What’s on your summer reading list?
If you’re on a healing journey similar to mine, or you know someone who is, I have a few recommendations for you.
Early in 2014, when I began having flashbacks to childhood trauma events, I ordered a pile of books from Amazon. One of those books was Not Marked, by Mary DeMuth. The rest were books on writing craft or Bible studies. I wasn’t ready to allow “sexually abused” be part of my identity yet, so it felt safer to receive it with a stack of other random books. I let it sit in the pile for a few weeks before reading it. From there, I discovered Kay Arthur and Joyce Meyer.
Not Marked helped me realize two life-changing things:
1) I was not alone. One in four girls experiences some form of sexual abuse before she turns 18. For boys, the statistic is one in six. Not that I wish that on anyone, but learning that I wasn’t some kind of broken freak freed me to seek out a healing path.
2) What my abusers did to me was not my shame. It was theirs. I have a lot of things for which to be ashamed, but I no longer needed to bear the guilt for something I had no way of consenting to or preventing. In those dark days, I found freedom to share my story with a few people I trusted. Until then, not even my husband of 13 years knew.
Kay Arthur’s When the Hurt Runs Deep addresses a wider variety of hurts and shares practical ways to allow God to heal even the deepest wounds.
1) Kay Arthur is a wonderful Bible teacher. Her insight into God’s character and the nature of pain brought me a healing balm when I couldn’t see past the trial into a future with love and abundance again.
2) Kay Arthur’s gift of exhortation convinced me that I had steps to take in order to grow spiritually. God revealed a long-entrenched false belief that I was unloveable, and Kay helped me to see that it was my job to discover the truth about how God feels about His beloved first-fruits of creation. (Spoiler alert: God’s love goes higher and deeper and wider than we could ever fathom.)
Beauty for Ashes, by Joyce Meyer, also addresses a wider variety of pain—basically anything from your past that hinders joy.
1) Joyce Meyer experienced far more extreme abuse than I did, and she transparently shares the journey to healing and forgiveness. Without forgiveness, true healing can’t happen. Joyce’s book offers lots of examples from her life and scriptures about trading beauty for ashes.
2) Joyce Meyer understands the “chip on the shoulder” mentality all too well. Like me, she’s direct and driven, a self-described choleric personality. Without understanding why, I carried a chip on my shoulder all through my teens, twenties, and into my forties. With Joyce’s help, I am learning to trust Jesus more and rely on my ‘tude less. A much more beautiful outlook, if you ask me!
Not exactly light reading for the beach, but very helpful resources for those who desperately seek answers and healing.
What are you reading this summer? What other books do you recommend for people who need convincing that they are precious to our Maker? Please continue the conversation in the comments.