REVIEWS | Hope For Wholeness

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    I have suffered from depression for 16 years, been on over 30 different medications, and had several electroconvulsive treatments (ECT). I've been hospitalized several times and tried to commit suicide twice. I almost died during my second attempt and often find myself angry with God for keeping me alive and saving my life. Before reading this book, I didn't know of another person with a story of severe and chronic depression--like mine--that would not go away. The fact that Sharon Fawcett's depression did end, gives me "Hope for Wholeness."

    There is nothing like reading a book by one who has walked in your shoes. Sharon's plight with depression mirrors mine in so many ways. Although I don't know her personally (I wish I did) I have so much love for her and her book.

    The book has an excellent title. I had lost all hope in God and the fact that I would ever be better. Hope for Wholeness changed my life and my perspective. Sharon hit a home run with this book.

    By Renetta Bond,

    USA

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    Modern medicine and health care operate from a Eurocentric biomedical model that often does not take into consideration the whole person in terms of body mind and spirit. Hope for Wholeness is a first-person story of Sharon L. Fawcett’s journey with depression and her recovery. While acknowledging both the value and limits of medication and other treatments, she looks at the spiritual dynamics of mental illness and healing. No matter the causes of depression and other mental illnesses, authentic spirituality as a source of strength, meaning and purpose in life, is currently one of the hottest subjects in mental health circles. Sharon shares her lived experience of darkness as well as God’s grace and tender mercies in her journey of recovery.

    Chris Summerville, D.Min., CPRP
    Board Member, Mental Health Commission of Canada
    Executive Director, Manitoba Schizophrenia Society
    Chief Executive Officer, Schizophrenia Society of Canada

    By Chris Summerville,

    Mental Health Commission of Canada

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    HOPE FOR WHOLENESS is an inspirational book not only for people who are struggling with depression directly, but all those who are peripherally impacted by the illness. An average reader interested in the topic could access the information in this book very readily, and that takes a certain degree of finesse in writing.

    Sharon has written this book with what I’d describe as a brutal self-honesty. But it constantly moves the reader toward hope, wholeness, health, and a closer and more mature walk with God. You don’t often find those kinds of combinations in a single book. The self-revelation that takes place in HOPE FOR WHOLENESS doesn’t relish in false triumphantism, nor does it enter into what I describe as voyeuristic self-deprecation. It’s always aimed at helping others understand themselves, understand others better, and understand their relationship with God.

    For those who are directly struggling with depression, this book is tremendously helpful--not only offering comfort in the experiences of another who has journeyed this path and has struggled tremendously with it, but also offering clear and articulate descriptions of spiritual treatments for depression. But the book goes even further, beyond just the prescriptive and toward continued wholeness and maintenance of wholeness beyond a therapeutic stage.

    This is a book of grace. It’s a book of hope. It’s a book obviously written with deep love for others who struggle with depression, both directly and indirectly. HOPE FOR WHOLENESS is a book that’s truly going to be very helpful for others. 

    By Rev. Dr. Martin Kreplin,

    St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Moncton, NB, Canada

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    There are several reasons why I like Hope for Wholeness. First of all it defines depression very well and it outlines symptoms to be aware of. Secondly, it urges people with the signs of depression to get help--medical help from doctors, psychiatrists, and especially Christian help from Christian counsellors. The book is well researched including quotes and support from writers and professionals, and every chapter is supported by Scripture references and illustrations. I also appreciate the fact that every chapter has a self-reflection section that readers can spend time in.

    Hope for Wholeness is real. It tells a real story, a story everyone can relate to. I am thankful to Sharon Fawcett for sharing her story and journey. It is my prayer that God will use this book to help many people find wholeness, and have hope in their dark times.

    By Rev. Dr. John Weiler,

    Regional Minister, Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches

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    I like HOPE FOR WHOLENESS for many reasons. I like it from a counsellor’s perspective because you can read one chapter at a time. Each chapter stands alone and can teach you something, challenge you, or help you to move into a healthy place.

    The chapters on fear and shame are amazing. The chapter on self-worth is really a little jewel because even though there are tonnes of books written on self-worth, I can’t find any that I think are really going to help my clients grow and move into a place of worth and value. I believe the chapter Sharon has written on self-worth can do that.

    The self-reflection sections at the end of each chapter are excellent to challenge an individual to think through the issues relating to that particular chapter. I also like the fact that there is a chapter on listening prayer for inner healing. One of the most profound gifts that God has given us is to hear His voice and I believe that hearing God is one of the major keys to all healing, not just from depression--from fear, from marital problems, and much more. I love this chapter and I’ve never read a book on depression that addresses the need to listen to God.

    At the end of the book Sharon includes two valuable appendixes for those who live with a depressed person. They offer advice on how to help a loved one who is depressed and how to help yourself when you’re living with a loved one who’s depressed.

    HOPE FOR WHOLENESS is a great resource; it’s very practical and helpful. But it also reveals Sharon’s heart, and I love that about her--she allows herself to be open and vulnerable. I thank God for Sharon Fawcett and the way He is using her, and I know He’s going to use this book.

    By Berys Richardson,

    MA Psychology & Counseling

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    As I read this book, I was doing so as Sharon and her husband Tim’s pastor. I felt like the children of Israel in the description that’s given of them in the book of Ezra. When they saw the Temple being rebuilt, part of the congregation was weeping because of the past and part of the congregation (that hadn’t seen the old Temple) was laughing and rejoicing. And the Bible says that they could not discern the noise of either--of the weeping and of the joy.

    That’s how I read the book. As I read the intensity of what Sharon, Tim, and their daughters went through half of me was weeping. I’m interested to find out our congregation’s reaction to the story as they read this book, because I don’t think even the closest to Sharon and Tim in the church realised the depth of what was going on. But to see the wholeness that’s been brought to Sharon and her home, to see how God is using this experience and the insights He has given her, the rest of my congregation was praising, rejoicing, and laughing.

    And so by the end of the book, I didn’t know what I was feeling: heartache or wholeness. I am thankful to Sharon for sharing her journey. The transparency in the book is inspirational and overwhelming. I look forward to seeing how God uses HOPE FOR WHOLENESS to minister to people all over North America, and throughout the world. I’m convinced that lives will be changed through it. 

    By Rev. Gordon Cook,

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    Hope for Wholeness brings encouragement to friends and family of those who battle depression. As someone who has stood on the sidelines watching the ones I love suffer so much, I needed words to give but felt mute in the presence of such pain. Through Sharon’s book, I found a resource that enabled me to hear the words that my friends could not express so I would be a better comfort to them. It has also given me a resource that I can confidently pass on to those who are in need of hope. Thank you, Sharon, for being willing to comfort others with the comfort you yourself received. 

    By Shannon Wall,

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    Hope for Wholeness, by Sharon Fawcett, gracefully weaves the beauty of God’s truth with her own heart-wrenching journey. I found her honesty and transparency refreshing! This book brought me tremendous hope in my own personal struggles.

    By Laura Lee Heinsohn,

    author of Cracking the Parenting Code

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    Depression is a chronic problem which can catapult you into the world of the unknown. How do you escape and what if you were stuck in it for years? Author Sharon Fawcett knows the devastating effects of depression first and and for nine years struggled with it. In Hope for Wholeness, Sharon combines her personal experiences with solid how-to information, encouragement from the Bible and inspirational stories.

    As she writes on page 70, “Depression wounds families. It crushes the spirit, steals joy, and causes confusion. As the family becomes fractured, home is no longer a haven to retreat to for comfort but a wounded place filled with uncertainty and turmoil. Sometimes called silent victims, those who love someone with depression suffer every bit as much as the one with the illness but in different ways.”

    If you or someone you know is stuck in a vicious cycle of treatment for depression, you need Hope for Wholeness. Sharon can show you the spiritual path that she found to freedom. I highly recommend this book and hope millions will use this book find release from the bondage of depression.

    By W. Terry Whalin,

    agent, editor, writer

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    According to Statistics Canada, eight per cent of adult Canadians will experience depression at some point in their lives. Yet most of them, particularly if they’re Christians, won’t seek help for fear of being judged.

    Sharon Fawcett’s debut book, Hope for Wholeness, stems from a nine-year battle with depression in which the mother of two learned to embrace, and subsequently let go of her disease. As she writes, “I hope you will come to understand that depression is not an enemy trying to rob you of life but rather an opportunity for self-examination and spiritual growth."

    Before she could get better, Fawcett says she had to erase the stigma associated with depression--that is, as a character flaw or weakness. “I thought that followers of Christ were supposed to live like walking billboards, advertising perfect, painless lives as the product of a relationship with Christ. I gave all I had to projecting the victorious image, but the truth was that deep inside I was one of the messy ones."

    It was only after accepting who she truly was that Fawcett could begin to recover, with God as her helper.

    “Many hope depression will pass,” she writes. “They hope they’ll be able to overcome it on their own by trying harder, thinking happier, praying longer. They hope God will see their suffering and choose to heal them. But hope is not a plan. Hope is important--it’s essential to surviving the illness--but you need more. You need treatment. You need counsel. You need help."

    Within the pages of this book Fawcett painstakingly details every leg of her journey with raw, emotion-filled stories. These personal anecdotes are intermingled with Scripture, examples of Biblical characters who battled depression, and inspirational stories meant to motivate and uplift the reader.

    “I’ve experienced this miraculous transformation, though it was a long process and I needed a lot of help. It took the insight of a trained Christian counselor--and divine illumination from the Holy Spirit--for me to identify and renounce the lies that had held me in bondage for three decades. Be encouraged that if I can lose my baggage, you can too.”

    By Emily Wierenga,

    artist, author of Save My Children

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    “In this achingly authentic book, Sharon Fawcett offers the extraordinary and rare gift of vulnerability by telling the deeply personal story of her journey through brokenness to wholeness. Sharon’s humble transparency and holy boldness renewed my own hope for wholeness by drawing me back again to the wonder working power of the gospel.”

    By Fil Anderson,

    author of Running on Empty, Executive Director of Journey Resources.

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    In Hope for Wholeness, Sharon L. Fawcett shares a great gift--a true-life story filled with transparency, courage, and, above all, grace This is a real-life journey through the darkness of depression and related disorders, told with a gentleness of spirit and firmness of personal conviction that lifts its eloquent message high above more didactic works on the subject. Fawcett’s lean, unsentimental style draws us in, sits us down near a warm fire, and confidingly shares with us the soul-secrets of a true survivor. The most profound kind of healing always comes from those brave enough to return from battle, emotionally undress, and show us their ugly wounds. And by allowing us into this most private of places, Hope for Wholeness reflects the true face of the healing Christ. 

    By James E. Robinson,

    founder of Prodigal Song Ministries and author of Prodigal Song, Coming Home to a Place Called Hope: A Journey for the Wounded Soul, and The Flower of Grass (a novel).

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    Sharon Fawcett does an excellent job illuminating the spiritual aspects of depression without discounting the potential benefits of medical evaluation and treatment. Sharon’s firsthand account [of her illness], along with chapters that share perspectives from husband and children, is both tragic and triumphant. Honest and inspiring, these pages offer a lifeline to those struggling with depression. If you or a loved one is suffering, find hope here.

    By Dr. Paul Looney,

    practicing psychiatrist and teaching pastor (overseeing counseling and recovery ministries) at Fellowship of the Woodlands.

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    I have learned a lot from Sharon's book. It has helped me to better understand all who are victimized by depression. It is all around us. As pastors, we are continually dealing with a wide range of difficulties in families and individuals caused by mental challenges. This book has made me more compassionate and understanding of all concerned. Most of all, my faith in the power of God to make a difference has greatly increased. The book is well-titled because Sharon has proven there is "Hope for Wholeness" and the healing she describes makes it possible.

    By Rev. Dr. L.D. Buckingham,

    Lead Pastor, Moncton Wesleyan Church, NB Canada

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    Sharon Fawcett’s drama--trauma, one might say--explodes upon the mind in its opening paragraphs. Hope for Wholeness is no mild documentary of one woman’s depression; rather, it is an excavation of the ruins of one woman’s soul...and the silent movie of its reconstruction. Whether you have wrestled this enemy personally or know others who have, Sharon’s warfare of hope will become your own...and you will be equipped like never before to defeat the scourge of depression. I highly commend it

    By Jerome Daley,

    Leadership Consultant at Purpose Coach, Managing Editor at the Journal of Christian Coaching, and author of 5 books on purposeful living.

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    As a professional Christian life coach, I have witnessed the spiritual, emotional, and physical devastation caused by depression. And as a survivor of suicide, I’ve experienced the ‘collateral damage’ Sharon Fawcett describes--the trauma sustained by those who love someone with depression. But Sharon’s words break through the darkness like a beam of hope for those grappling with this illness. Out of her own healing, Sharon offers a hand up to the wounded trying to find their way out of the valley of depression. Each chapter is a trail marker, carefully placed for journeyers willing to follow her through the rugged terrain. Hope for Wholeness will illumine your course to freedom and empower you to illuminate the way for others.

    By Dr. David Cox,

    Author, Christian life coach, Speaker, Coauthor of AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide.

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    This is a personal book in which Sharon Fawcett draws upon her nine year battle with depression. A committed Christian, Sharon fought hard to maintain a façade of a happy, productive and fulfilled follower of Jesus. But then her wall of cards collapsed and she found herself in darkness. She attempted suicide, succumbing to the devil’s lies that she was a failure and that her family would be better off without her. After years of years of counseling and stints in mental hospitals, including electrical shock therapy, Fawcett began to include a spiritual component to her treatment. After being involved in a deliverance ministry, her depression ended. But, as she notes, her journey to wholeness was just beginning. (176)

    This book is valuable to both those who battle depression as well as to those who are caregivers to the depressed. Fawcett helps remove the stigma of depression from Christians. Too often we believe the lie that depression isn’t something a spiritual person should have to deal with or if they’re battling depression there is some deep hidden sin that is the reason. Instead, she exposes the strong lies that binds us with fear and shame and destroys our self-worth. She encourages a holistic approach to battling depression, one that addresses body, mind and spirit. She also sees a benefit from depression. It was God’s way of forcing her to depend upon him. Referring to the 23rd Psalm, depression was the Shepherd’s way of “making her lie in green pastures.” (51) The book issues a warning of the dangers of busyness, of thinking or attempting to maintain control.

    In addition to drawing upon her own life, Fawcett also includes several vignettes from the lives of others, individuals who overcame great odds and who serve as examples for those struggling with depression. This book is easy to read and Fawcett encourages the reader at the end of each chapter to reflect upon their own lives and to meditate upon the Scriptures.

    By Jeff Garrison,

    pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Hastings, Michigan

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    As a former counselor, I am constantly searching for honest and insightful feedback for lasting change. Hope for Wholeness offers readers a chance to experience a transformative journey as the author shares her story and powerful experiences. We all seem to share a common thread of unfulfilling moments and dark thoughts, yet some of us are trapped in depression to which we can find no remedy. The author builds her testimony as she fights this battle of depression, weaving in what she has learned and overcome, to end with a newfound freedom and aliveness in God. For anyone currently struggling with depression, and for those who have in the past...this book offers hope and healing, and an enduring message of love.

    By Kimberly Lisowski,

    author of The Apple You Were Fed

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    Hope for Wholeness gives a fresh look at the subject of depression from a spiritual perspective. This book is more than the author’s own dark, but, ultimately, triumphant, journey through depression. It is a comprehensive look at the physical, emotional, and spiritual stranglehold depression has on a multitude of individuals, Christians included. Sharon Fawcett provides a voice of encouragement, understanding, support, and hope for those languishing in the wilderness of depression. This book is a must-read for the depressed and those who love them

    By Candy Arrington,

    Coauthor AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide.

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    Sharon Fawcett’s story of depression and anorexia is woven with the fibers of anguish and hope. Anyone who has experienced the pain of either of these disorders will recognize the conflicted emotions, confusion and struggle. But what they will also see is the beautiful thread of God’s hope woven into the tapestry of this account. This hope is not presented glibly, but as a necessary and much overlooked Spiritual component to treatment and recovery.

    By Kathy Pride,

    author of Winning the Drug War at Home

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    Sharon’s lessons learned give real hope and light a path that others can follow. And although the psychological and medication insights were helpful, in the end Sharon’s best answers and real hope came from God and His Word.

    By Leslie Vernick, DCSW, LSCW,

    licensed clinical social worker, author of Defeating Depression and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship.

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    Sharon Fawcett’s excellent book helps survivors, counselors, pastors, lay leaders, women’s ministry participants and leaders understand the critical need for the church to step up and accept the truth that depression is not a stigma, but a reality. Sharon’s book addresses the body, soul, and spiritual problem that needs God’s front-line workers to embrace the broken and wounded, and provide healing found only in Jehovah Rapah--God our Healer. Enough of the head, clinical stuff. Truth is spoken by those who have lived in the lonely parched desert of depression and found Living Water--complete healing from the inside out. Bravo, Sharon, for taking a brave and bold stand, telling it like it is: Depression can be an opportunity to grow--to embrace personal pain, and get to the spirtitual roots of the core issues. Our Great Physicial doesn’t say, “What color pills do you want?” He says, “Come to me my broken child and I will make you whole.” Thank you to this gifted author for writing this much-needed book. 

    By Jan Coates,

    author of Set Free

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