4 Stars Out Of 5
Abuse to Favor: Finding Hope & Healing
August 27, 2013
ABUSE TO FAVOR is a 96-page minibook that is a part of the Freedom Series created by popular author and speaker, Michelle Borquez. Each booklet in the series shares a woman's true story about her journey from brokenness to freedom.
In Abuse to Favor, Jo Ann Aleman writes about growing up in a home filled with chaos, fear, and insecurity. Her "normal" was living in a family with an abusive alcoholic father who regularly took out his rage and violence on her mother.
Like so many girls who have been brought up in an abusive environment, she promised herself that her future would not be like her past. She fantasized about finding someone who would love and take care of her, someone to rescue her... be her "savior".
"Many times we think of abuse as being only physical; however, abuse takes on many forms. Sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse--even neglect--are all perversions of real, unconditional love."
But the cycle of abuse didn't stay in her past. It repeated itself, only now she was all grown up. She ended up in one abusive relationship after another. The constant intimidation, physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse held her hostage and imprisoned by her fears.
Longing to be loved, she hoped that the next man would bring the security she so desperately wanted, but it didn't happen. In fact, it began to spill over onto her daughter. That's when something shifted. This time, she didn't reach out to a man, but to God. Aleman says, "Although we are all somewhat conditioned by our environment, something deep inside of us reveals the truth." She knew there was more for her and she wanted, once and for all, to be free.
Sharon Kay Ball (a professional counselor) defines healthy and unhealthy thinking and behaviors; and uses Bible study format to speak to the issues of conflict, power, authority, power struggles, and abuse that can affect any type of relationship. She also walks readers through common abuser behaviors: rage, silence, intimidation, altering the victims sense of reality, criticizing, and blame-shifting.
"His words only confirmed my feelings. They shaped me, took root in my heart, and I believed the things he said."
Ball breaks down the phases in the cycle of abuse and talks about making a "safe plan". Although it's crucial to get out of an abusive relationship physically, it's not enough. Victims need to purge themselves from the damaging affects of abuse that are left embedded in their minds and spirits. That means working through issues of trust, low self-image, forgiveness, anger, and learning how to move forward. Aleman writes, "I was free on the surface, yet broken and deeply wounded inside." That was, until she decided to no longer allow herself to be defined by abusive men, but by a loving God who offered hope and healing.
This booklet packs a lot into its pages while addressing both the practical and spiritual elements to finding favor, and freedom from abuse. As with all of the minibooks in the Freedom Series, Abuse to Favor is suitable for both individual and small group settings.
(Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet)