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There I Am: The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing—A Memoir

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“Ruthie is a gifted storyteller with the unique ability to make you feel her emotions as if they're your own. Her book is somehow both bold and tender and utterly, truthfully, authentically her. She doesn't hide from heartbreak or fail to experience the fullness of all the beauty life can hold.” —Rachel Hollis, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Girl, Wash Your Face a “Ruthie is a gifted storyteller with the unique ability to make you feel her emotions as if they're your own. Her book is somehow both bold and tender and utterly, truthfully, authentically her. She doesn't hide from heartbreak or fail to experience the fullness of all the beauty life can hold.” —Rachel Hollis, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing Brain on Fire meets Carry On, Warrior, There I Am is an arresting inspirational memoir about one woman’s journey from chronic pain and hopelessness to finding joy, redemption, and healing. At seventeen years old, Ruthie Lindsey is hit by an ambulance near her home in rural Louisiana. She’s given a five percent chance of survival and one percent chance of walking again. One month later after a spinal fusion surgery, Ruthie defies the odds, leaving the hospital on her own two feet. Just a few years later, newly married and living in Nashville, Ruthie begins to experience debilitating pain. Her case confounds doctors and after numerous rounds of testing, imaging, and treatment, they prescribe narcotic painkillers—lots of them. Ruthie has become bedridden, dependent on painkillers, and hopeless, when an X-ray reveals that the wire used to fuse her spine is piercing her brain stem. Without another staggeringly expensive experimental surgery, she could well become paralyzed, but in many ways, she already is. Ruthie goes into the hospital in chronic pain, dependent on prescription painkillers, and leaves that way. She can still walk, but has no idea where she’s going. As her life unravels, Ruthie returns home to Louisiana and sets out on a journey to learn joy again. She trades fentanyl for sunsets and morphine for wildflowers, weaning herself off of the drugs and beginning the process of healing—of coming home to her body. Raw and redemptive, There I Am is not just about the magic of optimism, but the work of it. Ruthie’s extraordinary memoir urges us to unlearn the stories of brokenness that we tell ourselves and embrace the wholeness, joy, and healing that lives inside all of us.


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“Ruthie is a gifted storyteller with the unique ability to make you feel her emotions as if they're your own. Her book is somehow both bold and tender and utterly, truthfully, authentically her. She doesn't hide from heartbreak or fail to experience the fullness of all the beauty life can hold.” —Rachel Hollis, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Girl, Wash Your Face a “Ruthie is a gifted storyteller with the unique ability to make you feel her emotions as if they're your own. Her book is somehow both bold and tender and utterly, truthfully, authentically her. She doesn't hide from heartbreak or fail to experience the fullness of all the beauty life can hold.” —Rachel Hollis, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing Brain on Fire meets Carry On, Warrior, There I Am is an arresting inspirational memoir about one woman’s journey from chronic pain and hopelessness to finding joy, redemption, and healing. At seventeen years old, Ruthie Lindsey is hit by an ambulance near her home in rural Louisiana. She’s given a five percent chance of survival and one percent chance of walking again. One month later after a spinal fusion surgery, Ruthie defies the odds, leaving the hospital on her own two feet. Just a few years later, newly married and living in Nashville, Ruthie begins to experience debilitating pain. Her case confounds doctors and after numerous rounds of testing, imaging, and treatment, they prescribe narcotic painkillers—lots of them. Ruthie has become bedridden, dependent on painkillers, and hopeless, when an X-ray reveals that the wire used to fuse her spine is piercing her brain stem. Without another staggeringly expensive experimental surgery, she could well become paralyzed, but in many ways, she already is. Ruthie goes into the hospital in chronic pain, dependent on prescription painkillers, and leaves that way. She can still walk, but has no idea where she’s going. As her life unravels, Ruthie returns home to Louisiana and sets out on a journey to learn joy again. She trades fentanyl for sunsets and morphine for wildflowers, weaning herself off of the drugs and beginning the process of healing—of coming home to her body. Raw and redemptive, There I Am is not just about the magic of optimism, but the work of it. Ruthie’s extraordinary memoir urges us to unlearn the stories of brokenness that we tell ourselves and embrace the wholeness, joy, and healing that lives inside all of us.

30 review for There I Am: The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing—A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Briana Moore

    You all have the book description available, so I won't be rehashing that. I'm simply here to share my own take away (without spoilers). Like many of you, I've followed Ruthie's journey for many years, even crossing paths in person from time to time. And because of what I have read, seen, and heard, I thought I had a grasp on her story. I thought I knew what to expect from this book, that it would simply provide lines to connect the dots. It turns out half of the dots had been written in bitter You all have the book description available, so I won't be rehashing that. I'm simply here to share my own take away (without spoilers). Like many of you, I've followed Ruthie's journey for many years, even crossing paths in person from time to time. And because of what I have read, seen, and heard, I thought I had a grasp on her story. I thought I knew what to expect from this book, that it would simply provide lines to connect the dots. It turns out half of the dots had been written in bitter lemon juice, invisible to the eye until her divine fury burned hot enough to reveal them. Or something less dramatic. I like the visual though. And I'll happily bask in the warmth of her hard-earned wisdom. This book is truly lovely. It is important. It is raw. It is breathtaking. Ruthie exposes herself here with honesty that I've rarely experienced before. Unlike so many memoirs I have read, her weaknesses are not thrown in as cute anecdotes to "make her more human" amidst all the ways she is actually a Goddess. She speaks about her relationships openly, but with grace. Her struggles, in their extreme, hold lessons that we all can learn from. In addition to the raw depths that Ruthie reveals in her memoir, I was most impacted by her voice. So often, memoirs are written in the style in which that person speaks. That is there at times, but I was blown away by the descriptive power of her writing style. Her own words/speech/thoughts are, of course, present, but they are enveloped in a rich world that caresses all of your senses. The prose is not flowery, it's cinematic. I felt present throughout. I had the most stirring experience as I read through the pages, as if I were bathed in the light of each space described. I could see muted, buttery sunlight filtering through the curtains in her childhood home. The delicacy of Moonlight and front porch bulbs at an afterparty charged with regret. Whipping emergency lights and harsh flickering fluorescents of the hospital. Dappled sunshine at camp. And on and on. I love books that engage all of the senses, and this does... but for me, there is something about the light. It feels fitting in a way, as Ruthie is always described as "a light", in this beaming, bright, luminous sense, a positive glow, a pendulum swing from those darkest moment of pain. She is often spoken about in extremes–– her light and her dark. But I'm feeling touched by the way Ruthie's story, and her own light, is so much more nuanced than that. It is refracted in stained glass. It is often indirect; the love, the hurt, the joy, the questions and declarations of others, reflecting off of her. It is a blue screen and a sunset. It is a backlit portrait, providing the public with a view of Ruthie that is in silhouette, or rim lit, letting us see her beautiful smile but saving the truest and most worthy view for those closest to her. And yes, to so many of us, it is simply golden. I'm so excited for you to experience her light, in all of the forms that it takes.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    Lot's of skimming. First, what this woman went through was awful I'm not saying it's not. So great she survived. The text of "There I am" reads more or less like it should be sold in a Christian bookstore. That's not exactly the direction it takes but the cuddly tropes and childish language persist throughout. You keep asking yourself "What's her point?" And then about halfway through, when Taylor Swift uses Lindsey's home for an album cover, you begin to realize the depth of her privilege. Her p Lot's of skimming. First, what this woman went through was awful I'm not saying it's not. So great she survived. The text of "There I am" reads more or less like it should be sold in a Christian bookstore. That's not exactly the direction it takes but the cuddly tropes and childish language persist throughout. You keep asking yourself "What's her point?" And then about halfway through, when Taylor Swift uses Lindsey's home for an album cover, you begin to realize the depth of her privilege. Her pain and suffering are unmistakable, but absent is an honest look at the conditions which prevented her from hitting bottom: a stable, supportive family, a community that time and again showed up to bring food, love, and support, and economic stability. To the point that even the tragic death of her father led to 6 figure donations and a ride in a private jet. Was this memoir intended to be a survivor story? There's no honest look away from herself. Her struggle to get away from pharmaceutical opioid addiction led to a prolific career, Instagram fame, and clearly enough disposable income to attend every self help retreat her heart desires. Phew, I was worried.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sierra

    This book is a safe place for not only those who live with chronic pain, but anyone who has faced suffering in their life. It truly is a journey of hope and of healing, not by covering the pain with a smile, but by putting in the work. At no point does she fool us into thinking it’s easy. In every moment, however, she makes us believe the work is well worth it. Ruthie’s words are, at the same time, poetry and a conversation with a best friend. Her words pour out love to everyone who takes them i This book is a safe place for not only those who live with chronic pain, but anyone who has faced suffering in their life. It truly is a journey of hope and of healing, not by covering the pain with a smile, but by putting in the work. At no point does she fool us into thinking it’s easy. In every moment, however, she makes us believe the work is well worth it. Ruthie’s words are, at the same time, poetry and a conversation with a best friend. Her words pour out love to everyone who takes them in. She says in the book that she wants readers to forget about her the second they finish reading, and focus on our own journeys of love and healing. This book is a breath of fresh air, and I believe it’s what the world needs right now.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    Q: I don’t know what your journey looks like but I do know that we’re all on one. It can be crazy hard one minute and crazy beautiful the next. It never has to be perfect—I don’t think any journey worth taking is. … Keep journeying until you believe it. You’re so deserving! I’m just gonna moonwalk out of here now so that you can get started. (c) Q: “More than God can count.” (c) Ruthie was hit by an ambulance and it changed her life... Wow. That's what they say about true belief and spirit having the Q: I don’t know what your journey looks like but I do know that we’re all on one. It can be crazy hard one minute and crazy beautiful the next. It never has to be perfect—I don’t think any journey worth taking is. … Keep journeying until you believe it. You’re so deserving! I’m just gonna moonwalk out of here now so that you can get started. (c) Q: “More than God can count.” (c) Ruthie was hit by an ambulance and it changed her life... Wow. That's what they say about true belief and spirit having the power to get a person up and going even when all would've easily seemed lost. The incident: Q: My neck is broken, my spleen is gone, my lung is collapsed, and I’m not wearing any underwear. (c) Q: “I don’t know who you are but your daughter must be somebody special, somebody must really want her here. Her neck popped back into position perfectly when they lifted her onto the table. I’ve never seen anything like it. We thought we’d need to screw her into a halo brace, but she’ll be fine with a traditional one that she can take off in the shower. The bone fusion went wonderfully. Mr. Lindsey, your daughter will be going home soon.” (c) Memories from before: Q: “Pat, pat. Rub, rub,” he coos as his hand sweetly finds the spot between my shoulders. “God loves you. Daddy loves you.” We wait together for a stretch of time that has never felt long enough. We wait until the bugs scream louder than the birds and the world comes calling for us. This is my most sacred space, where joy lives. This is where I begin. (c) Q: Every time my Timex flashes something special like 11:11 or 12:34, I make a wish, and it’s always the same … (c) Q: The streets are called A, B, C, D, like they couldn’t decide on proper names and just gave up. (c) The love story: Q: I love him the way I like to be loved; I delight in him. Jack has never been delighted in this way by a girl he likes and he thinks it’s the best feeling in the world. ... He could have the bubonic plague and I’d still love him till the day I died.“It’s okay,” I tell him. “You’re not alone. You don’t ever have to be.” (c)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I am not usually overly generous with my 5-star reviews ... So, to rate a book as 5-stars truly means that there is something special about it. I've been following Ruthie on social media for several years. Her social media accounts typically show a happy and light perspective of who Ruthie is. If you don't know her story ... she was in a serious car accident at age 17 that left her body and spirit broken. She recovered, but endured chronic pain through her through her post-college life and her m I am not usually overly generous with my 5-star reviews ... So, to rate a book as 5-stars truly means that there is something special about it. I've been following Ruthie on social media for several years. Her social media accounts typically show a happy and light perspective of who Ruthie is. If you don't know her story ... she was in a serious car accident at age 17 that left her body and spirit broken. She recovered, but endured chronic pain through her through her post-college life and her marriage. She was given pain medications for that crushing pain which she eventually weaned herself off of. Her story always came across as positive and light, but this book shows the true picture of what her challenges and struggles were. Despite some heartbreaking moments, Ruthie's positivity, faith and spirit shine through. During this time in our lives (with the current pandemic), we are all challenged in ways we never would have thought before. I highly recommend that everyone read this book! Not only is there a positivity and lightness that shines through, but also gratitude and grace. I think we could all learn a little something from Ruthie Lindsey! Thank you to Simon & Schuster, NetGalley and Ruthie Lindsey for an Advanced Reader Copy of this amazing book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    taylor tippett

    Ruthie Lindsey is a true gift to this world. Her first novel, There I Am, is moving, honest, raw, & full of so much courage. Through her honesty and struggles with chronic pain, divorce, finding herself, and so much more - she paints a picture of healing and hope for us. The pages just bleed with light even in the midst of so much heaviness you read about. This book is important and needed. I can’t thank Ruthie enough for her openness to share her story with us. I’m so proud of her healing journ Ruthie Lindsey is a true gift to this world. Her first novel, There I Am, is moving, honest, raw, & full of so much courage. Through her honesty and struggles with chronic pain, divorce, finding herself, and so much more - she paints a picture of healing and hope for us. The pages just bleed with light even in the midst of so much heaviness you read about. This book is important and needed. I can’t thank Ruthie enough for her openness to share her story with us. I’m so proud of her healing journey. So encouraged by this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emma Schutty

    Someone lmk why I cried hard at the acknowledgments? Am i OK!? Anyway, this was great and Ruthie is amazing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Catie

    It’s difficult to know how to “rate” a memoir, but it passes the “will this book make Catie weep?” test with flying colors. I don’t live with chronic pain in my body, but living with other chronic things like c-PTSD, a lot of her experiences felt very close to home, which makes sense from a trauma standpoint. I’m walking away with new thoughts and new things I want to explore in my own healing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Turquoise Brennan

    Writing was so strong first 180 pages! Then it became so white girl basic to me ... several things reeked of privilige &bored me ....Didn't realize she was out of money, never worried about her account balance for over ten years, but spending on decorating people's homes ... Writing was so strong first 180 pages! Then it became so white girl basic to me ... several things reeked of privilige &bored me ....Didn't realize she was out of money, never worried about her account balance for over ten years, but spending on decorating people's homes ...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I won the kindle version of this book in a goodreads giveaway 😁 Lindsey is honest and vulnerable-the best of what memoirs are made of.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thanks to the publisher, via Edelweiss, for an advance e-galley for honest review. If you follow Ruthie Lindsey on social media, this book is what you probably expect it to be. I have more respect now for the grace with which the author carries herself with- grace she's developed and chosen after so many years of pain. Ruthie Lindsey walks us through her unimaginable, incessant physical pain, as well as the emotional pain she's suffered, and how she's come through to where she is today. She is un Thanks to the publisher, via Edelweiss, for an advance e-galley for honest review. If you follow Ruthie Lindsey on social media, this book is what you probably expect it to be. I have more respect now for the grace with which the author carries herself with- grace she's developed and chosen after so many years of pain. Ruthie Lindsey walks us through her unimaginable, incessant physical pain, as well as the emotional pain she's suffered, and how she's come through to where she is today. She is unfailingly kind about the people she talks about in this book (even when talking about her ex-husband), and is open about the person she's been in the times she was suffering. Excellently done!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marci Erspamer

    This book has heart, soul, passion, and honesty. Once I started reading, I didn't want to stop. Ruthie's writing is both eloquent and deeply moving. I highly recommend reading There I Am! This book has heart, soul, passion, and honesty. Once I started reading, I didn't want to stop. Ruthie's writing is both eloquent and deeply moving. I highly recommend reading There I Am!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    What a journey. Forever grateful for Ruthie Lindsey for sharing her unabashed love, learning, loss and journey of discovery. I'm still processing this story and the beauty she shared so gorgeously. What a light and beautiful voice in the world. I'm so grateful my bookclub chose this book and Ruthie for inspiring me to dance more, connect more and love without limits. I want to say I'm inspired but I don't think that's the right word- moved? Touched? So much love so tenderly conveyed. Thank you R What a journey. Forever grateful for Ruthie Lindsey for sharing her unabashed love, learning, loss and journey of discovery. I'm still processing this story and the beauty she shared so gorgeously. What a light and beautiful voice in the world. I'm so grateful my bookclub chose this book and Ruthie for inspiring me to dance more, connect more and love without limits. I want to say I'm inspired but I don't think that's the right word- moved? Touched? So much love so tenderly conveyed. Thank you Ruthie for sharing with us, we need your voice and insight now more than ever.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Willis

    “What did I love before pain? Sunsets. People. Dancing. Flowers. Justin Timberlake. Making lists.” This was the only book I was looking forward to in 2020. And thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. I stumbled across Ruthie Lindsay randomly on Instagram. There was a photographer’s page that featured portraits of different individuals with just snippets of their stories. On the surface, I knew that she had been in a bad accident and confined to a bed for several years of her life, but there was more to “What did I love before pain? Sunsets. People. Dancing. Flowers. Justin Timberlake. Making lists.” This was the only book I was looking forward to in 2020. And thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. I stumbled across Ruthie Lindsay randomly on Instagram. There was a photographer’s page that featured portraits of different individuals with just snippets of their stories. On the surface, I knew that she had been in a bad accident and confined to a bed for several years of her life, but there was more to her than just pain. ‘There I Am’ recounts that pain, of course, but more importantly how she harnessed it and reclaimed her life. She was able to discover how to “manage” her pain in different ways other than pills. She allows herself to be completely raw when talking about the loss of a parent (something I felt on a very personal level). Today she is a successful motivational speaker, humanitarian, and all around pure light. Her warmth and positivity radiate through her photos/videos online and now again through the words on these pages. Everything she writes about, she does so with love. I’m not sure this book is for everyone? But if you’re someone who needs a bit of healing, then maybe it’s for you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I cannot recall how I stumbled upon Ruthie's Instagram account, but I was so thankful when I did. Ruthie was one of the first accounts that I found that talked about living with chronic pain in an authentic way. I have always felt like she has shared the beautiful up and down balance of this daily struggle in a relatable way.  If you are unfamiliar with Ruthie's story, she was in a horrible car accident at 17 (that should have killed her), recovered, began experiencing pain again, discovered that I cannot recall how I stumbled upon Ruthie's Instagram account, but I was so thankful when I did. Ruthie was one of the first accounts that I found that talked about living with chronic pain in an authentic way. I have always felt like she has shared the beautiful up and down balance of this daily struggle in a relatable way.  If you are unfamiliar with Ruthie's story, she was in a horrible car accident at 17 (that should have killed her), recovered, began experiencing pain again, discovered that one of those wires (used to fuse her spine) had been piercing her brain stem, and struggled with residual chronic pain.  She documents the isolation and depression that comes with chronic pain, as well as the struggles with being overly medicated, the strain on her marriage, and the loss of confidence.  While the journey to acceptance and managing her pain is a difficult one, it is also the kind of journey that makes you feel hopeful.  I listened to this one on my morning walks and realized that tears were streaming down my face through parts of this.  I don't think people can understand what a struggle it is and the emotional toll this takes on you (and your partner) so I felt "seen" when hearing her hope-filled journey.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    This was given to me as a gift, from one of my good friends Supriya that I met while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. She was out there to work through an unknown illness, that doctors were perplexed by. Proving to herself that she could do something that her pain told her she couldn't. She had enough medicine to weigh her pack down, but enough heart to keep her pushing. We crossed paths one day in the rolling hills of New Jersey. Bonding over our favorite tv shows, and a fellow hiker who put This was given to me as a gift, from one of my good friends Supriya that I met while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. She was out there to work through an unknown illness, that doctors were perplexed by. Proving to herself that she could do something that her pain told her she couldn't. She had enough medicine to weigh her pack down, but enough heart to keep her pushing. We crossed paths one day in the rolling hills of New Jersey. Bonding over our favorite tv shows, and a fellow hiker who put on what he called a "cranky," a story unraveled in paper, told through song and lights. Although she didn't finish the trial, she learned a lot about the pain that held her back. She could still be in pain and find joy. She could still hurt and push forward. And I found in me a friend that I have admired since the moment I met her. Someone so full of life, charisma, that you would never know she suffers from chronic pain. Some days it's all a little too much for her, and she has to lay in bed. She sometimes needs a cane to keep her steady. But, I've never seen her as someone who can't. I don't believe the things she may believe about herself. I can see how her pain hurts her visually. The self-doubt it brings. The emotional pain was caused by her physical trauma. I know some days are harder than others, but I've always believed in the version of her that can. And it's beautiful. Together, we have discussed the unknown illness, to the eventual diagnosis. After a misguided doctor gave her a pile of pills that didn't exist well together in her body, the symptoms that caused her hair to fall out, and her brain to fog, were making her ill. The medicine that was supposed to heal her pain, was actually poisoning her. Hollowing her out. More apt doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota very quickly found the root of the issue. Supriya suffers from severe fibromyalgia. We carried this burden together. I as a loved one, her as the victim. I've always wanted her to know that I care, so I give my love to her in ways that I hope can heal her heart, but not her pain. At least we had an answer. At least we have a name for her pain. We both accepted the limitations this set in place for us. The dreams we had to thru-hike the Pacific Coast Trail. We still hold hope and talk about it, but I know, as well as she does, that we need to realign our expectations. Our adventures need to be in smaller doses. And I would never endorse something that would put her in more pain than she's already in. I don't want to know that I am enabling her to extend her body past its limitations. This was given to me as a way for her to put words to the feelings she couldn't articulate. For me to walk around in her shoes for a little while. This book hurt reading because I felt the pain of Ruthie, but also that of my friend. I finally feel like I have grasped how visceral her pain is. How it doesn't just affect you physically, but it enables you to believe the worst about yourself. Mental health and physical health depend on each other, without one or the other, it comes down to having neither. I've always been a critical reviewer, taking into account every aspect of a story. Nitpicking every part. But, no matter how many flaws this book had, humanity prevailed. Life is messy. Grief is messy. Pain is messy. Ruthie took a while to enter my heart (mainly cause I was frustrated she didn't call her father anything but daddy and I've never liked that word, neither spoken plainly nor sexually), but once she did she nestled in there the way a lovers head fits into their partner's neck. Watching Ruthie take over a decade to feel at home in her body was really eye-opening. Every day she is in pain. Every day she keeps going. I think the most important lesson she could teach was that every life has its own pain to it, its own grief, but there is always a path to healing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lucia Calvo

    I always love stories of finding beauty and freedom in the midst of suffering and bounds. Ruthie speaks with a beauty-seeking voice of a little girl and an honesty of someone who has experienced all the heartbreak and disappointment there is. I loved reading her description of the God she encountered because not only was it an honest and authentic testimony but also it reminded me in a very loving way (similarly as The Shack did) how very personally and intentionally he approaches each of us in I always love stories of finding beauty and freedom in the midst of suffering and bounds. Ruthie speaks with a beauty-seeking voice of a little girl and an honesty of someone who has experienced all the heartbreak and disappointment there is. I loved reading her description of the God she encountered because not only was it an honest and authentic testimony but also it reminded me in a very loving way (similarly as The Shack did) how very personally and intentionally he approaches each of us in the best way we can understand and experience the love that he is. "As I stand in the yard by the fragrant tree with waxy leaves, the numbness of the drugs starts to go away. The feeling of God starts to come, but it isn't the God they taught me about. She's motherly and tender and ever-loving. She's Mrs. God: poet, dear friend, and teacher. I decide that's what I'll call her for now. I recognize her from my walks in the woods at DeSoto and from the sweet-and-sour perfume of that baby I loved. I recognize her from the femininity of the Bible, the long beautiful verses that curved and meandered, the light and the song of worship. She's never left my side, she just looks different than they said she would. The white male preachers I've grown up listening to see depravity over virtue, original sin over original love, original goodness, and original purity. I don't see things that way anymore. This is my new church and all are welcome here." "We need each other. In therapy they say that the opposite of addiction is connection. We were not meant to do this on our own. We need to heal in community, to be mirrors of truth and love to each other when the crazy person in our head is telling us so many limiting, effed-up stories."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Sunsets, people, dancing, flowers, making lists. This was the inventory Ruthie Lindsay made of what she used to enjoy before chronic pain and illness reduced her life to the size of her bed. Like many of us, I discovered Ruthie through Instagram. I don't remember exactly how or when, but one day she appeared on my feed, all smile and bright, shiny eyes, and I couldn't look away. Then, I read her story and understood why. It's not only her journey that is so special, but the way she tells it: Sunsets, people, dancing, flowers, making lists. This was the inventory Ruthie Lindsay made of what she used to enjoy before chronic pain and illness reduced her life to the size of her bed. Like many of us, I discovered Ruthie through Instagram. I don't remember exactly how or when, but one day she appeared on my feed, all smile and bright, shiny eyes, and I couldn't look away. Then, I read her story and understood why. It's not only her journey that is so special, but the way she tells it: with gentleness and grace, and so much empathy toward her own pain, you can tell it has taken her years to get there. Ruthie Lindsay's writing is raw and honest, but also full of joy and hope even through the worst moments of her life. She manages to add magic and beauty in times that usually have none. (view spoiler)[ I knew of her dad's passing. Still, I found myself overwhelmed with the pain of her grief when she spoke so candidly about the tragic death of her favourite person in the entire world. Ruthie bares her suffering so simply, yet her words are nothing short of gut wrenching: I collapse on the floor and drag our bodies to a corner. I hug my pillow into my chest, look up at the artless walls, and say: "Daddy, Papa, Dad. Daddy, Papa, Dad. Daddy, Papa, Dad." If I call him the right way, maybe he'll come back to me." (hide spoiler)] There I am was one of my most expected reads of 2020, and it did not disappoint. In a period of such uncertain times, we could all use a bit of redemption and healing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chanel Johnson

    There I am: The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing-A Memoir: Ruthie Lindsey Release date: Apr. 21, 2020 Tender, profound, and authentic; an inspirational memoir. Ruthie Lindsey, raised in rural Louisiana with two brothers, was born into a devout Christian family. Having the reputation for always being good with people, Lindsey is named homecoming queen. Shortly after, she is in a car accident. She suffers from a serious spinal injury, amongst others, and is not expected to live. After spinal fusi There I am: The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing-A Memoir: Ruthie Lindsey Release date: Apr. 21, 2020 Tender, profound, and authentic; an inspirational memoir. Ruthie Lindsey, raised in rural Louisiana with two brothers, was born into a devout Christian family. Having the reputation for always being good with people, Lindsey is named homecoming queen. Shortly after, she is in a car accident. She suffers from a serious spinal injury, amongst others, and is not expected to live. After spinal fusions and various surgeries to mend/remove damaged organs, she leaves the hospital after two months. The pain however clung to her. When the time came for a second surgery, Lindsey became dependent on opiates. Surrounded by family and love, she was able to come out on the other side of addiction by using social media as an outlet for grief, pain, and love. I really enjoyed having a non-fiction memoir to read since I have currently been bogged down with fiction books! I thought Lindsey’s prose was beautiful. She is a resilient, dedicated, and hopeful individual that can be an inspiration to us all!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emily Creek

    I finished this one fast, as many of us in the advanced reader group have. Ruthie’s words are raw and they are pure. She folds them together brilliantly— you can smell the flowers and see every sunset, as the lump grows in your throat as you read about her pain. I feel honored to be a part of her reviewing/release/reading crew. I delighted in this book—no matter how different my journey may be, there’s a sameness to being human. And in the end, that’s her point. How can we cherish our world and I finished this one fast, as many of us in the advanced reader group have. Ruthie’s words are raw and they are pure. She folds them together brilliantly— you can smell the flowers and see every sunset, as the lump grows in your throat as you read about her pain. I feel honored to be a part of her reviewing/release/reading crew. I delighted in this book—no matter how different my journey may be, there’s a sameness to being human. And in the end, that’s her point. How can we cherish our world and our people well? Grow in dignity through uncertainty and pain? Thank you ruthie for sharing how you did so and are doing so. Thank you for allowing me, laying on this sand in the sun all alone in Kalaupapa National Historical Park — a place of pain and love where stories of hope and despair are layered on top of each other and we who are blessed to live and work here sift through those stories to try to love well everyday— think about my own growth. I am thrilled to have received this book. (And the Facebook group is a blessing in this time of distance) xx em

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Adams

    Ruthie's story resonates with anyone, as the human experience inherently comes with hopelessness. Especially during this time where the world seems upside down, Ruthie's story provides comfort that even in the darkest of days, in the darkest of seasons, there is hope. Navigating through physical and emotional trauma, Ruthie gives a stunningly honest account of her life. This book is captivating not only for the honesty she offers but also for the beautiful writing. For fans of Ann Patchett's viv Ruthie's story resonates with anyone, as the human experience inherently comes with hopelessness. Especially during this time where the world seems upside down, Ruthie's story provides comfort that even in the darkest of days, in the darkest of seasons, there is hope. Navigating through physical and emotional trauma, Ruthie gives a stunningly honest account of her life. This book is captivating not only for the honesty she offers but also for the beautiful writing. For fans of Ann Patchett's vivid writing, Ruthie's writing is also profoundly descriptive, bringing you into her house in the South, a hospital in Tennesee, and her own feelings. "There I Am" does what any great story does, it leaves you better at the end than when you began on page one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily Brown

    Ruthie's book is a breathtaking view! Her memoir gives the feel of climbing a mountain together: from the excitement of the journey starting, to the dangers you begin to encounter, to the obstacles that you will inevitably face, to the summit view at the top. She is a beautiful creative writer, and the tastes, sounds, smells around her as she makes her way through her memories, leap off the page! I cried so many times throughout, reliving the marking moments with her dad, as well as the gut-wren Ruthie's book is a breathtaking view! Her memoir gives the feel of climbing a mountain together: from the excitement of the journey starting, to the dangers you begin to encounter, to the obstacles that you will inevitably face, to the summit view at the top. She is a beautiful creative writer, and the tastes, sounds, smells around her as she makes her way through her memories, leap off the page! I cried so many times throughout, reliving the marking moments with her dad, as well as the gut-wrenchingly painful moments of her darkest times. Ruthie's bold steps forward to begin and continue her healing journey are so inspiring and relatable no matter where you are in your own process. I highly highly recommend this book, I couldn't put it down.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aranya Iyer

    The writing in this book is incredibly vivid and life-like. The use of words is just AMAZING and the way that memory is translated into language is just genius. It is a great story and the narrative is threaded very carefully and peacefully at the right place. There is something missing though. I can't quite put my finger on it. It might be something that I can pinpoint or understand years down the line, but right now, something feels incomplete. It almost feels toooo...pretty? I don't know if t The writing in this book is incredibly vivid and life-like. The use of words is just AMAZING and the way that memory is translated into language is just genius. It is a great story and the narrative is threaded very carefully and peacefully at the right place. There is something missing though. I can't quite put my finger on it. It might be something that I can pinpoint or understand years down the line, but right now, something feels incomplete. It almost feels toooo...pretty? I don't know if that's the right word because there are definitely some horribly gory things in the book. But there's something about the book that feels un-connect-able to me. Maybe that's just me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I have both the physical book and the audiobook because I need them both! I don't buy a lot of physical books anymore because I travel a lot. When I buy a physical book, it's because I need to have it in my life for future reference. This is one of those books. Ruthie's story is an incredible story of perseverance. It's also a story of learning to listen to oneself; learning to trusting your intuition. I'm proud to be one of the first to recommend this lovely, loving book to future readers. Thanks I have both the physical book and the audiobook because I need them both! I don't buy a lot of physical books anymore because I travel a lot. When I buy a physical book, it's because I need to have it in my life for future reference. This is one of those books. Ruthie's story is an incredible story of perseverance. It's also a story of learning to listen to oneself; learning to trusting your intuition. I'm proud to be one of the first to recommend this lovely, loving book to future readers. Thanks to Ruthie for putting her story out into the world. Your storytelling is a gift to us all. xoxo from Kentucky, -Nicole

  25. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    Ruthie Lindsey is the light we all need in our life, especially during these incredibly challenging times! Her words, her descriptions, they jump off the page at you. You can feel, smell, taste, hear, everything she is saying! The pain and trauma she experienced in her life, is something no one should have to go through. She takes you through the journey like you are standing right next to her. Her words will pierce your heart and draw out your own emotions! The journey she took to find herself Ruthie Lindsey is the light we all need in our life, especially during these incredibly challenging times! Her words, her descriptions, they jump off the page at you. You can feel, smell, taste, hear, everything she is saying! The pain and trauma she experienced in her life, is something no one should have to go through. She takes you through the journey like you are standing right next to her. Her words will pierce your heart and draw out your own emotions! The journey she took to find herself is nothing short of incredible! She was on the brink and leaned into the divine of herself, to bring herself out of it. She lives her life with joy and love, even through the pain. Her heart has shifted and she describes the shift with words of wisdom. I highly, highly, highly recommend you read this book. If you have ever dealt with pain, acute or chronic, then you need her words to hit your soul. Thank you Ruthie! You are changing the world.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erin Huston

    There I Am is a book that is beautifully written, with a story that makes you laugh, cry, rage, and fist pump. Ruthie's is a powerful story of healing and resilience, and this book is an invitation to look at your own experiences of pain with a little more gentleness and grace. Not only does this book capture an amazing story, but I found it to be a great tool for reflection and growth. Definitely will be a book I read more than once. There I Am is a book that is beautifully written, with a story that makes you laugh, cry, rage, and fist pump. Ruthie's is a powerful story of healing and resilience, and this book is an invitation to look at your own experiences of pain with a little more gentleness and grace. Not only does this book capture an amazing story, but I found it to be a great tool for reflection and growth. Definitely will be a book I read more than once.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    4.75 stars. I remember first hearing of Ruthie when I saw someone post about her story on their Instagram a few years back. I was so captivated by, not only what all she had endured, but perhaps even more so, the grace & attitude she chose to apply to her situation. She has chosen to live a life of gratitude, which at times, we all know is harder than others! She writes so beautifully, and the audiobook version feels like a friend sitting on your porch, & pouring her heart out.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Coats

    Honest to goodness cannot remember a time I actually cried while reading a book. Multiple times, even. Ruthie. Wow. A beautiful story about a long lasting battle with chronic pain and the journey to healing. A story of finding yourself through the darkness. I think everyone needs a come-to-Justin moment and I think everyone should read this. Purely outstanding. Thank you for sharing your story, @ruthielindsey the world will be better because of it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Love

    I’m sitting on the beach, just finished ‘there I am’ I’m laughing and crying, this book is so so powerful. I can’t put to words the depth my soul aches with the pain but is filled with so much joy with hope of healing that comes. Some parts were so hard to read, it bought up so many repressed memories, but the way Ruthie talks and relates to things, I feel so seen and known. I have so much to process still but I am so ready for this imperfect healing journey. “Pain is small and far away from us. I’m sitting on the beach, just finished ‘there I am’ I’m laughing and crying, this book is so so powerful. I can’t put to words the depth my soul aches with the pain but is filled with so much joy with hope of healing that comes. Some parts were so hard to read, it bought up so many repressed memories, but the way Ruthie talks and relates to things, I feel so seen and known. I have so much to process still but I am so ready for this imperfect healing journey. “Pain is small and far away from us. It’s still there—it always will be, but so will the magic and the miracles and the joy. Everything that happened did so for a reason. It happened to bring me home, to my family and to myself. It led me to make peace with the God I thought had abandoned me and trust in the Divine, the love that had always been pouring down over me even when I couldn’t see it.” Thank-you Ruthie Lindsey!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I couldn't put this book down! First of all, Ruthie is one of the warmest, kindest, tender-hearted humans I've ever encountered. She's written a memoir about the years she's spent living with chronic pain, and it is a heartfelt, touching story. Her story touches on relationships, family, faith, trust, grief, trauma, and redemption. She dares to openly write about the things most of us shy away from, the things we hide away, the things most of us experience but aren't brave enough to share. She wal I couldn't put this book down! First of all, Ruthie is one of the warmest, kindest, tender-hearted humans I've ever encountered. She's written a memoir about the years she's spent living with chronic pain, and it is a heartfelt, touching story. Her story touches on relationships, family, faith, trust, grief, trauma, and redemption. She dares to openly write about the things most of us shy away from, the things we hide away, the things most of us experience but aren't brave enough to share. She walks us through her journey of healing, of becoming, and gives us the courage to do the same. This is a story about the human experience, about what it means to persevere through the darkest of moments, and the beauty of a resilient spirit.

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