Saturday, June 30, 2018

Finding Joy by Ellen Payne

This is an encouraging autobiography for anyone who has been sexually abused, at any age. It is an adult coming of age story, a coming to understand myself story. Payne tells her story through the voice of Joy. Joy grew up in Australia feeling her parents never wanted her. She shares her stumbling educational experiences, her marriage, her career, losing her husband while still young, going into ministry, being a prison chaplain, and finally coming to grips with it all.

It wasn't until later in life that Joy realized she had been abused as a child. She tells of meeting many women who had been abused in some form yet had been afraid to speak out. This book offers good insights into abuse and how to come through the experience. Included in the book are signs of abuse, resources, and suggestions how to work through the healing process.

Joy was a minister later in life. American evangelical Christians may have difficulty with the kind of faith Joy expressed. Anglican or Australian Christian spirituality does not conform to what American evangelicals would call saving faith.

How Joy's experiences influenced her understanding of Scripture was interesting. She saw the Annunciation (Mary's experience with the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:26-38) as “a classic grooming scenario for sexual abuse.” (122) She was relieved when she learned that scholars think the birth stories were added many years later “to try to explain the perceived divine nature of Jesus.” (123)

When Joy was studying in Theological College, a lecturer said that we do not learn from our experiences. “We only learn by reflecting on our experiences.” (146) That's what this book is all about. It is a good example of looking back over life and seeing how God was in it. I recommend the book to readers who like an introspective memoir. You'll learn about the thoughts and feelings of those sexually abused and adults with ADHD. You'll share the insights of Joy as a minister later in life. You'll also have a good example of an interesting memoir, a sort of adult coming of age story. 

My rating: 4/5 stars.

You can buy the book here.

BookVenture Publishing LLC, 200 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Authors Large and Small. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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