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Philippa Hanna talks about her new book, 'Known'.

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Philippa Hanna talks about her new book, 'Known'.
A Journey to Healthy Self-image, Acceptance and Full Appreciation of Your God-given Self

My battle with the girl in the mirror started early. I’d enjoyed pretty blissful preschool years, having both parents on the scene and lots of music in my life. I grew up watching my dad as an entertainer, thrilling crowds with his incredible voice, storytelling and comedy. Both my parents were involved in theatre, (mostly pantomime) and I loved life in the wings. Scripts, costumes and sing-alongs were my childhood.

But I was teased at primary school and struggled to blend in. Being from a musical family made me a little ‘different’, and it felt like bullies came at the light inside me like a moth to flame. I remember being chased, booed and teased after singing in a school talent show. I found myself learning to hide my voice and bubbly personality in case I was noticed too much by others.

Still carrying the words of playground bullies into secondary school, I began a secret campaign to be liked and accepted. Like a lot of teens, I walked into registration wearing a literal and metaphorical mask. I pretended to be confident. I wore makeup in a bid to look older (although the teachers made sure it was removed on a daily basis). And to some degree this did improve my school experience. I started making friends and got invited to the parties. But pretending to be something other than the soft, creative kid I really was took its toll. Although I was liked by others, I didn’t much like myself, and anxiety and depression followed. It was a dark time.

I found myself in and out of consuming relationships too. I made poor choices when it came to intimacy and didn’t know how to set boundaries when it came to my body. All of this, I’m sorry to say, unravelled my mental health further. I felt like ‘the real me’ was deeply buried beneath years of trying to be loved. I had no idea who I was or what to do with my life.

Writing and producing music was always my therapy, but it turns out the music industry is a bit of a jungle too. I faced years of rejection after leaving school. Although I worked with great producers and had songs recorded by other artists, I was regularly told that my voice and looks weren’t enough. I wasn’t the ‘full package’ record labels were looking for and it was crushing.

So at twenty-one, lost and discouraged, I followed some Christian musician-friends to a worship ‘gig’. Not expecting much at all, I read the projected lyrics on screen and sang along awkwardly. To my total surprise I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at me and found myself praying. I had no idea what was happening, but knew I needed a miracle and asked for God’s help and forgiveness. I gave my life to Jesus that night and began an epic journey to discovering my true identity and worth in Him.

My passion has become sharing this mental and spiritual ‘make-over’ with others, and God has opened incredible doors for me to do that. So many of those childhood dreams have come true, including touring with iconic artists and finally landing that record deal. But, more importantly, I’ve learned to look in the mirror and be at peace with and even love who I see.

I have an incredible husband who also sees and loves me for who I am. We’ve been married thirteen years and just had our first baby. Having a daughter gave me the perfect excuse to commit my identity findings to paper, and that’s how Known came to be. Known is the big sister voice I needed between the ages of thirteen and twenty-one in an interactive book. By delving into topics such as core beliefs and values, the reader can begin to build a picture of who they are, and who they want to become in God.

The book contains snippets of my story, tons of inspiring scripture, and lots of room for notes. It’s a collaborative, creative journey where we honestly explore how we feel and how to grow from there. We explore our gifts and purposes, and look at the crucial role relationships play within our lives. We talk about what makes a good life-partner, and why our choices with regards to sex and intimacy are so impactful.

I began writing the book with young women in mind, but it is suitable for anyone who is on an identity journey. (Recommended for ages eleven-plus.)

In sharing my own story, I hope the reader will see that no matter where they are on their personal course, God is a redeeming God who can bring us back onto His road map at any time. He is good, and He knows the plans He has for us! By deepening our relationship with Him we can develop a better love and respect for ourselves, too.

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Known (Hard Cover)
Philippa Hanna
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