Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: Love Isn't Supposed to Hurt by Christi Paul

“I believe serving God means being true to who He made you to be. It means allowing yourself to feel and be cognizant of the God-given desires stirring inside you.” – Christi Paul

A Little More of My Personal Testimony:

In 1984, in the middle of the school year, my parents moved us across the state of New York to a new home in the Catskill Mountains. Leaving friends behind, I looked forward to making new ones. As a third grader, I never expected others may not need a new friend. In the small-town school I entered, cliques ruled the roost. My new nickname became Muttley, and the boys would continue to call me that (among other not-so-nice names) through to graduation.

Although I spent several years struggling with rejection and depression, I decided somewhere along the way I didn’t need to be around people who didn’t want me around. Instead, I went searching for love in wrong places, my faith in God waned and I poured myself into trying to “save” others (guys, in particular) who struggled with any number of emotional issues.

My senior year of high school, I fell in love with a guy who thought it a great joke to punch me in the arm. The bruise covered most of my upper arm and lasted for a couple of weeks. Deep purple. My mom noticed and wondered if I had been abused. I lied and covered for a guy who obviously didn’t care much about my well-being. “He was just joking around. He didn’t mean to hit so hard. We were play fighting.”

When I was twenty-one, I decided I couldn’t follow my parents’ house rules and Christian restrictions on my dating life, so I moved out of their house and moved in with my verbally abusive boyfriend, who let his fists fly when he drank too much. I should have used my brain and broken up with him then. At least we were still in our hometown area. But, no. I figured I could love him out of his abused heart, and we moved two hours away from home, into our own apartment. Within a few months, I found myself wondering if he cared at all. His words hurt and accused. I wondered if he was faithful or cheating while he worked two days in a row (job requirement). And then the physical abuse returned, only this time he wasn’t drunk.

Throughout the years I’d taken all the hurtful words others had spoken to heart. I allowed my self-esteem to drop but put up a brick wall front and refused to admit I hurt so deeply. I’d taken on the world’s image of me, and I’d tried to fit in wherever a flicker of acceptance existed.

In 1996, when I finally gave my heart completely over to the Lord, I discovered freedom in scriptures that spoke of God’s love for me and His design. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am the apple of His eye. I am a daughter of the King of Kings. His words washed over me, and I found myself clinging to the truth that I am created in His image and likeness, and He has a plan and a purpose for my life.

My Book Review:

In Christi Paul’s memoir, Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt, she shares her story of how she took on the image of how others - particularly her emotionally abusive husband of four years - saw her. Through questioning God, questioning her own motives and reasoning, and answering some unconventional questions from her counselor, she discovers who she really is as a person and a daughter of God.

I found her story incredibly relatable, both for the person in an abusive relationship and the person who grew up listening to others call them a loser.

If you find yourself wondering who you are and what purpose you have here on earth, read Christi’s book. Understand that God created you as a unique individual. He has given you your strengths and your weaknesses. He has something for you to do that no other can. And that is how we serve Him best. By taking the gifts and talents He’s given us and doing what He calls us to do. Because no one else can.

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