Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Author’s Brutal Honesty Could Help Save Your Life, Marriage

Hanging On To Hope: From Marriage to Divorce Thru Depression
To Remarriage And What God Taught Me Along The Way
Author: Annette Newcomb
Published by: Westbow Press, Bloomington, IN, 2016

This is the incredible true life account of a woman who for all intents and purposes, could be you, your spouse, your sister, your mother, or your friend. I would be astonished if anyone read the whole book without saying “that’s me to a T” or “that’s my. . .” at several points in the story.
Annette Newcomb shares her personal experiences, thoughts, relationships with her husband, life with her sons, and her reliance on friendships very transparently and in a way that allows all of us to identify with her struggles, fears, disappointments, and hopes. Interwoven through her life story which includes loss of a loved one, battles with cancer, suicide attempts, illness of a child, severe financial troubles, a rebellious teenager, a wonderful marriage turned awful through abuse, divorce, and later the discovery that she is bipolar, is her constant conversation with God. What she needed was ‘hope’ and there was no better place to find it than in a relationship with God through prayer and the study of His Word.
If there is anyone in our modern typical North American society that knows trials and tribulations, it is Annette.  Short of living in extreme poverty, under constant war, being used in the sex trade, or controlled by a gang, Annette’s earthly problems ranked way up there. But through it all she discovers, sometimes through a friend, sometimes through her own study, or the words of a pastor, that God gives to His children without ‘finding fault’; that He can be trusted if when He doesn’t tell us why we are going through something awful; that we have to come to the place where if God were to withdraw His blessing and it would not affect our trust in Him; that He will be ‘with’ us through the difficult waters; and that God didn’t talk about ‘if’ difficulties come our way, but ‘when’ they do.
Newcomb at one point cries out for God to bring along an older, wiser man that her husband could talk with, pray with, and discuss his issues with, but God fails to comply. As I read that, I wondered if it was not so much that God did not want to provide a positive response to her plea, but that there just are not enough such Godly men around. If that’s the case, what a sad commentary on our society. But still, Annette never judges anyone in this book and in fact, goes out of her way to explain how she understands all who have gone through the various life experiences she has, including divorce as a Christian.
In the process of sharing her life, the author recommends several great resources for Christians and married couples. The section on the reconciliation between her ex-husband and herself was described with great candor.  It reminded me of the movie Fireproof (2008), only this was for real. Another part of her honesty is evident when in several places throughout the book, Newcomb identifies some bad decision she made alone and some she made with her husband.
While marriage, “the only relationship we have here on earth that compels us to exhibit each of the fruits of the Spirit on a daily basis” is her main thrust, Newcomb also spends considerable time discussing her observation of how our churches and individual Christians treat mental illness today, shows us how that can change, and pleads for us to make it happen.
This is a book that will touch anyone who reads it. It is also a book that should be given to anyone contemplating marriage.  I intend to use it with the pre-marital counselling I do. It is also an excellent resource for married couples. But above all, it will change the way you view your life, your family, your marriage, and your relationship with God.  Put another way, it will help you know, seek, and find hope.

By Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, August 9, 2016.

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1 comment:

  1. Love and hope, what the world has too little of. Will check out this book!