About This Blog

Monday, September 19, 2016

"Heart Made Whole" (Christa Black Gifford)

TITLE: Heart Made Whole: Turning Your Unhealed Pain into Your Greatest Strength
AUTHOR: Christa Black Gifford
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (208 pages).

There is a popular saying that goes like this: "Hurt people hurt people; Healed people heal other people." What about those who have been hurt but not healed? What happens when one cannot let go of the past? What then does that do to one's future? This is where we need inner healing. For some, the end result is joyfully received. For many, the process of recovery is the way forward. This book is about this way forward, that en-route to inner healing lies the opportunity to identify our own broken hearts; to manage the trauma we encounter as much as possible; to find our true needs; and to be healed in heart, in mind, and in spirit. While theory and ideas are appealing, the area of hurt and healing requires a large dosage of real life experience. Author Christa Black Gifford knows what it means to be in the abyss of despair. She begins the book with a painful retelling of her losing her child. Shortly after Goldie was born, she was gone. Full of pain and grief, Gifford shares details about how she felt and the extent of what it meant to lose a child. Yet, in one of the darkest times of her life, she chose to cling on the the Light of Christ. She shares her own journey through a spiritual open-heart surgery; her difficult and different kinds of trauma; and how these traumas lock one in the past. She learns about coping, survival strategies, and comfort through self-examination of the heart.

The journey was not easy. She had to deal with doubts that often threaten to derail all the healing and good that had been done. The milestone to a heart made whole is reconciliation with oneself; one's circumstances; and ultimately, with God. Often when one is wounded inside, it is difficult to hold oneself together, which is why Gifford spends time explaining her own struggles emotionally and inner peace. He needs to re-learn the languages of the heart so as to understand herself more. Exploring the areas of thoughts; words; feelings; and actions, she shows us how we can express ourselves more honestly and fully through an appropriate combination of these four languages. Once stripped down to our bare and honest selves, we will be better able to deal with the essentials rather than the peripherals. One of the most important areas is the connection between the head and the heart. If they are not in sync, it makes the whole process even more difficult. Rather than dichotomizing the heart having a need for love and a head for knowledge, healing involves both head and heart for both love and knowledge. In this case, faith in God pulls everything together.

It has been said that only time will heal. The truth is, it is not time but the heart that needs healing. Time can only do so much. Probably, the wounds would always be there. The only way forward is to move on with a new heart. She learns that it is not pain but 'unhealed pain' that is the real enemy. With regular references to the Bible and her faith in God, this book is an honest exposition of the author's heart, the paths to healing, and the journey to wholeness. It is not simply healing we need to look at. It is to be made whole that is the crux of what healing means. Out of a traumatic and painful experience, Gifford has given us a beautiful book about what hope and healing look like. Those who had lost a loved one suddenly would appreciate her open sharing. Those seeking clarity and direction in their own lives after such traumas would appreciate her 'open heart surgery' instructions. Those simply looking through the windows of Gifford's life will have a better understanding of what to do and what not to do for people they know going through times of grief.

Every grieving process is unique, and this book is Gifford's continued process of healing. It is possible that process of healing is still going on. It is also possible that the journey is lifelong. By sharing her own life, Gifford shows us three things. First, we are not alone in our struggles even during times when we feel alone. Sometimes, even with people gathered around us, we can still feel extremely lonely inside us because we do not have anyone who fully understand what we are going through. Well-wishers can say nice things but there will always be a distance. Only God truly understand what she was going through and she encourages us to cling on to God more even as we feel most lonely. Second,  we cannot rush. In a technological world, where we are so used to scientific advancement, efficiency, and convenience, it is tempting to assume that the process of healing can be accelerated by all the advancement and knowledge gained. That is so wrong. The pace of human speed and technological speed is totally different. Even if we have the technology and know-how, that does not mean our hearts are always ready for them. By going through the various phases of treating her own heart and the open surgeries emotionally and spiritually, Gifford forces herself to embark on a patient journey to healing for feelings refuse to be rushed. Doing so would not only hamper the process of recovery, it could retard it. Third, faith is supremely important. We need to anchor ourselves in a focal point of healing. When everything around us seem to be swirling in confusion and chaos, we need to fixed our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith; and to set our hearts on God. In fact, we would eventually realize that for all the things we try to do on our own strength, when things settle down, we would suddenly sense that it was God all along who was holding us. This 'Footprints in the Sand" feeling is the heart-print in this book. Thanks Gifford for sharing your journey with us.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment