Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review: A Book that Shines

     Bethany House Publishers deserves a great commendation for offering My Own Worst Enemy and a heartfelt thanks for providing a complimentary review copy. Janet Davis eloquently and gracefully puts into words only one who has hurt as she, can appreciate. Most women come to a point or two in their lives and realize there is something off in their lives. Maybe they are not even sure where the problem lies. The daily craziness can take over their passions and before they know they have lived out their life according to someone else's plan. Other times the labels we have taken on take over and we forget who we are. Take your pick, but God has created women to shine in their own right.
     The reader begins the journey with Davis as soon as she hits page one. Truth be told, Section One: Many Faces was a painful journey for me. My Own Worst Enemy has become a constant purse companion. I could hardly read a few pages without stopping and pondering what Mrs. Davis was implying.It took a while to get through those pages. She is honest and a little brutal. For that poignancy she eloquently delivers I applaud her. Why do women sabotage themselves? Why do we hide behind our family or work duties? Oh, the questions she asks.
      The last two parts of her book, which are the majority of print, are not as hard to delve into. Yet, they are just as beautifully penned and garner just as much of your attention. By this time, the reader has entered into healing from confronting any pain or past regrets and the walls we have built are being chiseled away. Davis then leads you to identify you who are to a point where you can come into your own and shine. There is a great focus on creativity. She encourages you to dig deep and explore who you are. Many times we place ourselves in a black and white context forgetting God created the plethora of surrounding colors to enjoy.
     One of the highlights of her writing is how she intricately weaves stories of the Bible into your story. She draws parallels I would probably never come across in this lifetime between the women of history and the modern gals. I was surprised how emotionally involved I became with My Own Worst Enemy. It is not light reading. It is not a book for the faint at heart. It is a book you will need tissue for. It is a book where you can find growth. Even if you think your hurts are healed and your past does not hinder you, I would advise you to let Janet Davis take a look with you. You may be surprised and learn to shine. In fact, you may become your own best friend.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Path to Healing

     After almost 19 years of taking prescription medications, I QUIT. I am tired of the hassle, the doctor appointments, the cost, but most of all, I am tired of being disappointed. Sooner or later, the body builds immunity to that medication and one is back to searching for a cure. Maybe the quest of the pill is from growing up in a society where everyone wants to pop a pill to right things in their body. Really, the actual problem cannot be addressed by medicine. There is not a quick cure all.
     However, I whole-heartedly believe with a holistic approach one can find the path to healing. Let me give you a quick breakdown of my medical history. At the age of 12, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. In high school I was plagued by panic attacks. In retrospect, I wonder how I made it out alive. The depression devoured my being at times. I only wish you could understand. I have been battling it ever since. Nineteen years later, here I sit fighting again. Well, this time I am fighting with my feet firmly planted in good soil and on the Foundation of Christ. That has made the biggest difference. Some of my darkest days were spent in deep communion with Him. I think that is where Jesus became my Friend.
      There was a period of three years in my mid-twenties that I was able to handle life without the meds, thanks be to the Lord, no doubt. Unfortunately, that period ended when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Finally, I knew why I was hurting everywhere and found myself taking naps out of a deep need, rather than just a desire to catch up on a few winks from parenting little ones. Three years later, bringing us to the present, the prescriptions stopped working and I was back to square one or so I thought.
     Physically within the first day of stopping the meds, I felt good. Some of the daily discomforts vanished almost overnight. I have found before when I tried to stop taking them that my body was benefitting in some regard, therefore, returning to them. This time was different.  I fought the nausea that usually takes over if I ran out of the medicine with natural, God-given essential oils. I am still taking those religiously for overall health.
     Now on the other side of things, the mental health side...I am struggling. Today was better than yesterday. Yesterday was definitely better than Saturday and Friday. I expected some ups and downs. With my husband by my side, we are riding the waves. I am positive there will be more surf advisories in my near future. There is also the possibility that I may have to return to the doctor for medication. I am praying I don't have to step back into an office to address these issues.
     If you or someone you know is struggling, particularly with depression, do not hesitate to seek medical assistance to get you through your journey. I don't condone long-term use, as I have implemented myself, as I now see the effects. I cannot bear the thought of needing a liver transplant at 50 due to the detrimental effects medicine can cause. There is a time and place for medicines. If the doctor can prescribe something that will save your life by all means seek health and gulp it down.
     With that said, here is what I am attempting to do. First, I am relying on God for healing. He created this earth, He created me and therefore, reigns over all. As a side note, I am firmly convinced that God has used my illnesses for His glory and for my good. Spiritual strength has abounded and His grace can be seen. Second, I eat a vegan diet (yes, I know meat is for consumption, I just don't agree with the treatment of animals in the so-called farms). My doctor was happy to find I was eating vegan due to the hormone treatments that are given to the animals. My body has enough trouble of its own. I also take an array of supplements and vitamins to balance what my body lacks.
      Finally, here is my new adventure: EXERCISE! Laugh, if you will, but for a girl who has been hurting for so long, this is a big deal. Knowing what I do about my body, I must listen to it as I begin slow. Some days, household chores can wreak havoc on my muscles and joints. The great bonus is that exercise is beneficial for depression. I must admit though, when I am suffering from depression I do not want to be anywhere near exercise equipment or running shoes. Ugh!
      I am praying that I don't give up too soon, that I can push past the discomfort and live again. For the last three years (actually more, before the diagnosis) I have been held hostage in this body. It is time to shine again! Here is to our health! Happy healing!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book Review: A Hearty, Meaty Read

     Bethany House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of R.T. Kendall's book, Unashamed to Bear His Name, in exchange for an honest review. This book provides a great historical background of martyrs and those believers who have suffered for their passionate belief in Jesus Christ. Today, as many Western believers, we have the luxury of believing as we choose with little stigma. The suffering that has blazed a trail to our freedom is mostly lost on us. Kendall captures his passion for his Lord's name. It is contagious. The greatest question posed to us is: What are we willing to die for?
     Kendall recalls his own embarrassing moments that have led to a stronger, unabashed faith. It was not as if he were  researching only secondhand accounts, using his own experience led to more credibility. The Pilot Lights ministry Kendall began as senior minister of Westminster Chapel in London was very inspiring. It shows what God can accomplish when we humble ourselves to be his servants.
     I cannot really say enough for this book. His theological points are made eloquently and pointedly. Unashamed to Bear His Name will capture your attention and engage your mind in the foreword by Dr. Michael Youssef. It is amazing the dialogue that took place between me and the book within 201 pages. It is a hearty, meaty read without being dull and overwhelming.
     In today's current secularized society believers will begin to find the scandal of the Gospel becoming more stigmatized. Where do we stand with? Where does our passion and allegiance lie? As you read Unashamed to Bear His Name, more than likely you will be asking yourself such questions. If R.T. Kendall accomplishes his mission through this book, you will embrace the stigma of the Gospel and freely proclaim His name.

Purchase your own copy through Amazon here.