Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. Enjoy!
No matter how we try to hide it, stifle it, shove it down, or deny it, dysfunction eventually rears its ugly head in all our lives at some point. It might show up in our friendships, our churches, or, in Sarah Mae’s case, in a deeply complicated relationship with a parent.
For Sarah, as we read in her new book The Complicated Heart, growing up with an alcoholic mother made relational dysfunction her everyday experience. It was her normal. It was the air she breathed.
That is, of course, until God got ahold of things and taught her what it really means to forgive—and not just after all the difficulty passed, but right in the middle of it.
Walking through Sarah’s story in the book—which even lets us in on the journal entries of her mother—helped me process the complicated relationships in my own life. A compelling memoir does that, doesn’t it? It lets us feel the story of another while also putting ourselves in their shoes—processing the pain in our own life as we go.
But what I love most about The Complicated Heart is that it is more than just compelling memoir (though that would certainly be sufficient given its quality!). It also offers a touch of practical direction as we all navigate the dysfunctional relationships in our own life, and all the wounds that come with them.
As the story unfolds, it’s obvious God sent Sarah some godly influences to help her through all the darkness and the trauma and the complication of it all, and by proxy, they teach us the same as we read along. Between the teachings of these beloved mentors and her own wisdom gathered over the years, Sarah shows us how to truly forgive and even love those who have wounded us without condoning their behavior or sinking into their unhealthy patterns ourselves.
And isn’t that what we all want—to know how to love and forgive when the wound is still open? To love well without falling back into the crazy and the dysfunction ourselves?
Sarah Mae’s story—as all the grit and rawness and darkness gives way to hope and healing and light—shows us we can. And more than that, it shows us how we can. It shows us that God can always move, that hope really can find a way in, and that victory is always on the table, no matter how complicated things get.
Click here to grab your own copy of The Complicated Heart!
Ashley Marivittori Gorman serves as the women’s publisher at B&H Publishing Group, an imprint of LifeWay Christian Resources. She is currently completing her MDiv from Southeastern Theological Seminary and has also been trained under The Charles Simeon Trust. Her passions are biblical literacy, discipleship, foster care, theology, and books. Ashley and her husband, Cole, live in Nashville, TN, with their daughter Charlie. You can follow her on Twitter or on Instagram.