Journey To Heal {Book Review}

Journey To Heal Book I remember like it was yesterday.  I was at my first women’s conference with some ladies from my church. One of the speakers came out onto the stage and I thought, “Wow, she looks like an angel.” She quickly had us laughing at some funny stories, and then she started to share some of the bad decisions she had made in her life.  I could totally relate to bad decisions, and when she shared that she had been sexually abused as a child I remember feeling alarms go off inside of me. I sat there stiff, holding my breath wondering “How did she become an angel? How?”

I knew right then and there that whatever had happened with her, could never happen with me. Any hope that sparked was overturned by the loud voices in my head screaming that I was not like her! It was as if I was stranded on an island and the helicopter that came to rescue me was flying away in the opposite direction. I couldn’t and wouldn’t be rescued. I could only continue to do what I knew how to do – survive and keep my mouth shut.Journey To Heal Book Fourteen years later, I started my own healing journey and was in counseling. I had just read the book The Wounded Heart by Dan Allender, but I still had that nagging question. How can I be healed? How do you go from hiding the single biggest secret of your life to even talking about it?

I would walk into used book stores, head down in shame, and buy any books I could find on Childhood Sexual Abuse. I would pay cash and then hide the books. Some were helpful, but very few had a Christian perspective. I simply wanted to know the answer to this question – How can I go from living in the pit of shame to being healed by Jesus and what does that process even look like? It was a mystery to me and it seemed impossible.

Today, that book finally exists!

Crystal Sutherland just released the book that I wish I had found four years ago when I was desperately looking for a map that said, “This is the way! It is possible. You are not alone. Keep going!” Her new book, Journey to Heal, guides readers through the seven essential steps of healing. Crystal combines personal stories and scripture to point to the light and hope that Jesus offers for survivors. Each chapter ends with a Journey Essentials section which includes prayer, scripture, journaling and thanksgiving.

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I found her writing engaging and transparent. As you read each chapter, you will feel like you are meeting with a friend over coffee. The steps are so helpful and while you may take your steps in a different order or at a different pace, they truly are all essential steps. Crystal is a wonderful cheerleader and encourager along the way.

My favorite quote is, “The abuse we suffered is a part of our individual stories, but when we trust God with our lives, He writes the final chapter.  He has the last say. What the enemy of our soul meant for evil, God can turn around for good, and He is able to turn our ashes into something beautiful, and to turn our grief into joy, and to bring us from the pit of despair to a place where we overflow with praise. (See Isaiah 61:3)” I love that she shares this beautiful promise as she walks with you through each step.

Journey To Heal

This book is not only for survivors. It is also an excellent resource for friends, family and ministry leaders to help them better understand the recovery process and how to provide encouragement and support for sexual abuse survivors.

I’m so excited about this book and it’s message, I’ve decided to give away three copies. Simply comment on this post or send me an email at journeypink@gmail.com by Saturday – May 14th at midnight to be entered in the drawing! Also, please be sure to sign up for the online study that Crystal is offering starting June 1st. Click on the link below for more information!

Journey To Heal Online Bible Study

You can purchase Journey to Heal at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Christianbook.com.

Journey To Heal Book

Finding Spiritual Whitespace – Book Review

This post is part of the  “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

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It was a little over a year ago that I discovered Bonnie Gray at www.faithbarista.com.  It was a post called, “Walking the Little Girl In You Out Into The World,” and it changed everything for me. That post and her blog assured me that I was not alone.  As I read the comments and others who linked up with her writing prompts, I felt a connection.  It was as if the little girl in me finally found a sandbox in this virtual playground where it was safe to whisper.  The whispers were met with understanding and encouragement.  I could not wait to get my hands on this book and continue the journey to find spiritual whitespace.

There are many ways to describe spiritual whitespace, but this is one of my favorites on page 49:

Finding Spiritual Whitespace isn’t about carving out an hour of time to escape the things that stress us.   It’s the opposite.  It’s getting away from everything we do to distract ourselves from all the hidden pieces  – in order to nurture our soul.

The tour guide leading this journey to find Spiritual Whitespace is the Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray.  Her beautiful words are authentic and transparent.  She shares memories of brokenness with just enough detail to walk me into my own room of memories.  As she describes each scene I can’t help but feel the pain as if I am right there with her.   Each chapter has writing prompts and questions for journaling that probe deep.  It’s here where I realize much of the pain I am feeling is my own.  Each chapter also offers helpful ideas to find whitespace, and prompts to confide in Jesus.

The subtitle of the book says “Awakening Your Soul To Rest.” Rest.  It is not something that is popular in the fast paced world we live in today.  Everyone wants everything yesterday.  Who needs rest when there is so much to do and so much to prove?  Everything is instant and quick.  This is a new rest – I like how she describes it on page 22:

The creative act of spiritual rest is found in places of brokenness.  When we step into whitespace, we are no longer holding on to our old ways of coping managing and doing.  We are only holding on to Jesus.

He’s there.  Even though I don’t want to go there.

In the whitespaces.

Our soul awakens,

To rest.

With him.

Bonnie paints a picture of rest that makes it look not only appealing, but necessary for survival.  This rest isn’t about taking a nap.  This rest is about healing broken pieces, and opening up to Jesus about what makes it hard for you to sleep.  This rest is rest for your soul.

Her powerful brave words whisper,  “You are not alone.  Me too.”  “Me too” means I understand. It doesn’t mean we have the same story or share the same history.  We share brokenness. Kindreds. We also share a beautiful healer – Jesus.

Spiritual Whitespace is a journey to discover the authentic you.  (pg. 80).

BookArt8_beloved-300x300-1 There is so much we can do to airbrush the picture of our life we portray to others.   We want to be accepted.  We want to be loved.  We want to be cherished.   There is rest in being real.  There is rest in slowing down to remember what brings you joy.  For me, it may be stopping to watch a sunset, walking in nature, or painting on a blank canvas.  There is a pause to discover what you missed.  There is rest in pulling back the mask and knowing you are deeply loved ~ the beloved ~ by Jesus, as is.  You may have developed skills to multi-task on an empty tank, but is this really who God created you to be?  If you are reaching out to others, and not pausing for you, read this book. If you are giving, and doing, and signing up to give and do more, then please read this book. Here you will learn to slow down and receive.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace is a book for everyone.  You will find healing encouragement if you have ever been wounded.  You will be encouraged to embrace Jesus in your pain, and you will find Him with open arms.  You will discover many ways to find Spiritual Whitespace.  You will learn new ways encourage others and be better listeners.  You will find freedom, and the freedom to rest, {as is} in Jesus.

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Bonnie Gray is the writer behind Faith Barista.com who wrote a book about her inspiring, heart-breaking journey to find rest, which garnered Publisher’s Weekly starred review. I’m taking the journey to find rest through this guidebook and invite you to read it too.  You can get a copy HERE.   

I did receive a free copy of this book to review, and my opinions are my own.  However, I have enjoyed this book so much I bought copies for several friends and encouraged them to read it and buy copies for their friends.  I even bought the kindle version to carry with me in my pocketbook… just in case.