Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Healing the Wounded Heart by Dan Allender

Find hope and healing in the wake of sexual abuse

Cover Art
If you are one of the millions of people who have suffered abuse in the form of rape, incest, molestation, sexting, sexual bullying, unwanted advances, pornography, and more, you know that hope doesn't come easy and healing can seem impossible. Dan Allender has been there--and he's spent twenty-five years helping other victims of sexual abuse walk the path toward wholeness.

Never minimizing the pain or offering pat spiritual answers that don't truly address the problem, Allender calls evil evil and lights the way to renewed joy, one step at a time.

Where to Purchase

Dan B. Allender
About the Author:
Dan B. Allender is professor of counseling psychology and former president of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology in Seattle, Washington. He travels and speaks extensively on sexual abuse recovery, love and forgiveness, worship, and other related topics. Allender is the author of fifteen books, including The Wounded Heart, and coauthor of God Loves Sex.

My Take:
This is the first book I have read as a help book for victims of sexual abuse. It was extremely insightful and educational. It is amazing the incredible number of people who have suffered, or maybe even are suffering abuse. There are many who don't even realized what they went through was abuse.

The first part of the book was honestly a bit overwhelming. It was a sort of introduction to many aspects and forms of sexual abuse from things people would consider in consequential to very serious. At times it was very difficult to read, and think that such atrocities could happen. Yet, I believe to an extent this part of the book is relevant because it lays foundation for the healing aspect of the book - which begins in part two. Dan Allender explains how through these areas of abuse, people curse themselves, and allow evil to enter. Most of the time unknowingly and also as a form of self-protection. Dr Allender says:

The calling of the good therapist is to follow the story of abuse and its aftermath closely enough to see the tracks of evil. There will always be a unique configuration of debris, a pattern of evil's intent that gives and indication of the covenants the victim has made consciously or unconsciously with the realm of darkness.

The second part of the book addresses the healing path and gives hope to those who may be in despair. Dan talks about joy, hope, peace, forgiveness. He describes how each can be reached. He stresses that the path is long and the goal not easily achieved. Superficial solutions do not necessarily fix the problem but are like medication just masking the root. The abused must be able to face the abuse, name it, and figure out what lies he or she is believing. They must be able to grieve, as well as bless. Some of it is complicated, and as I mentioned before not for the faint of heart, but worth it! A journey of true healing. 

I think one can learn much from this book. I am not sure if it is possible to use it alone with out the help of a therapist. (Although it seems some therapists do more harm than good, so finding the right one is essential) It is amazing how sexual abuse affects so many different areas of a person's life. Dan goes into alot of the science and psychology of how God designed our brains and bodies to function so as to be able to deal with stress, abuse, etc. And how those parts although simply doing their job, can hinder us from healing properly unless it is dealt with instead of just shoved under the rug and forgotten. He also gives insight into how to handle someone else's story and without causing even more pain or undermining what they have been through. 

The great news! There is hope for recovery. There is healing for the wounded heart. God is at the root of it all, and with His help it is possible. He designed us, we are wonderfully made, and He is able to do above and beyond what we can imagine. So if you are struggling, get this book- even if it is just a kick-off point, a beginning, seek help so God can heal your heart.

The labor of this pilgrimage is not to gain freedom or joy as much as it is to be captured by the story so of Jesus and his death, resurrection, and ascension. But we don't do so by forgetting or ignoring our story. We do so by entering our own death, resurrection, and ascension in order to learn his story and live out his story through our own.

Disclosure: This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to review it positively. 

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