Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hope Prevails (Book Review)

This is my friend, Michelle.  

I had the joy of meeting her last year and reconnecting with her again this year.  She and I were in the same group last year at The Declare Conference.  I felt like we connected immediately, and we kept in touch off and on through social media.  What a pleasure and honor it was to be part of her book launch team.  

Hope Prevails is an amazing book.  Michelle is a certified neuropsychologist, and she is licensed to know how to deal with depression.  However, this book is unlike any other.  She fills every page with her own personal struggles of dealing with depression and numerous Scripture references.  Although my heart breaks for her in all that she and her family have gone through, I also find myself cheering for her as she step-by-step talks about how she recovered.  I absolutely love that this book is intricately tied to God's Word.  Not just one or two references per chapter, but one paragraph may have eight to ten references in it.  

Depression is a tool of the enemy.  He has come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  He wants to steal our joy, kill our peace, and destroy our identities.  He does this by getting inside our heads and twisting everything around.  He makes us doubt our selves and question our worth.  He feeds on our personal anxieties and insecurities.  

But it is not true.  Michelle testifies throughout the pages that this is false.  God's Word says time and time again in many different formats how He loves us because He made us.  We can't earn it, and we can't lose it either.  Nothing we ever do can make God love us more than He already does...and nothing we ever do can make God love us less than He already does either.  

In Isaiah 54:17, we learn that "No weapon formed against us shall prevail."  And that includes the weapon of depression.  The enemy cannot use against us what we have surrendered to God.  When we start taking every thought captive and offering it up to God, the enemy begins to lose his power over us.  When we get God's thoughts and words firmly in our heads, we are filled with light and truth.  

Now to be clear, I am not saying that your days will get any easier.  I believe that they can and will over time, but it might be so gradual that it is hard to see.  Or the enemy may try even harder to pull you down once you start fighting back.  I admit that this is not an area where I have struggled, but I see hurting people all around me.  Beautiful people (of all ages) who are wrapped up in lies about themselves and cannot see themselves as God created them.  

There are two major themes that run throughout this book.  1). You are not alone.  God is always with you, and He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid or discouraged because He is with you (Joshua 1:9).  2).  Hope prevails.  Even in the darkest valley, you do not need to fear (Psalm 23:4). Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and that will prevail over anything else.  Keep your eyes fixed on Him because He is the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1). 

In addition to the personal trials as well as the strong ties to Biblical truth, the end of each chapter has a prescription for steps you can take to overcome the darkness and depression as well as a personal prayer.  It is even followed by several songs that helped Michelle overcome her struggles and may benefit you as well.  Whether you are struggling with depression or you love someone who is, I believe this book is powerful to help on many levels.  I highly recommend this book; I think it will be life-changing.

I want to leave you with a few words from the author herself.  

“I’m writing today from where I stand, the other side of depression’s valley. I encourage you to persevere. You will not always feel this way. There are brighter days ahead...

I’ve written this book to offer hope. In the midst of my battle, hope was elusive. I wasn’t sure I would survive. Actually, I wasn’t sure I wanted to survive. But hope—the belief in a purpose, the belief in something better—can make all the difference..."

Hope Prevails!

The opinions in this post are my own, and I have in no way been compensated for writing this review.

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