Our Lady of Hot Messes: Getting Real with God in Dive Bars and Confessionals, by Leticia Adams (paperback)
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Leticia Ochoa Adams met Jesus in a dive bar when she was eighteen years old.
She didn’t actually meet Jesus, but it was there where she first witnessed holiness in action. The bar’s regulars taught her about the importance of community, being honest about who she is, not giving up on people, and how to laugh—even when awful things happen.
In Our Lady of Hot Messes, Ochoa Adams tells the ongoing story of her redemption. At times funny and heartbreaking, but always gritty and unflinchingly honest, her story shows that no matter what you’re dealing with, God wants you to trust in his love.
The Tejana daughter of a single mother—a cycle she would repeat in her own life—Ochoa Adams was sexually abused as a child. She married after a two-week courtship and, eight years later, divorced her husband who struggled with drug addiction. In between she suffered a late-term miscarriage and had three more children back-to-back.
She always thought a dream life meant having a big house, kids, lots of money, and new cars. Since she hadn’t yet cracked the code for the American dream, “I turned to the person that every American woman turns to when looking for a way to make a better life for herself: Oprah.”
Watching the daytime talk show queen helped Ochoa Adams put a name to what happened to her as a child. But she was still searching for something more. Ochoa Adams was baptized Catholic but attended a small-town Baptist church growing up. When she reverted to Catholicism at age thirty-three in order to marry her second husband, Ochoa Adams was convinced that Catholics had all of the answers to life’s toughest questions. But she quickly learned that becoming Catholic didn’t mean she could just erase her bad choices and difficult past. And just when she thought she was getting her life together, her son, Anthony, died by suicide.
God, therapy, and caring priests helped her face her pain and heal her brokenness. She wants you to see yourself in her mistakes, learn from them, and realize along with her that even when we’ve put our trust in God—even if it’s begrudgingly—we still have to do the tough work to become the person God wants us to be.
“I still make mistakes,” she says, “but I’m trying not to live as a hot mess even when things around me are messy.”