November 16, 2022

The Power of Community: Redeeming Love, The Book Review (PT. 2)

November 16, 2022

If you haven't listened to the first part of this two part episode, you may want to watch or listen to that episode first:

Watch it on YouTube:

Listen on Apple Podcast: Episode 29 


In the first of this two part episode of The Influential Woman we talked about how God restores our identity. In today's episode we're talking about the power or the impact that community makes on us as individuals. As the saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child," and Francine Rivers did not miss the importance of community in her book:

  • The purpose of God bringing an unknown family into the lives of Michael Hosea and Angel
  • When healing and restoration emanates from a healthy community
  • How God uses the heart of a child to help us think the way He thinks - no malice
  • How God co-joins people from diverse backgrounds to change our perspective

And Speaking of Community...

IW Unleashed - A NEW membership community for mission minded female entrepreneurs. You've had enough of flying solo and you're ready to receive the support and the right information you need at the right time from other women in business.


Trish: So, hey everybody. This is Trish and this is the Influential Woman Podcast, and I am here again with the lovely Francesca McDowell. We have just done part one of an overview and discussion of the book Redeeming Love, and so this is part two. So if you haven't read or listened to or watched, I should say -I'll get there in the end, watched part one -you really need to go back and do that before you actually listen to this part. But in the first part, we talked about identity, as it relates to the characters in the book. In this second part, we are talking about community, and I'm giving Fran center stage. I said enough in part one.

This time I am the interjector, and Fran is just gonna take it away. So Fran, over to you.

Fran: Thanks so much, Trish. What I will say though is I think part one really sets such a great foundation for some of the really important aspects of the book. And based on what you said with how some people are reviewing it, it's helpful to give a different perspective, isn't it?

Yeah. Because there are some really powerful aspects that we learned through this story. 

Trish: Absolutely. Yeah, and just before Fran, I literally do give you centre stage, just another trigger warning. I mentioned it in the first one, but I just wanna mention it again. If you have not read the book, Redeeming Love- because -this is what this discussion is about-

I'm showing the book for those of you actually listening on the podcast, this is the book by Francine Rivers, and it's called Redeeming Love, and we're actually going over the book. And so trigger warning, if you actually want to read the book and you don't want to hear elements of what is in the book, then please don't listen to the podcast because we don't wanna ruin it for you.

So I just say that right up front so that we don't give it away and you say, Ah, I wanted to read the book, but it's no point now. So I've given your trigger warning. Please do not listen to this podcast if you do not want us to ruin the book for you. 

Fran: Yeah, very important. So I really wanted to talk about community because we live in community, but it's not always really, really straightforward.

 And one of the things that I love, the what happened to Angel, the main character of the book. So once she's married Michael Hosea and they've got their cabin life and you know, they're doing life as normal, in comes the Altman's. And so into their current situation, they've got a mom, a dad, and I believe it's four children.

And initially for Angel, that was just such a disruption and she didn't want to engage whatsoever. And she was very resistant. Oh my gosh. Absolutely. And you know, I think so many of them, maybe because of where she was at, I mean , She had loads of issues and things going on, understandably. Yeah.

But she had no willingness to embrace this family. And it was so opposed to Michael, her husband, who was fully embracing them. Yeah. And it didn't even take long for him to offer for them to come and live with him and Angel. And if we put this in modern day life, that's like you and I going to town, and we bump into a family and we say, Hey, you've got problems, come and live with me. 

You know? But yeah, because of Michael's experience in life and also I think his faith in God as well, he was fully embracing and accepting, and he could see the benefits of community, the benefits of building relationships with more people, whereas Angel, because of her trauma, because her identity was really still rooted in her life growing up. You know, unfortunately as a prostitute, she had no reference point for what healthy community could look like. 

Trish: None. None. And she was an only child as well. 

Fran: Absolutely. And like you said, in the first discussion we had, she was used to rejection from the age of six.

 She was just used to rejection. So that was almost her default posture when it came to people and, relating to people. So all of this background of rejection and pain and abuse and just unhealthy, toxic relationships meant that she had no space to receive the Altmans because she just didn't know how. 

Trish: And it was also another set of eyes that was going to be on her and criticize her past life. That's what I was gonna say. 

Fran: Oh, absolutely. Because how many of us feel paranoia or shame over things from our past? Yeah. And so we can then almost project there onto other people.

And yet God orchestrated the scenario so she needed the Altman's. And I think the first person I really wanna highlight is Miriam. So this is the daughter of the family and I believe she was about 15 or 16. Yeah. And so a young woman herself, but such a young woman with a completely different experience to Angel's experience 

Trish: Old mind. She had old mind. 

Fran: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It was so, so different. So yes, they were similar in age cause Angel was about 18 but they lived worlds apart. And so Angel was immediately defensive and immediately said, We've got nothing in common. We don't understand each other, I I'm not gonna relate to you.

And so that was her stance. And so she was almost trying to speak for Miriam based out of her own trauma. Whereas Miriam came with this love that was like, I'm not scared of you. I'm going to love you. I'm going to look past yourself, your experience, because you know, Angel made it very clear to let her know what she used to do.

I think it was trying, you know, push her way back. Absolutely. And build up this barrier that actually you wouldn't even want to know someone like me. Yet Miriam with this pure love was just, I'm gonna love you regardless. Yeah. You know? And that there are people who have a love with no agenda. You know, and not a love that comes with baggage or that's false, but actually such a pure love that can almost minister and really impact somebody else.

Yeah. So I love that Miriam was very, again, I think relentless is the word I was used. Yeah. She wasn't phased by Angel's issues or her defensiveness. She just came to love her. And so where she was used to working with other women in the brothels, the advice she heard from them or interactions with them were of a certain type.

Yet here's a woman who's so opposite to anything she ever experienced, and it was pure, but she wanted to retreat from it because it was unfamiliar and she felt unworthy.

Trish: And there was no ulterior motive. And if you remember, there's one part in the book where she said something about not doing or doing so much for the Altman's because then she wouldn't owe them anything because that's how she was raised.

That people only did something for you because they want wanted something in return. 

Fran: Yeah. It was almost this transactional love, isn't it? That okay, I love you because you all, because you did this for me well then I'll do this back to you. And that's not real love. 

Trish: That's Oh, that's a perfect word. Transactional love cos that was what was going on. 

Fran: And then during the course of their friendship, Miriam taught Angel so many things about herself because she wasn't scared of her. No. You know, so even this one point when the mum of the family offered to, you know, make her some undergarments, they'd called them and Angel was like, You know, I don't want these, I don't need to feel, almost feel sorry for me because of pride.

Miriam had to come and teach her that how would my mom feel knowing that you've rejected her gift? 

Trish: Yes. 

Fran: Yeah. You know? But that learning came about through community. There are some things that you and I even, no matter our age, our maturity, our intelligence, we will never learn except through community living in and through other people's lives and those interactions.

Trish: I totally agree Fran, that's why I always say that we have no idea the power of families, because families is where you learn to interact. It's where you learn to argue and make up. It's where you learn to love and to dislike and have to make up again, and hopefully you make up again.

But if you don't have that family, interaction, you will find it very, very difficult to go out into the world and have interactions with other people. Yeah. And that's effectively what Angel was introduced to, another family that originally lived in their cabin and they, Michael and Angel lived in the barn, but look at what happened. 

She learned to learn to cook. Yeah, she learned to sew. She, she literally, Elizabeth, her name was, wasn't it the Altman's, wife? Yeah, the mum. Yeah, Elizabeth. She literally was, you know, in the Bible where it says about the older women to teach the younger women. Yeah. She literally was that woman.

And originally when they first met them, if you remember, she wasn't well, and so she could only tell them what to do. And Miriam was acting like the mother looking after the children and my gosh, so mature. And when you think as well that they got married so young, but they could do more than some people can do now, being married 30 years.

Fran: Absolutely.

They were hard working like. Everything they had to do. And you know, you mentioned the thing about she taught her how to cook. And in the first discussion we spoke about, you know, Angel setting up the school in essence in the end. And one of the things was about giving people skills of how to come out or how to not to go back into prostitution. Yeah. And yet it was the skill of cooking that gave Angel a choice when she ran away with the job that she got. Absolutely. And so when we live in and around other people through community, be it family or work or church or you know, just different groups, there are some skills that we may be taught or that we can model that a few months or years down the line is going to be such an important part of our life. 

Yes. Because Angel never knew that her learning to cook would not just get her a job, but it would free her from prostitution. It would give her accommodation, and then it would also become an opportunity for training.

So when she met that other young lady who she knew from the brothels, she taught her to cook. So then she could have another choice, right? Oh, and I just think that is so incredible. Incredible So incredible. You know, one little, seemingly little skill. Yeah. And our willingness to learn actually. And I think it makes me also think about having a teachable heart and a teachable attitude, because we don't know why we are learning something.

But what that could do for not just the future, but for other people as well. 

Trish: Oh my gosh. You said earlier as well in the previous discussion we had, you said about the fact that we are the solutions provider. Yeah. That what struggles we've gone through, we can then use it as a solution for somebody else.

And again, who knew that the Altman's coming along would mean that effectively, that was her ticket. Angel's ticket to actually getting out of prostitution. Yes, Yes. God was the instigator. Yes. God was the one who was wooing her, but meeting with the Altman's was effectively her ticket, because she would've ran away from Michael, probably even before, because Miriam was the one that just kept reminding her, You know, you're not a prostitute.

I don't care what Paul's saying about you, blah, blah, blah. You're not a prostitute. You are Michael Jose's wife. And yet the things that they taught them and the fact that they just kept inviting them over to dinner all the time. And, you know, Michael would say to Angel, you know, go and spend some time with the Altman's.

So just to put this into perspective, they were living with Angel and Michael originally, and then Michael sold them a piece of the land and they built their own little cottage down there. And so they would invite them over all the time. And so she saw them playing was it the violin he played, the violin, wasn't it? Yes. Yeah. The violin and singing and as you say, having that community feel. But who would've thought that them coming along would've been Angel's ticket to actually get out of prostitution? Yeah, because she could do something other than sell her body. 

Fran: Transformational. Yeah, so, so transformational. Yeah. And I think when Angel saw, you know, I think the husband was called John, was Elizabeth and John, the husband and wife, the mum and dad, are the family having, I think I would say for the first time, seeing an example of a married couple. Yes. Seeing an example of a healthy, male female relationship because this was brand new to her. You know, So really seeing how they would interact with each other, the looks they would give each other. You know, she saw for the first time a picture of what, of something so healthy. Yeah. And the then role model. 

The children, and how they were with the children. Just everything about what a good family should look like. She saw up live in 3D color and everything 

Trish: And how they worked to get their money and they were going across Westland, If you remember, he was going to search for gold effectively because it was a gold era and, all the different things that that had happened to them.

But he was a grafter. You know, John Altman, he was a grafter, and so he worked in the field as it. I know it wasn't literally in the field and Elizabeth worked in the home and it worked so well together because one bought in the money and the other made the money work. I've gotta say that again. One bought in the money and the other made the money work.

Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. Sorry, go on Fran. 

Fran: I'm not gonna say it speaks of teamwork and, and partnership and equality and fairness and, and love. Yeah. You know, it wasn't mine or yours, it was theirs together. And so where Angel was so determined at one point to go back and get the monies that she was owed from the prostitution uhhuh, she wanted to make everything fair, didn't she?

So she wanted to go back, but also when she. when she was living with her husband, Michael, she said, Well, you've done so much for me, now I'm gonna work really hard to almost pay you back. That's right. Whereas when we live in genuine real community, there's a togetherness and there's a collaborative almost working, that means we are in this together.

Yeah. You can't pay me back for something because we are in this together. 

Trish: Absolutely. And you know, again, isn't that what we do with God. I've received your salvation, now I've gotta work for it. And we tried to work for it and mess it up. And, and when she did, when Angel did try to work, she messed it up.

And then when she realized that she had the same skill that her mother had to make the flowers outside the home, beautiful, that was something that she could give without feeling that she's gotta pay back. And she did it with such grace and such love. And then on the occasion when Michael went away and he brought her back a gift and it was a rosebush.

You know how many of us would be grateful to receive a rosebush? We'd be like, What? Where's the diamonds?

And she received that because she knew what she could do with it. And uh, oh my gosh. Honestly, I know I've said it so many times, that book, that book is just... 

Fran: Yeah. It's just, it's really special. And then, you know, you've also got a Ruthie, so she's like almost the baby. And I don't know if it actually specifies her age, but I will see her as like a, maybe like a toddler, two or three, maybe even four.

But she's a young child. And again, Ruthie takes to Angel. So although Angel's just this resistant, probably very hard faced individual, this little innocent girl warms to her. Yeah. And she can touch her heart in a way that nobody else can. Yeah. Because she's so young that Angel couldn't even tell her to, to go away or anything that, because you know, she's very little and I love the fact that her engagement, Angel's engagement with, with little Ruthie just was really helped tenerise her heart, you know, and just the opportunity to, in some way open up a bit of a wound because she saw the innocence of this child. Mm. And against the backdrop of her own innocence being stolen cuz she was sold into prostitution at eight.

Eight. Yeah. You know, like you said, she was a sex slave eight years of age. Yeah. But again, when we, when the wound is almost opened up, that's an opportunity for healing, isn't it? That's an opportunity to relearn that actually. Yeah. Um, life does look different for everybody else, and I can learn that healthy looks looks very, very different.

Trish: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, it was the fact that they, Elizabeth Altman said it first, I believe when they first met them, when their wagon had broken down, and then Miriam would just keep telling Angel all the time, Ruthie doesn't go to anybody, but she just took to you immediately. And so she sees in this innocent young child sees in you what you cannot see yourself.

Yeah. Oh yeah. You know, and that's really deep. Yeah. And, and so that special relationship. And what I love, what I love is that Ruthie's got no filters, right? She's a child. So don't, don't you love God. You know what? You don't love God? There's no filter. You know, Just say, just say what she's gonna say.

And you know, you, you are gonna have children. You'll, you'll have children one day. And even when she over hears the conversation between Paul and Miriam and she goes back and she relays it back to Angel, she says it in such a way, "I don't believe what Paul said about you," and I just think just the beauty and the innocence of this little girl is just so delightful and, and how they got her to play.

Even when they pretended the day when Ruthie was stuck up in the tree and knowing that Angel is gonna run like crazy to go and get her, and then they're all laughing. Even the boys were in on it. 

Fran: Yeah, absolutely. And how for some people, , they're almost so stuck in their own ways and they're so into their, their own view of themselves, it takes other people to help them see themselves differently. And in this aspect, to be playful. Because I actually really believe as adults we need to play more and laugh more and learn to have fun because it does something to our soul that is really necessary. So Angel did, She was up in the tree and I believe also they, they had a swing and see if she was swing on the swing and, you know, doing things that she never got to do as a child.

No, no. You know, so in community... she didn't. Exactly. Her childhood was stolen. Yeah. You know, so sometimes in community we get the opportunity to almost have another chance. Yeah. Another opportunity to either be a child again or to interact in a different way. Yeah. And, and, and I love their boldness and courage to go against her own wishes because they knew that it would be better for her even though she didn't know? 

Trish: Yeah, absolutely. And Miriam said to her, If I invited you to go play in the tree, you wouldn't have gone. But I knew if I said, "Ruthie's stuck up, stuck up in the tree..." but it's that motherly instinct isn't it? That even though she wasn't able to have children of her own, that motherly instinct was still there, that little Ruthie is stuck up in the tree and I don't know how I'm gonna get up there, but I am getting up there to go rescue her. You know? Yeah. And it was only when she got up there and Ruthie kind of like looked at her like, Yeah, come sit down here...

And she's like, You little rotter. You know, , You weren't stuck in the... the boys are higher up laughing their heads off. Yeah. And then Michael comes along and builds a swing. He, he was one who came along and put the swing on, on the branch and. Yeah. That, that playfulness. And we forget sometimes.

You know, yesterday, Fran, we had the conversation about the Queen's passing and I love my Queen, simple as that. And my friend had rung me to ask me whether I'd been watching the procession or whether I was going to watch the procession and I said, "To be honest, I just find the whole thing a little bit too painful."

So, and I've been really busy. And she said to me, "No, Pat, honestly, please go and watch the procession." And I did see when, when she flew into, London, and then I saw that procession and I went, "Okay, I will go and watch it." And I went and watched it and at one point, Fran, I sat there and I put my hand over my mouth and I said, "God, I'm so sorry."

"I repent because yes, I'm hurt, upset that the Queen has gone." And for anybody wanting to trash me, don't bother, because guess what, it's my grief, right? I love the Queen. No, I've never met her. But that's what I love about the fact that we can understand spirit, right? Yeah. Whether you're, you don't have to meet somebody, You don't have to be in front of them to, to love somebody.

And I love the Queen and I sat there and I said, "God, I am really sorry." I have had a lot of work on, but I have not wanted to stop. And it's like you are a slave master that you don't understand that I need to grieve. And so I sat there for two and a half hours downstairs, I was still doing a little bit of work cuz I was doing a little bit of work for a client, but it didn't feel like work.

But I was able to relax and I was like, Yeah God, you want me to have joy, God you want me to enjoy life? And there was, I thinking, typical British stiff upper lip. I better not stop, even though the Queen of England, whom I loved has died, right? 

Fran: Yeah. Yeah. We need these interruptions, don't we? To get outside of our own head.

And to bring us into just something a little of a different space. Cos, yeah like we are not born just to work ourselves to the bone. Exactly. There has to be, balance and rest and, and even, you know, bringing it back to the book with Angel, when she was working in the brothel, she had a relentless schedule.

Of men coming in constantly, you know? And so then for her, against the backdrop of her playing with these children in a tree, again, it's like polar opposites. Absolutely. But the good life was that playfulness and the innocence that she was afforded. And then when you were talking about her motherly instinct toward Ruthie, I was thinking about the pain that that also bought, because, you know, when she was working in the brothel, she, you know, her pregnancy was ended and then it was made out that she could never have children.

And the grief of what other people do to us, because although community can be really healthy, it can also be really harmful, and devastating, you know, And so here she is having to again, confront the pain of her past on what was done to her through no choice of her own. You know? So it's just, I almost feel like a bit of a dichotomy with, with experiences.

Yeah. Because sometimes love can be painful because you realize you were never loved. Yeah. Or how damaged you were. 

Trish: And so she didn't believe that. She didn't believe in love. She didn't believe in love . In fact, actually one of the voices that just kept coming to her all the time was, as I said in the previous, recording that we did was, people are just there to use you and to be used. And so all the voices was just like, "Just, just use him." Just take what you want from him. And she couldn't allow herself to be loved because love was the counterfeit and her life was the real thing. And even though deep down she knew that that wasn't the case, she couldn't accept anything else because that's what she was raised to believe.

There is no such love. And at one point she even says that the, the very first person who she was sold to, she thought she loved him at one point. Yeah. And it was probably just because he was clothing there feeding her, you know, all of these different... he was meeting her needs. And when I say her needs, I don't mean in terms of, the fact that he was using her body.

It was the fact that. He was clothing her, giving a roof over her head. Yeah. Um, and so she saw that food. Yeah, the food. And so I was gonna say something then about, about that element of it. Sorry about me interrupting you. No, it's okay. I was talking about the, fabricated love, as it were.

I've forgotten what it was. It doesn't matter. I'll come back to it. 

Fran: Yeah, yeah. No, I think, yeah, it might come back to you, but when you were talking, it reminded me of how just because we believe something, it doesn't mean it's truth. That's right. And Angel's whole experience for her was her truth.

But until we're exposed to other people, we don't necessarily come into line with what is the actual truth. You know, and so sometimes this is why we need to be around other people because just because we think a certain way doesn't mean it's the right way to think or the best way to think. 

Or a healthy way to think. Yeah. You know, our trauma and our past and all of that really makes such, a difference in, in what we are thinking, but yet being around the right people helps. 

Trish: Yeah. And we can become the right people, even when we're the wrong people. Yeah. Because sometimes we can have so much disdain for somebody because they're not like us, they weren't raised like us.

You know, they might be poor or they might have had, you know, they could be a prostitute, or they may have been in prison because they killed somebody for whatever reason. And we have our own perspective and not understand that even the hardest of people have their own internal dialogue going on and we can actually help that internal dialogue, which is what Miriam constantly did.

Yeah. Is just changed that internal dialogue. So, So Michael was doing it on his own before they came along. He was the only reference point they had apart from when he would force her to go to church. And even then she was like, I gotta get out of here, You know? So he was doing that on his own, and then the Altman's come along and effectively endorsing some of the things that, that he would say, you know?

 And for her it was like, "Okay, well you said the same as Michael, and Michael believes in God. So that's where it must come from. You know, this same God who's just, He doesn't like me anyway. You know, what is what? Good what, what has he ever given me?" Yeah. And yet it, Sorry, go on Fran. 

Fran: No, I was just, I was just thinking about when you said that the message was reinforced by the Altman's, it made me think about that, that that's how we learn through messages being repeated, reinforced, rehearsed. Yeah. Um, and if it wasn't for them, that message probably wouldn't have sunk as deep as it needed to. 

Trish: Absolutely. It probably would've taken another 10 years.

Fran: Oh, absolutely. Because we can hear the same message, but when we hear it from someone different, yeah, we receive it differently. It goes into a different part of our being and, and you know, we, we need to hear things externally at times to really, really help us. 

Trish: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. My goodness me. 

Fran: Yeah, there's a quote I wanna read real briefly, and it says... this is, Miriam talking to Angel.

And she says... so they, they're just in a bit of a altercation, because Angel doesn't really think she's gonna be spending much time with them because they've just moved into their own cabin. Mm-hmm. and, um, Miriam says to her, You know, sometimes you can hurt yourself more, by trying to keep yourself from being hurt, read it again.

You know, sometimes you can hurt yourself more by trying to keep yourself from hurt. And so angel's default posture was you are gonna, you've left me in effect. Mm-hmm. , so I'm gonna withdraw from you, so you can't hurt me anymore. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. She felt more hurt by their absence because she'd grown to love them.

Yeah. And experience joy and laughter and playfulness and so many good things that came from the relationship. Yeah. But yet she was hurting herself. 

Trish: Yeah, absolutely. Yes. Oh my gosh. And it's that, it's that not knowing how to heal because it's all, you know. Yeah. And in fact, actually, didn't she have the conversation one night in the barn with her husband, with Hosea about the fact that they're gonna leave anyway because they were actually getting ready to leave, weren't they? They were, yes. And she could already feel the pain of them being wrenched away. And it was almost like, "well, why did you introduce me to them in the first place?"

Because now that's just gonna be more people who are gonna be introduced into my life, and then they're gonna be gone. And then that's when Michael says he's got an alternative and she says he won't listen. John won't listen to you because he's insistent on going, I think it was Oregon. He was, he was heading towards, Yeah.

And, um, and Miriam, uh, was an instigator there as well because it was like when it was offered to them, "you know what mama's going through and if you drag mama up there and anything happens..." cos they already lost one child along the way. Yeah. And she says" I'll never forgive you, Papa" And I love Miriam for the fact that she's not afraid of anybody.

Yeah, she's not , she's just not afraid of anybody. And even Paul, who she ends up marrying, she's like, You know, "you're just a hard boneheaded...' 

Fran: Yeah. And, and she, and she became like a Ruth, didn't she in going to him? Yeah. Um, when they were kind of coming together. But yeah, absolutely. That scene is really powerful when she's almost articulating, " why would, Why would you allow this to happen? Why would you let me experience lover then take it away." Yes. Yeah. You know, and the harsh reality of life is that that does happen at times. Mm-hmm. . But it doesn't take away from the beauty and the joy that that love did bring. Yeah. You know, all that she experienced.

I mean, fortunately that it continued. Yeah. But that still had its own value. 

Trish: Yeah. And that's why sometimes... I was admiring somebody the other day because despite the fact that they have been divorced, all the photos with them and their child and their husband, they left them. And I said, "Let me tell you, that is so commendable because some people would want to rip it down."

And they said, "That's part of my life and he is a part of my child's life. And so I left it there," and I was just like, Wow, this this is so commendable. So sometimes we could try and rip people out of our lives and say we hate them because of... and yet we could look at it and say, "What did we learn?" 

Fran: Oh, that's a big one.

That speaks to me personally, actually. Yeah. You know, and actually, what did we love about them? Or what was the love like at that time or in that season? Yes. Yeah. You know, I think, I dunno. I dunno what it is about our human brains that are so geared up to focus on the negative and maybe it's part of that natural self-preservation or protective mode protection.

But I think maturity says, Let me still honor and focus on what was good. Yeah. Even though there's been a change or things have turned south. Yeah. There's still always something that can be celebrated. 

Trish: Very, very, very much. Very much. My gosh. 

Fran: Yeah. I think maybe one of the last things I'll really talk about in terms of community in this aspect is when the mum of the family, Elizabeth, you know, she fell pregnant.

And you know, her belly was growing and there was also excitement and talking about the new baby. And then when she asks Angel to be her, her midwife, or her birthing partner, I was like, "Wow, how beautiful is that?" Because Angel's now been given the opportunity and the responsibility to help bring life into the world.

Yeah. And you know, that is, I would argue, one of the most vulnerable times for a woman. Yeah. Ever. Absolutely. And yet, here she is. Yeah. Being invited in because there's a trust there. Yes. And so she wasn't, Angel was never trust. Because she was always locked away. Yeah. Yes. Even I think one of the first scenes we meet her, when she's working as a prostitute in the brothel, she's been walked down a street with a bodyguard.

Exactly. Who would never let her out of her, his sight. Sorry. Yeah. Yes. You know, and, and when she ran away again, she was locked in the room. When she came back to her initial captor Duke, um, again, she was locked up. Yeah. You know, never having freedom, never having. Never, never being taught that she's someone who people can trust.

And yet again, we've got such a different extreme that she's being trusted with something so sacred. Yes. Um, but if she wasn't part of that little community, she wouldn't have grown in the area of her life. She wouldn't have learned those things about her, that she can do some tough things, you know? 

Trish: Yeah. And, hold your, your thought there. But you know, even , even when she runs away that time and she gets on that wagon with that old guy, I can't remember his name, and he is trying to sell his pots and pans and he goes to the minors and tries to say, Look, and he tells her to shut off and sit in the, the wagon and don't say anything, and all she can hear is then jeering at him.

And this poor guy needs to make money. So she comes out and basically says, What's wrong with you all? And they're like, Ah, you know, gasp and he's saying, what, what is wrong with you? Get back, get back in. And she starts describing the luscious food that they could cook in these pans. And then she says to him, I can't remember what his name is.

You know, "Oh just leave them. They don't know the value of anything, you know, pack your pants up and go." Right? So a skill that she's probably learned right, as a prostitute, she's now using that to say, ah, do you know what? You don't really, You don't really want it. You don't even know the value of anything.

You know, effectively "they can't afford it anyway, so let's, let's pack up,." And then someone shouts, Hey, before you pack up, you know, I want one of those pans. And they literally sell out. Yeah. 

Fran: Yeah I love that scene because she just came, she just was so assertive. Yeah. And came into her own almost as a saleswoman.

Cos we know that sales is not easy, 

Trish: No, that's right that's right. 

Fran: But she was willing to to yeah, to definitely help this, this guy out. And wasn't afraid of those men because she'd learn also, just... Yeah, I don't, I don't wanna say, well, yeah, almost some of their weaknesses. Yes. Or how to, you know, really speak to them in a way to get what, the outcome.

Trish: Absolutely. And then was when it was, when he then started counting out the money and then he gave her a bag and she said, What is this? He said, "your share." And she said, "Well, what did I do?" He said, "if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have sold all of that." She'd never seen that before because when she was at the brothel in Sacramento, they literally held onto the purse strings and she only had the bare minimum say if she wanted to go out for, something to eat or whatever, they kept the money.

She'd never had that, and so she didn't think that she had a skill, which was why every time she ran away, she went back to the brothels because it was absolutely, she didn't...

It got to the stage Fran... I'm gonna say something, a man or man, please, people do not take this the wrong way... she didn't need to sell her body because her body sold itself, because of her beauty.

Yeah. And the fact that she, every brothel she was in, she was the prized possession. Yeah. Right. When she was in the last brothel she was in, is that, wasn't that the name of the brothel Pair-A-Dice? 

Fran: No, that was the very first, I think, brothel that she was in. 

Trish: Oh, was it? Oh, right, okay. I think so. But, but anyway, effectively she was always, it was more expensive... The one where Michael found her, that was Pair-a-Dice.

Fran: Oh, yes. 

Yeah, sorry. It was, yeah. 

Trish: Yeah. They had to pay way more to have time with her than they did any of the other girls. Yeah. And in fact, actually when Michael went to visit her, and for those of you who are still watching who haven't read the book, but want to know, he did not... she couldn't understand why would you spend all this money to come talk to me?

You know? And that was the thing that I was gonna say earlier, in the book, and they're married, right? So we know that Michael rescues Angel. Angel, thank you. Angel from the brothel when she was literally at death store because she'd been beaten up so badly by, I can't even think of the guy's name now.

 McGrew mcg. 

Fran: Yeah, I can never pronounce it 

Trish: It sounds like a Scottish name. Yeah. And uh, she was beaten up so badly by him, and that's when, she was rescued. So, they're now married and she's like thinking, I just wanna get better and just run away again.

Right. Because she wants community, but she wants the wrong kind of community. Yeah. She's used to community, but she's not used to healthy community. And then you see when they are married and she's like, "Well just take it then, cos you know this is what happens." And he's like, "No." And she says, Why? Why would you, you, you know, you are a man.

You know, this is what men do. You know you've got a woman before you and you are just gonna turn your back on me and just go to sleep. And he says to her, "until it doesn't look like work..." That part of the book "until it doesn't look like work..." effectively, I'm not gonna make love to you. Yeah. Because at that point she would... I always say this, there's a difference between sex and making love.

Of course I'm married. Okay, France. So I'm telling you now there is a difference between sex and making love, and he needed her to know the love aspect of intimacy. That in intimacy, there is only love. Whereas what she had had was people taken from her. Takin and then she would have to give back because she'd have to pay for her clothes and lodgings, et cetera, et cetera.

And those parts of the book where people have effectively, I don't know. You know what? I only have to ask these people who actually see it as porn and what porn you've been watching? I've just gotta ask a question. I'm just asking question. 

Fran: You have to wonder because to be fair, that was a real shock to me how people have seen some of that.

Because when we think about the extent of the book and some of those, you know, more intimate scenes, they're not, it's not, it's not even a third of the book at all. Right. From, Yeah. So I guess your mindsets are different. 

Trish: Yeah. It really isn't. And like I said, if you can handle reading Song of Solomon, Unless you're reading Song of Solomon and saying, Oh no, it's not, It's not about that.

No, it's not about that. No. I'm sorry. You read Song of Solomon and I'm telling you, this book is sane in comparison. Yeah. The book is, is sane in comparison, but as you said it, it covers such a tiny portion of the book. Yeah. That to me, if this is what people are seeing... When Elodie read the book, she came and told me what everybody was saying and she said, I am so glad that I read this book before I get married because I've seen the sacredness of what it means to be in love, and...

Fran: That's beautiful.

Trish: I am telling. , right? She said... and so that's why she kept saying to me, read the book. And I'm like, Oh, Elodie, you know, I don't do novels. No, mummy you have to read the book. And as I said, I cried at so many moments and it had nothing to do with the parts where, you know, for those of you who haven't read it, you actually... the first time when they made love, I had to go back and I Elodie even said to me, You don't even know that they made love the way that she describes it.

You have to go back and say, Oh, oh, did they? And when I got to that bit, I went "Elodie, was this the bit where you said you're not?" She said, "Yeah, exactly." And so again, how people can just ah, and do you know the people who annoy me the most, are the people who haven't really read the book? 

Fran: Yeah. Yeah. It doesn't make sense for you to give such an opinion on something... No, absolutely. And I just wanna roll back around to something you mentioned about when she was selling the pots and pans for the guy that she met on the road and how he gave her the money because he valued what she had done. Ah. And just think, just thinking about us as women in business...

Yeah. Sometimes we don't know our value and our worth. Yeah. And so we might go into an arena and it's someone else else to tell us You've got so much value and you've got so much worth. And that's why we need other people around us. we can't, you know, live in isolation, even in the business world. Yeah. You know, even in our family, even in faith, we have to be around other people because he saw it so clearly.

Yes. And it was the first day he'd ever met her. Right, exactly. They'd had no previous discussions or encounters. He'd not read her cv, but just because of her character. Right. Yeah. And that one little interaction he saw so much. 

Trish: And, and if you think, like I said, he told her to sit in the, he told her to sit in the wagon and shut up because What'd he say?

Because he knew she was pretty. And then she would see all of these minors and they would just be thinking about one thing. So he was, He was protecting her. Yeah. By saying to her, Don't come out. And even when she did, he was like, What are you doing? What are you doing, ? Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that's really true.

Absolutely right. And sometimes we wanna fly solo, all the time, and yet community is what God has raised us to be in, to learn, Amen, to teach each other and to learn from each other. And which is why, and I, and I am gonna mention it, here I am about to launch, IW Unleashed, the influential woman unleashed.

And and that is some of the things that I talk about, you know, when women don't know their worth. They need to be among community where somebody can recognize their worth. Sometimes we're working, working, working, and we don't have downtime. This community is about people having downtime.

Sometime it's the fact that they're saying, "Well, I'm doing all of this, but my husband doesn't support me because he doesn't see what I'm doing." It's where you've got a community of women who are going to help you get to that stage where you can literally take the pot of gold to your husband and say, "Look, look, look at what I, look at what I did today."

And it's all of those things that sometimes when we're working solo, we just cannot see. 

Fran: Absolutely. 

Trish: And then the mindset changes that we need that we think we can do it whilst we're in business. And sometimes God is like, I want you to steal away. I don't even want you to work today. Yeah. Because you know, one of the things we're gonna do is we're gonna have the Friday night parties and it is just over the internet.

Yeah. Where we're just having, this is our me time hour. We're just gonna talk about the things that we've done whilst we're eating and drinking and, and just having a, a time where we unknowingly nurture. Cos again, in the, in the book, going back to the community elements, Miriam didn't always realize that she was nurturing Angel.

Fran: No, no. She was just being herself. 

Trish: Absolutely.

Fran: Yeah. But then you know, when we come together and we are ourselves, God can work through so many people, you know, to just to help us, support us, equip us, grow us. Yeah. All of those things happen when we are in and around healthy community. 

Trish: Yes, indeed. Oh my gosh, indeed. He had, I love that. I love that portion of the story.

I really do with her selling the pots and pan, but she also said herself then, "wow I can do more than just sell my body. I actually can sell." Yeah. And, and when she eventually... oh, that was the other part in the book where she basically says to God, " if you're there, you're gonna have to tell me where to go now, what to do."

And she hears this voice that says, Go over in this cafe, and go and sit down for a while. And she goes over to the cafe and eventually ends up working in the cafe. As we said before, she wouldn't have known how to work there because if, if the Altman's hadn't come along and taught her how to cook, she wouldn't have known how to cook.

But she was able to go over there and he was a born again believer and he starts saying, "Jesus, I love you. Jesus. I love you. I love it." right? 

Fran: It's incredible. So incredible 

Trish: How Francine Rivers got to put all of these pieces together... She said it took her a year to write the book. I will never know, Fran. It literally had to be a communion of her skills and the Holy Spirit that made this book come alive the way it's come alive.

Yeah, I absolutely agree. And sometimes we wanna use our skill and we talk about God, but we try to compartmentalize everything. And so our skill is one thing and God is another. And then we don't marry the two and wonder why we struggle so much. But what Francine Rivers was saying was, and I mentioned this in the previous episode where we talked about the book as well...

She was saying that for three years she wasn't allowed to write. She literally thought that that was it because of the kind of books that she'd written, God was saying, mm-hmm you're not gonna be writing anymore. I've got something else for you. And then when God spoke to her about writing the book and said, I want you to show my people what love, what real love looks like to me, compared to the fake love that they think that they have in world....

It took her a year of writing the book and she said every single morning she had to pick the Word up and get into the Word so that it wasn't just going to be another book, that God had to be the central piece to it. And you know, she says that, the, the person who interviewed her says to her, You know, what is the thing that you want people to walk away with?

She said, I want them to know that this book is good, and it is a novel, but nothing beats the Word of God. Get into the Word. Don't let this book be a replacement. And so I'm gonna say that don't let this book be a replacement for you picking up the Word and getting to know the author of your life for yourself.

Fran: Absolutely. 

I love that. Yeah, absolutely agree. 


Trish: Oh my gosh, Fran, have you got any final words on this? On this, on this book. 

Fran: Yeah. I would just encourage people to read it and to really ask a Lord to, to speak to your own heart about, you know, what areas or what aspects he wants to minister to you, because, it's a fictional story, but yet it's so true as well. Yeah. You know, and it should be an encouragement and a reminder that our lives can be redeemed. Mm-hmm. , um, and God will use anything and anybody to bring us to a place of healing and wholeness. Um, and then we have such a great privilege to then serve a different community as we've been healed as well.

Yeah. Yes. And so, yeah, please do read the book if you've read it, you know, I'd love to know your comments or your thoughts, so please put them in there, you know, somewhere around this video. But yeah, just to hear Yes. what the book spoke to you about would be really powerful. But I've loved having this conversation.

I've written down a few things, like it just really spoke to me. 

Trish: I don't want to resurrect the conversation again, but I think it's gonna be necessary cos I don't know how much we've actually gone into this. We're talking about community and I think we talked about it in the first part, about how she ended up creating a safe house for women. 

Fran: Oh, yeah. 

Trish: Where they could cook, learn to cook and, and sew, read, write, do maths and start up their own business. But just finishing on the community aspect, she created a community and it required her to meet this banker and his family and the daughter who had... Was gonna be married. That's all I'm gonna say. 

Fran: Yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. No, I'm not gonna start talking anymore because that in itself is yeah, so, so powerful. Well actually no. I'll say one last thing. 

Trish: Yeah, go. Go for it. Go for it. 

Fran: A word that we haven't necessarily spoken about, that really just resonated as you were just ending with these final words about community was about belonging.

And I believe God created us all with a desire to belong. Yeah. Um, and there are certain places that we are really called to because we belong in that place. Mm-hmm. , we get a sense of, um, just safety and security and we can give back and we are nurtured and it's such a beautiful place to be. And so if anyone's listening to this and they're thinking, I've had so many bad experiences.

Yeah. You know, be willing to just take a risk again, because that aspect of belonging can do things in your soul that other things can't, can never do. 

Trish: Absolutely. And you don't know who is on the other side of you feeling that you need to belong, that somebody else needs to belong. Because one of the things that Susanna, the daughter of the banker had said, "Look at one of the prayers that I have asked."

I said, "Lord, please send me a friend." Yeah and oh my gosh, listen, we could... 

Fran: nothing is ever wasted is it? Nothing is ever wasted. 

Trish: No, no. We could go on. But, Fran, thank you so very much for being willing, because let me tell you the mere fact that we've opened up to talk about this, they're gonna be, people are probably gonna wanna put us up against a wall, and shoot us.

But you know what? You can fire all you like, I know what that book has done for me. And, uh, I. So grateful to Francine Rivers for writing this book, and I'm telling you, I envy her writing skills. I really do. I know we've said that already, but what has come from that book? The Power of only two things that we've talked about?

Because Yeah, in fact, even the Journal, Elodie's got the journal and I can't remember how many elements are in there. I think it's about eight, and we've only... and I don't even know whether identity and community are two of them, cos I've not looked at it, but we've only talked about two elements in the book. We could literally go in with so many other elements.

Yeah. And pick it out. But as I said, I believe that when people read this book for themselves, that God will touch the parts of their lives that... and speak to them in a way that Fran and I may not even have seen from the book. And so honestly, pick up the book, pick up the Word of God and look at it from an element of God is constantly wooing you into a deeper relationship with him.

Yes. Cause that Absolutely. Cause that's what the book is about. Yeah. 

Fran: Wonderful. So good. 

Trish: We are redeemed. Yeah. Amen. Amen. So, Fran, again, thank you so much and, 

Fran: Thank you. 

Trish: I look forward to what whatever our next discussion is gonna be. . . 

Fran: Absolutely. Yeah. 

Yeah. And, uh, for all of you who have listened to this, and particularly if you are involved in business, I mentioned again about the IW Unleashed that I'm about to launch.

Trish: Whilst it's not launched yet, I am going to put a link to this in the description, and I am also going to put a link to Fran's book, Surviving Spiritual Abuse. And so there's a couple of resources for you. Okay, guys, thank you so much for watching, listening. Being inspired, taking away what we have said and actually go do, go do the practical thing.

And even if it's hurt that you've experienced, see how you can turn that pain into purpose so that you could actually be an ambassador for other people's lives to be changed. 

Fran: Yeah. 

Trish: Okay. Until next time, ciao for now. 

Fran: Thanks. Bye. Bye.

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Trish Jones

Trish Jones is an online marketing coach to content creators, coaches and course creators, specialising in funnel building strategies that get you noticed online so you build an audience of buyers and make more sales.

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