As a parent, sometimes things outside of parenting can change your parenting – often without anyone even realizing what actually happened. It may be hurt or shame from something in the past that still spills over into the present, coloring how you see the world, your spouse and your kids.
So, I was interested when offered the chance to review the book Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest by Leeana Tankersley. Over the years as I reviewed various Christian books, I have begun to realize there are basically two types of books that I believe appeal to two different types of personalities – at least when it comes to faith.
The first type of books are those that tell a clear story, make appropriate connections to relevant scripture and give lots of practical tips and ideas. The other type of books are those that meander more. The story is often unclear. The ties to any particular scriptures may also be a bit fuzzy. The writing is often beautiful and almost poetic – designed to touch the emotional side of a person’s faith.
This book falls strongly in the second camp. Since I prefer the more direct type of Christian book, this one would have not been a favorite regardless. However, the author went beyond what I think even many Christians who prefer more poetic books would appreciate.
My first concern was that I found the book a bit confusing and very repetitive. She refers to being in a 12 step program, but never really mentions anything to make you think she actually needed to be in one. She talks about her husband being gone a lot – at first one would assume on a military assignment, but then she keeps mentioning work. It sounds petty, but trying to make sense of the rest depended in part upon understanding her story and why she was personally struggling so much. I just never really could understand.
The theme is often repeated in some ways throughout any book, but this one just seemed overly repetitive. Too many chapters were saying basically the same thing- she was always down on herself.
What was concerning though were her implied and direct suggestions for dealing with this issue. There seemed to be a combination of methods that blended Christianity, New Age, Hindu, Secular and who knows how many other philosophies and “cures”.
At one point she says she isn’t Catholic, but then goes into how important buying a medal of a Saint is to her. She has some sort of spiritual leader who almost sounds like a medium (although honestly, it’s not really clear). At one point, she even says God talks to her and tells her a specific version of the Bible in which she is to read a specific passage. Now, I’m not going to limit God and say He didn’t, but when combined with yoga, spiritual leaders, Catholic saints, connecting buying herself a flight suit with acknowledging who she really is and everything else, it just was all very confusing.
Her basic point is good. If you are struggling with hurt and shame, you do need to let it go to move forward spiritually. If I were you though, I would read my Bible instead.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.