My world had been shattered, and I was literally still shaking when the woman knocked on my front door. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I looked over this beautiful soul I hadn’t seen in 20 years.
I don’t remember our exact conversation. Trauma has a strange effect. Some memories stand out clear as day and are seen as if happening in the present. Others are faded as if viewed through a cloud of smoke. You know there are important details but struggle to catch even the gist of what happened. Those memories linger in the air like a scent you can’t quite place. Some memories vanish completely. Maybe it’s best that they do.
This is a memory I try to grasp but view through a cloud. I just know I opened my front door and there stood a beautiful woman, holding a book and saying she’d heard I’d had a rough time (My words, not hers). She had also gone through a rough time (Again, my words, not hers) and wanted to offer encouragement and share something that helped her make it through She handed me Kristin Armstrong’s book Strength for the Climb.
How had I doubted God’s love and power when this kind of thing happened so often?
That book became my lifeline. Kristin’s insight and wisdom got me through many rough nights and many dark days too. I went everywhere with it. It came with me on vacation. It slept under my pillow. Kristin understood the worthlessness, the fear, the overwhelm, the everything AND the nothing I felt. She journeyed with me and assured me I was going to be okay.
Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the book became tattered. It was my Velveteen Rabbit of books. You could tell it was deeply loved by the horrible shape it was in. I wanted to return Strength for the Climb to my friend and replace my copy with a new one, but, to my dismay, the book was out of print.
That was when I decided I would write my own divorce reflections one day, but life with five boys, and life in general, took priority. That book will be written someday, but not in the next few years.
Fortunately, Lisa Duffy, an expert in Catholic divorce, has written a book similar to Kristin Armstrong’s.
Lisa Duffy’s A Road to Healing: Daily Reflections for Divorced Catholics
The title is a bit of a misnomer. While Lisa is a Catholic and has extensive knowledge on divorce, dating, and remarriage in the Catholic Church, her book contains 365 reflections that apply real life to divorce and divorce recovery that will be healing for many, not just Catholics.
Lisa provides thoughtful insight and touching reflections using a page a day for each of first the 365 pages. Each reflection is accompanied by a Scriptural passage. As a Bible reading Catholic, I LOVE the Scriptural verse and the peace that accompanies my absorbing its message in the context of the reflection and pondering its meanings and applications as I move through the day.
As a busy single mom, I hesitate to begin daily reflections. I start with the best of intentions but something happens, and I set reflections aside. I should pick them up again when I have time, but I feel I’m missing out on days I’ve missed. I think if I miss a few days I should go back and catch up, which adds to my overwhelm, which means I’ll never complete the reflections, which I’ll miss out on messages I was meant to receive. It also means I beat myself up for failing when that’s the last thing I need!
But Lisa gets it! She doesn’t give dates; she gives day numbers! I LOVE this! In my crazy, busy world, I can have the best of intentions and read for a few days and then, when insanity breaks, I can put reflections aside and pick them up again three days or three months later, starting the day I left off without playing catch up, without skipping valuable reflections, and best of all, without feeling like a failure!
Lisa’s book arrived and I skimmed it while making dinner for my boys. I saw she dealt with, everything from loving the sinner and hating the sin, to dealing with broken heartedness, overwhelm, and pain, to finding healing in Jesus, and more. Lisa Duffy was REAL. She didn’t shy away from issues or suffering, but addressed them in short, easy to read blurbs.
Later, I read the reflections and quickly found new ways to look at my situation. As I contemplated what I read, the only problem I could see was that there was no way to receive messages for specific days. For example, Christmas should have its own reflection, and Valentine’s Day was coming up. Surely the divorced should find consolation on this special day!
But Lisa Duffy wasn’t done yet…
I could sit curled up in front of a cozy fire with a cup of hot chocolate (from a slave free company, of course!) for hours and not notice the world at all as long as I have a good book and a warm fuzzy blanket, but I have a horrible habit that drives my kids crazy. About two thirds of the way through a good book, my resolve crumbles and I read the last page.
As I read Lisa’s book that first night, I could feel myself justifying what I knew I was going to do. Lisa’s book isn’t really a novel. I don’t have to read in order. Reading the last page won’t spoil the ending…
I never stood a chance. In this case, I’m glad I caved to temptation.
A Road to Healing ends with a section for Holiday Reflections. Lisa placed those special reflections at the end of the book, easy to find when we need them most. There were reflections on Valentine’s Day and Christmas, but also on each day of Holy Week and one for Thanksgiving and others too!
I did not get paid for this endorsement and don’t accept very many requests for reviews or guest bloggers, but Lisa Duffy’s book is different. Lisa and I have emailed back and forth before, and she and Carrie, her publicist, have always been genuine and kind. Even still, their kindness would not have stopped me from turning down the review or speaking negatively had I disliked the book.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many of the divorced are feeling lost, alone, and confused. Many who love them want to help but don’t know how. To have complete healing and arrive at Peace, requires one give up all she has and embrace God. How each individual does that is up to her.
A book of reflections may be the lifeline that starts healing. It was for me. You may be a friend, unsure of your role and not wanting to intrude, but if you offer yourself with a humble, giving, trustworthy heart, you can help lead a hurting soul to true healing in God. I hope you purchase A Road to Healing, but whatever you do, always embrace the spirit of courage you are given and reach out in friendship and for friendship.
I thank God for the friend who showed up on my porch that day. I thank God for the spirit of courage He gave her, and one day, when I finally write my book of reflections, I will dedicate it to her. I don’t believe in coincidences, and her name, as God smiles down, is also Lisa. I am blessed to have known her and believe you will be blessed by your Road to Healing.
Side Note: Lisa is hosting A Journey of Hope conference for divorced Catholics in Charleston, SC this summer. This year, I plan to have a booth there. Stop by to say hello! Next time, I hope to be a speaker! (AIM HIGH! 😉 )
Read my other review of Lisa Duffy’s book, The Catholic Guide to Dating After Divorce here.
Find out more about Lisa Duffy’s books or the upcoming conference here.
Have you subscribed to StrahlenGrace and gotten your free download of Break the Blank Page Block* which goes along with my first post and helps you take the first step yet? I launch Sunday & hope you join me from the beginning!
*I changed the link from yesterday’s email – always making improvements! 😉 If your link doesn’t work, check this updated version of the Break the Blank Page framework today!
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