I am an avid reader of a wide variety of books. Among the variety Christian Fiction and Bible Study bump spines with Dystopian Teen Fiction, Children's Picture Books, Classic Literature, and the occasional Memoir to name a few. That being said I often avoid "self-help" books in favor of Bible Study, prayer, self analysis and reflection. However, there truly is a thin line between some Christian study and the category of "self-help books," and this thin line usually makes me very leery when choosing a specific type of book. Today, I am going to discuss "The Longing In Me" How everything you crave leads to the heart of God by Sheila Walsh
When I first read this title on BookLook Bloggers I had mixed emotions. I felt that it could either be "the book" that God would use to help me with scars, hurts, and understanding habits that I have collected and carried with me starting at a very young age. It could help me to see that my behaviors and what I long for are intricately knitted together creating a path to Christ, or it could be a complete flop for me. A flop in the sense that I many books and Authors will venture into the territory of deeply hurting or wounded people with examples of hardship that seem like...getting a flat tire on your way to a luxury vacation and needing to fly out a day late. Don't get me wrong, I understand that everyone has grief, stress, and hardships and that all hardships are relative to where a person is in life etc. No hardship SHOULD be judged as harder than another, but a Mother who lost her only child, or a family who lost everything in a fire will not be able to relate their tragedy to a delayed vacation....does that make sense?
Ok, moving on...
You will seek Me and You Will find me when You seek with ALL of Your heart! (Paraphrased and emphasis added by me). This verse sums up for me the bare-bones focus of this book...but in the most simplistic way!
Aside from relating tragedies the purpose of the book is to help you to realize/acknowledge that in trying to heal, feel, or fit-in, bad habits form thus leading you down an already worn path that you should not be on! You know this, I KNOW this for myself! Still I find myself looping around depending on people who are not good for me or depending on people more than I depend on Christ. Until I learn this lesson I am bound to stay on the same track. This book aims to help you jump track and aim straight again. A bit of my "self help-y" aversion was creeping in...how realistic is it for a book, not a Bible study,*** could attempt such healing and life changing actions?
***Fortunatly there is a companion Study Guide and Bible study DVD and I cannot wait to purchase them!!***
While I had my initial concern about how real and authentic the author may be or to what degree they may know or understand the hardships that create such deep longing and lonliness. Well, my concern immediately left my body when I tealized that the author was Sheila Walsh. Ms. Walsh is someone that I have had the pleasure of hearing speak/teach live and in-person a couple of times. I also love her lullaby album for my kids and for times that we just need some positive peace. I also owned some of her children's books. However, while this is a healthy "knowing" about an Author I really did not know what to expect. I knew from her live "show" that she has had struggle in her life and most importantly I knew that she did not shy away from sharing these struggles. She is, in my opinion, one of the rare "real" or "truly authentic" Christian speakers/teachers/leaders of our time. So in hopes that I would gain some wisdom and "meet" a kindred spirit traveling through steep trials I requested to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Before I was even done the forward/introduction I had teared-up, laughed, and realized that I needed to consciously make the effort to read this with all walls down so that I could soak up every last drop that God had planned for me! I knew going in that I had a lot of "holes" to mend. I had been trying to mend them on my own for so long that I believed I would never be able to heal fully. While I cannot say that I am 100% good as new, I can say that I have learned so much that I am currently in my second read through in order to glean as much as possible from every jam-packed page of wisdom and heart-felt nudges. I also do not forsee this book leaving my bed table or my TBR/Currently reading list anytime soon!
When you feel like you can make it through anymore "therapy" for that day you will still find yourself meditating on what you have read and 9 times out of 10 you will still go back for more. I am so open and raw from simply reading and asking the Lord to hold my hand and walk me through this, I cannot imagine how Ms. Walsh must feel! This book is a must read for anyone going through or healing from any kind of trauma, even of the delayed vacation sort☺️. It is also a must read for anyone who is loving or counseling someone through trauma or heartache. This book is uniquely geared for women and I would stick with that, but I would also add that this would also be extremely helpful for anyone mentoring or helping young women/girls through trials of the heart, decision making, and having an authentic relationship with our Savior, our God!