Monday, February 27, 2017

Werts writes about the ‘Heart’ from the ‘heart’ and her message is crucial to Love

Lies And Love:
Cleansing the heart to make room for radical love
Author: Vanessa D. Werts
Publisher: Higher Realm Publishing, Ashburn, VA, 2016                                                                     

I must admit that when I agreed to review this book, I did not realize what it was.  I figured a title like “Lies and Love” for a non-fiction work would be most interesting.  It was only when I started reading it that I realized this book was about having a clean heart and how to get one. More specifically it presents the need for a spiritual 30-day cleanse to achieve the desired state. Finally, it was written for women but it doesn’t take rocket science to see how many men could benefit from such an exercise too.
Author Vanessa Werts has weathered the storms of rejection, mistreatment, disappointment, discouragement, ill-spoken words towards her, and the like. As a single mom who no longer trusted men, she tried keeping her life together for her two children as best she knew how. She had it down pat. Except that the emptiness that was deep down inside would never leave her alone.
After turning 39, God used a friend to send Vanessa a message that floored her: “God said to tell you that you don’t love yourself.” After getting up, her batteries were now charged and she was ready to address the accusation.
The result was a 30-day biblically sound process for getting a clean heart through forgiving, pursuing love, celebrating your life, and living on purpose. But on the way, as she shares her own experience with the various steps that she suggests, we get some wonderful truths and observations to ponder ourselves.
One of my favorites was when she asked the question, “Does it irritate you when you meet someone for the first time and they treat you like you did something to them? . . . what you’re encountering are their heart issues. It could be insecurity, jealousy, envy, whatever. Something about ‘your type’ represents and reminds them of a painful or unfavorable experience in their life, so you’re treated accordingly. . .. When you meet someone who treats you badly, it’s not the true person you’re encountering but rather their brokenness.”
She also refers us to some scriptural gems that when viewed in this context, take on a whole new perspective.  One of my favorites in this regard is I John 4:18 about fear. She quotes it in the AMP version, “. . . the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love.” Werts then states, “God doesn’t want us tormented with questions like ‘how will I make it?’ and ‘what will happen next?’” Basically put, the author’s point is that you can’t, nor need you fear and love at the same time.
Another of her recommended pursuits is the combination of ‘wisdom and understanding’. Using Proverbs 2:10-11, which reads, “When wisdom enters the heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you she gave this reader an insight into God’s role in his own life. When God gives us discretion and understanding it is not just to make us smart, or even to use it as a gift for others (a good thing), but Werts points out, it is to “preserve and keep us” safe throughout our lives.
I did find one area where I might disagree with the author and that is with respect to her view of “tough love”.  She’s against it arguing that she’s thankful God didn’t use that with her. I think however she may be a) assuming “tough love” is the withdrawal of love (on the contrary, it’s the maintaining of love but not overlooking the natural consequences of sin – they still must be addressed) and b) forgetting that God did that for us – our sins were addressed by His Son.
Around the middle of the book, she introduces as to Bobbi Farqua the main character of her fictional work called, Lies: Even love has its casualties.  And through that we get some more gems for us when she writes, “But what Bobbi didn’t realize is that the heart will become tied to what you invest your time in whether the relationship is labeled as casual or committed.  And once the tie is formed, the heart will seek to be accepted, considered, and honored in that relationship.”  Bottom line, Werts seems to be saying is, “be careful where you lead your heart.”
Another gem, and please remember she is writing to women, is this:
“Consider this: When a woman is successful and winning in her professional life but hasn’t found a way to win in her personal life with men, she will adjust (her heart) in a way that makes her feel like she’s at least not losing. Losing is not in her DNA.  So, she will amend the rules of the game to keep playing, telling herself that she holds all the cards, convincing herself that casual sex is perfectly fine as long as she decides who and when. And though everything seems to be under her control at first, her value system is compromised, because secretly, her heart’s goal is marriage.”
And then she delivers her zinger, “Compromising your values will never position you to win. Even if you get the prize [the man], you don’t get the victory since you didn’t play the game based on your own [heart] rules – your values.”
She then takes us into the nitty-gritty details of her 30-day cleanse for the heart process. She tells her audience that the key is to see and acknowledge that whatever happened to them, no matter how painful it was, didn’t end their life.  They are a survivor.  They are still here.  The four weeks and two days are designed with a daily activity which is doable and very reasonable – one does not have to go through hoops to do them.
One of the key benefits of the program as she herself states is, “But oh, how sweet it is not to compromise what I value anymore. Now I can see myself as a gift to a man – his present – a reward for him being in the will of God.”
Her last question must not be ignored and if it helps one person, then all of Werts’ efforts in writing this book are more than worthwhile. She asks,
“Is there a situation in your life right now that you’re working on and have solicited the help of others, but you haven’t asked Jesus for help?”
This is a book I recommend to the women in my family, to any women’s ministry pastor, and to any woman who doesn’t yet love herself as God intended her to do, so that she may live without fear and with a purpose!

·      Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, February 27, 2017.

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