Saturday, August 31, 2013

Anne Graham Lotz, ©2013 ~ Wounded by God's People: Discovering How God's Love Heals Our Hearts

I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke of their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.
   --Hosea 11:4

Tucked into Abraham's biography is the story of Hagar, a young Egyptian slave with whom Abraham had a son named Ishmael. Hagar stood out because she was wounded—not physically, but in ways that were as emotionally and spiritually painful as any injury to a body would be. Some wounds were provoked by her own bad behavior, but others were inflicted by those who considered themselves God's people. Anne too has been wounded by God's people. Some wounds have been deeper than others, some have come out of nowhere, and still others have been provoked by her own behavior, but all of the wounds have been deeply painful. They seemed to hurt even more when the wounders wrapped their behavior in a semblance of religion or piety. As Hagar's story unfolds, you will discover that wounded people often become wounders themselves.

While Anne identifies with the wounded, the unpleasant reality is that she also identifies with the wounders, because she has been one, too. She knows from experience that wounding is a cycle that needs to be broken. And by God's grace, it can be. Many have had similar experiences. And perhaps you are among those who have been so deeply hurt that you have confused God's imperfect people with God. Maybe you have even run away from God as a result. Or perhaps you have been a wounder to the extent that you are living in a self-imposed exile, believing you are unworthy to be restored to a warm, loving relationship with God or with God's people. Whatever your hurts may be, Wounded by God's People helps you to begin a healing journey—one that enables you to reclaim the joy of God's presence and all the blessings God has for you. God loves the wounded. And the wounders.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
   --Psalm 147:3
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
   --Philippians 4:19-20
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Anne Graham Lotz brings God's Word into our hearts to heal and show us the direction God has for us, each of us. Years ago, the city I lived in had a gathering once a year called Women's Day Away. We came from far and near to this special day set apart to attend workshops, have tea and coffee with friends, and to listen to the KeyNote Speaker ~ two different times it was Anne Graham Lotz. I have never forgotten sitting in that old church from generation to generation with the warmth of the well-loved smooth wooden pews amid sisters of the heart as we listened together to Anne's experience with her God, our God ~ never failing us, always with us, never setting us apart.

While reading Wounded by God's People: Discovering How God's Love Heals Our Hearts, experiences are shared while the Lord searches hearts to bring to the surface areas He wants to heal.

Anne talks about looking back in a rearview mirror, we cannot see where we are going forward. Unmet expectations, not arriving where we thought we should be ~ destroying our future, and possibly that of our family and loved ones. I think of a wood stove with the damper in the wrong position ~ is the smoke going up the chimney, or into our breathing room, causing us to be choked off?
   But I don't stop with just the decision to forgive. Once I have made the decision to forgive, I move forward by doing something for the person who hurt me. 
   --Wounded by God's People, 200
One poignant example that stood out to me was going beyond forgiveness of words, to actions of the heart ~ sacrificially giving of ourselves to another in as much need of this care as we are.
   But then my decision to forgive needs to be followed with an act of love that's sacrificial in nature.
   --Ibid., 200
I know this is true because I have experienced it. Times specifically come to mind when I chose to listen to God, setting myself apart to free another ~ and I became free. God's Word is true. He comes alongside and does not leave us.
    Although you may not be in exile physically ― you may still be going to church, attending Bible studies, involved in religious activities ― could it be that your spirit is nonetheless in exile because you are stuck in the quicksand of past wounds? Is there a cold vacancy where there used to be a warm vibrancy of love for the things and people of God? Is there a root of bitterness that is strangling your spirit on the inside, threatening to choke off the future God has in store for you?
   --Ibid., 204
Anne is open about where she has been, and others. Whether on purpose or accidentally, there is occasion to wound and be wounded by those we trust and expect to be treated rightly. Through the story of Hagar, Anne reveals Truth from God's heart. A fresh encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ is available to each of us.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
   --Psalm 145:18-19
I have mentioned areas that spoke to me. You will experience with Anne, the Lord's nearness to us. His desire is to heal our hearts and those whose hearts need mending, available through communicating together. We are not alone. Extend a hand and release both hearts to seek Him.

***Thank you to BookSneeze for sending me a copy of Wounded by God's People: Discovering How God's Love Heals Our Hearts by Anne Graham Lotz. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

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