Have you ever gone through challenging times and found it difficult to hang onto your hope? Or, have you even struggled with depression? Have you wondered why your faith wasn’t enabling you to kick that depression in the teeth? Or, have you ever found it difficult to believe what God says about you? If so, you’re going to love Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson. The BlogAbout Blogger Network sent me a copy of this amazing book to review and a copy to bless one of our readers with….as well as a gorgeous & incredible gift box from the author! (I’ll be sharing some goodies with my giveaway winner from that as well!)
I have read a lot of good books over the past year. However, I must say that in all my reading, I don’t know that I’ve seen an author open the door on her own struggles and then describe them in such a way that I felt that she was talking about my own. I endured a season of depression myself following a couple of serious surgeries and family difficulties several years ago. While I would say that depression doesn’t describe my emotional state at this moment, I am in a place where Dr. Bengtson’s words are still of enormous value and assistance. Readers of the finchnwren blog know that after having abdominal pain that just wouldn’t go away, I required surgery to remove a cyst in early May. That cyst turned out to be cancerous, to my utter shock and disbelief! The surgeon felt optimistic about having gotten all of it out, but he still recommended chemotherapy. So I’ve completed the first third of the chemo journey (having had 2 of 6 sessions) but I am discovering that for me, the battlefield of the mind is almost as important as the battle being waged in my body. How do I endure the physical challenges while hanging onto my hope, my faith, my belief in God and that He is FOR me? What a perfect book Hope Prevails is for my journey!
What will you find in Hope Prevails?
Author and neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Bengtson found, after treating patients for years in her own practice, that she required treatment for depression herself. And she discovered that there was a crucial ingredient missing in common treatment options for depression; the spiritual aspect. In Hope Prevails, you’ll find out what depression can look like, what it can do to you spiritually, and how you can integrate care of yourself spiritually to work alongside traditional treatment. And receive true healing!
Each chapter begins with identification and description of depression plus the key elements of YOU, yourself, that can be tended on your walk toward healing. Next, Dr. Bengtson gives the reader an Rx (prescription) to follow, that includes anything from Scriptures to read and review, brief research, prayers, and more. She writes the most meaningful prayers for the reader/sufferer of depression, and concludes each chapter with a Recommended Playlist of praise and worship songs that are keyed to each chapter. (You can find them by searching YouTube or iTunes. Worth a listen!)
And Dr. Bengtson shares her own life, transparently, and how to address the spiritual component of the healing of depression in the following chapters (and others):
- This Thing Called Depression
- You Are Not Alone
- The Underlying Causes of Depression
- Recognize You Have An Enemy
These first chapters define depression in all its lack of glory, and remind us that there is an enemy of our souls who seeks to do us in, as Jesus instructs us in John 10:10: ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
But then Jesus goes on to encourage us and remind us of the truth: “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Life! Not just painful existence. The remainder of the chapters in Hope Prevails tell us about this full or abundant life, and how we can apprehend it:
- Recover Your Joy
- Reclaim Your Peace
- Reestablish Your Identity
- Know Your Worth
- Remember Your Secure Destiny
- Be Confident That Nothing Separates You from God’s Love
- God Uses Your Pain
- The Way to Hope
Each of these chapters is so rich; each one speaks to a component of our spiritual identities (you know, the invisible part that makes each of us uniquely us), how each is affected by depression and its spiritual battles, and how we can regain strength and joy in them.
How Hope Prevails affected me
So…I’ve mentioned a bit to you about my own current physical, mental, and spiritual journey. How I am walking through chemotherapy: one day–6 hours, actually–getting the IV infusions and then 20 more days of letting that medication do battle in my own body. Then starting the whole process over again.
I can tell you (see my Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator for confirmation) that I am a great beginner. I love starting new things, new classes, new projects. But there is that spot, sometimes, in the middle of the journey where the fun isn’t as obvious, the grind has become the grind, and the newness has worn off. Now nobody is really going to call chemotherapy a fun journey. But there has been that newness of it: the not knowing what’s coming next, the unforeseen challenges. All those kept me on my toes, really depending on God for what was around the next corner because we just had no clue. But now I’m kind of noticing that we’re in that middle part; the routine. Not that there won’t be unexpected surprises or challenges; but now I’m thinking that suddenly the circumstances (the pain, the medications/their effects, the trips to the doctor) aren’t my fight, I (my choices, my relationship with God, my mental battle) am my fight. Or rather, my reacting to each day; knowing I might not be feeling my best or feeling well at all, but choosing to ENGAGE. Engage with God; believe His truths; attempt to walk out my best in my life and with my family. Sigh. The middle.
What a powerful tool, what a valued companion Dr. Michelle Bengston has provided for me in my fight. In each chapter, she defines what I am needing, whether it’s hope, joy, peace, identity, etc., and kindly and lovingly explains how I can grasp or attain it. She provides truth to counter the enemy’s lies. She includes Scripture that I’ve written in my journal or on cards for my vision board, so that I can remember what is real and true about my journey and about me.
How could Hope Prevails help you?
Now…most of you (and maybe even none of you!) are NOT undergoing my particular journey. But perhaps you have experienced depression. Maybe someone you love has. Or it could be that you just desperately need to learn, remember, and know the truths the enemy would love for us to forget, but that God has given us in His Word. Or, what if you’d just like to learn how you can grow in your own relationship with God? If so, this book is for you! (And keep reading because I have one copy to bless a reader with…that just might be you!)
I have to tell you that discovering that there had been a cyst in my body that was cancerous, and then going thru six rounds of chemotherapy, was NOT something that I was hoping for in my life! But God has spoken Romans 8:28 over every one of us that loves and believes in Him…and He has spoken it over me and my life and journey to defeat illness as well. I know that there will be a day when I can richly and fully say that I can rejoice in having gone through this. If this also is something you desire to be able to say about your own pains and struggles, then that’s another reason to read this incredible book!
The unboxing of encouragement
Before I get to the giveaway, though, I have to share with you the absolutely wonderful gift box that I received from Dr. Michelle Bengtson. It came to me at just the right moment, when I was home from surgery but still in significant pain from a wound infection. WHAT an encouragement and blessing this box was! Just at a moment when I needed something beautiful and wonderful to encourage me. (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Dr. Bengtson and The BlogAbout Network!)
Of course, you know after reading my review that I adored the book. But at a time when I needed some beauty and love (and isn’t it nice to get that in a physical form from time to time?), I was blessed with that gorgeous scarf and the beautiful pearl bracelet that reads “Hope”!
I have to tell you that I wear the bracelet every time I go to chemotherapy. It reminds me of beauty, that God is good, and that I have a hope to look forward to…not only in the life to come but in the here and now!
And now…enter to win some Hope Prevails goodies!
One reader will be selected to win a copy of Hope Prevails, a dog tag necklace with Jeremiah 29:11 on it, AND a delicious bar of chocolate from Dr. Michelle Bengtson! Just click on the pink link below to be taken to the Giveaway Tools entry form. Giveaway closes on July 16. Best wishes!
Don’t forget to visit Dr. Michelle Bengtson on social media, where you’ll find more encouragement and beauty
Her website, DrMichelleBengtson
Thank you for letting me share this powerful book (and goodies!) with you all. Blessings!
DISCLOSURE: From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.