Title: Beauty for Ashes
Author: John Coblentz
Major Themes: Sexual Abuse, Hope, Healing
Synopsis: A gentle, biblical approach to help victims heal from sexual abuse.
Beauty for Ashes isn’t the kind of book I normally like to pick up, but when it’s handed to you, and told that it may be helpful in relating to people I meet in the future…well, it’s good to have a starting point sometimes. Abuse is a subject I really haven’t thought about a lot, for many years—until just recently, when I became aware of just how widespread of a problem it is. I wouldn’t call my upbringing sheltered, necessarily, although I know in many, many ways it was—but abuse wasn’t something I ever had to think about or deal with. At this point, as a young adult, I see how sexual abuse, especially, has and can hurt people—and anything that may help a hurting person is something I know I should look into.
Unfortunately, I’m also aware that there are a great number of resources out there that are anything but helpful, despite claiming to be. And since I haven’t had to work through the things many others have faced, I find myself a poor judge of this kind of material.
Bearing all that in mind, I did find this book well-written, honest, yet discreet, and with numerous practical steps to take to work through to come to a place of healing (or at least the beginning of a healing journey).
This book starts with a description of the humiliation Tamar endured at the hands of her brother Amnon. Anyone familiar with the Bible would likely know that story, and how she felt such grief and shame that was never really dealt with. Her brother Absalom didn’t do anything. Her father didn’t do anything. Eventually, Absalom killed Amnon—but that isn’t really a good way to bring any form of healing or restitution in a broken relationship like that. What was she to do? What would have been a good path for her to take, had she had good councilors around her? After discussing Tamar’s experience, we go through (generally vague) descriptions of the kinds of abuse that can occur—sexual, obviously, but also things like verbal abuse or emotional abuse. I appreciated that the other kinds were brought in here, and as I read through this book, I realized I have gone through some verbal abuse in my life—and I was forced to ask myself how I have dealt with that? How has it changed me? How have I healed (or not) from that? Have I truly come to a place of forgiveness over it, or has that festered and I’ve just pushed it down over time? It was good to consider the questions for myself.
Beauty for Ashes is a very short book, which I appreciated. It doesn’t take long to read through. With the first section dedicated to understanding sexual abuse—what it is, what makes it so devastating, and how it affects people in ongoing ways—I felt like I was able to understand a little better why people act the way they do. Then in the second section dedicated to steps for healing and hope, I found many practical, helpful tips and questions to ask to help navigate all the things that may be brought up after reading the first section.
For anyone seeking to find healing for any kind of abuse, but especially sexual abuse, I’d recommend reading this book.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy this book:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Other Places: Christian Light Publications—Paperback
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