Be Healed

When I tell people about this book by Bob Schuchts, I have the hardest time explaining why I think they should read it.  All I seem to be able to say is, “I wish every person on the planet could read this book.”  That sounds so goofy, but I mean it.  Schuchts opened my eyes to how much God loves each and every one of us.  That means you, and it means me.  Yes, me, the 42-year-old woman who still feels like a scared, shy little girl inside.  Me, even though I don’t always stand up for what’s right because I’m so scared.  Me, who makes so many selfish choices every single day.  He loves me, and, get this, He wants to heal me.  He wants to heal me of my sinfulness and my anxiety and maybe even my restless leg syndrome.  He doesn’t want me to feel tired and discouraged all the time.  Jesus is a healer.  In the Gospels He heals people everywhere he goes:  blind people, paralytics, lepers.  They open themselves up to Him in faith, and he heals them.  We all know the stories, but how many of us believe that this kind of healing is available to us?

So, how does Schuchts open his reader’s eyes?  He shares his own weakness and failures and his own story of healing.  He shares stories of healing in his clients (he’s a licensed marriage and family therapist) and miracles he has witnessed on mission trips.  He points us toward Scripture passages we may have read dozens of times without considering what they mean for us.  He asks his readers to pause and think about the questions he poses to us.

The first time I read this book, I rushed straight through it in about a week.  I didn’t want to put it down because I had such a beautiful, warm feeling inside as if someone who loves me more than I know were hugging me the whole time I was reading.  Now I am slowly working my way through it again so that I can take time to write out my answers to the reflection questions Schuchts poses throughout the book.  I am almost done, but I feel as if I am still missing something in my experience with this book.  And that is someone, or lots of someones, to share it with.  I want my husband to read it, and I want to buy copies for my parents and my mother-in-law.  And I want all of you who are reading this blog post to find a copy.  If I had the money, I would buy lots of copies and spread them around, give them as gifts for every occasion, leave them in Little Free Libraries around my community, do whatever I could to get this book into the hands of as many people as possible.  Because the healing that it offers can change the world.  One person at a time.  You can find Be Healed here.

So, I hope you’ve already clicked on the link and ordered your copy, but I realize some of you out there might click on it and read the description, and say to yourselves, “Oh, this is a Catholic book.  I’m not Catholic, so it’s not for me.”  You’d be wrong.  I am convinced that any Christian would benefit greatly from this book and if you’re not Christian, I would still recommend reading it.  This is a book that points you toward a God who loves you and wants you to have peace in your soul.  I don’t think you have to be Christian to be drawn toward that God.

I can also imagine another group of people who might hesitate to read this book.  These are people of faith who have prayed sincerely for healing for themselves or someone they love, but the healing didn’t come.  I can imagine all different kinds of hurt a person would feel in this situation. If that’s you, I think you might need this book most of all.  Schuchts has been in your place.  He prayed for healing for his brother who ultimately died of AIDS.  Read his story and know that God loves you as much as he loves the people who receive miraculous physical healings.

In my post about Something Other Than God I wrote about my mission to guide my family on the path to heaven.  I also feel as if God is calling me to spread the word about Be Healed.  Schuchts recognizes that we are all wounded, and he believes that true healing comes from treating the whole person – body, mind, and soul.  Here’s the link again so you can read for yourself what he has to say.

 

Subverted

Subverted is another book I’ve read recently that has made a deep impression on me.  The subtitle of this book is “How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.”  How’s that for  provocative?  The author, Sue Ellen Browder, earned her degree from the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1969.  This book is a combination of investigative journalism and memoir.  She lived through the women’s movement, and she believes that in her career as a magazine writer she helped create propaganda that derailed it.  For this book she thoroughly researched historical records, such as the minutes of early meetings of the National Organization for Women, to understand how the women’s movement turned away from a focus on educational and economic opportunities and toward a focus on contraception and abortion.

Browder knows from personal experience how much women needed a movement to demand equal rights with men.  She married her husband, Walter, while they were both still in college, and she was fired from her first job when she became pregnant.  Not long after that, she lost out on a job at Baby Talk magazine (of all places!) because she mentioned in the interview that she had a baby at home.

Ultimately, she landed a job at Cosmopolitan and felt her dream of writing for a significant magazine had come true.  She soon learned that she was expected to write stories that promoted the editor’s philosophy and imitated her writing style.  Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of Cosmo, had published her book, Sex and the Single Girl, one year before Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique.  Browder sums up the difference between them:  “Whereas Betty Friedan’s message to women was ‘Creative work of your own will set you free,’ Helen Gurley Brown’s message to the single woman was ‘Hard work and sex will set you free (as long as you don’t have children).'”

Brown had a vision in her mind of a sexually free single woman with a successful career, and she used her magazine to sell that image to her audience.  Browder explains that Brown “had even written a set of guidelines suggesting it was fine for us to make up ‘experts’ to quote and to invent anecdotes about ordinary single women.”  After about ten years, she says, it was no longer necessary to invent the anecdotes because so many women had started living the “Cosmo lifestyle.”  The propaganda had been successful.

It is interesting to note that while writing articles like “When He Doesn’t Want Sex,” “What to Do about Those Ubiquitous Vaginal Infections,” and “Just How Neurotic Are You?”, Browder was blissfully married to her beloved Walter and delighting in her young children.  That’s not to say that her personal life was easy.  She and Walter, who dreamed of being a novelist, often struggled to make ends meet, and they did face tragedy together, but they loved each other, and they loved their family life.

This book opened my eyes to the struggles of women today.  Why is it still so hard for women to have children and a career?  Why do women still earn less than men?  Why don’t we have paid maternity leave?  Why is it often hard to find quality, affordable childcare?  Browder makes it clear that all of the passion of the women’s movement turned toward a focus on avoiding motherhood instead of making it easier to raise a family and pursue a career.  Browder’s book contains a heaping platter of food for thought, and I recommend it to everyone:  women and men, liberals and conservatives, agnostics and people of faith.  No matter who you are or what you believe about women’s rights and the sexual revolution, Browder has worked hard to provide accurate historical research and to open up her wounded soul in an effort to bring us all together to see how we can truly improve the lives of women.

Here’s a link if you’re interested in reading more.

 

Something Other Than God

This week my goal is to publish three posts, each about a different book I’ve read in the past few months that has left a deep impression on me.  I am starting with Something Other Than God.  Last fall I read this incredible memoir by Jennifer Fulwiler.  She chronicles her journey to Christianity after growing up in an atheist family.  Her story is fascinating, and her humor and humility come through in her writing.  It’s one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read.

Her story is so different from my own, but we do have a few things in common.  We both moved frequently as children because of our dads’ jobs, and we are both college-educated American women.  Actually, I guess that’s about all we have in common until we reach the point in her story when she becomes a mother.  Having a baby was a turning point for her.  She had struggled to face her own mortality; the thought of her child’s mortality was more than she could handle.  Yet, heaven was one of that last pieces of the puzzle that she fit into place as she opened her eyes, her mind, and her heart to God.

Her journey is far from smooth, and her husband shows little interest in her search even though he has always considered himself a Christian.  He seems to be too busy starting his own law firm to help his wife find answers to life’s biggest questions, until one day he unexpectedly jumps into an online discussion she’s having and suddenly becomes more enthusiastic than she is to learn more about the history of Christianity and to ponder moral issues.  His turning point is one of my favorite moments in the book, so I don’t want to reveal what prompts it.

The title comes from C.S. Lewis, who once wrote, “All that we call human history . . . [is] the long, terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”  Fulwiler spent about 20 years of her life trying to have as much fun as possible in an effort to forget that she would one day die, that someday there would be nothing left of her.  Ultimately, she learns that true happiness comes from service to God and others.  There’s nothing wrong with having fun, but lasting happiness only comes from opening ourselves to God’s plan for our lives.

Fulwiler has helped me see that God has a mission for me, too.  Really, I should have been more aware of it all along.  I have a husband and three children, and I’m supposed to be caring for them and teaching my little ones and helping them all follow the path to heaven.  That means I need to turn off Facebook and go fold the laundry in service to my family.  Or better yet, I need to encourage my seven-year-old and five-year-old to sit down with me and learn how to fold the laundry because I need to teach them about serving others as well.  Most importantly, it means nurturing the spiritual life of my family so that we can each grow closer to God and hear His voice in our hearts, inviting each of us to live out His plan for us.

Fulwiler’s next book will be out in 2018.  The title is One Beautiful Dream:  The Rollicking Tale of Personal Passions, Family Chaos, and Saying Yes to Them Both.  I can’t wait to read it!  In the meantime, I’ll probably be rereading  Something Other Than God, and I highly recommend that you pick it up as well.