How can you recover from devastating circumstances such as divorce, disease, or the death of a loved one? How have women in the Bible transcended their own extraordinary grief and loss? In Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back, Laurie Pawlik answers these questions and offers a holistic path to healing. Here's my review.
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When I was first asked to review Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back, I was a little worried. The topic seemed so narrow and I was not experiencing a season of loss at the time; I wondered if I'd be able to relate to the book or if it was the kind of thing that you put on your shelf "for a time of need."
I needn't have worried. Laurie Pawlik has created a beautiful guide to moving forward at any stage in our lives, whether we've experienced traumatic loss or gotten ourselves into a situation that doesn't seem to fit with what we thought God's plans for us were.
In each of the ten chapters of Growing Forward, Pawlik weaves together the story of a Biblical woman with an experience from her own life, including her childhood with a schizophrenic mother, a broken relationship with her sister, and coping with infertility. She shows how God was at work in both stories and what she and the women learned or did that helped them grow forward.
In each chapter, she also offers five actionable "Blossom Tips" designed to help women grow forward one step at a time. Each blossom tip addresses a different part of who we are: spirit, heart, soul, body, and mind. For example, one chapter's spirit blossom tip encourages readers to practice finding Jesus in the chaos of life, not just in peaceful moments of silence and solitude.
It is important to note that one need not have suffered a recent traumatic loss to benefit from the sage advice offered in Growing Forward. Unresolved pain and losses from the past linger in our hearts and spirits until we address them. While looking back can be painful, Pawlik leads us into new ground, taking our broken seeds and letting God use them for something beautiful.
Overall, I feel like Pawlik's book is applicable and helpful to anyone who is interested in experiencing Jesus in a new way and finding hope for their journey.
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About Laurie Pawlik
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen is the author of Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back and the creator of the "She Blossoms" blogs. Her experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, attempted rape, infertility, and three years in Africa taught her that choosing to grow forward is essential—especially when you can't go back! Her degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. Laurie writes full-time in her treehouse in North Vancouver, Canada. Learn more at BlossomTips.com.