years trying to bury my secret and all the shame that came with it, I felt like I was wide awake while undergoing major surgery – this was way beyond ripping off a simple Band-Aid!
I leaned hard on my faith to work through all the ‘feels’ and heavy emotions that came from unearthing everything. In the process, I felt the presence of God in ways I never imagined would be possible. I’m not sure how it works for others, but for me, my faith journey has been an evolutionary process…from truly being born again as an infant, learning to sit up, crawl, take the first steps, the whole bit.
My advice to others struggling to find their own voice in sharing their stories, is that the world needs to hear them. It’s an ocean full of hurt, pain and hopelessness without our stories. The gritty, dirty, icky parts and all. If there’s no one to speak up – how do any of us come out of hiding? So,
If you’re struggling to share your story – do it to help someone else. The world needs hope more than anything else, ever, and for such a time as this…you were born.
Your book video gave me chills. Tell us about some of the feedback you’ve received so far from readers and how it has impacted you?
The feedback has been outstanding! I have heard from countless people that it looks like a trailer for a movie and that’s a very real possibility. When my husband and I created the trailer, we had no idea how it would be received, as neither of us had any prior experience in this area. It appears to be resonating with people, which is very rewarding.
One of the key themes in your book is the transformative power of grace. How did you come to understand and embrace this concept in your own life, and what advice would you offer to readers who may be seeking to cultivate a deeper relationship with God?
In my book, I talk about a very personal encounter I had with Jesus when I was in the darkest place of my life. It was so miraculous and undeniable, that it changed everything for me. I knew without a doubt, He had saved me.
The changes that took place in my life didn’t happen all at once. It was a process. Much the way we might think of being an infant all over again, having to learn to sit up, crawl, stand, taking our first wobbly steps, and wailing about like a drunken toddler more times than I care to count, falling down plenty, but also lovingly being picked back up time and again, until I learned to walk in faith with confidence.
For anyone seeking a deeper relationship with Him, all it takes is simply asking Him to show you how to seek Him. Just talk to Him like you would with anyone, exactly as you are. There’s nothing “fancy-schmancy” about it. He knows everything there is to know about us and loves us anyway. To me, that is the very definition of grace.
Throughout your memoir, you draw on your faith to help you navigate life’s challenges. How has your relationship with God evolved over time, and how has it influenced your writing and your personal journey?
I had a great deal of shame and past trauma to process, and it took many years before I could tell anyone about my past. The concept of being forgiven, truly and completely forgiven, was a difficult concept for me to grasp. Eventually God led me to a compassionate and caring Christian therapist who taught me what self-compassion and self-care meant and how to apply them in my own life.
The biggest lesson I would share is that the act of surrendering is not a ‘one and done’ deal. For me, it’s a daily thing. It starts with intention and a desire to draw closer to God every day. I’ve learned to ask Him for help every single day. It’s a journey and a process. The more I’ve learned, the more I want to learn.
My writing and my life in general have been tremendously influenced by my faith, especially in the area of surrendering my will to His.
Your book explores the idea that miracles can still happen in our lives. What role do you think faith and hope play in experiencing these moments of grace, and how can readers cultivate these qualities in their own lives?
I believe that miracles happen all day, every day, and I think we can easily find ourselves too distracted by the noise of the world to notice them. If we are breathing, there are miracles to be witnessed! If we open our minds up and soften our hearts to seek those divine moments of grace, God will reveal them to us. He delights in us and wants to show us His goodness and grace.
One thing that has really helped me when I was first learning how to quiet the noise, was finding a single scripture from the Bible that resonated with me and I could memorize it. Whenever I was facing stressful or difficult things, I would close my eyes and focus on my breathing and just keep repeating that scripture over and over until I was calm.
Over time, I learned more scriptures and specifically what God says about His beloved children. Those have helped me cultivate more awareness of His presence in every aspect of my life.
If you could go back in time and talk to your former self, what would you say to her?
Stop listening to the mean and hateful voice in your head! The enemy doesn’t want you to know that God is real. He is for you; He loves you, and He will NEVER forsake you or abandon you. Not ever. Run towards Him with everything you’ve got.
So, what’s next for you? Is there another book in your future?
Today, I’m privileged to be a certified Christian trauma coach, working with people to overcome sexual shame, trauma or abuse. I’m also a professional speaker and have the honor of speaking at a lot of different events throughout the country.
I’d like to think there’s another book somewhere down the road…
Is there anything you’d like to add today?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to tell you a little more about myself!
I have two FREE e-Books available: a chapter-by-chapter book club reflection guide and a short collection of scripture verses that really helped me through my healing journey. Both are available on my website.
If anyone is interested in booking a complimentary coaching session with me, have me speak at an event near you, or even to join a book club meeting virtually, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
CONNECT WITH NANCY MAJOR!