Sunday, April 17, 2011


Right from the beginning of the prologue I loved this book. The story of the rabbi is beautiful and one I'd never heard before and now will never forget. In her book, Naomi takes us on a journey through unbelievable horror, poverty, destruction, disaster, immense pain and sorrow. In the beginning Naomi is in Banda Aceh on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia just six weeks after the tsunami hit killing 250,000 people. This disaster wasn't caused by man but by nature and was the most destructive natural disaster in history. Just think what these people lost: furniture, homes, clothing, cars and the like, but these things can be replaced, however, our loved ones cannot. Did they, could they retain their faith and hope in Christ? In Amsterdam, Naomi met a woman named Annie who was a protitute and lived in a brothel. Naomi was there to meet a woman who was the Director of an organization that advocated for women who want to leave the life of prostitution. The organization provides financial support, counselling and other programs like 'Life Skills' i.e. cooking classes, sewing classes. But most importantly they are told of the love of God. In the Czech Republic, Naomi meets a young girl named Elsie, who is told by her mother to go and steal from her grandmother. On the way, Elsie is gang raped by a several boys each taking their turn with her. Elsie pulled herself together and stole from her grandmother. After seeing a doctor she was told that she would NEVER have children. This one horrible act caused Elsie to lose something precious, the abililty to have a baby and the right to have someone call her "Mom". Eventually Elsie meets a woman who told her about an organization that would help her. They applied for school, got her proper papers and then spoke to Elsie of the gracious and loving God for the first time and Elsie wondered if God might actually exist. The entire book is about abused and used women from all walks of life, and the indecencies that we as humans can bestow upon our fellow man. We all need faith, a belief in God, or a high power. Nothing in life is black and white and although as humans we struggle and demand for someone to tell us if the answer is black or white, sometimes we have to accept, whether we want to or not, that there is an "in between" with no clear determination of black or white. It's like a cruel gray that taunts and haunts us, driving our humanistic need for right or wrong, black or white, up the scale but gray is sometimes our only reality. We must be aware of our words and actions as we might unknowingly hurt another person, even when that is not our intent. We must accept ourselves and others for who we are and for who they are. Never expect anyone to change who they are to fulfull our own agenda of who we want them to be. If you're expecting someone to change for you then it's not a true and honest bond and nor should we change ourselves for the benefits of others. We must remain true to who God made us to be and the only one we should be striving to be like is Christ. Remember to "touch" the people in your life, give them a hug, pat their hand so they feel the human connection. It signals you care about them and love them just as God loves us all. There is great power in the human touch! Pray, but God doesn't always answer prayer when we want him too. He answers only when He thinks that you are ready to hear the response. This reminds me of a poem by Helen Steiner Rice: "There is no problem too big, no problem to small Just ask God in faith and He'll answer them all Not always at once so be patient and wait For God never comes too soon or too late." Listen carefully to Naomi in the story when she realizes the pain she feels when facing these "extreme injustices". Stand behind her as she fights within herself over her own identity and "comes face-to-face with redemption..." Some of the other situations in this book will shock and disgust you but we need to be shocked and disgusted to be moved into action!! There are so many lessons to be learned in this memoir and I encourage each and every one of you to read this with an open mind and an open heart. Note*** This book was sent to me by Zondervan "free of charge" for the purpose to reviewing the book). April 18, 2011

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