A Choice for Wholeness–a review of "{w}hole" by Lisa Whittle

I read a book this weekend. I don’t usually do that … read a book in that short amount of time. It usually takes me much longer. I have focusing issues when it comes to reading. Tremendous ones. Rarely do I read fiction, and as it pertains to non-fiction, I really, really have to want to read a book before I make an investment of my time. In addition, I prefer to read material from authors I’ve grown to trust over the years—authors who can write, but even more so, authors who are authentic in their love for Jesus and for me. Most of the authors I read aren’t aware of my existence. So, how do I know they love me? Care about me? Want the best for me?

Sometimes I just know. Their care and concern for my heart as a reader is evidenced by the strength of their words… their story. And while I came kicking and screaming to this particular one—her story—I came knowing that her heart and her pen were worthy of my trust. Accordingly, I quickly dug into her words, and they have quickly taken hold of my heart. So much so, that a second read is a must. I fear I’ve missed some vital information the first go-around, but as first go-arounds go, this was a good ride. A hard ride. A necessary, painful ride, but a ride that will push me further along my road of healing.

Enter Lisa Whittle and {w}hole: an honest look at the holes in your life—and how to let God fill them.

I saw Lisa back in July at the She Speaks conference. In fact, as I was laboring to haul all my baggage indoors, she met me at the elevator and offered to help me to my room. I was grateful for her help, even more so for the gift of friendship extended to me. I don’t think she had a clue as to how vulnerable I was feeling that day. I was a sweaty, hurting mess just trying to find my place within that arena of 600 women—a place where I sometimes think I no longer belong. I don’t suppose I’ve ever felt so “under the radar” as I did that weekend. There’s just something about a gathering of Christian women that now triggers insecurity for me. It hasn’t always been this way, but life changed for me in August 2010—moved in and rattled me, shook me, challenged me, and frightened me. And while on any given day many people only see my confidence… maybe even prefer to see my confidence, few of them ever take the time to look deeper, ask deeper, live with the deeper shadows of the woman I now am. A woman just trying to leave her mark on this world, yet a woman who sometimes feels inadequate to do so.

Lisa Whittle is a woman who is brave enough to go deeper with me. I imagine she’s that way with most of the people she meets. She’s worked hard to get there. Authenticity doesn’t come naturally for most people. It takes years of shaping beneath the kindness, mercy, and certain prompting of the Holy Spirit to arrive at a place of genuineness, a place of wholeness. And while Lisa would probably be the first to admit she’s still on the journey toward wholeness, her witness speaks clearly to the transformational work of the cross that has come to her because of her willingness to bring her “holes” into the light of God’s love. You can’t miss it in her—wholeness. It’s just that obvious.

I love Lisa’s book for so many reasons, but none more so than for the hope that it has brought to my heart. A hope for wholeness of my own. A wholeness not based on experience, but a wholeness based on Jesus Christ. In one of the many particularly moving moments from {w}hole, Lisa writes…

“There’s something that happens to you when you wake up from a difficult experience and realize you are still breathing. Just as a colorful bud on a flower defies the weight of the heavy mound of snow it’s buried under to show signs of spring, so does the breakthrough of a new day prove its viability despite life’s deep complications. The decision, then, is whether or not to welcome it… .” (pg. 142)

Waking up. Still breathing. Not quite sure of my readiness to welcome it. Does it get any rawer, more real, and more authentic than this, Christians? How many of us are waking up to our lives, realizing that we’ve survived great horrors, only to find ourselves unable to move forward to wholeness? What holes in our skin serve as gaping wounds to our soul’s discontent? What salve are we slapping on them in hopes of suppressing the pain for another day? Wouldn’t it be better to really examine them? Bring them into the light of God’s love, even as Lisa has, and allow God to heal them with the truth of himself?

I don’t suppose I’m the only one with some wounds. We are a holy lot, and where there is holiness, there is sure to be wounding. Wholeness doesn’t arrive without scarring. To be whole means that we have, at one time (maybe even this time) been less. Tonight I feel the profundity of it all—the cavernous holes that I carry with me—and the hope and wholeness that is offered to me through Jesus Christ, despite their severity. I don’t know how long it will take me to reach a place of wholeness. I don’t imagine there’s a usual, typical benchmark to gauge my progress. But as I close the pages of Lisa’s book, I believe I’ve taken a step or two in the right and very good direction.

Lisa wants God’s best for me. I just know it. She wants God’s best for you as well. God’s best? {W}holeness, Jesus-style. If you are willing to bring your holes, your heart, and your humility to Jesus, then I believe that he will bring his authentic, grace-filled restoration to your life. I’m believing God for the same. And while I’m honest enough to admit that I’m not sure how to get there, I’m more than ready and willing enough to try.

Thank you, Lisa, for giving us your story—your holes and your experiences. You’ve lit a spark of hope in my heart this weekend.

Peace for the journey,

33 Responses to A Choice for Wholeness–a review of "{w}hole" by Lisa Whittle

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit for their's is the kingdom of God. He is more than able to fill up our empty places and make us whole in Him. God bless you Sis.

  2. I knew this book was coming out and was intrigued by the title. I'll have to pick it up (or download it to my NOOK) very soon. Thanks for the recommendation, my friend.

    Because I am old and forgetful, I'm not sure I told you….on Wednesday I got pinked!! I had a pink hair extension put in my hair for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I thought of you and a few other friends as it was put in. It is a reminder to pray for all of my friends who have walked the Breast Cancer road. Love ya,

  3. I saw this book in the store. I didn't pick it up and now, I wished I did.

    I totally get the insecurity issues. Later this month, I will be going to the Relevant Conference. Seeking to know God more through writing/blogging. I am scared out of my wits that I will know no one and that I lack so much when it comes to writing and blogging. I pray that I have a "Lisa" to meet me at the door. :o)

    I, too, have lots of holes. More days than not I wake up feeling more like swiss cheese than a woman seeking the wholeness of Christ. Our paths may be different on some levels but oh so very much the same on others.

    Thank you for your honesty and authenticity. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book.

    Praying for you today, my friend.


  4. We all carry burdens of some sort, but God calls us to lay those burdens down at the Foot of the Cross and never pick them back up. Hope you are doing better…miss ya'll

  5. Elaine, I appreciate your openness and honesty in sharing about the insecurity you've been dealing with this past year as your world has been so shaken. I'm so glad that Lisa's book has ministered to you. And I'm sending a hug to help on your journey to wholeness. Blessings, dear friend.

  6. I plan 2 also dive into this book. Wholeness is so what we all strive for. Life has been so hard lately yet I have learned 2 embrace those "hard" things as an opportunity from God. My embrace weakens most days but its that hope that he is perfecting me for His better.
    Sure wish I could just spend an afternoon soaking in your presence over a cup of coffee…

    Living in His embrace-Pamela

  7. Hey Elaine!

    I was planning to purchase this book while it was on "pre-sale"… but never got around to it. I would love the chance to win a copy!! Thanks so much!

    I look forward to reading it… even if I don't win. 🙂

  8. Elaine…

    I write this to you with tears. Not only for your gracious review of this work, but because you are willing to journey. It is one of the many reasons my heart recognizes you, and is drawn to you.

    How would you have known…that one of my main prayers for this book would be that in the drawing of the reader to their Creator, it would instill them with great hope? That it did that in yours…thanks be to Almighty God, whose message of holes to wholeness He has allowed me to share.

    I journey with you, my friend. Will I ever be whole in the greatest sense? Yes, in heaven. But the measure of earthly wholeness I believe exists is beautiful, too. Not as, but in its earthly way…very, very good, important, worthy of the travel.

    Thank you for reading…reviewing…offering 2 books to your readers. I believe in you, love you, and lock eyes with you on this journey. May we both do it well…and may you continue to share words that reach hearts that others never can.

    Choosing well,

  9. Love this review, sweet friend and Lisa's beautiful response. I am waiting on my copy to arrive! Cannot wait to dive into it also. Sending you hugs!

  10. Hi Precious Elaine,

    I so appreciate your authenticity as you wrote this review of Lisa's book. It's not easy to share the holes in our souls, but it's one I'm certain God has compelled some of us to do.

    I thank God He fills the cavernous sized holes so that we can become {w}hole in Christ.

    Journeying on with you…

  11. Inever thought of it as holes..that put a whole new spin on things…quite interesting for thought. Blessed post as always

  12. Sounds like an amazing book and an amazing author. I always love to have recommendations on what to read. So glad that her heart touched your heart. And I want you to know that you can hang out with me any time… and we can be REAL together. Love love love, "And while on any given day many people only see my confidence… maybe even prefer to see my confidence, few of them ever take the time to look deeper, ask deeper, live with the deeper shadows of the woman I now am. A woman just trying to leave her mark on this world, yet a woman who sometimes feels inadequate to do so." I totally get that… and wonder, "How are you doing?"

  13. I'm part of a prayer group that is going to pray for a young single woman who just returned home from a country in the Middle East. Something bad happened, though we do not know what. She is hurt and broken. I was surfing for inspiration asking the Spirit for insight on how to pray for her. I found it here. Thank You.

  14. Elaine,

    I love your heart and wish we had more one on one time at She Speaks. Thank you for writing this review with such realness. I appreciate it and I want to read this book now, because of you. Thank you. I am sending you love from Colorado. You are HIS beloved. Love, Tiff

  15. So looking forward to this book! Even more so after your review!! I believe we can all relate to holes in our life and yearn for God to make us whole!! Thank you for this!!

  16. Thanks for your book recommendation. I hadn't heard of it but I'm looking forward to finding it and reading it. I've still got a few wholes I need God to fill.

  17. Elaine,
    Thank you so much for this book review, I can't wait to read it! Also, thanks for sharing your words on how your world was shattered when you were diagnosed with cancer. At times, it seems as if others expect me to have the happy confidence on the outside, when I am still trying to heal on the inside. You are an inspiration! Blessings to you on your continued healing journey.

  18. I found it hard to read that you would have felt out of place with those women, Elaine.I followed you on your journey and there were times I was intimidated by your strength. That's why I was afraid to ever call you:)
    This book speaks to me and makes me want to cry as I have so many holes left in me from my four year hiatus out of life. I have people reaching out to me here in Texas and I find myself afraid to trust or believe that they really mean friendship.
    I am thankful God is the great healer.

  19. What a great review, Elaine! I too love the authenticity of Lisa. I have learned much from her and look forward to reading {w}hole.
    I love the quote you shared from her book. And I love what you said at the end…"Lisa wants God’s best for me. I just know it. She wants God’s best for you as well. God’s best? {W}holeness, Jesus-style. If you are willing to bring your holes, your heart, and your humility to Jesus, then I believe that he will bring his authentic, grace-filled restoration to your life. I’m believing God for the same."
    love you & Lisa much.

  20. I adore Lisa and her writings. I would absolutely love to win a copy of her book – but we'll see what God decides:)

  21. Hi,

    I found your blog via someone else's and enjoyed browsing. Thank you for letting me stop by to see.

    I was at She Speaks this July too, and felt much the same way you did! Thank you for sharing. It creates kinship with me.

    Have a great week. The book sounds really good.

    Jennifer Dougan

  22. This is great. Of course, I'd love the book. But I stopped by to pray for you and I was pleased by your words here. Love that we can be WHOLE in Christ, with our holes and all. Many blessings!

  23. What a fabulous subject, and one so needed by women today. I know you've journeyed long & far, so I was especially blessed to read the author's comments about about HER being inspired by YOU!

  24. Your writing is a blessing to me. I will look for Lisa's book. Sounds like one I would enjoy. Keep writing…you are bringing peace and hope to so many!

  25. "Authenticity doesn't come naturally for some people"–I think that is my problem. I have on more than one occasion been accused of being inauthentic, of being fake, of being phony. It hurts, but honestly, I don't know how to be more real, and maybe that is because I know God would have to let me go through some real difficulty to get to that place. I have a hard time wanting to go there, so I guess as much as I want to be genuine, I don't really, do I? A real soul-searching post for me this morning. I've never doubted your authenticity for a moment, Elaine, exposing your holes to make you {w}hole.

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