FINDING A WAY AHEAD! Spiritual signposts to healing and wholeness Angela Harper (with a foreword by Canon Michael Cole) John Hunt Publications – Circle Books, 91 pages, 2016, pbk, £9.99 ($14.95), e-book £3.99 ($5.99)
Written to support those who experience difficulty and loss, or those searching for God, this work (book and ebook) is described by the authoress as ‘a faith-connected, devotional, self-help, motivational and inspirational book, helping people to hold on to coping strategies and to their faith while encountering hard times, illness and loss’.
The ten chapters address a range of topics which can either be selected out of sequence or, more effectively, as developmental working through psychological considerations (e.g. Conquering fear; A journey into peace) to analysis/objectivity (e.g. Are you feeling an outcast?) and onto fulfilment, supported by faith (e.g. Plans for your future). It’s not an easy journey but is helped by the readily readable reflections in this vade-mecum aimed ‘to refresh, uplift and alleviate heavy burden’. Angela Harper, drawing from the experience of her own healing from a lifelong condition, encourages others to take heart, and so help them find comfort, guidance and coping strategies.
Having studied theology at Spurgeon’s College (London), Angela Harper served in two chaplaincies meeting many people who needed comfort: ‘These roles and running a healing prayer group in a local church led me to find that bereavement and loss were some of the most common causes of distress and pain.’ It is those people that the book aims primarily to help. jlkw
Reproduced with kind permission from Portsmouth People, October-December 2017 issue. This book review for Finding a Way Ahead! is on page 25, please see link below.
Midwest Book Review
Synopsis: Finding a Way Ahead! is a book of devotional reflections drawing from experiences of Angela Harper’s own healing from a lifelong condition. The reflections are intended to help others, showing that it is necessary to look at various aspects of ourselves in any search for divine healing and wholeness. The notes were originally written for a Time for Healing prayer group; a mix of churchgoers and those who came off the street to join in and who needed someone to talk to, pray with them, and listen. In accessible easy-to-read sections, Angela Harper encourages others to take heart, and to help them find comfort and guidance and coping strategies. Her aim is to give people tools to help turn around their experiences or to see other perspectives.
Critique: Written by theological expert and chaplain Angela Harper, Finding A Way Ahead! Spiritual Signposts to Healing and Wholeness is a candid, kind-hearted testimony of abiding faith in God. A comforting repository of wisdom, insight, and love, Finding a Way Ahead! is highly recommended. “It’s not easy for some people to love themselves. Some believe that it’s narcissistic or selfish – but to love yourself means that you are more able to achieve the realistic things you want to do in life, without constantly thinking that you are not good enough; loving yourself means that you are able to comfort yourself.” It should be noted for personal reading lists that Finding a Way Ahead! is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99). ~ Christian Studies Shelf, Midwest Book Review
Canon Michael Cole, editor of Living Light Bible Reflections, Nationwide Christian Trust
How often do we tell people ‘we’re alright’, when asked ‘How are you?’ Many of us don’t want to reveal our worry, fear, our shame or just the pressure and uncertain future that we face. Finding a Way Ahead! is the book that can really help you.
The author shares her own experiences, and especially an amazing testimony of healing, together with a number of Bible stories and ‘prayerful conversations’ both with the Lord and with friends to help us move from panic to peace, from fear to faith, from hopelessness to happiness, from grief to the godly use of gifts. She invites Jesus in to help solve the confusion and uncertainty that we are facing.
We are all walking the same road of life, we are wanting to see the ‘way ahead’ clearly, but sometimes there is darkness, doubt and even death. The author provides us with some positive and encouraging signposts and God-given promises that we will give us confidence for the future.
Finding a Way Ahead! is a book to read from cover to cover, but it is also the book to leave around so you can turn to one relevant chapter in a time of need. It is also the book to pass on to others as a gift with your love and prayers.
Una Rose, Author
“Finding a way ahead!” is an uplifting and unique guide to healing. Ideal for anyone living with a chronic illness who is hoping to find new strength from within. The author Angela uses her own experiences of living with a serious disease and how she found strength in learning to love herself more and appreciating all the positive things in life.
Ray Pallett, Author of They Called Him Al and editor of Memory Lane magazine
I am happy to endorse “Finding a way ahead!” I found that it contained many pearls of wisdom to help people see the brighter side and to help with problems. It is very difficult for many of us to “forgive those who trespass against us”, but this book certainly provides some valuable pointers.
Revd Bill Eugster, Baptist Minister, Glendale Crossing Places, Wooler
I have known Angela and her family for many years. In her book, she explores, with great empathy, the many issues around hurt, fear, suffering and the more painful challenges of life. The whole book is a letter to the reader, engaging us in a conversation drawn from her experiences and others, of suffering and recovery of health.
Most importantly, not only does Angela emphasise the possibility and need of learning from our painful experiences, but she also reminds us again and again that the blame (against ourselves, others, or God) that so often attaches itself to suffering is a burden we need to deal with and remove on the way to wholeness.
Angela offers devotional helps and coping strategies for us to begin to think beyond our anxiety and hurt, and even to begin to plan for the future God offers us. This is a book to reflect on and keep dipping into.
Sheila Donohoe, B.A (Hons), PGCE and CCRS
“Finding A Way Ahead” is a valuable book in which the author shares her personal thoughts and experiences, applying the perennial truth of the Bible to the concrete circumstances of life in the 21st century.
She shares her reflections on the words of hope and guidance found in scripture in an accessible and readable way.
The message that prayer, coupled with positive words and actions, can be used to overcome challenges is a relevant and timely one.
This book would make a useful pastoral aid and provide stimulation for prayer groups.
Annette Hayes, B.A. (Hons), PGCE, CCRS
With prayer suggestions, points to ponder and practical suggestions this book is useful for both small group and individual reflection.
If you ever ask yourself how to spiritually handle different life situations, then this book will certainly offer valuable food for thought.
Revd Robin Eastoe, Team Rector of Heavitree with St. Mary Steps, Diocese of Exeter
We all experience difficult times in our lives and these are – for better or for worse – very formative. They can strengthen us or destroy us. Christianity, with the cross at its centre, has much to say about dark times and the hope of finding the light. Angela Harper has written an essentially practical book to help people in these difficult times. She bases much of what she writes in the personal experiences of herself and others. The practical nature of the book makes it important for those who want to know what to do rather than discuss why it is happening! I found her words on self worth and dealing with low self esteem especially helpful.
Revd Steven Hembery MA.FCA., Senior Minister, Leigh Road Baptist Church
Angela has a desire to see all set free by Jesus and to know life to the full in Him. Reflecting on her own painful experiences of herself and others, she shares what helps her to release the past and to grow in becoming all God wants her to be.