I like to review both fiction and non-fiction books because I see benefits of reading both categories of books for readers of this blog. For myself, especially as a person who struggles with bipolar mood swings frequently, reading fiction offers me an opportunity to become immersed in another world other than my own, as a distraction from my own distresses. The non-fiction books help me become immersed in solving problems in the real world rather than a fictional world. I then share these books in reviews hoping someone else will benefit from the summaries and insights. It’s my way of paying it forward.
Every once in awhile I come across a book which I find exceptionally helpful in sorting out life’s messes and anguish. Love Letters from the Edge is one such non-fiction resource that has the potential to do a lot of good for a lot of hurting individuals. It’s not exactly a typical instructional work. It’s not a how-to manual. You won’t find lists and instructions until you reach the appendixes. The body of the book is meditational in nature.
I don’t want to review this book in a manner that makes it sound too cut and dried. There is nothing dry in these meditations. Some of them tell a short story, for background purposes, that explains the why behind the hurt. The reader can learn from others’ sufferings as they share their heart’s cry to God. Each day, a meditation is an honest conversation with God. The second half of the reading is God’s loving reply to the searching and pain of the inquirer. His replies are conversational and even personal, based on Scripture (much of it from the Psalms…David was honest about his own pain) and from Biblical revelation of God’s Person and nature. These replies are not just someone’s opinion or pat answers from a faceless religion. They are truths of God’s just and loving Being, heart-felt reassurances and verbal hugs from One who knows everything and aches for His children. Many times I was brought to tears from a day’s reading because the exchange was relevant and honest. You will find confirmation, empathy and reassurances in so many of the entries.
As for the cut and dried part, while the focus is on meditating (pondering, mental exploration or focus on particular details to dig into their depths), there is organization and structure to how these exchanges are presented to the readers. The soul of the messages within is based on the authors’ painful journeys through life and from others whom they know have been struggling from heart-breaking experiences. Through all these excruciating introspective questions and pleas to God and His intimate responses, the authors make it abundantly clear that He is available to hurting people.
The meditations are arranged by daily entries with one entry for each weekend. Each week has a theme based on the Father’s reply. Each set of 2-4 weeks is grouped together by the individuals’ needs. There are twelve weeks of devotions altogether. At the end of the book are seven appendixes: one appendix describes and explains PTSD to the reader, others have lists of concepts, further reading suggestions, sources used in writing this book, names of organizations for more information, and one with a list of Scriptural assurances.
- Weeks 1-4: Heart Cries (Where Were You, Lord?)
- Weeks 5-8: Grieving and Growing (Will It Ever Be Better, Lord?)
- Weeks 9-10: Hope and a Future (Can You Redeem this Pain, God?)
- Weeks 11-12: Love and Assurance (Can You Say it Again, God?)
The book’s sub-title says it all: “Meditations for those Struggling with Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Life.” After I read the book through, I realized the scope of this book’s reach could be vast. There is a multitude of hurting people who would benefit from participating in the week-by-week plan. Each day’s entry is only a couple pages long. It is easy to read, to grasp the truths revealed. The tone is conversational, personal and even intimate. It’s a heart-to-heart dialogue between you and God. The exchanges are loving and affirming, not judgmental.
So many of the days’ entries touched me deeply. In many of them, I heard my own questions voiced and treated with respect in return. Things that I had shoved out of view a long time ago because they were questioned and treated trivially or scoffed at by even respected “professionals” were addressed in this set of meditations and given thoughtful consideration. The replies were true to His Word. If you know of someone who has given up on counseling or talking about their wounded heart, this book may help bridge a gap or serve as the beginning to the road of recovery. I highly recommend it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) on behalf of Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”