Book details IM woman’s spiritual journey
IRON MOUNTAIN — An Iron Mountain cosmetologist hopes to inspire others by sharing her personal transformation story in her book “Property of the King.”
Deborah Mckinzie details her journey of living life fast and hard as her husband’s “possession” in the motorcycle club world to what she called “divine redemption.”
“I want this book to be a message of hope in this broken world we live in,” Mckinzie said. “Whatever your sin is, it’s not too big for God.”
The 1988 Iron Mountain High School graduate has always had a love for adventure — eager to try new things, like opening a boutique, doing photography, even ultra running. So when it came to publishing a book, she was up for the challenge.
“My first chapter talks about my energy and spirit — I’m not a person who likes to sit still,” she said, adding she often wonders what her high school English teachers would think about her writing a book.
She also joked she was lucky to graduate, as even her classmates yelled as she crossed the stage to check to see if the diploma was signed.
Following in her aunt’s footsteps, Mckinzie went on to cosmetology school. “She was a great mentor in my life and I wanted to be just like her, independent and successful,” she said.
Soon after her career as a hairdresser began, she found herself pregnant — welcoming a son, Alex — and then a young bride. “Having Alex was a blessing and gift and also changed my life,” Mckinzie said. But after a few years of marriage to her first husband, they decided to divorce.
It was 27 years ago that she met her current husband, John, while attending a hair show.
The two married in 1996, shortly after he relocated to Iron Mountain. “The first thing off the U-haul was his Harley-Davidson — that shows you how much he loved his bike and riding,” she said.
John was introduced to a local motorcycle group and eventually became a member. While he loved the camaraderie and friendship, he was looking for more structure.
“John wanted more commitment,” Mckinzie explained.
It was at a rally that John was approached by a national motorcycle club and soon their lives would start down that dark path.
Mckinzie gives readers a glimpse into that world. She talks about her honest and raw experiences as an her husband’s “old lady,” along with the struggles in their marriage at that time.
“It’s a hierarchy in those clubs, and John held an esteemed position — it’s a different world,” Mckinzie said
She added that she was just as guilty as him, as she enjoyed that kind of power as well. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t,” Mckinzie said. “I enjoyed the sin which I was living in, having a good time.”
As his wife, she wore a patch on her back that said “property of” the motorcycle club, which she believed to be an honor.
After several years of living this lifestyle, she slowly began to see the sins for what they were, she said. “I would go out in the woods and just run, and it got to the point I couldn’t deny it. God was removing the scales from my eyes,” she said.
“When you are in such darkness, it’s very hard for you to see the light or any other way,” Mckinzie said.
Easter Sunday morning in 2017 at Redemption Hill will be a day she will never forget. “Something came over me — I couldn’t stop crying,” she said. “From that day on, my life has changed.”
Mckinzie walked away from it all, burning anything that had to do with the club. However, John wasn’t quite ready to be done.
It was about a year later that God started coming after him, Mckinzie said. “After he was able to see the light, our lives have never been the same,” she said.
She admits when she first had it in her heart to write the book, it was out of anger, disgust, shame and guilt. “I was mad, really mad,” Mckinzie said. “I was going to tell all and I didn’t care who I hurt.”
Mckinzie said she tried for months, but the words weren’t coming, so she kept praying on it. When her heart softened, she realized her story wasn’t about calling out the club, it’s about her transformation and God’s redeeming love.
“After that, the words kept coming,” she said. “I couldn’t stop writing.”
The book title, however, didn’t come as easily. She credits her pastor, the Rev. Alex Tunnicliff, for suggesting the words, “the King.”
Her husband has supported her through the whole process of writing, editing and publishing. “He’s behind me 100 percent,” she said “He was aware of every word.”
She hopes her story reminds people that no matter whose “property” they might think they are, they can find joy, hope and peace in the Lord.
Mckinzie noted she doesn’t identify the motorcycle club’s names or the people in “Property of the King.” She also stressed that she doesn’t want to give the impression motorcyclists or all clubs are bad. “There’s are a lot of great clubs that do amazing things, especially in this community,” she said.
Mckinzie said she always wanted to write a book as well about the crazy stories her clients have shared with her over the years at the salon. “A hairdresser is like a bartender; we are therapists, we have hears some unbelievable things,” she said. “But my heart has changed, as people share those things in confidence.”
Mckinzie isn’t done writing, saying she already has the title for her next book. “I think anyone can do anything,” she said.
Her dream is to travel with John across the country, sharing their experiences, stories and spreading inspiration and hope.
Her self-published book, “The Property of the King,” is available by contacting Mckinzie or on Amazon. She also is available for speaking engagements by contacting her at her Jodeco salon in Iron Mountain at 906-396-2914 or on Facebook.