Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Living ‘The Shameless Life’ (Book Review)

Shame is no stranger to Terilee Harrison, wife of Quartz Hill Church of Christ’s minister Terry Harrison and author of The Shameless Life: Recognize Your Shame and Overcome It (2013). Growing up, the typical preteen insecurities were augmented by vaginal atresia and other complications due to Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome. Embarrassing surgical procedures and feelings of inadequacy made the young Terilee anxious for acceptance and intent on faking the perfect life, both social and spiritual.

But perfectionism didn’t come easily. Her adult life became a story of a sexually uncomfortable marriage, divorce, affairs with married men, emotional abuse, risky pregnancies, and single motherhood. Terilee’s life became more deeply engulfed in shame until she learned how to overcome her past.

Now a radio show hostess for Elevate Radio (CWA Radio Network, Blog Talk Radio), life coach, and much-in-demand speaker for churches and community organizations, Terilee helps others whose lives are smothered in shame, the “tool of Satan” that keeps us from accepting God’s forgiveness and love. Her book The Shameless Life, part memoir and part self-help workbook, guides the reader through a process of acknowledging hidden shame, relying on God’s perfect justice, and accepting pain as a way of growing closer to Him.

The Shameless Life is not the smoothest read, Terilee obviously being a stronger speaker than author. The transitions from her personal story to the chapter workbook portions are a bit awkward, and some of the biblical examples seem forced. However, the topic’s uniqueness makes the book worth a look-up, and there is unbelievable power in Terilee’s personal testimony. The Shameless Life could serve as a valuable resource for both the healing Christian and non-believer. Be it a physical disability, sexual sin, or history of domestic violence that may haunt them, women can transform their own shameful pasts into confident, effective futures by learning to live in the freedom of Christ.