Renewed: A 40-Day Devotional for Healing from Church Hurt and for Loving Well in Ministry
By Leigh Powers (FaithWords)
Renewed is for “women in ministry, ministry wives and lay leaders who have been wounded by their congregations.” Though this is the primary audience, the rest of the church can read Renewed as a study in how better to care for those who give their lives caring for the congregation.
Leigh Powers has a front-row seat to the pain of ministry. Her husband is a pastor. From her experiences and those of many others in or close to ministry, she lays bare common feelings and thoughts arising from isolation, neglect, misunderstandings and other disappointments faced by ministers and their families.
The 40 days of readings are divided into four sections of 10 readings each. The sections move the reader from the initial step of acknowledging pain through lament to releasing pain and bitterness through forgiveness, restoring faith in God and God’s goodness, and finally to the outward movement of loving God’s people again.
Powers writes in first person, weaving her own experience with those of others so the reader senses the stories are true—which they are—but isn’t able to pin any of them on a specific person or church. Sometimes, the source of the pain isn’t a person or church; it’s God.
The readings are honest, sometimes bracingly so. Powers pulls no punches. Immediately on the heels of a story, she turns to what the reader can and must do to face reality and heal. Sometimes, facing reality means being brutally honest with oneself.
Each reading includes a Scripture reflection, a prayer for the day, and practical suggestions for further contemplation.
Powers finishes Renewed as strong as she started it, which is a significant accomplishment. So many books fade out too soon, finishing before they end. Right up to the last page, there is healing and renewal, even if just the start of it. And hope. Plenty of hope.
Eric Black, executive director/editor/publisher