I have experienced so much healing and hope through the stories of others, some similar to my own and some absolutely nothing like it. I believe wholeheartedly that God uses us to help each other heal. Here are some of the resources I have found healing to my heart, and also help me wrestle with questions about God and this life, and how to live with honesty and wisdom. I will add to this page as I can. 

All Amazon links are purely so you don't have to open another window to search and find these resources. I don't get any kickbacks, nor would I want them.

BOOKS

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Everything Happens for A Reason (and other lies I've loved) by Kate Bowler

I read this book over the summer, and I couldn't tell you how many healing tears I cried hearing her story. Kate gives language to the experience of suffering, and all the questions our suffering exposes about God, with wit and warmth. I would give this book to everyone if I could. Buy here.

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If you want to do a deep dive on Kate Bowler, and I highly recommend it, here are some interviews and articles that will give you a glimpse of her incredible story. 

Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me (February 2016 | New York Times)

What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death At A Party (January 2018 | New York Times)

Kate Bowler Talks About Her Cancer Diagnosis and Her Faith (January 2018 | Time)

Not all pain has to be explained (February 2018 | Faith & Leadership)

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Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel by Kate Bowler

Disclaimer: I have not read this yet. But I've had it on hold at the library for going on two months now, soooooooo there's that.

That said, I've listened to at least a dozen podcasts with Kate Bowler on this topic (just search her name in Apple podcasts or on Stitcher and you will find a gold mine). It wasn't until after leaving Morning Star that I began to recognize how much harmful theology was woven throughout what we were taught and mandated to teach. That's not to say it was taught from a malicious place, though at times it was certainly taught as a form of manipulation. Beyond Morning Star, this teaching has seeped into so much of American church culture, and I believe it is warping our perception of our good God and what that actually even means. The authenticity and maturity of our relationship with God is not measured by our financial wealth and physical health. His goodness to us couldn't possibly be measured by the perceived "success" we have experienced in life, or the degree of suffering we have managed to avoid. Buy here. 

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The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson and Jeff VonVanderen

I had this book on my "to-read" list for at least two years prior to leaving Morning Star, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it 1) because I wasn't ready to deal with all the red flags I knew this book would dig up in me, and 2) because I was afraid someone might see me with it (hah). It was originally written in 1991, so yes, it's a bit dated, but it was startling how much held up. I finally started reading it in bits and pieces a few months after I left MSC last year. It's a good resource and the chapters don't need to be read in order. I would caution to only read as much as you can at a time. There were months I could pick it up and get a lot out of it, followed by many months where I couldn't handle it, and around and around again. Go at your own pace. Buy here.

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Braving the Wildnerness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown

I have been reading Brene Brown for years, since her Ted Talk went viral in 2010, and I am so thankful for her wisdom. God has used her writing and research and stories to help me prepare for and deal with so many heartbreaks in my life, not just MSC, and to move through them with a little more grace and vulnerability each time. We cannot shut down when hard things happen, at least not permanently. If we go numb, we don't only numb our pain, we numb our joy too. It's not the greatest tradeoff. Start here. And then here. And then go buy everything she's ever written. I'm not kidding.

Courage: To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

This book came out in September 2017 and it is one of those books that feels like it was written just for me. I know I'm not alone. Buy here.

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Honorable Mentions

Below are another set of incredible books I've read in the last few years that have really helped shape my understanding of God in times of suffering and heartbreak, questions and pain. They've give me permission to be a mess and to be uncertain and to sort my way through it with His help. They've also helped me understand that just because I am a mess doesn't mean that He is. He is so many wonderful things, but primarily, with me, good, faithful... and on and on. 

Wonder (!), When Breath Becomes Air, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things, Present Over Perfect, Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and Overcoming Love, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding JoyStruck: One Christian's Reflections on Encountering Death


PODCASTS

Spiritual Abuse series from The Allender Center

Spiritual Abuse, Part 1

Spiritual Abuse, Part 2

Spiritual Abuse, Part 3

Dr. Dan Allender is a well-known Christian psychologist, counselor and researcher, specializing in trauma and abuse. He is Professor of Counseling Psychology at The Seattle School. I found these episodes to be extremely helpful.


ARTICLES

We Need A Christ-Centered Theology of Trauma (Christianity Today)

Therapist Hermeisha Hopson offers a clinically informed, scripturally sound approach to treating #MeToo victims and other survivors.

"How do you define trauma?

It’s any sort of disturbing experience that produces an overwhelming and unmanageable emotional response. Trauma covers a gamut of things—from a loss of a pet to the loss of a loved one to childhood sexual trauma. Often, folks struggle to concentrate, or they experience sleep problems and nightmares. These are cues that the situation has become unmanageable and that it’s not something that they can just bounce back from. Read full article here."