Book Review – God Made All of Me
In recent months, the issue of sexual abuse has come to our attention as one which we can no longer ignore. This is especially true in the church where it is often brushed under the carpet and covered up. Often times it is the victim who is blamed and, in effect, re-victimized. To be clear, this hasn’t come to the forefront of our minds due to personal experience or any specific case. The sad truth is, you don’t have to try hard to find a news story about abuse. As a result, both Jami and I have a growing burden for the victims of abuse (sexual or otherwise).
Part of this process for us has been to actively research how we can best protect our children. We have taken small steps to do what we can to prevent abuse in our childrens lives. One of these small steps is simply talking about these things. At church, as much as possible we keep our children within our field of vision and always make sure that our children never go to the restroom alone in public places. Since this has been on our hearts we were very excited to have the opportunity to review a wonderful little book called God Made All of Me by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb.
A book such as this must have been very difficult to write. No book on this topic can cover the vast amount of information that we as parents need to know. No abuse case is the same; some occur by teachers, some by family friends, and some by family members. While most victims of abuse are abused by non-family acquaintances (58%) a significantly large number of the assailants (34%) are family members. Since this book is intended to be read by parents to children, one of the things it was unable to address is the horrible instances in which a parent is the one doing the abuse. However, the purpose of this book is to get parents and caregivers an appropriate way to introduce the topic to children. In light of that, this a wonderful resource! The obvious answer to the previous objection is that the parents who will read this to their children are not the ones abusing them, so it was unnecessary to include in the book.
God Made All of Me starts off with a wonderful note to parents and caregivers to explain the need for such a book and how we want to convey the message that all of our bodies (private parts included) were wonderfully designed to be very special. It is written in the form of a story about a mom and dad sitting down with their children to have a discussion about their bodies are and how some parts, as special as they are, are not meant to be shared and touched by others. One of the things that both Jami and I really liked was how the Holcombs explained the difference between a secret and a surprise. There are times when we don’t tell someone something because we are keeping a surprise for them. However, we should never keep secrets. After one child (David) describes what a secret is his father responds by saying,
That’s Right . . .and we don’t keep secrets because we don’t have anything to hide from each other.If anyone ever tells you to keep a secret from Mommy or me, tell us right away. You won’t get in trouble for telling us.
As simple as this concept was, it was something that neither Jami nor I had really thought much about. Abuse thrives on secrecy and the way to combat it is to break down the oppressiveness of secrets.
One of the more impressive things about God Made All of Me is the tact which the Holcombs exercised in describing body parts in the book. We have read some books intended for young children which simply went too far. There are some things that young children just don’t need to know yet. We appreciated that they chose to use the appropriate anatomical names rather than using slang or minimizing the special nature of our private parts. Parents will want to know that the Holcombs use the appropriate anatomical names for our private parts. This is important because it helps to convey the message that our bodies are special and not something to be ashamed of by using code word or by trying to make it cute rather than dignified.
We can’t say enough good things about this book. It is a wonderful book that will help parents easily have an otherwise awkward discussion with their children. Our children had a lot of questions when we read it to them and it has opened up some doors for conversation. They even help Jami and I out by reminding us that we don’t keep secrets when we accidentally use the word.
In addition to God Made All of Me, we would like to share a few other resources that we have come to appreciate.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New Growth Press in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About the Authors
wrote this book. Justin is a minister and seminary professor. Lindsey now works at home, but previously served as a case manager at a sexual assault crisis center and a domestic violence shelter. Together they conduct a variety of training seminars to service providers, churches, and organizations about how to prevent, recognize, and respond to child, sexual, and domestic abuse.Lindsey earned a Master of Public Health (Touro University) and Justin a PhD in theology (Emory University). They helped co-found REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and Justin serves on the board of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).
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