(Review) Glorious Weakness: Discovering God In All We Lack by Alia Joy

glorious joy

Publisher and Publication Date: Baker Books. April 2, 2019.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Psychology.
Pages: 240.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Excellent.
Audience: People who are ready to read a book on sorrow and life beyond it.


Website for Alia Joy
About the author:
Alia Joy is a speaker, writer, and ragamuffin who weaves beauty through even the most broken stories. Her raw vulnerability and unique perspective make her a trusted voice writing about mental and physical illness, abuse, race, body image, poverty, and hope. She lives in Oregon with her family, where weakness and glory converge daily.

Summary: (From back cover)
As a girl, Alia Joy came face-to-face with weakness, poverty, and loss in ways that made her doubt God was good. There were times when she felt as if God had abandoned her. What she didn’t realize then was that God was always there, calling her to abandon herself.

In this deeply personal exploration of what it means to be “poor in spirit,” Joy challenges us to embrace true vulnerability and authenticity with God and with one another, showing how weakness does not disqualify us from inclusion in the kingdom of God–instead, it is our very invitation to enter in.

My Thoughts:
I’ve read several reviews on this book, and the consensus is the book is transparent, raw, and deeply felt by the reader. I agree.
One of the first things I noticed while reading the book is the strong word language. It literally punctuates the sentences with emotion. These words also hooked me in a bit further.
Alia Joy shares about her life, even the awkward experiences that are hard to express. In sharing this kind of information, there is a feeling of accessibility that is passed on to the reader, because at some point in her story, there is something the reader can relate to. For example, I do not have major depression, but my husband does. And, I do not know what it feels like to be different or stand out in a community of “different looking” people, but my daughter-in-law does. Sexual abuse, this is something I have experienced. In reading the story of Alia Joy, I have greater understanding and empathy.
Early in the book, Alia Joy expressed she didn’t “want to be that weak person.” Neither do I. I think most people feel the same way. Yet, isn’t it wonderful, a breath of fresh air, when a person states that? It is like every one in the room can let out that expectant air they’ve been holding and just relax.
Other subtopics in the book are on poverty, grace, stamina in faith, judgmental people, sorrow, marriage, and mission work.
Another book I’ve read by Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, captures a similar topic that Glorious Weakness does. The poor in spirit. A place of weakness. Alia teaches that this is “where the treasure is buried.” Topics on weakness, suffering, and tragedy have become mainstream in the Christian book market. I am so glad. People need access to hard topics for education and healing.
Glorious Weakness is an excellent tool. It digs at the hard to talk about stuff. It shows me the beauty of God’s grace in the sorrow. It shows me I am not alone, but have kindred spirits who are walking the same dusty trail as me.


(Review) Healing the Scars of Childhood Abuse: Moving beyond the Past into a Healthy Future by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, with Ann McMurray


Publisher and Publication Date: Fleming H. Revell Company. August 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Child abuse. Recovery.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent. Recommend.
Audience: Readers who are an abuse survivor or want to help understand an abuse survivor.


Gregory L. Jantz is on Facebook if you want to follow his page for helpful posts.
Website for Gregory L. Jantz PhD


Early in the book, pages 20-21, defines child abuse. Jantz defines the “behaviors” and “also the effects of those behaviors.” What I found interesting is Jantz asks: what was our normal as a child? This question was enlightening given the fact I’ve heard people remark, “the only normal is the setting on a washing machine.” Is it possible that many people do not know what normal is? A normal behavior. A normal healthy functioning home life. A normal work environment. I bet many people would scratch their heads. The question Jantz asked is a perfect starter question for a small group studying this book!
One of the big things I look for in a book about psychology or recovery is am I learning something new? Does the book prick my mind about something I’ve not yet learned?
In Healing the Scars of Childhood Abuse, I respond with a big yes to the above questions.
A few of the things I learned are childhood abuse survivors feel like they are constantly preparing for war. And, survivors are quick to believe they are at fault. Survivors also assume “the worst” in situations. This is a form of protection. What I didn’t like reading is some of these patterns of survivors is essentially trying to control a situation by the response. For example: if I accept blame for something then it is an, “attempt to have some measure of control over the situation.” Page 43.
Chapter 6 is the “Emotional Cost of Childhood Abuse.” Some examples are “anxiety, flashbacks, dissociation, fear of failure, anger, and sexual avoidance.” Jantz ends this chapter with clarifying his intention is to help the survivor understand overcoming these behavior patterns are possible.
Chapter 7 examines additional patterns like “co-dependency and relationship addiction.”
An important factor in healing is to begin to really feel-do not live in numbness anymore. This is something I learned a few years ago. Live a life of mindfulness! Living in the moment and not in the past or in a fantasy world. Do not check out. Enjoy and be thankful for the present.
Chapter 9 is on “cognitive healing.” This is an important chapter in changing the ugly thought patterns of past words used against us that were lies.
Chapter 11 holds one of my favorite parts in the book: “Twelve Steps to Healthy Communication.”

(Review) The Cry Of The Soul: How Our Emotions Reveal Our Deepest Questions About God by Dr. Dan B. Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III


Publisher and Publication Date: 1994. Republished by NavPress in 2015. My copy is 1994 hardcover.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Psychology. Emotions.
Pages: 268.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent.


I’ve read, Healing the Wounded Heart, and, To Be Told. Both of these books are by Dr. Dan Allender. I bought, The Cry Of The Soul from Amazon in their discount/used books section.

Inside the front cover explains, “Our dark emotions are much more than just uncomfortable feelings we struggle to control. They are windows into our heart. They are the cry of our soul.”

I did a little survey with people I know. I picked their brains about their “thinking.” I don’t remember the exact question, but their responses were similar: “I don’t like to think too much.” I wondered, “what is too much?” Is too much a teaspoon amount or a gallon bucket?”

On page 14, a statement similar to the above is about emotions and why we “avoid them.”

Part of understanding difficult emotions, however, is comprehending why we avoid them. The reason we don’t want to feel is that feeling exposes the tragedy of our world and the darkness of our hearts. No wonder we don’t want to feel: feelings expose the illusion that life is safe, good, and predictable.

People avoid deep thinking and difficult emotions.

On the other hand,

Excessive introspection can lead to a false sense of independence by giving us the illusion that we can exert control over our lives and become the masters of our fate. This path too easily leads to arrogance or confusion.
We encourage honest inward examination for the purpose of gaining wisdom-.” Page 17.

The focal Bible passages used in the book are from the Psalms.

This summer I’ve read several books on mental health. This binge is winding down. I have a few more to review and then I’ll be moving on. I do this every once in a while- read several books in a row on the same topic. This is usually in the summer when I have more time to spend on reading.

What I’ve taken away from this book, the number one idea, is emotions are not bad, they are beneficial and meant to be examined. I’m neither to ignore the emotion in stoicism, nor am I to focus excessively on them. Emotions are to be examined and processed. And, I am to bring the emotions before the throne of grace. God wants me to come to Him in transparency and humility.

Several interesting teaching points are in the book:
•Unrighteous anger. It interferes with satisfaction in life.
•Righteous anger. From page 76. “Righteous anger is called for when we see God’s glory violated.”
•From page 27. “God meets you in your weakness, not in your strength.” This is not what the world expects. The world expects strength.
•Shame. From page 199. “Our culture declares, “Shame arises because I am a victim and I feel bad about myself.” The Bible declares, “Shame arises because I am an idolater and I feel foolish when my idol topples.” I have a hard time with this statement. I’m not ready to say I disagree, but I don’t like it. I don’t like it because from where I am, shame has been experienced because of sexual abuse. I can understand the idol idea more because of the age I was (16-17), and the perpetrator was an abusive boyfriend. But what if I’d been 2. At the age of 2, I’d have no concept of what an idol is.

Over-all, I gave the book an excellent rating despite my one objection.


(Review) Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No, To Take Control Of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Publisher and Publication Date: Zondervan. 1992. 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Psychology.
Pages: 352.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent.


I read this book in the mid 1990s the first time. I don’t know where the original copy went. This is a great book to re-read. Always good to be reminded of having healthy boundaries.

In part one the book sets the tone:
“This book presents a Biblical view of boundaries….”
Boundaries are like a fence in my yard. The boundary defines, “what is me and what is not me…leading me to a sense of ownership.” Page 31.
This is a wonderful image to understand the definition of boundaries!

The book has three parts:
Part One: What are Boundaries?
Part Two: Boundary Conflicts
Part Three: Developing Healthy Boundaries

Several points in this book stood out:
Don’t let feelings take charge. Don’t ignore feelings, but don’t let them be in charge.
Take ownership of thoughts, emotions, and choices.
Set limits on people.
Ten laws of boundaries.
The after effects of changing our boundaries.
Avoidants and controllers.
Forgiveness and what it really means.

This is a highly recommended book from me.
It’s informative and life changing.
It’s understandable and applicable.
It’s a book to read and utilize in life.

(Review) Understanding And Loving A Person With Depression: Biblical and Practical Wisdom to Build Empathy, Preserve Boundaries, and Show Compassion by Stephen Arterburn, M.Ed. and Brenda Hunter, Ph.D.



Publisher and Publication Date: David C. Cook. October 1, 2017.
Genre: Christian Nonfiction. Psychology. Depression.
Pages: 176.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Good.

Steve Arterburn on Facebook
New Life Ministeries on Facebook

New Life Foundation website

Further information on the book at David C. Cook publishing.
This book is apart of a series of books in The Arterburn Wellness Series. Other books are Understanding and Loving a Person With Sexual Addiction, Understanding and Loving a Person With Alcohol or Drug Addiction, Understanding and Loving a Person With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Understanding and Loving a Person With Borderline Personality Disorder, Understanding and Loving a Person With Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Understanding and Loving a Person With Attention Deficit Disorder, and Understanding and Loving a Person With Bipolar.
This link will take you to an Amazon page with the full list of books in this series:
The Arterburn Wellness Series.

Understanding and Loving a Person With Depression has been written with the intention of education and help for those who love a person with depression. It is a book of encouragement. It is considered a guidebook for the people who live with and love a person with depression.

My Thoughts:
Understanding and Loving a Person With Depression is a beginning point in education about depression. I’ve read several books and articles about depression, this is why I consider this particular book to be a starting point.
•Statistics are given about people who have depression in the US.
•The different types of depressions are listed and defined.
•Questions for the caregiver/spouse are encouraged. For example: “become a student of the depressive.” Page 24.
•Individual chapters are given for depression in men, women, and adolescents.
•Early attachments in childhood are taught. I enjoyed this chapter, because it talked about having a close bond with one parent over another. Also, the security of these attachments. And, how the attachments make us feel about ourselves at the core level.
•Another favorite chapter is on forgiveness. Information on forgiveness is quoted from a book by Dr. Fred Luskin. There was a time in my life when I did not fully understand what forgiveness meant. “Forgiveness is for you and not the offender.” “Forgiveness does not mean reconciling with the offender.” Page 115, 116. These are just two of the examples given (and the two I’ve not understood in the past.)