If you’ve ever wondered how God can use challenging situations to His glory, here is one example.
You may remember the woman with bulimia who I met in Whole Foods 2 months ago. After I wrote that blog post, I just “happened” to get an email from Constance Rhodes, the author of Life Inside the Thin Cage: A Personal Look into the Hidden World of the Chronic Dieter. It was a mass email as I am on the list for the organization she leads, FINDINGbalance. She and I have chatted a couple of times before over the last – oh, probably 8+ years since I saw her speak at SoulFest, but I really don’t think she’d remember me. I had written the blog post by that point, and I sent that to her in an email along with a handful of questions.
Through this opportunity, I met the blog moderator, Abby Kelly. We are becoming quick friends 🙂 In fact, I will appear on her blog sometime in the near future (when I get my act together – ahem!).
She sent me her review of Learning to Walk in Freedom this week. Wow, she is generous with her words. If you’re wondering if this book can help someone without same-sex attraction, here is your answer.
I first read Brenna Kate Simonds in a brief blog post that she shared with FINDINGBalance. As the editor of that ministry’s blog I approach most submissions with a critical eye. I usually find a sentence or two to prune and sometimes the story just doesn’t address our audience. However, when I read Brenna’s story, I knew it was not only well written and would appeal to any audience, but that it would speak to, and change, anyone who was blessed to read it.
Immediately, I headed over to Brenna’s website, Living Unveiled. I had to read more from this bold and beautiful woman, a woman who unashamedly writes from her pain, and bravely pours life into the secret wounds of strangers. It was there I discovered her book.
Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps, is the culmination, for now, of Brenna’s ministry to any who feel bound by sin, failure, defeat, loneliness and fear. I say culmination, because to produce a book this deep is a monstrous effort of faith and energy, but Brenna is only on the cusp of what God intends to do for and through her.
I picked up, Learning to Walk in Freedom, as one now walking in freedom after 15 years of bondage to anorexia. I felt camaraderie with Brenna from the very start as she tells her story of battling an eating disorder. But almost anyone will find common ground with the author, who also shares of struggling with same sex attraction, emotional dependency, self-injury and chronic low self-esteem.
With empathy, Brenna lays open her own wounds and tells of the healing Jesus Christ gave her—how through Him she learned to walk in freedom. Then, employing an almost simplistic strategy she walks her reader through five steps leading them straight to the throne of grace.
Now lest you fear that this is a preachy book, written only with the holier-than-thou, assured-of-their-salvation, from the preface, Brenna invites everyone to join her on this journey. She writes:
‘You may not be sure you really know God, or you may be quite confident that you don’t. You may not be sure that you want to know Him anymore. Perhaps you have experienced a measure of freedom, have long since moved past that “gasping for air” feeling, but still dream and hope, as I did, for more than this. This book is for you all.’
Brenna doesn’t abandon her readers after a careful explanation of the five steps to walking in freedom. Instead, she grips their hand a little tighter, tugs again and says, “Let’s make this personal.”
For each of the five steps, Brenna compiles all of the Scripture references used in the book. Then, she asks pointed, inductive questions to help the reader, “feel the ground beneath their feet”, as they take each step.
Lastly, Brenna shares her testimony in full detail. I love that she saved the gritty intricacies of her story until the end. Such humility. She gives her readers enough to identify with her and feel safe as they follow her through the steps toward freedom. But she doesn’t offer up her story of courageous recovery until the very end. Throughout the book, the focus remains on the reader and on the work that God can do, will do and is doing in their own lives.