One of the things I have come across more often than I would like in my pastoral ministry is abuse. Verbal abuse and bullying (of both youth and adults) has been the most common, but I have had people come to me who have dealt with more serious abuse: sexual, physical, and psychological. It is a sad fact that domestic abuse is no less common within the church as it is without. This is a very difficult and complicated issue to deal with on a pastoral basis. Abusers are often good at hiding under a guise of morality and victims are too often afraid to come forward for help. Add to that, that there is next to no training about this in seminary and good tools and resources are hard to find.
I am therefore very glad to be able to highly recommend The Walking Wounded: The Path from Brokenness to Wholeness by “Secret Angel.” This is a very unique book. Each of the short chapters deals with a type of abuse and has two parts. The first is an overview of what a specific type of abuse is and overviews the roles of both the abuser and the victim. Some of the types of abuse covered are bullying, verbal, physical, sexual, psychological, and financial abuse. The second part goes into an autobiographical account of the author’s own experience with that chapter’s specific form of abuse, and how Jesus ultimately rescued her from it and took her from brokenness to wholeness.
What makes Secret Angel’s book so helpful is that it helps people outside the abuse relationship, such as myself, understand an abuser’s tactics and the victim’s mindset, as well as providing signs to look for so that they both might be identified. The book is also powerful in that it shows how God can overcome and save even in the darkest of circumstances. It is just as helpful for a person experiencing abuse: it lets them know that they are not alone, that there are people who understand what they are going through, and that God is both willing and able to give them the help, healing, and hope that they need to escape it.
It is well written and easy to read. In fact, I found it hard to put down; the autobiographical sections read like a novel, and I found that I had to keep reading to find out what happened next!
The book can be ordered here. I highly recommend this book to my readers, especially to my fellow colleagues in ministry and to my readers who are dealing with issues of abuse. I also recommend Secret Angel’s blog which can be found here.