How Did We Become Angry? (LAMB Ministries 7X7: Biblical Recovery for Women Suffering from Trauma and Abuse) by Paula Rose Michelson ~Review

How Did We Become Angry LAMB Ministries

How Did We Become Angry? LAMB Ministries by Paula Rose Michelson

From my own observations over the years as a former teacher, as a Mom, as an employee, as a former youth worker, as a person involved in the church music ministry, and especially as a human being, I have noticed how adept people are at hiding their anger inside. We are so adept that we learn to deny any anger exists at all. We often look to outside sources to blame, if there is anything to blame. In my opinion, this behavior leads to all types of failed relationships, including a failed relationship with God! And complications of this internal anger can include loss of jobs, broken marriages, broken families, broken friendships and even poor health. I often wonder, why are we doing this to ourselves? I believe that answer can be found in this wonderful self-help book by Paula Rose Michelson.

One of the reviewers in the preface for How Did We Become Angry by Paula Rose Michelson wrote, “the purpose of Christian counseling is to aid individuals to get unstuck in their life.” I enthusiastically agree with this viewpoint. And this book is one of the best I have read that could help many people get “unstuck”. That’s because I believe many of us are bogged down carrying around a load of anger on our shoulders, even if we don’t realize it. We aren’t healing or budging from this state because we refuse to believe we are carrying around this burden at all. After reading and putting to practice the steps written in this manual, I am convinced this book could be an effective “monkey wrench” to help us dislodge the rust that has settled into our spiritual joints and muscles. I’m talking about the spiritual atrophy that makes us ineffective spouses, friends, parents, church workers, neighbors, employees, co-workers and especially Christ followers. It’s the type of spiritual arthritis that makes us apathetic human beings.

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This author readily admits she herself has needed to deal with unaddressed anger. She grew up experiencing the unreasonable wrath of a mother un-diagnosed with bipolar disorder or as it was called back then, manic depression. I know what that’s like. I lived with a mother like that myself. Here is where I have experienced a kinship to the author since my mother was also one who should have been diagnosed with manic depression. She was completely unpredictable and sometimes out of control of her mood swings and anger. My mother was later diagnosed with what I know is a common side disorder to bipolar, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). That translated to mean that she was capable of ranting about nothing for hours on end, laying down blame and guilt everywhere and on anyone, especially her children and spouse, even to the point of holding grudges for decades.  Ms. Michelson has decided to share with her readers the step by step process God used to heal her.

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When you purchase this book, be sure to read the introduction and preface where she tells about the beginning of a ministry God gave to her: LAMB Ministries. She had already had a heart for helping others recover from substance abuse. She then went on to develop this new organization to assist women in or recovering from abusive relationships. She uses the same method as described in this book that God used in healing her own damaged heart. This became her own special ministry. But this technique is readily applicable to everyone, male or female, regardless of one’s background. I am thoroughly grateful to Paula Rose Michelson for generously sharing God’s truth with us in this book.

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What I like most about this book’s contents is the simplicity of the plan. The author makes it clear that part of this plan is forgiveness. It’s important to understand that forgiveness is a process, not a single event. Some parts of this plan will need to be repeated. But because it centers around God’s Word, it works.


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Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor by Katariina Rosenblatt and Cecil Murphey ~Review~

Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor


When I think of sex trafficking, it appears to me to be a remote problem, removed from my every day life. I’m sure many of us think the same way. We think it can’t possibly happen in our small town or neighborhood; it must be a problem in larger cities or across the border. We feel that the young ones at risk can’t possibly be ones that we know–nieces, nephews, young cousins, friends’ children, our children, kids in our neighborhoods or from our churches. But after reading this book, I’ve discovered just how wrong I am. Exploitation can happen anywhere, with anyone at any time…even under our noses. Wake up, readers! Read this book.

From the back cover: “Katariina Rosenblatt was a lonely and abused young girl,yearning to be loved, wanting attention. That made her the perfect target. On an ordinary day, she met a confident young woman–someone Kat wished she could be like–who pretended to be a friend while slowly luring her into a child trafficking ring. A cycle of false friendships, threats, drugs, and violence kept her trapped.

As Kat shares her harrowing experiences, her ultimate escapes, and her passionate efforts to now free other victims, you’ll see that not only is sex trafficking happening frighteningly close to home–it’s also something that can be stopped. Stolen is a warning, a celebration of survival, and a beacon of hope that will inspire you.”

There are three distinct sections in this book. The first is Katariina Rosenblatt’s personal story–her abuse, how her loneliness attracted a recruiter right there in the hotel she lived in, how she was led, groomed, step-by-step into slavery by traffickers, her escape and recapture numerous times.

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In the second part, Katariina had left the lies and deceptions behind, but she still carried the scars and signs of abuse so that she didn’t recognize the patterns within the context of marriage. While she was gaining confidence and recognition for her educational acumen, finding her footing as an advocate for girls and women coming out of sex slavery, she was still in denial of a private hell at home with her husband. It took her over twenty years to realize she was an abused wife, then she suffered through two years of a messy divorce before she gained her freedom and independence with her daughter.

The third part of the book deals with how Ms. Rosenblatt got involved in inter-agency interventions, saving girls and even boys from traffickers. She helped create several intervention organizations, spearheaded law reforms that sought to label trafficked children and teens as victims rather than arrested as criminals, and helped create links with faith-based services to provide aid and mentorship to the abused young people, including counseling to help them learn to live a normal life outside of the only world most of the children had ever known. Her actions and ministry were sometimes likened to the Underground Railroad, because she would lead children from station to station, trying to keep the abused safe from vengeful pimps and traffickers who would rather see their victims dead than escape alive.

Why is this industry so hard to shut down? First, because it’s subtle and everywhere. People are in denial that there is a problem even in their supposedly safe neighborhoods. Second, the money is a huge incentive to keep going. “One child can bring traffickers up to $3,000 a night.” Some can bring in nearly a million dollars a year. Think of how much abuse that child has to endure to make that much money. They become desensitized and stop struggling. They use a number of coping mechanisms including the use of drugs and alcohol. Their experiences open the door to domestic abuse, which they accept as a normal way of life. Where does it end?

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Stolen was a good hard slap to the face; certainly it was an eye opener for me. In the first two parts of the book, the story is told in simple terms. The author is careful to outline the psychological techniques the recruiters used, why she fell for them, what was on her mind when she complied with the demands of her new “family.” As the story continued, I felt astonished how often she escaped the abuse, then was lured back into the life. It all seemed to revolve around the lack of self-worth. Her abusers knew exactly what these children needed to hear. Even when she escaped the final time, she wasn’t truly free until her heart was transformed. But that took many years into adulthood.

The second aspect of the book that astonished me was Katariina’s spiritual journey. Early on in her childhood, her mother asked her husband to go to a Billy Graham Crusade with her when he came near to her city. Katariina went down to the front in response to the altar call. While down there, Mr. Graham turned in her direction and exclaimed something like, “Remember, God will never leave you or forsake you!” She never forgot that, a phrase that echoed in her heart each time she succumbed to abuse or slavery. She attributes the number of times she escaped to opportunities God opened up for her. But without a home church, Bible reading or follow-up discipleship, she drifted away from God when she needed Him most. Yet as I read her story, I was struck how often God reached out to Kat. He just never gave up. What a tremendous testimony of God’s pursuit of us.

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I view this book as an amazing tool for the Gospel of Christ. First, it should stir up slumbering Christians who are so self-absorbed that they are missing an opportunity to serve hurting children right under their noses. Second, this book could serve as a way to reach teenagers at risk, because this is a story of someone who has been in the trenches and survived. Third, it can be useful for alerting parents of the potential dangers their children may face. It is a how-not-to manual, teaching parents how to avoid putting their children at risk. Fourth, the final section should encourage our local churches to partner with organizations whose goal is to mentor young victims of trafficking how to live a normal life,especially one where they find their hope and fulfillment in Christ.

I would love to see every church have several copies of this book in circulation or to give away as a ministry. The book is amazing, and could touch many hearts.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Revell’s reader’s club blog review program. 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.”



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Dirty Faith: Bringing the Love of Christ to the Least of These by David Z. Nowell ~Review~

Dirty Faith: Bringing the Love of Christ to the Least of These by David Z. Nowell

Dirty Faith

How well do you understand who “the least of these” refers to in the biblical context? Have you thought about the implications about this following passage in the Bible: “Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ ” Matthew 25:41-45? How do you think this passage applies to you today? What about your local church family? How do these verses impact your church’s ministries? These questions, and many more, are addressed in this short 181-page book. Not only does it explain exactly what “dirty faith” is, the author demonstrates it, showcasing a particular ministry in Brazil that shines its light into some of the darkest corners in the world.

“This is a book about perspectives and possibilities. It is about looking at our world through the lens of grace, about seeing people as Christ does. It is about a different way of extending grace to and beyond the community of faith. It is about compassion–hurting alongside those in need. But again, it is not about a super-Christianity; I don’t find that concept in the New Testament. It is about normative faith, the kind that lives out the life of Christ.” The key to this book is not just in reading about someone else’s work for the poor and ‘the least of these.’ “Scripture does not know about an arm’s length faith.” The book is meant to stir the reader’s heart, to shake us out of our lethargy, and infuse us with fire in our spirits. It’s not written to overwhelm us with the colossal needs of the vulnerable, but to offer examples of how to change our perceptions so that we can find a niche where we fit in.

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While the author pummels us with grim statistics about the “least of these” around the world, I still found the book a great source of hope. What has been done in the name of Christ has wrought transformed hearts in the most seemingly hopeless cases. I learned about individuals and their circumstances and how their transformation has impacted their lives, their families’ lives, their neighborhood and beyond. I encourage you to read this book, allow your heart to be shredded and regenerated by the hope and joy found in these stories.

I found this book gripping. It was hard to put down once I started reading it. David Nowell talks to us in plain, simple language, as if it were a face to face conversation. Not only does he share the stories of Hope Unlimited for Children, but he teaches us truths he learned through his experiences getting his hands dirty and his heart entangled in the lives of those he served. I couldn’t read this book and remain passive about the plight of the children he was in continual contact with.

Then the author takes a stand and points out the reason more children are not impacted for good by the Church. “Many of us have become practitioners of a sterile faith, hiring professional Christians as the mercenaries of the kingdom. There are churches with no greater relevance than the local school, Rotary Club, United Way, or 4-H Club. This isn’t dirty faith. It’s sterile, sanitized, keep-the-world-at-arm’s-length-so-we-can-enjoy- our-blessings faith, a baptized version of the local Y. Have we become a church of believers rather than followers?” This is not exactly a popular idea.

A well thought-out challenge is issued to the community of believers. But he doesn’t just address the collective Church and leave it at that. Too many readers would just treat it as impersonal information, perhaps pray about it once or twice, then move on unchanged and indifferent. The truth is a piercing sword that cleanses while it cuts out the dross. In his challenge, I felt hope that more believers in Christ could become followers of Christ. The challenge isn’t just for the Church in some vague sense of a call to duty, but is a call to you and me, individually. Our transformation can shift the direction of the Church to once again point to Jesus Christ as the Alpha and the Omega, the Author and Finisher of our Faith that wants us to becomes doers of the Word and not hearers only.

Dirty Faith Quote2“Important point: All the language in Scripture about what God expects of us, and then what He will do for us, was not–is not– an abstraction. ‘Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to’ (Deuteronomy 15:10). None of this is a hypothetical. It was proven in the laboratory of the church of Jerusalem. They took God’s words at face value, and it proved out for them.” Nothing in this book is brand new. It is an application of Scripture as the early Christian community of Christ followers applied it. They lived it and proved it over and over again. To me, this is a challenge to ditch our cultural traditions that exist in the name of Christianity and move back to a Christ-centered community that focuses on giving not taking, on healing and sharing instead of protecting ourselves and focusing on our own welfare.

I would love to see this book the focus of group Bible studies with the purpose of loosening up and reaching out more. I believe the book’s goal is to reach the heart of Christians who are coasting, overly self-sufficient, unfocused or self-focused, living outside of God’s provision, who have lost the vision Jesus of Nazareth gave to His disciples. It is not an evangelistic book, yet it is all about evangelism, because God’s work cannot flow from a dead heart and from a dead Church. Go ahead. Read the book. I dare you!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House Publisher’s blog review program. 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.”

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21 Prayers for Teen Girls by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart — A Review


“Being beautiful in Christ isn’t as easy as slapping on a layer of makeup in the morning or
making sure to pick up the right clothes when you’re at the mall–it takes commitment and
the help of Christ living within you. It’s not something that you can achieve on your own,
but it’s a beauty that surpasses any physical primping you could ever do.”

“Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing
praises.” James 5:13 (NASB)

Now that I look back to my teen years, I am amazed that I managed to get through that tough period of my life without the fortifying and encouraging material I’ve found in this book. I remember being desperate for something positive in my life. I was being so overwhelmed by attacks, whether they were from the inside or the outside, that I was convinced I must be a truly ugly person. The world works overtime to make us doubt ourselves. Since that’s only scratching the surface of bad influences on our hearts and minds, then it makes sense that we need to be diligent to pour into our minds a counterattack in the form of the truth we find in Scripture. How does God really view us
and feel about us?

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If you are not sure what you should believe about yourself, this book will help you with that. The authors know what it is like to feel rejection, to experience peer pressure and doubts. They know what it is like to feel uncertain about the future and believe the lies others want you to believe about yourself. They take you through many prayers based on Bible verses that affirm how valuable you are and beautiful in God’s eyes. The prayers bring to our attention character qualities we may not have given any thought to before this. There is encouragement day by day, and prayer by prayer, for us to live out that value in our lives.

I don’t think you need to be a teenager to find this book encouraging. The prayers and verses directed my thoughts toward a loving, accepting God who wants a personal relationship with me. We all need that kind of reassurance and personal relationship. I highly recommend this book for anyone who would benefit from a focused guide that helps build positive thought habits in place of the negative ones we may have unintentional accepted for ourselves.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by the authors and Body and Soul Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.