"Not Forsaken" by Jennifer Michelle Greenberg. A Review
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"When evil looms and darkness falls
And tragedy is breaking
When all that's good seems overturned
By God I'm not forsaken
For though I fall or wander far
I'm not too far for saving
And when my Shepherd seeks and finds
How can I keep from singing" (229)?
So cantillates Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, mother, wife, writer, musician and abuse survivor, in her new 240 page hardback "Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse". This volume is the tale of her terrors and troubles at the hands of an abusive father, and it is far, far more. It is truly a story of life after abuse, abundant life found only in the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. An easy to read book, it is ideally suited for those who have been traumatized and those who long to help the trampled! "I am not my abuser. I have a choice. I aspire to heal and grow by God's grace" (82).
Greenberg inaugurates "Not Forsaken" with short, heart-rending glimpses of her childhood to give the reader a deep sense that this is not a disaffected academic research project, but life and flesh and grief and pain woven into the fiber of each page. Yet the author does not dwell long in those dark corners and dank memories. She quickly moves on to uncover the substance of health and wholeness. She leaves little wiggle-room for an abuser's self-justifications. In fact, she rightly states - for the good of survivors - that you "won't recover from evil if you can't admit what is evil...For when we call evil what it is, not only do we embark upon the process of recovery, but we deny our abuser power over our minds" (51).
"Not Forsaken" also helps the victims to work through the voices in their head, the fog of confusion, the backbreaking weight of borrowed guilt, and the manipulative ploys used by their perpetrators that linger. The author even takes a constructive jaunt down the trail of forgiveness, making very useful distinctions and voicing invaluable perceptions. I deeply appreciated Greenberg's clear-eyed depictions of the traits of an abuser, and the trademarks of a "gracer" (44-51). This book is definitely a story about life after abuse, and how to actually live after abuse.
Fittingly did Russell Moore, president of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, pen in the forward that what is most real in the cosmos is "the action of grace in territory held largely by the devil." Therefore, Christians "should be, above all people, those who understand the reality of trauma. And we should be, above all people, those who know that trauma is not invincible to the workings of grace" (9). This book is just the book to give Christians the means to understand trauma, and rejoice that trauma and evil are not invincible to the workings of God's grace. And this book is just the book to give the traumatized, abused, and surviving a hopeful and healthy way to be swept up in the workings of grace as it vanquishes evil! I not only recommend the book, I implore you to obtain copies to give to the scarred and violated.
My thanks to The Good Book Company for sending me a copy of the book at my request, which I used for this review. They made no stipulations or specifications. Therefore, this assessment is my own, freely penned and freely presented.
Get the book here.
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