Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Parents in Recovery

Do As I Say, Not As I Do:

Parents in Recovery

By

Rebecca Aarup

     “Mommy, I’m fat.” At the innocent age of five, my daughter stepped off the bathroom scale, patted her belly and gazed at the floor in disappointment.

     She was serious.

     Oh my God, what have I done? A thousand emotions flooded my core in an instant.

Shock. Horror. Guilt. Regret. Shame.

It must have been only been milliseconds of real time, but it felt like several minutes. My thoughts morphed into a flashback of haunting memories.

     On my knees in the bathroom, staring at the toilet with vomit streaked across my face.

And how many memories did I have like this? How many times had I stepped on my bathroom scale after twenty minutes of purging and said, “Just two more pounds”?  It appeared as though my psyche could recount each event with striking clarity.

After years of teasing and insecurity, I had started my first diet at the age of fourteen, and by the time I was eighteen I was purging everything from carrots to crackers. Self-hatred had become my normal and I believed my inner torment was well-deserved, though I wouldn’t have wished it upon my worst enemy.  The scale was a constant companion through all of this; I lived and died by its every word.

     Only lost one pound today?

     No problem, I reasoned, I’ll use more laxatives.

And then I met him. The man of my dreams—well, the best dreams I could muster in an oppressive fog of self-abuse. He was aware of my problems, though, and he wanted to help me. I would let him try.

Over time both he and I believed I was getting better, and eventually we decided to start a life together. A family. After a few months of trying, we found out we were pregnant.

I wanted the best for the baby growing inside of me, I really did. I changed everything about my lifestyle. No more drinking, of course, and the smokes were in the trash in a heartbeat. But I knew something else was inevitable–weight gain. Well, maybe it was inevitable, but I would do my best to avoid it. I would carefully portion my meals, eat all the recommended fruits and vegetables, drink a ton of water, and exercise every day.

For nine months it seemed as if the self-abuse disappeared. I was magically cured by this thing called pregnancy. I had actually lost weight in my first trimester, which thrilled me to no end. But by the eighth month I was really popping like a birthday balloon. As the pants grew tighter and tighter around my hips, old feelings of insecurity began to surface.

Push! Push!

And then that blissful day arrived. Samantha Jean took her first breath and my capacity to love grew a thousand-fold. I had forgotten all about the shame of my past and could only focus on her beauty, her perfection—her innocence. In that moment I knew I had to do better for her. I had to do better for her than I had done for myself. The last thing I wanted was for her to turn out as I had—a broken and tormented woman.

     There she was, cooing and kicking.

Hunched over the toilet I was at it again. This time with my baby next to me on the bathroom floor, comfortably playing in her bouncy chair. She was so innocent, so unaware of what her mommy was doing. But she was still watching me. Those big blue eyes watching mommy with intent.

The irony of the moment wasn’t lost on me. I couldn’t bear to leave my baby alone in another room, so I had brought her into the bathroom with me. I wanted to protect her. Was I really accomplishing that, though?

     She doesn’t understand, I reasoned, she’s only four months old.

But something about that moment lingered. I had done so many awful things in my life, but this one seemed to top the charts. Purging in front of my child, what depths of depravity would this illness take me to?

     Countless shopping carts filled with organic produce.

I wanted to be a good mom, I wanted to do everything right. I decided I couldn’t practice bulimia without psychologically damaging my child, so I had to try something else. This time I would drag my husband and child into my misery. I spent hundreds of dollars on organic produce. I juiced, I ate sprouted grains and I gave up dairy and meat. Meanwhile, I charted every ounce of food my daughter consumed in the first two years of her life.

I had found my new obsession. I would teach Samantha proper eating habits. I would teach her how to enjoy exercise. I would carefully monitor every item she consumed to ensure she was getting the appropriate nutrition for optimal growth.

Through all of this the scale remained a close “friend”. But now this friend had a new purpose. Now it was helping me keep my daughter “healthy”. I would step on the scale alone, then again as I held her in my arms. She was a chunky baby like most, and I wanted to keep an eye on it. I could not allow her to live the same life I had. I wanted to protect her from the teasing and torment of being an overweight child. I wanted so much better for her.

Occasionally my husband would notice my obsessiveness over Samantha’s eating habits and weight. He would lovingly point it out and I would naturally get defensive.  No, I was just doing what was best, I was being a good parent; I had convinced myself like the proudest addict in denial.

In the end I was guilty of leading by example, though silently, and teaching my daughter what I had feared most. Through my actions I taught her the same message delivered to me my whole life—outward appearance matters most.

“No! You are not fat!” Back in the present moment, I shook off the feelings of remorse to grab hold of my precious little girl. As much as I thought I had controlled what she saw and heard it was my insecurities that had spoken louder. Every time I told her she was beautiful, she was loved, she was valued, she had a purpose, and everything about her was perfect, all she saw was her mommy’s attitude. I had never believed those things about myself, and therefore she was unable to accept it as a reality in her own life.

Every time I had refused to let her take my picture, every morning that I stepped on the scale, every new diet I tried and every time I cried when my pants no longer fit—that is what had taught my daughter. That is the example she learned from.

     Do as I say, not as I do.

Only it doesn’t work that way. Not in the life of a recovering bulimic, at least. I’m not perfect, I do fail, and I try my best yet come up short. But the one thing I learned that day in the bathroom as my five-year-old stepped off the scale: it’s never too late to try again. If God doesn’t give up on me, then I can’t give up on me either.

I looked her in the eyes, with tears of a changed heart flowing freely, “Samantha, you are beautiful. You are not fat. I love your little tummy, I love everything about you. And you know what? We’re not using that scale anymore.”

“But Mommy, we use the scale every day.”

     Ouch.

“I know, honey, but not anymore. We don’t need it.”

And so a new beginning was born.

In that moment I realized I was not a bad mom or a failure as a parent. All along I had done the best I could, and this situation was only a catalyst into becoming a better person. It was a chiseling tool further refining me into the woman God designed me to be.

My story is not the same as the next parent’s story. What works for them might not work for me. The best evidence of good parenting is not found in the lack of mistakes, but in the lessons learned from such errors. Being a good parent, I am learning, is more about forward progress.

I can’t change the past but I can allow God to change my future; not only my future, but the future of my child.

We are all parents in recovery, messing up and moving on and learning to adapt. No one has it all figured out. As the sun wakes up and a new day begins, I don’t just look at my daughter differently, I see myself in a new light. I have no choice but to allow God to change my thinking. My child’s emotional welfare depends on it. Because like it or not, she will do as I do.

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This article was originally written for an essay writing contest (which I obviously didn’t win) and I finally decided, after nine months of sitting in my computer, it needed to be shared. I hope it helps someone out there.

~Rebecca  

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Why You Might Need to Stand on Your Head

 

“I was so desperate; I would have done anything they told me to do, even if they had told me to stand on my head in the corner of the room for a week straight. I would have done it—anything to be free.” My sponsor shared her own story of recovery with me the first night we met. She had been sober from alcoholism for over ten years, and here I was, a newbie to the whole thing. At the time, though, I had not quite reached that level of desperation, and it would be two more years of addiction, bitterness, depression, mental illness, and overall internal misery before I experienced freedom from such things. In other words, I had to get to that level of desperation, that level of desire, before an authentic lasting change of behavior could take place. Until I reached that point, I continued in a “double-minded” state of living, oscillating between what I knew from God’s word and what I actually experienced in my day to day life.

And I’m not the only one who has experienced this tragic tug-of-war over the mind. Often, the mind is far more willing than the heart. Unfortunately, the two must meet in agreement in order for a real transformation to take place. And by transformation I don’t mean a temporary lapse of obedience to God’s word, but a true sustained inner peace that passes all human understanding. A peace that is characterized by freedom from entanglements that exudes through one’s countenance, which brings us to:

The Countenance Test

You can learn a lot about a person through their countenance. Luke 9:28-36 recounts the events surrounding Jesus’ transfiguration, and in verse 29 we’re told, “As [Jesus] prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered.” Even the Son of God was changed when in the presence of His Father through prayer. Much the same, when we wear the person of Jesus Christ (spending time listening to Him and believing what He says about us—experiencing life to the full) our presence (how we carry ourselves and how we express ourselves) will be affected.

When my family spent a day at Disneyland for our daughter’s fifth birthday last September, we had to cram as much in as we could in one short day. We arrived when the park opened and stayed until they closed the doors. We only sat down to eat one time during the entire day. No joke, folks, it was brutal. At first we entered the park practically skipping along with excitement. We were all smiling from ear to ear; we could hardly contain our enthusiasm. But by the time midnight rolled around we were exhausted, sore, hungry, and sunburnt. It wouldn’t have taken a psychologist to figure it out, either. One look at us would have told the story.

Most Christians have that sort of skip-a-long attitude when they first come to Christ. They’re excited and full of energy, “I’ve been redeemed! WOOOO!” But over time, as the reality of life kicks in, the believer wears down emotionally. Sometimes having to drag themselves to church through the doubt and discontentment they feel on a daily basis. The same is true for those who have experienced a personal revival or rededication to Jesus. The excitement eventually wanes and things go back to “business as usual”.

Week in and week out believers are walking into churches with saddened countenances. Their body language and facial expressions tell a far greater story than their words. And that story is not exuding peace, joy, and contentment. Instead, the countenance says, “Jesus, your burden is so heavy and your yoke is more than I can bear. You want too much from me. I want to give up. I’m tired.” How sad that Christ-followers are settling for this kind of existence!

When Truth Doesn’t Set You Free

I recently received an email from a stranger who had stumbled upon my website. This person was desperate for freedom (or so they said). But I had an uneasy feeling from the get-go, and in my correspondence I tried to pay careful attention to the responses I received. It became apparent that the struggling person was not, in fact, even a Christian (one who has trusted in Jesus alone for salvation). They were dealing with demonic interference and had dabbled in the occult/Satan worship.

When I presented this person with the gospel, their whole demeanor changed. They became angry and aggressive, even switching personalities and claiming to be someone else. At one point they told me the original author of the email was no longer allowed to communicate with me.

I assured this person that they could be set free, but only through Jesus Christ. But that wasn’t the answer they wanted to hear and submitting to Christ was not an option for them. In fact, it enraged them every time I mentioned the name of Jesus.

I’ve had experiences of a similar nature with other believers who come to me with their struggles. While they are willing to read books—especially the Bible—do studies, attend conferences, and join groups, they are unwilling to believe what God says about them or their circumstances, and they are not willing to allow God to circumcise their heart and purge the things that are holding them back from a full experience of freedom. Many times these individuals also get angry and defensive when presented with the truth. Unfortunately, they want the result (peace) without the effort (choosing to believe and live by the truth despite circumstances).

The only truth that will set you free is the truth you are willing to apply. <<<(Click here to Tweet this!)

If you want to experience a freedom that exudes through your countenance (in other words, it’s infectious to those around you), you need to reach that point where you’re willing to stand on your head to get results. You’re willing to choose not to be a victim, not to have rights (because your rights are in fact God’s, not yours), you’re willing to be humbled, you’re willing to admit your way isn’t producing the fruit you’d like it to, you’re willing to listen to truth without defensiveness, you’re willing to embrace the relationships God has placed in your life—even the tough ones (some of my biggest spiritual epiphanies have come through the voice of my accusers); in other words, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to be free. You’re willing to believe God’s word and live by faith.

Are you weary, worn, tired, fearful, anxious, depressed, despairing, discontented, embittered, angry…? Are you tired enough to let God change it? Will you stand on your head if He tells you to? You can experience life to the full but you need to ask yourself how willing are you really?

If you are willing, but need help with the “how” of all of this, feel free to email me (RebeccaAarup@mail.com) with your questions. Please, don’t settle for anything less than perfect peace.

Related articles:

If You Really Want the World to Change, it Starts with This

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a redeemed prodigal, set free from over a decade of mental illness, eating disorders, addiction, and more. She now enjoys sharing her story of freedom and transformation, as well as teaching about spiritual warfare and the importance of understanding our identity in Christ.

Rebecca is also an author and freelance writer, having written devotionals and teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and daughter, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by following her on twitter and facebook.

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You can support Rebecca with one click! If you enjoyed this post, please take a second to click the FOLLOW button on the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!

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When You’re Just Fed-Up

 

I struggled with the enclosure for several minutes but eventually gave up and sulked to my dresser. Digging around in frustration I finally found them, the fat jeans. Hadn’t seen or wore them in probably two years, but here they were and now was the time.

I can’t believe this, I mean, I’m a vegetarian, I used to be a personal trainer, and I have all this knowledge about health. Why is this happening?!

My thoughts drifted back a few years (ok, nearly twelve years). I was a certified personal trainer; I weighed 120lbs and wore a size 4 in my favorite designer clothes. Those were the days. Or were they?

While I might have looked good on the surface, I was a wreck on the inside. In order for me to get that body I purged over ten times a day, abused laxatives, worked out for hours on end even waking in the middle of the night to run laps, I was addicted to drugs and smoked like a chimney, and I regularly engaged in self-mutilating behaviors like cutting.

Shaking my head I thanked God for the extra weight I had now, because it wasn’t about the weight it was about the freedom.  I might be packing some pounds, but at least I knew who I was, who God made me, and I was no longer enslaved to a life of personal torture.

Still, God was prompting me to try a little harder when it came to taking care of my temple. Since my back injury in 2008, I had really done very little by way of exercise. Somehow that morning, pulling out the dreaded fat jeans was the spark that ignited the fire of change within me. It took a moment of shock, disgust, and honesty within myself to finally get motivated enough to make a change. (And I’m happy to say that one new exercise machine later along with consistent use of it, and I’m back in the good jeans!)

It’s the same way with our sin. We are so good at deceiving ourselves into thinking we’ve got it together, we’re doing a good job, we’re being “good” Christians, while at the same time we can’t maintain peaceful relationships, we get angry when we think of how a person wronged us, we can’t move past being a victim or feeling sorry for ourselves, and we say we’ve forgiven someone but continue to treat them differently; but boy, on the outside we look good—especially when we’re singing with our hands raised in church. Yes, there we are the super-spiritual Christian who doesn’t practice mercy, grace, love, or forgiveness.

Sometimes our consequences need to catch up with us, and sometimes, if we’re really stubborn, we need to lose everything and everyone in order to find out that God was all we needed. His approval was all that mattered.

We have to really want it, though. Because it’s hard work, this freedom thing. Maybe it’s easy to have a good experience every now and then, but to really maintain an experience of freedom it takes effort and honesty. Otherwise, we end up right back where we started, pulling out the fat jeans because we thought we were doing better than we really were. In other words, the result will always give us away.

Failed relationships, lack of peace, judgmental attitudes, critical or cynical spirits, dissatisfaction, inconsistency, insecurity, fat jeans, whatever it is, it’s the result that speaks to the attitude. Am I lacking peace, do I feel the need to judge another person’s motives, am I always complaining, being overly dramatic, craving attention, avoiding a person who hurt me, talking negatively about someone behind their back, impatient, feeling as if my needs are unmet by people…? Whatever it is, there is an underlying sin-attitude behind it.

Please don’t wait until the result of your life is so negative you can’t stand it anymore before you finally take action. Keep a short account with God, be honest with yourself, others, and God (it’s not like your secret motives will actually surprise Him).

It’s easier to button my jeans when I know I’m doing all I can to be healthy, even if I’m not wearing the size I want. Just the same, it’s easier to experience joy and peace when we’re honest, when we put pride to death daily, and maintain a clear conscience of integrity in all our words and actions. When this is our way of life, the hurts are easier to bear, we’re not thrown into a cloud of depression amidst bad circumstances, and we don’t feel the need to defend ourselves when unjustly accused (you know, when that eye for an eye thing taps on our shoulder).

Is your faith connected to your actions? Are your motives pure? Is your heart sincere? Or is the result of your attitudes leaving a bad taste in your mouth (and the relationships around you) and a few extra pounds around your spiritual waist?  As Warren Wiersbe says, don’t become so smart you become dumb! (Or, in my case, know a lot about health yet fail to practically apply that knowledge until the results were more than I could stand.)

 “In my pastoral ministry, I have met people who have become intoxicated with ‘studying the deeper truths of the Bible.’ Usually they have been given a book or introduced to some teacher’s tapes. Before long, they get so smart they become dumb! The ‘deeper truths’ they discover only detour them from practical Christian living. Instead of getting burning hearts of devotion to Christ (Luke 24: 32), they get big heads and start creating problems in their homes and churches. All Bible truths are practical, not theoretical. If we are growing in knowledge, we should also be growing in grace (2 Peter 3: 18).” Warren Wiersbe, Be Complete (A commentary on Colossians)

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You can support Rebecca’s ministry with one click! If you enjoyed this post and others, please take a second to click the FOLLOW button on the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!

_______________________________

profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a redeemed prodigal, set free from over a decade of mental illness, eating disorders, addiction, and more. She now enjoys sharing her story of freedom and transformation with a lost and hurting world, as well as teaching about spiritual warfare and the importance of understanding our identity in Christ.

Rebecca is also an author and freelance writer, having written devotionals and teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and daughter, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by following her on twitter and facebook.

 

Book Review: Healing the Hurts of Your Past by F. Remy Diederich

Healing-the-Hurts-of-Your-Past-StackHealing the Hurts of Your Past: Overcoming the Pain of Shame by F. Remy Diederich can only be described as a life-altering read. The main topic of discussion in this book is shame, learning how to recognize it and defeat its power in your life. If you’re thinking, “Oh, I don’t struggle with shame, I’ve never done anything that bad,” I urge you to purchase this book anyway. You’ll probably be surprised at the things you’ll discover you believed about yourself and how it has negatively affected your life.

As a person who has been through every recovery book known to man, who has lived life as an addict and been set free from a multitude of other spiritual strongholds, I thought I would read things in this book that were familiar concepts or things I had already mastered in previous recovery efforts. I never expected it to have the impact on my life that it did. It’s one thing to be set free from destructive behaviors, it’s another thing altogether to discover what beliefs and attitudes propelled the wrong behavior in the first place. That’s exactly what this book does in an amazingly brilliant way.

Healing the Hurts of Your Past helped me to see the destructive role shame has played in my life over the years, and how easy it is to overlook it, thinking some other source is the cause of my problems. Nearly every “bad” behavior, whether physical (promiscuity) or emotional (bitterness) can be traced back to the pain of shame.

This book needs to be in the hands of every recovering addict, for one, as well as parents and loved ones of people who are struggling with addiction, mental issues, depression, and suicidal tendencies. This book will change how you view your loved one who is suffering in these ways. And if you’re the person who is suffering emotionally, this book (if you apply what you learn) will change your life too. If I had enough money I’d give everyone I know a copy of Healing the Hurts of Your Past.

Honestly I was blown away at how accurate it describes the mind and the way shame affects so many areas of our lives from perfectionism to the way we raise our kids. The biggest takeaway for me was discovering how the shame I’d lived with had actually influenced the way I parented my child. I was able to see just how much emotional trauma I could potentially place on my child if I allowed shame’s fruit to ripen in my life. It’s easy to admit that our problems affect us; it’s a whole other issue to admit our problems affect our children too.

So, thank you Remy, for writing this book and sharing this truth with the world.

Though author Remy Diederich had previously given me another one of his books to read/review (read my review of STUCK), this book was something I purchased on my own because I loved his other book so much. Everything I’m writing here is my own opinion and was not coerced in any way. I have not received anything in return for writing this review.

To purchase Healing the Hurts of Your Past or Stuck by F. Remy Diederich from the publisher, click HERE. To purchase on Amazon click HERE for Healing the Hurts or HERE for STUCK: How to Mend and Move on from Broken Relationships.

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F. Remy Diederich is the author of Healing the Hurts of Your Past…a guide to Remyovercoming the pain of shame and STUCK…how to mend and move on from broken relationships. He is the founding pastor of Cedarbrook Church in Wisconsin, the spirituality consultant at Arbor Place Treatment Center, and offers retreats and seminars based on his two books.

I encourage you to follow Remy on Facebook or Twitter and follow his blog: http://readingremy.com
You can also email Remy at: remydiederich@yahoo.com

Stuck: How to Mend and Move on From Broken Relationships

Final_STUCK_cover_2Stuck: How to Mend and Move on From Broken Relationships by F. Remy Diederich can be summed up in one word–brilliant. As a recovering addict, I have been through every step program and healing book out there, from Celebrate Recovery to the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book. I have read books on anger and forgiveness written by famous theologians and pastors of mega churches, and though they have been helpful in their own right, this particular one hit home for me like no other has.

Before I read Stuck, I would not have characterized myself as a bitter or angry person. No, having been through the twelve steps every which way from Sunday, I would have said that I had NO problem with anger or forgiveness. And then I read the first few pages of Stuck and my heart sank (in a good, convicting way). Within approximately ten minutes of posting a Facebook status that said, “Frustrated” I read in Stuck what being “frustrated” really means, and as I honestly examined my heart I had to agree with the author’s conclusions on the issue.

Another aspect of Stuck I thoroughly enjoyed was the thought-provoking questions included in each chapter. I have a tendency to read books quickly, like what I read and even be convicted by it, but then forget everything the next day without any tangible life-changes. But in Stuck, the carefully chosen questions popped up everywhere (in a good way) which challenged me to think about what I had just read. In essence, the ball was in my court and I had the opportunity to either make a conscious change or ignore what I read and move on.

Whether you think you’ve conquered forgiveness, anger, bitterness, and broken relationships or not, this book is a must read. I guarantee you will be challenged to look within yourself, examine your motives, and make a lasting heart-change.

Initially I was interested in this book because of a personal situation I had been dealing with (in other words, a bad relationship) for the last year. This situation had become what I considered to be “impossible”. The truth presented in Stuck helped me discern what move to make next in regards to this relationship while having the confidence to know my decision would honor God. I believe in divine appointments; that there are no “accidents”. When Stuck landed in my hands (through circumstances only God could have orchestrated) my spiritual life began to transform in ways I didn’t even realize needed transforming. Perhaps when we reach a point where we think we’ve got it all figured out in a particular area is when we truly need help the most, having been blinded to our own short-comings

I can’t really rave enough about this book, and would strongly urge you to pick it up. It will be well worth your time and resources, especially if you actually apply what you learn. As I mentioned before, this opinion comes from one who has walked the road to recovery, and read many books on anger and forgiveness out there.

I look forward to getting my hands on a hard-copy of this book, as well as using it in a life-group (or small group) setting. I plan on reading it again and keeping it handy when those old familiar “feelings” resurface.

You can purchase Stuck: How to Mend and Move on From Broken Relationships by F. Remy Diederich on Amazon by clicking here…but for an even better deal check out this post by the author (if you’re reading this before December 18, 2012).

RemyF. Remy Diederich is the author of Healing the Hurts of Your Past…a guide to overcoming the pain of shame and STUCK…how to mend and move on from broken relationships. He is the founding pastor of Cedarbrook Church in Wisconsin, the spirituality consultant at Arbor Place Treatment Center, and offers retreats and seminars based on his two books.His books are available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble
Cross Point Publishing. (Stuck will be released in stores on Tuesday, December 18, 2012)
I encourage you to follow Remy on Facebook or Twitter and follow his blog: http://readingremy.com
You can also email Remy at: remydiederich@yahoo.com

(I received a free copy of Stuck for review purposes only. I was not required to give anything other than an honest review, and the opinions I have expressed here have been heartfelt and sincere. I do not know the author personally, nor am I a friend or relative. I am simply a grateful reader who was privileged to come across such and amazing book.)

The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack

The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack is the true story of three Mexican fishermen lost at sea for more than nine months. The fishermen were believed to be dead, but in a shocking turn of events, a Chinese fishing crew happened upon them near the coast of Australia, where they had drifted more than 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

Woven within this amazing story of survival is another “survivor” tale. The story of Joe Kissack, successful TV media mogul, tells of a man so wrapped up in his own success and wealth he finds himself lost in his own personal sea of misery. Enveloped in addiction and depression, Joe finally hit rock bottom. It was there that he found salvation and recovery in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Fourth Fisherman is a compelling tale of an incredible, almost unbelievable, story of survival and hope. Not just for the fisherman, but for Joe—the “fourth” fisherman. Eventually Joe and the fishermen meet face to face where their stories finally converge. Joe fights for several years to make sure the fishermen’s story of faith is appropriately represented in the media. He finds, however, that the majority of Hollywood is only interested in the gruesome, and often completely inaccurate, details of the fishermen’s story. A story—the true story—of faith which led these men to persevere is nowhere on the media’s radar.

This in an amazing book, and truthfully once I started it I could not put it down. Not only is the tale of survival amazing, but also how God worked out the intricate details to allow the lives of Joe and the fishermen to cross, enabling the story of their faith and perseverance to be told. This book reads a lot like a novel and there is not one dull moment to be found in its pages. Joe is honest about his struggles too, which I especially appreciated. I can’t think of a single person who would not be blessed and encouraged through the reading of this story.

The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack was published by Waterbrook Press in March 2012 and is currently available for purchase.

(I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.)