Tuesday, February 2, 2010

‘Embracing Your Freedom’ by Susie Larson – Book Review

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The latest book I have read, ‘Embracing Your Freedom,’ by Susie Larson, deals with how our freedom in Christ, which He so want us to accept, can be transformed into helping those in the world who are also suffering. Dealing with the subject of slavery – whether it be physical or spiritual - sounds like it may be depressing, but Mrs. Larson points us to the hope and the transformation that comes only through Christ. And He wants us to reach other people after we’ve been set free. Rarely in my life have I been so profoundly affected by a book. It is clear from Susie’s writing that she has a compassionate heart for people –especially for women.

I was unfamiliar with Susie Larson prior to reading this book. This is what I learned in my research (from her website):

With enthusiasm, humor, and conviction, author/speaker Susie Larson has spoken to thousands of women locally, nationally, and internationally. She is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Women in Christian Media, and serves on the board of directors for the Christian Authors Network. Susie also serves a regular guest host for Along the Way – a two-hour talk radio show (AM Faith 900).
In addition to authoring several books and many articles, Susie works as a freelance writer for Focus on the Family, and has been featured as a guest on radio and TV programs across the country, including Moody Midday Connection, Family Life Today, Chris Fabry Live!, The Harvest Show, and the LIFE Today Show with James and Betty Robison.

Susie’s books are ‘The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary’ and ‘Alone in Marriage: Encouragement For the Times When It’s All Up to You’ (both of which I will be reviewing), plus ‘Balance That Works When Life Doesn't: Simple Steps to a Woman's Physical and Spiritual Health’ and ‘Mercy in the Wilderness: A Selfish Heart a Faithful God.’

Susie and her husband, Kevin, are involved with a ministry called International Justice Mission
and what she has learned through her affiliation has affected her deeply. IJM is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to promote functioning public justice systems. Their four-fold purpose is: 1) Victim Relief; 2) Perpetrator Accountability; 3) Victim Aftercare; and 4) Structural Transformation

The Lord seems to be directing me lately to three subjects which are of utmost importance in this book: 1) freedom in Christ; 2) social justice; and 3) God’s supremacy/sovereignty. Susie really illuminates these subjects in this book. She lays her heart out – open and exposed – to show what the Lord has done in her life.

I found this book to be deep and revealing and life-changing – if you allow the Lord to implement the changes in your life and illuminate the dark places. That is usually an unpleasant situation to place yourself in, but it is only through sin and darkness being exposed that real healing from the Lord can come. Susie has been healed in many areas of her life, and her heart is to use that healing and freedom to help others. It has certainly opened my eyes to subjects (such as human trafficking, sexual abuse) which we tend to avert our gaze. Susie points out the fact that Jesus, instead of looking the other way, actively sought out those people who were the most deeply wounded. Susie directs us to do the same, and – after reading this book – you will also be compelled and drawn to do just that. I thank her for exposing her heart and making us aware of these issues – and reminding us of the freedom that Christ can give.

I was especially touched by her account of the Lord’s healing of her son, Jordan. He’d suffered a serious back injury playing football and had been in excruciating pain for months. Two of Susie’s friends related two stories of people being miraculously healed from the same type of back injury. Both Susie and Jordan claimed that same healing for him. Shortly thereafter, Jordan attended a youth group in which a young man who’d just returned from a missions trip related how the Lord had healed a ‘sick kid’ when this young man had prayed for him. Jordan heard the Lord’s still small voice tell him “That’s the boy I want to pray for you.” Jordan tracked down the young man after the meeting. The young man prayed for him, Jordan felt a warm sensation on his back, and was instantly healed! My husband, Fred, was healed from a serious illness in January, 2007, so I can relate to the fact that the Lord still heals! I was excited to hear how the Lord touched the Larson family as well! As Susie relates in her book, “The Bible says ask, and keep asking. Believe, and keep believing. Trust, and keep trusting. As I read God’s living Word and ponder my son’s miracle, I know anything is possible with God.” Amen to that!

Let me close with this parting thought from the book:

"Jesus paid a staggering price for our salvation and our freedom, and the salvation and freedoms of others. He set us free that we may become freedom fighters- willing to advocate for those still waiting for release. God loves justice and we will be very near to His heartbeat when we tend to the desires of His heart." (p. 265)

This book was provided to me by Moody Publishers for review purposes.

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