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5 Stars Out Of 5
October 18, 2010
As a Christian and a former cutter, I was looking forward to reading this book with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Mostly, though, I was just afraid. Afraid of the denial, oversimplifying and overspiritualizing that I've been subjected to at the hands of well-meaning (and sometimes not-so-well-meaning) Christians.
This book was an utter and thoroughly balanced surprise. I would recommend this book to anyone who seeks to understand self-injurers better. While being authentically Christian, the author does not minimize the psychological and physiological aspects of self-injury. And while she pays due attention to the spiritual side of self-injury, she doesn't equate self-injury with a solely spiritual problem.
Yes, we need to trust God in everything, but that doesn't mean we can pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and garner up some "more faith" or "more trust." Nor can those of us in the pits of deep depression "just look on the bright side." Though I am now able to do that (because of medication and counseling), in the depths of my despair, it was simply not possible. It is God who begins the good work in us, and it is God who carries it through to completion. And, ever the creative God, he uses many means to heal people in the way that will best get through to them, including both Bible reading and prayer, as well as medication and wise counselors and good theology professors, etc.!
Reading this book affirmed my journey of healing, my journey back into the embrace of a God I once saw as only distant and condemning. Thank you, Jerusha and Earl, for helping people, most of all self-injurers, see that Jesus' body was broken, battered and wounded so ours don't have to be; so there is no longer any need for the self-injurer's body to be the guilt sacrifice for sin. By his wounds we are--often slowly but surely--healed.
I also have personal experience with this subject. I read the first couple pages of this book and thought, "Wow, I pretty much could have written those--that's exactly how I feel!" I was so excited, because somebody got it, somebody understood what I was going through and how it made me feel. However, the rest of the book was a horrible disappointment. I would have trouble recommending this as a Christian book. The main thing in overcoming self-injury is learning to trust God no matter what you are going through--which is a lot harder than it sounds. In this book, God almost seems to be an afterthought. The book may help some in explaining or understanding self-injury (though Ed Welch's booklet on the subject is a much better and cheaper alternative), but it has little, if anything, to offer as far as overcoming self-injury.