Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Wounded By God's People: Discovering How God's Love Heals Our Hearts by Anne Graham Lotz

Once I received and started reading, "Wounded By God's People" by Anne Graham Lotz, my first thought was, "Where was this book a few years ago?!?!".   I found myself in several hurtful situations with other Christians and this would have been a perfect resource.  Yet, God worked it out all in His timing.  I'm grateful this book is here now, though, and I have plans to refer back to it over and over in future years.  I also have plans for my sons to both read it in preparing their hearts for the inevitable time of pruning that will come in their lives.

Weaving her own stories of having been hurt and hurting others with the stories of hurt in the Bible (primarily through Hagar's story), Anne does an amazing job of walking alongside the reader during a time when emotions are raw and our natural bend is to retaliate or pick up and leave.  Anne points our eyes to our Father in heaven in tough times when we have been hurt by another Christian.

I would love to say that you will never, ever be hurt by other Christians but... I can't.  It WILL happen.  Unfortunately, lots of times.   "Wounded By God's People" puts perspective on where responsibility lies, our response to hurts of others (as well as being confronted with the hurt we've inflicted), and encourages not to walk away from God when other hurt us but lean in hard to the One who has already experienced rejection and hurt on our behalf.

The chapter topics are thorough and Anne doesn't leave the reader hanging or left wondering, "well, my situation is different", because she addresses all possible perspectives.  With chapter titles such as -

1. Healing Is a Journey - He was wounded too
2. The Biblical Story of Hagar
3. Loved by a God on the Periphery (God is Not An Elitist)
4. Life is Hard (Everyone is Wounded)
5. The Cycle of Pain (The Wounded Become Wounders)
6. The Believer in Exile (Running from the Wounders)
7. God Cares (You Can't Outrun God)
8. Spiritual Blind Spots (You are Missing the Obvious)
9. Wounding Hurts (Doing the Right Thing Can Be Painful to the Wounder)
10. Rejected By Them (But Not by Him)
11. Wandering in the Wilderness (God Is Still There)
12. The Silence Is Broken (God Is A Prayer-Hearing, Prayer Answering, Miracle Working God)
13. God Stands By (He Hears Our Cry for Help)
14. A Stubborn Spirit (Exile from Him is Self-Imposed)
15. The Turning Point (That Was Then, This Is Now)
16. I Can See! (Your Valley May Be The Place of Vision)
17. Don't Look Back (You Can't Move Forward by Looking in the Rearview Mirror)
18. It's Time To Move On (You Can Be Reconciled)
19. Conclusion: The End of the Healing Journey (It's Time to Come Home)

Be forewarned!  Anne doesn't always tell you what you might want to hear but she does tell you what you NEED to hear in times of hurting.  She does so in a gentle, close friend kind of way - you know the one that is honest enough to tell you when you are out of line but does it without damaging your friendship??  Anne doesn't cottle the role of victim nor does she brush away the very real hurt that we get stung by from time to time (and she herself has experienced).  As she acknowledges, for some reason, Christian wounds tend to heal slowly.   Perhaps it is because we feel that "they should know better" or because we feel that a Christians shouldn't eat their own.  Logically, I would agree with these thoughts, however, Anne points out that we are all hurting on some level and we are all imperfect.  Ultimately, God doesn't promise us a life of ease and friendliness.  Life is, indeed, hard, at times.  All the more reason to lean into Him.

I believe this is a MUST-READ for all Christians - regardless of your age or stage in life.  I plan on keeping this as the amazing salve that it is in times of being wounded.   I heartily recommend this book!

DISCLOSURE: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review: Downside Up

            The truth is rejection is a part of our life but it's not often that we are taught how to deal with it in a healthy way.  Enter "Downside Up: Transform Rejection Into Your Golden Opportunity.  Tracey Mitchell has given us a new, godly, perspective on dealing with rejection.  Too often when stung by rejection, we are frozen, locked in with the pain and never move passed this phase.  We insulate ourselves, keep people at arm's length and make a promise to our heart that we won't let anyone hurt us like that again.  Then, we become stuck.  Paralyzed by fear that someone may reject our idea, our suggestion, or worse, us.

Mitchell gives us strategies for a variety of scenarios and dealing with different personality types.  She gently reminds us of our worth in Christ but speaks to the practical in giving concrete action plans at the end of each chapter.

Some may think that Mitchell makes overcoming rejection too easy but she does not.  She acknowledges the deep pain it can cause but she challenges us to move beyond that to see the motivation we can gain from it.  Yes, her words are easy to read but the hard work comes from us: to change our perspective and mindset and to let go of the pain and negative thoughts we take on as truth.  A book will not do the work for you but she definitely lays a great action plan down.

I highly recommend this book for those struggling to overcome the pain of rejection and to move past it in thought and deed.

Disclosure:   I received this book free from the publisher through the® .  <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255