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A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope through the Psalms of Lament Paperback – May 20, 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Christian Focus (March 20, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781917280
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781917282
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #547,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Kindle Edition
In a culture in which we do everything to avoid pain or at least mask it, this book shows us great purpose behind it. I love Christina Fox's authentic balanced approach to looking at our darker emotions. She points us to God's Word, not as a trite answer to our griefs but as a friend who comes alongside to give us deeper understanding and courage to face them. I love that this book deals with feelings that are often uncomfortable to face. I love even more that it shows them to us in light of God's Word teaching us to come before our Savior unmasked and unhindered. She shows us the laments in the Psalms and uses them as a pattern in which to explore our own emotions. Each chapter ends with a few questions to reflect on and deeper think about the truths it discusses, helping us apply them to our own lives. This book shows us Christ and his redemptive work through lament. It shows His own lament and David's laments and points us to the hope to be found through our own laments as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As someone who has now been a Christian for a while, I have to admit that I have come to a point in my walk where I often confront my laments in a somewhat rote or formulaic way, rather than dealing with the real, underlying emotions I experience.

Since I do think God wants me to deal with my emotions in deeper and more constructive ways that can seem quite a bit uncomfortable, vulnerable, and scary, this book is a timely companion. Christina's writing is quite personable, making her book incredibly accessible and easy to apply its teaching. Her insight and obvious depth of study will effectively guide her readers to apply balm of the Word of God in the Psalms in meaningful ways to those "pesky" emotions. I plan to re-read and soak in several chapters soon. Highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up Christina Fox’s new book, A Heart Set Free, then, as a habitual truth-speaker who would rather ignore her emotions than invite them to come out of hiding and swallow her whole. Fox’s own background—as a counselor and someone who herself suffers from depression—means she often writes from the opposite perspective: a woman who has already been swallowed by her emotions and is now trying to get free. But I believe both emotion-captors (like me) and emotion-captives (like Fox) will find valuable help in this book’s pages.

Part 1 of the book lays out a biblical perspective on emotions. Fox describes the emotions of worry, fear, anxiety, despair, grief, sorrow, abandonment, rejection, and shame, and she considers how they become “uninvited guests” in our lives. From there, Fox moves on to set them in the context of creation, fall, and redemption and gives a hopeful and helpful reminder that “Jesus came to redeem all things—including our emotions.”

The rest of the book focuses more narrowly on the psalms of lament and their use as a pattern to guide us. As an emotion-avoider, I found myself moved by Fox’s explanation of why we should lament:

We need to lament not because we are without hope but because we have faith in God. We also need to lament so we can enter into the pain we often avoid in order to know the peace that God gives those who come to him in faith. We need to lament so that we can learn more about God, about his redemptive purposes in this world, about ourselves, and about our greatest need in Christ. And we need to lament so that we can experience more of God’s amazing grace.

From there, Fox goes on to give us practical direction and encouragement to lament.
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Format: Kindle Edition
In this book the author helps us understand why we have a hard time truthfully acknowledging what is really going on in our hearts and why it is okay, good actually, to allow ourselves to remain in hard emotional places. And we see this in the Psalms through the cries of the psalters who did not sugar-coat their problems, nor stuff them or try to fix their problems themselves. Instead they turned to God in the most intense moments of doubt, anger, sorrow, despair, fear and brokenness. And as Fox points out this becomes our blueprint of how to come to God in the midst of our emotions, not just “for the sake of catharsis” but with the end goal of bringing about a deeper worship and trust in the Lord.

Fox walks us through several laments and then encourages us at the end of each chapter to work through others on our own. Over and over again we see that what starts out as cries of desperation, confusion and abandonment gives way to hope and praise. But she makes clear this is not the path our emotions will naturally lead us, apart from knowing who God is and remembering His truths. What usually happens instead is our emotions dictate our self-talk and lead us deeper into despair. That is why we must fill our minds with the truths about God. When we are reminded of who He is, even in the midst of darkness, peace that surpasses understanding can invade our hearts and transform our emotions.

Reading this book and learning to follow the structure of the laments will not insulate you from feeling pain, but it will help you learn where to take your every emotion so you can move to a place of worship and joy in all seasons. Thus, it earned my five stars!
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