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Review: Help! My Family

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January 11th, 2010

By Adam Roberson  How can we face the wounds of our past? What if those wounds were originally cut by our own family? Specifically, how can we help our youth begin to heal some of their wounds? Is there any hope for their future? By putting a modern spin on the story of Joseph found in Genesis, Emily Parke Chase addresses some of the darkest and challenging wounds that can come from our own families in her book Help! My Family's Messed Up. Through Joseph's story, Chase seeks to enlighten and explore topics like divorce, adoption, abuse, addiction and death, allowing the opportunity to apply proactive solutions for moving beyond our past, to healing and redemption.

There are not many absolutes in this world, but this book highlights individual perspective as something we can guarantee (in addition to the love of God). We all have a point of view which inevitably molds who we are. Chase approaches the healing process of wounds, both in Joseph's story and ours, by relying heavily on understanding the perspectives of the victim, the protector (who may have failed), and the perpetrator (who has caused great pain).  Appreciating these perspectives is just one of the proactive solutions that are offered in this interactive study suitable for individual exploration or to build trustworthy and lasting relationships in a group. Other methods and applications are suggested as ways to begin the healing process such as praying for those who hurt you, asking for forgiveness, and more. In fact, there is an entire chapter devoted to anger and suggests practical ways to release emotions of bitterness, insecurity, confusion, among others. We also get help recognizing the love of Jesus through these circumstances and learning to completely trust in God. At the end of each of the eight chapters are five discussion questions that reflect on the story, personal application and God’s sovereignty over our lives.

Chase is a credible author and speaker addressing teens, young adults and families. She has written many books that offer support and guidance on relationships, family dynamics and other prominent social topics. Help! My Family’s Messed Up is an excellent resource for individual study or small group discussion. Interwoven throughout this study are stories of repairing broken relationships, lessons on how to acknowledge other perspectives in addition to our own, and an emphasis on seeking God as the focus and priority in our lives.

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