Daisy Rain Martin’s memoir Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, is brilliant, funny, hopeful, and heartbreaking. Daisy Martin’s story is one of triumph over horrible abuse as a child. Martin’s story can offer hope to those who come from similar situations of abuse and for those of us who have or are walking with survivors of abuse.
Martin’s story is one of survival and recovery from abuse as a child. Her story is of how church, family and even her mother colluded with her abuser. It’s also a story of faith and of how God can reach through even the most horrific of life circumstances. Daisy Rain Martin’s faith shines through though she admits it unconventional. Though from my perspective it is simply faith that is based not on the externals of churchiness and religious practice but one who is known by God.
Her story is how God and Jesus broke through the false religiosity of her home life, and lead her into an authentic faith. Martin in one point describes the world of her nuclear family and her abuser. Satan and Jesus were prominent figures in that family as real as her siblings, mother and “stepfather” ( whom she calls throughout the book “stepmonster”, never for obvious reasons ever able to give him the name of father or dad.) Satan in this world is the one with the immediate and obvious power, Jesus is kind of a wimp, an all-powerful incompetent. Oddly enough she doesn’t dismiss the existence of this Jesus, only suggest the imposter nature of this one named Jesus, very different from his doppelgänger with whom she has a heart to heart with about God’s and his lack of intervention. God and Jesus never answer her question. But the real Jesus lac of intervention is not one of incompetence. The beauty of this as I see it is that it satisfies no one. She refuses to play the game of theodicy. Martin isn’t interested in doing God justice or seeking to defend or accuse God. Nor does she ever let Jesus or God off the hook. Her resolution is that God and Jesus aren’t her personal protection, and yet with God and jesus she is safe.
This is one persons story, told with authenticity and humor. Juxtaposed is the result of a long journey much pain and much healing that has come in what many will consider unconventional and even unspiritual ways. yet it is a story full of joy, hope and God’s love. Daisy Rain Martin is a hoot, and her story gave me hope. She tells of a moment when God met her in the words of stranger that one day from her would flow streams of water, she has taken that and speaks of pouring out hope. Of course the words spoken to her were the words Jesus spoke to the Woman at the well, and is what Jesus speaks to all, the promise that from within us can spring a never-ending stream of living water. If such a stream can spring up within the life of Daisy Rain Martin it surely can spring up anywhere, and there is hope.
I can’t give Juxtaposed the justice it is due in what I write here. There isn’t anyone who shouldn’t read this book (except for children as a disclaimer says at the beginning of the book) Martin even warns the reader when she goes into details that one need not and may not want to read. You will laugh. You will cry. You will ask questions and find no answers. You will see in her story bits of the stories of so many you have known. There are few answers but there is hope. Through her story Martin offers us God who know us and the world we live in. In telling her story there is the offer to be known beyond and within this world where truly and deeply shitty things happen.