Holly starts her book with a beautifully tender poem she wrote called The Tear Collector. It creates the image of God as an always present, compassionate and faithful father. Sadly the picture of Holly’s own father was not the same. This story is about Holly’s real life. A life of pain, abuse, confusion and sadness and how God led her on a journey of healing, hope, victory and joy. Holly is open about some of the side effects of living and surviving sexual abuse as a child. Many victims (myself included) struggle through life lacking boundaries and trust with others. We walk wounded, and sometimes we wound others. Most commonly we continue to wound ourselves by our choices, behaviors and thinking. Holly shares so clearly how God took her hand and led her into and through what would seem like a minefield of obstacles and led her safely through, as she learned to trust and rely on Him. She is speaks openly about a failed marriage, post traumatic stress disorder, battling depression, her own inability to connect, love and receive love that can be common to SA survivors. Holly committed herself to seeking wholeness and healing not only through her own means but through the dedicated ongoing work of counseling. This can be the hardest part of healing for SA survivors. Believing they are worth the time and effort needed to deal with the reality and pain and that there is hope on the other end of the journey. Each chapter of this book leads us right alongside Holly in the ups and downs of her ongoing journey. God’s interventions are recorded as are Holly’s perceptions, learning and transformation. This transformation includes a beautiful epiphany which leads her out of one denomination into another but more importantly reveals to her a beautiful truth about God. He is not a God of denomination. But you will have to read that for yourself.
I enjoyed the relationships, miracles and blessings which Holly shares along the way. Holly shares details of watching God work in her life and the lives of others through prayer. I adored the fact that it was set in Rhode Island, a small state where some might ask, “What good can come from that little state?” This story is a testimony to and of the Living God and His ability to meet, disciple, lead and transform those who set their minds and hearts to have nothing less than all of Him. God is alive and well in this little state.
Holly does not consider herself a writer, but I will tell you that this story, that God inspired her to share and allowed her to write will be read by many and bear much fruit! It will bring hope, encouragement and empowerment to the reader. It might challenge some of your perceptions about God. For the good.
If you are a SA Survivor, I highly recommend this book. If you can’t see God’s hand working in your life and the lives of others, read this book. It will encourage your prayer life and challenge your thinking about God’s ability to move. It will challenge, convict and inspire you to open your eyes and heart to a God that will not be stopped by limitations, sins and hands of men.
Holly Otten lives in RI with her family and leads Healing Hearts Ministries a non profit organisation dedicated to the healing of Sexual Abuse Survivors. She is the author of The Tin Man-The Voice of an Incest Survivor.
The opinions expressed are completely my own.