The Complicated Heart by Sarah Mae–Book Review

“It’s complicated.”  How often have you said this, or heard it said about a relationship?  Sarah Mae leads us through the story of her complicated relationship with an alcoholic mother.  Sarah (with God’s help) learns to set boundaries, grieve, lower her expectations and eventually understand and forgive the mother who often hurt her.  In the end, she understands that her mother was also a child who was broken by bad relationships with others in her life.  Interspersed with Sarah’s perspective are letters and journal entries written by her mom.

A useful addendum includes a number of resources with those dealing with similar issues:

  • What Do I Do Now?
  • For When You Think It’s All Impossible
  • Six Ways to Forgive
  • How To Work through Your Core Lies

This book will be helpful to anyone struggling with issues of alcoholism, forgiveness, abortion and dysfunctional family relationships.

VERDICT:  5 stars.  This book was not only an interesting read, it offers concrete suggestions and help for others in difficult relationships

If you would like to purchase this book or learn more follow the link below:

The Complicated Heart

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

More Than One Angel by Billie Hughes Locke–Book Review

Billie Hughes, who wrote this book, was the speaker at our congregation’s Valentine’s Day Dinner this year.  A friend purchased her book for me, and I finally had time to read and review it.

Anyone who has experienced difficulties in relationships will empathize with Billie’s story.  She was a difficult child in a neglectful family.  She ran away to marry as a teenager.  By the age of twenty-one she was the mother of four children;  one child died and another was born with serious facial deformities.  Her marriage ended, and she leaped into a second marriage that was also difficult.  Eventually she divorced again.  Billie said she didn’t need just one angel, she needed a band of them!

Throughout her life, Billie struggled to educate and improve herself.  She obtained a high school diploma and became a master barber with several shops of her own.  Somewhere along the line, she began to realize that God, not material success, is the key to contentment.  She prayed and studied the Bible. She learned to forgive She realized that her basic problem is trust and commented:

“How could I trust someone I couldn’t even see, to handle my life?  Everyone else in my life had always had more important things to do than care for me.  Why would God be different?”

She admitted that her theology was mixed up, but it was a start.  With a third marriage, she achieved a more peaceful life and became a writer and speaker, emphasizing that God can do the impossible and any life can turn around.  Her book is sprinkled with small miracles and what I call God-cidences, that lead her to a deeper relationship with Him.

I find a couple of big problems with this book.  First, nowhere in Billie’s faith story does she mention a church, Pastor, or community of other Christians.  Possibly, she has these things, and simply didn’t talk about them, but I would find that unusual.  In my experience, I have learned and grown the most when in a relationship with other Christians.  We need to be mentored and to mentor others.  (Hmmm… remember our “one-anothers” monthly theme?).  Billie does have some Christian friends who influence her, but I get no sense of the stable, progressive Christian growth a church home provides.

Second, I am disturbed when near the end of the book, Billie makes this statement to her son:

“You are the master of your destiny at this point.  Everything you really need is right inside you.  All I can do is pray for you.”

This is definitely some mixed-up theology.  God is the master of our destiny, and all that we need is in Him, not ourselves.  It is another example of stinkin’ thinkin’ that sounds good, but doesn’t stand up to correct doctrine and interpretation of the Scriptures.

My Verdict?  Two stars.  Read it if you want to enjoy Billie’s story, but not for sound theology.