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.