by Jennifer Wright, Editor/WriterHeartbeat International
I was fortunate enough to get an early look at the new book by Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, The L.O.V.E. Approach: 4 Proven Steps to Transforming Relationships in Your Family, Church, and Community. Doing some simple editing and formatting early in the process, I got to read the stories attached to the four steps that are so familiar to those of us at Heartbeat or who have been using Heartbeat materials for training volunteers. Seeing the stories of individuals learning and using these steps in their own lives helped me contextualize a lot of the ways the L.O.V.E. Approach has creeped into my life without me necessarily paying attention. It also showed me places I have stopped at an early step and failed to follow through and make the impact I might have.
I think the difference is one of learning styles for me. I’m blessed to be surrounded by people trained in and practicing the L.O.V.E. Approach at work every day, but sometimes that makes me just think the world works that way (you know, until I spend some time online). With this book, I got to see inside the brains of the characters applying the steps to their lives, and it has helped me internalize the teaching so much better.
You see, in this book, you read about four different characters experiencing a L.O.V.E. Approach training. The characters have different outlooks on life, different challenges, and different hopes for how they’re going to use what they learn. After learning about each step, you get to see one of the characters apply it in their own lives.
The standout step as I read the book the first time (and every time since), is V: Vision and Value. In the story chapter, a character I identify with personally, Katy, leads a women’s ministry group at her church. She was overwhelmed, in a way I’ve felt many times, by the depth of what was being shared by the other women in this group. She was terrified of not having a solution, of offering something that hurt rather than helped, of doing too much, too little, or exactly the wrong thing. One woman in particular, she sees as a mystery. When she decides to really enter in to an open and honest conversation with Ann on her own, all kinds of challenges arise. All of a sudden, Katy is faced with questions of gender identity and fluidity and the fear of not fitting in. Ann was confused, overwhelmed, and hurting, but Katy, with the help of what she learned from the L.O.V.E. Approach training, was able to recognize what Ann was lacking – a vision of her own value and the way things could be.
I can’t tell you how afraid I am sometimes of dealing with this kind of question with friends. The concept of gender fluidity being newly mainstreamed is honestly overwhelming on its own. If you disagree for a moment, the world decides you hate anyone who might have a different view. Finding a way to be profoundly pro-people amid the din of shouting is difficult. Peggy Hartshorn, through Katy, showed me a different way to approach the situation in a one-on-one conversation that affirms the individual and is rooted in God’s word and plan for His people.
I’ll be honest, the first draft I read, Peggy asked me what I thought of this chapter, and I was afraid to say much at all. In the end, my answer was little more than, “You’re incredibly brave. I could see that situation happening. I think it’s very real. You’re incredibly brave to address that topic at all.”
My reaction was ultimately fearful. I wanted in some ways to distance myself from it, but the chapter planted itself in my brain. I have thought of it regularly ever since. In the final draft, it still stands out to me, but now, I don’t want to distance myself from it at all. It’s excellent (as it always was). I still think it’s incredibly brave to address the topic of gender identity in the current climate, and I know it will take bravery when I do, but I expect it of myself now. After all, if Katy could offer a hopeful view of life to someone who has serious questions about gender identity, why couldn’t I?
We need more books and authors like The L.O.V.E. Approach and Peggy Hartshorn. The bravery to address with both love and truth the most challenging and divisive topics of the day is something we can’t do without. Peggy has given this to us in The L.O.V.E. Approach, and I would recommend it to anyone I know.
You can pre-order your copy of The L.O.V.E. Approach today at TheLoveApproachBook.com.
Looking for a great read?
Check out Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing by Judith Allen Shelly and Arlene B. Miller
As one Amazon review states, "Bar none, this is the best work of its kind on the market."
There is much to learn in this excellent work, which starts by surveying nursing's historical roots as Christianity's response to caring for God's people. What do you know about the real Florence Nightingale? Deaconesses as some of the first nurses? How the ministry of nursing guidelines developed from the Christian faith?
After this fascinating look at nursing's historical roots in Christianity, the book examines how the practice of nursing has been experiencing challenges to bypass Christian roots by scientific and business models of care, as well as the current rise of alternative spiritualities among nursing leaders.
The authors have given us a great resource for re-examining the biblical basis of our commitment to serve the suffering and needy as nurses.
Nursing keeps changing. The role of the nurse grew out of a Christian understanding of the human person as created in the image of God, and viewed the body as a living unity and the "temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:19). Contemporary nursing, however, is increasingly characterized by a diminished understanding of personhood. The impact on patient care has proven confusing and discouraging to many nurses. In the newly revised and expanded Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing, Judith Allen Shelly and Arlene B. Miller define nursing for today based on a historically and theologically grounded understanding of the nurse's call: Nursing is a ministry of compassionate care for the whole person, in response to God's grace toward a sinful world, which aims to foster optimum health (shalom) and bring comfort in suffering and death for anyone in need. Called to Care asserts that nursing is a vocation, giving nurses a framework for understanding their mission and living out their calling: service to God through caring for others.
by Rick Johnson
In Better Dads, Stronger Sons: How Fathers Can Guide Boys to Become Men of Character, author Rick Johnson offers men straight-forward advice on how to be better dads.
Detailing his own struggle with fatherhood before his conversion to Christ, Johnson sympathizes with the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy that can accompany the parenting journey while reassuring fathers that God has chosen them for this special role in the family. Throughout the book, Johnson offers practical advice on key topics including male bonding, spiritual leadership, and self-discipline that can benefit dads with newborns and dads with twenty-somethings alike.
What I loved most about Better Dads, Stronger Sons was not only the encouragement it offers men as they strive to be the dads God designed them to be, but also that it approaches fatherhood with a generational perspective, reminding fathers that not only are they raising men, but they are creating a generational inheritance of fatherhood as they raise future dads.
As the first Father’s Day for my husband, Johnson’s book was truly a special gift offering the encouragement to truly pause and ask “What type of Father would I like to be?” while offering practical advice to help carry the answer out.
Book review by Dawn Lunsford, Heartbeat International eLearning Specialist.
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