Made Well by Jenny Simmons
*Just a side note: although this isn’t an affiliated post I figured that since it does contain a link to pre-order the book I would just make it known right at the get go. I do also have a free copy because I was chosen to be a part of the launch team for the book, as long as I gave an honest review on a seller website.*
I haven’t written an “official” book review on my blog yet, but I knew I wanted this one to be the first. It’s perfect timing because the book releases next Tuesday, October 4th, and it just so happens to be the first book I’ve actually sat down to read in a very long time. (Seriously, I almost had to force myself to sit down and read this book because I hadn’t read anything longer than an article on the web in so long.) But it was so worth it because of what this book is about and also who it’s written by, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts and a little bit of my journey of being made well with you all.
Made Well is the second book written by Jenny Simmons in which she talks about being made well through Jesus and every day moments. Jenny opens with stories of her own where grief and sadness were prevalent in her life and family, and soon after begins to explain how she has found healing during this time in her life. Slowly she transitions from telling stories about her own moments of being made well to telling stories about how other people have been made well through the ways that God works and through Jenny herself. Jenny’s talent for storytelling is incredible in the way that she is able to paint pictures of stories that resonate deep in your soul but also tell stories that just make you laugh out loud. I feel like everyone says these type of things when they talk about Jenny’s writing style, and I feel like a copycat but it’s the truth.
When I heard that Jenny had written her first book I couldn’t wait to read it, and then she got a publishing deal to re-release that book and release a second book I could hardly wait for the release date of that second one. Being a friend/fan of Jenny’s for years now I love supporting anything she is doing, and can’t wait to let everyone know about it. I was super excited to get picked to be on the launch team, and help give this book whatever push I could for a successful launch. Even though I’ve got a brand new blog that hasn’t reached many people with my own content, I figured I could do my part in writing about a book that I believed in no matter how many people it reached or didn’t reach. Plus, it gave me something to write about as I was still struggling to find enough things to write about. Does that sound like an excuse? I hope not…
From the very first time I heard Jenny tell her story I found myself relating to little bits and pieces of it, and felt relieved that someone else felt like me. I think that’s why I’m such a music lover because every song has little moments that are relatable which is why music is so universal. Her first book, The Road to Becoming talks about those seasons in life where you find yourself in those Not-How-I-Planned-It moments and God really is at work even when you feel lost and uprooted by change. I found myself dealing with a lot of lost-ness and change in my teenage years as my family was experiencing the flip side of the beauty that is adoption. I also found myself walking through a spiritual drought season at the same time which I’m still trying to find my way through today. That book spoke to me in so many ways and it still does, but not the way this new book, Made Well, does.
Made Well spoke to me in new ways that I didn’t know I needed to be spoken to. I was stuck in the season of lost-ness and change (which I still kind of am; hello moving to a new house after fifteen years where I spent most of my childhood) and then discovered this thing called being made well. Let me just state this: I am not made well. I am being made well day by day but I am not made well yet; I feel like I’m not even close some days. I think this is one of the hardest things for me to admit as a perfectionist: I am not made well yet. It was in Chapter 6: Psychiatrist, Therapist, and Pill – Oh My! on page 65 that I read this:
“We must be willing to set down the pride of having it all together and the fear of self-discovery if we are to honestly face ourselves and be made well. Are you willing to take an honest assessment of yourself? This may require meeting with a gracious guide who is trained a and willing to shine a light on those places that are hard, if not possible, to see and name on your own. Naming our broken bits is the first step to finding healing for them. Inviting someone else into your journey might be your bravest decision. No one tells you that healing is holy work when you are avoiding eye contact in the counselor’s office – but it is. God uses a myriad of people in our lives to lead us back to Him; counselors are just some of them.”
In my teenage years my family experienced a lot of changes and struggles daily and I began to struggle with anxiety, although I’d never really named it until recently, and even now with my job I struggle with anxiety sometimes on a daily basis. I never put two and two together when I thought about some experiences that I’d had including what I now know to be a panic attack in the first months of my first job, Dairy Queen, after interacting with a difficult customer. I just remember that my hands got real numb and couldn’t breathe but I thought it was because I’d been crying so much. (Yes, I cried at my work, in front of my family and extended family, during lunch rush. How humiliating!) But it turned out to be a very good learning experience for me after I’d gotten so defeated that I decided to quit not long after that. But thankfully I had an amazing boss who let me stay on after deciding that it wasn’t a good idea to quit.
Naming my broken bits – perfectionism and anxiety being very strong right now – is definitely a struggle sometimes especially when you feel like you’ve got to have it all together. It’s definitely not easy but that’s part of the healing process of being made well. It’s a daily process that tends to feel more weird than normal sometimes because just like living authentically – being vulnerable and honest with ourselves is difficult because it is the first step in healing as well as living life in a brand new way. I knew going into reading Made Well that I would take away something new, but I didn’t know that I would take away something so important as this and this is only one of the things that I’ve taken away from this book. There are many more pieces of gold inside this beautiful book, but this is the one that spoke to me the most when reading it.
I strongly encourage you to pre-order a copy or two, or pick it up when it becomes available, because you will not be disappointed with this book! Made Well is available for pre-order at madewellbook.com and there are perks for preordering the book until it becomes available on Tuesday, October 4th! I have loved reading this book, and it will be one I will be reading over and over again!
Made Well by Jenny Simmons
Available October 4th, 2016