Review By Leona Heasley
Elisabeth Klein Corcoran has recently released a book entitled Unraveling: Hanging on to Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage (Abingdon Press 2013). While it is a book for Christian women going through divorce, it is also for anyone who knows someone or thinks they may someday know someone going through a divorce. Elisabeth wrote this book as she went through her own extremely difficult divorce. Because of that, there is a rawness and vulnerability in this book that will touch your heart whether you are going through this or not. Despite her own experiences, Elisabeth is not anti-marriage in any way. She is a Christian woman who believes God designed marriage to mirror His relationship to the church. However, she accepts that sometimes He uses divorce to serve His more complete picture.
Each chapter discusses an emotion or issue that Christian women going through a divorce will face and struggle with. Just a few of the topics discussed are Raw, Brokenness, Hope, Emotions, and Rejection. Each chapter is short, just four or five pages. In that space Elisabeth discusses her own struggles in this area with honesty and openness. She then goes on to share how God has led her through this issue and testifies to His love and faithfulness in this area. Each chapter ends with a prayer to help you seek God’s help in this area, A Next Good Step which is some small activity designed to help you conquer this struggle, and A Way Forward: a verse to encourage you in this issue. Scattered between the chapters are excerpts from her journals as she has gone through the whole journey of counseling, attempted reconciliation, separation, and divorce.
In the first chapter, Raw, she writes: “No one likes to feel like this: exposed, defenseless, emotionally naked. But once you have gotten to this place of being able to speak your truest feelings, maybe after all these years, you will be ready to begin to be healed. God won’t bother trying to paint over your pretenses. Instead, God will put forth amazing amounts of effort to take your wide-open, unguarded self and recover you, rebuild you, restore you.” (p 3)
In her chapter on opinions, Elisabeth’s next good step is to sit down with your Bible and ask God how He really sees you. “Then quiet your heart and listen, really listen, to what He says about you. And whatever you do, don’t rail against His loving response” (p 24). I can attest to how important that last sentence is. If you find yourself in that position ask Him to get you through that, and He will. Sometimes we have to let the Holy Spirit pray for us.
I think the most touching chapter for me was the one on identity. It is also the one that I can relate to most on a personal level. She describes how utterly beat down and unloved she feels. She compares her life to an old beat up piece of furniture that needs to be restored. First God has to strip off all the damaged layers, removing all the lies that we as divorced women have come to believe about ourselves. Then He applies a new coat of stain, filling us up with the truths of who we are in Him and how much He loves and cherishes us, both as one of His creations and as a unique child made in His image. Finally, He gets out His artist’s pallet and creates a unique design with our unique gifts and talents to be someone that can be used by Him to do something that He has designed just for me as an individual. I have seen how He is bringing me through these steps in my own life. I think we are currently about to transition in to step three.
I have discussed many of the issues in this book with my pastor and a trusted friend. They have told me many of the exact same things that Elisabeth says in her book. The counsel from those I know personally has been invaluable to me. I know they speak truth and have personal experience with the issues that led to my divorce, although from a different viewpoint. I have seen myself make progress in these areas in the last several months. However, reading the same things along with the personal testimony of pain and brokenness from someone going through the same emotions and struggles as I am have brought a different level of healing to my life. As I read each and every chapter I would read her experiences and emotions and said, “Yes, someone else gets what I’m feeling.”
You can purchase Unraveling: Hanging on to Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage by clicking on the photo of the book below.
Leona was married for 13 years before separating due to domestic abuse. After five years of separation, she eventually divorced. Leona is a busy mom and school teacher with two children in Christian school and one schooled at home.
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