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The Way of Letting Go: One Woman's Walk toward Forgiveness Paperback – February 21, 2017
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With this book Wilma Derksen has found a way to redeem the seemingly irredeemable. After living through a parent’s worst nightmare, she devoted herself to the hard work of forgiveness, dissecting each stage with a surgeon’s skill. The practical wisdom that has emerged could only come from someone who strained to forgive the unforgivable---and somehow succeeded. What she learned along the way brings hope to all of us who struggle with this most difficult, yet most necessary task. (Philip Yancey, editor-at-large, Christianity Today)
I have followed Wilma’s journey for years. It has been incredibly difficult, incredibly moving, and her insights incredibly profound. She has much to teach us all. (Howard Zehr, Distinguished Professor of Restorative Justice, codirector, Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice, Eastern Mennonite University)
In The Way of Letting Go Wilma Derksen demonstrates how the healing process is to pass from the narrative of trauma as overwhelming grief into the narrative of trauma as an experience of deep and meaningful significance. Bringing together all her experience and learning following the agony of her daughter’s murder, here over thirty years later Derksen is able to give voice to a humanity born out of suffering. There are few who have given as much thought to the transformative power of forgiveness---she has defined, refined, probed, and reevaluated one of the most difficult, complex, but never more relevant forces in the world today. (Marina Cantacuzino, founder, The Forgiveness Project)
Wilma Derksen’s powerful book highlights a profound paradox---to achieve some degree of control over one’s life and emotions in the face of grief and trauma, one has to do the opposite---let go of control. (Ted Wachtel, editor, BuildingANewReality.com)
The answer is love and compassion for all of humanity. When the Nazarene said that we should forgive seventy times seven, he was telling us that forgiveness should be a habit, a way of life. Forgiveness is not for the person who has wronged us; it is for us---it sets us free. Wilma’s story is proof of this. (Bill Pelke, author, Journey of Hope ... from Violence to Healing)
About the Author
Wilma Derksen is an international speaker and consultant on victimization and criminal justice. She has told her story and facilitated support groups of survivors of homicide, organized dialogues between victims and inmates in prison, conducted trainings, given lectures, participated in panel discussions, presented her insights to the justice system, and addressed victims’ needs at restorative justice conferences throughout the United States and Canada.
Top customer reviews
The murder occurred in November 1984, so the author has had a long life of grief, mourning, reflection and healing. The book is a list of 15 ideas or expectations she has had to let go in order to come to terms with the tragedy -- rage, justice, obsession, fear, blame, self pity, etc. She weaves her personal experience in with sermons from Jesus, whom she calls the Nazarene, and ruminations on the concept of forgiveness.
Why couldn't I connect with this book? Along with a foreword by author Malcolm Gladwell, it should have been a given. I think the choice to tell the story by themes and topics created a confusing patchwork. The timeline jumps back and forth, the text skips from personal story to sermon to study material, so I was constantly losing the thread of the book. The author's thoughts seem so well rehearsed that as a reader, I wasn't given the chance to mourn with her before she experiences her "letting go." Aspects of the story are addressed so briefly that it's almost as if the author expected us all to know more about the murder than we actually do. For example, she mentions once or twice the fact that her husband was under suspicion, but that particular jolt to the family is not really addressed. She dips in and out of the eventual trial, mentioning the perpetrator for the first time by his last name only. I wasn't sure who she was talking about. She frequently mentions "restorative justice," and I have no idea what that is, as it is never explained.
I was puzzled by the author's statement, late in the book, that if she had a chance to talk to her daughter's murderer, she would ask him this: "After spending so much time in the institution, do you still have the ability to love?" I just couldn't believe that would be what she would really ask. All in all, this book came across as a self-help book in which the author unfortunately has removed herself from her story in her valiant attempt to help others with their own pain.
This book covers everything from getting dropped by a friend to the unexpected and violent loss of a loved one. There is a lot of information in the book, so I would suggest reading it slowly so that you can absorb it all.
I received a free copy from the publisher.
I don't even remember why I requested this book for review, but I'm glad I did.
What I Thought about this Book:
It was beautiful. The message, the writing, the ideas presented, all of it was beautiful. I was amazed the whole book through how the tone of each page was so peaceful and forgiving, and yes, full of letting go. The author's daughter was murdered. By human standards the author has every right to rant and rage, yet she knew she was held to a higher standard - God's standard. And, even though she wasn't always triumphant, she knew forgiveness was the best way.
The book was very eye-opening to me. I hadn't realized how drastically someone's life changes when their child is murdered. With the author, it had been a very publicized crime because first the daughter was missing, so they needed everyone to help look for her. That meant that when they eventually found her body, the news didn't die down - instead they continued being in the news, and that would have to have been really hard. Also, the fact that it took many years to find the murderer meant that there wasn't closure. I can't even imagine what they had to go through, and to continue to have forgiveness and grace through it all? Very powerful.
The author goes through the Sermon on the Mount, point by point, as she goes through her story. The way she fit everything together, and goes back and forth speaks of impressive writing skills. She's honed her writing craft very well.
At the beginning of each chapter there were quotes, and the quotes by Corrie ten Boom were my favorite. I’m very thankful that the author, like Corrie, was able to take the hardest thing in her life, and turn it around to use it for God’s glory. I had never heard about the author before reading this book, but apparently she’s traveled around speaking about forgiveness, and she has a blog. (Although, I don't know if her blog is about forgiveness or not.) The author shows that even horrible and painful things in life can end up being used for good if they are handled the correct way.
There are some details in the book that make it unsuitable for ages 16 and under or so, but overall I think the author did a good job of not getting too detailed.
There were also several things I didn't agree with all of the way, but for the most part I really appreciated everything in the book.
I’m giving The Way of Letting Go 4 out of 5 stars, and 7 out of 10.
*I received this book from BookLook
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One Woman’s Walk Toward Forgiveness
By Wilma Derksen
The forgiveness this book deals with is forgiveness of losing a child in a tragedy.Read more