His Face like Mine
Have you ever tasted true freedom?
Russell Joyce was born with a rare craniofacial disorder called Goldenhar syndrome, where the left side of his face was not formed. Years of patchwork surgeries made him more outwardly presentable, but not without deep pain and physical and emotional scars. But a life-changing encounter broke through to him with a power he never thought possible, in the very place he never thought to look—his broken face.
This set Russell on a journey to understand what was hindering him and others from experiencing the power of God's grace and being truly set free. During a season of starting a new church in Brooklyn, New York, he learned how the broken places of our lives can be transformed when Jesus meets us in the realities of our woundedness. God doesn't love us despite our wounds but through those very wounds. By his scars we are healed, and we can find new depths of freedom in Christ, scars and all.
A warning: this journey will not be easy. A promise: it will be well worth the risk.
"To have been the beneficiary of sitting in the front row—getting to watch Russell Joyce shine his light for all to see—is one of the greatest gifts of my life. His Face like Mine adds to this story. Joyce's brilliant, vulnerable, and fierce exploration of the power of wounds and scars will leave you breathless. If we are healed by Christ's stripes, then this book gives us a door to the doctor's office. Must read."
"In His Face like Mine, Russell provides us with a guide through the wonder, the searching, the hunger, the longing in our souls to know the Savior. We are invited to find our story in God's countenance and there begin to forge a path toward healing and restoration. Russell's candid tone and delivery are both gripping and holy."
"Some books engage our minds while others help us grow our skills, but every now and then a book will come along that will impact our souls. Russell has given us that kind of book in His Face like Mine. As you read this book, prepare to have your heart enlarged and healed through the beauty of Christ that Russell exposes us to while holding back no punches on the brokenness we all have to wrestle with in order to walk with Christ."
"To know Russ, to walk alongside his story and read these penned words, only verifies the journey traveled. Russ opens up his scars through a story to invite you in for a closer look and meaningful reflection, pointing you to the hope of not yet. I hope you read this book with an open heart and soul and receive the invitation to become more human, fully flourishing, and welcomed into the arms of a loving God. May you discover the liminal space between the gaze of Jesus upon you and the woundedness within you. May you embrace the love for a face like yours."
"With uncommon vulnerability, Russell Joyce traces a line from his congenital abnormalities through the soulish wounds we all carry straight into Jesus' welcoming, healing, whole-making gaze. More than a line, it's a trail Russell has blazed. He lays out the markers and invites us to follow. I trust Russell's insightful and biblical faithfulness and honest pastor's heart. I love the captivating rawness of the stories he shares. If you ever longed to receive the wholeness of God in any measure—to feel fully loved by the God who is love—read this book."
"Russell's work is a fresh and vulnerable look at the good news of Jesus' grace. By mingling personal stories with scriptural reflections, he puts forth an embodied apologetic that aims to disarm us all of our false selves, look a little deeper into the depths of our souls, and find the Savior who was there the whole time ready to set us free by his love."
"For anyone grappling with adversity, be it in the form of visible scars or hidden wounds, this book stands as a testament to the possibility of being made whole in Christ. Russell's narrative serves as a beacon of hope, challenging readers to perceive their own trials through a lens of divine purpose. His Face like Mine is an eloquent reminder that, in the hands of a compassionate God, even the most catastrophic events can be transmuted into opportunities for profound personal and collective growth."
"'Yes, you are broken. But you are not ugly. Do you hear me? There's a difference. I choose you as you are. I will always choose you.' In a visualization exercise, Russell Joyce spoke those words to his younger physically scarred self. Understanding that Jesus and our loved ones embrace us, scarred as we are, is key to this incredible book. I've seldom come across something that speaks to the secret pain I carry. This book brought healing to my soul as it will to yours."
Introduction: A Longing for Wholeness
1. A Painful Wound, a Powerful Kiss: A God Inviting Us to Boast in Our Scars
2. A Faulty Memory, a Nagging Thought: A God Reminding Us Who We Are
3. Power to Create, a Name That Deceives: A God Who Limps In as a Guest
4. Fearful Families, Terrible Sacrifices: A God at the Bottom of the Wall
5. A Natural Aloneness, an Evasive Search: The God Whose Rib Makes Us Whole
6. A Curated Image, Social Perfectionism: A God Who Perfectly Loves Our Imperfections
7. A Gruesome Rending, the Final Journey: The God Who Went First
8. A Frightening Encounter, an Outer-Body Experience: A God Who Makes Catastrophes Good
9. God's True Riches, the Church's True Scars: A God Who Invites Us to Remove the Veil
Epilogue: My Hope and Prayer