November 9, 2022

God Wants To Restore Your Identity: Redeeming Love, The Book Review (PT. 1)

November 9, 2022

Let me preface this post by saying, "Trish doesn't do novels!" But this novel was so different.

PODCAST SUMMARY

Despite the criticism - mainly by those who never read the book but have jumped on the negative bandwagon - Redeeming Love is story of how God restores us, little by little. We all want overnight transformation but as I heard someone say one day, a lot of what we call deliverance is people needing knowledge - knowledge of WHO God is.

What Fran and I discuss about identity restoration from the perspective of the book is:

  • How our identity is tainted - often from an early age - by circumstances, bad relationships, what we've believed about what people say about us and how the enemy confirms what we believe by what we later experience
  • What rejection does to wound our souls
  • Why God uses people in our identity restoration process but keeps ultimate ownership - pg 349 "Let her go beloved... would you let her hang on her own cross forever?"
  • Why we should never underestimate the power of sowing seeds
  • When love gets tainted and how God uses real love, His love, to restore our identity

Trish, So Home Come You Read The Book?

My daughter pestered me for weeks, often walking into my office with tears streaming down her face whilst she's trying to talk to me through the tears.

I relented and had my brother buy me the book as a Christmas present - 2021 - though it took months before again, I was forced to pick it up and read it. Me with my stubborn self! 😂

How Fran and I Came to Record a Review of The Book?

Fran and I were actually talking over the telephone about another podcast we were getting ready to record. I happened to mention Redeeming Love since I was still in the process of reading the book. Fran asked, do you mean Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers? To which I responded, "yes." And let's just say, we began talking about how the book spoke volumes to us about how God restores us... gently through relationship

Honestly, editing both episodes of the podcast - since we broke it down into two parts - almost had me in tears and again endorsed the feeling of God's love even as I edited. 

TRANSCRIPT

Trish: The book is based on the book of Hosea where God was showing them that no matter how many times they go whoring after other gods or whoring, because that word is used in the Bible by the way, so I am not swearing. God even refers them at one time that you go whoring after other gods. So in other words, you're lusting after something that is false. 

Hey everybody this is Trish again for the Influential Woman Podcast, and today I am actually with the lovely Francesca McDowell, and I'm telling you, if you've been watching and listening to this podcast for any length of time, particularly over the last year, you would've seen or heard Fran on the podcast at some stage, and I love having Fran on because I don't know what it is. We just kind of gel like sisters, you know? I just actually called us twins cos the outfit, you know? Yeah. So, we decided after we did the last podcast that we were going to talk about the book, I'll put it up for those who are watching, but for those who are not watching I'm actually holding up the book, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

So, this actual episode comes with a warning. If you are going to read this book, you may not want to listen to this podcast because we're gonna spoil it for you. So this is a spoiler alert. Can I make it any clearer? Don't listen to this podcast. If you are going to read the book and you don't want to know what happened. We're gonna break this podcast down into two separate parts, part one and part two, and we've decided that before we kind of get carried away with the recording.

And the first part, we're going to talk about the book from the perspective of identity, and then we are going to talk about community and its importance for when we are changing and becoming like Christ. And in fact, actually when we're growing full stop. Because you know, Fran, let's face it, if we, if we're raised and we're living on a farm and there's nobody else around, and all we've got is mom and dad and maybe one sibling, life is gonna be very, very different and our lives are gonna be very different than if we were around a community of people, do you not agree? 

Fran: Massively massive differences. 

Trish: Yeah. Excellent. Okay, Fran, just introduce yourself a little bit for those who have never come across you. 

Fran: Sure. Thanks so much for having me on. It's good to be here.

And so my name's Francesca McDowell and I'm a leadership coach and I really help individuals to make progress and make it happen. So that's in their personal life, professional life, or particularly with their public speaking goals as well. And alongside that, I do a little bit of therapeutic coaching for those who've gone through spiritual abuse and what else?

I'm an author's, recently written some books. Now I found my passion in writing. And I've just started a podcast this year as well. So that's growing. 

Trish: Excellent. Excellent. Yeah. I knew Fran, and again, if you've been on the podcast long enough, you'll hear me say this over and over, but I'm so grateful to Fran.

I met her at a Christian networking event, or what do you call it? I keep saying that it's a business networking. And Fran started asking me to run the sessions and I was kind of like really scared but to host them and Fran actually trained me, in terms of doing that.

And so I appreciate you, Fran, for giving me the opportunity to get my voice out there. And then in the last year, actually since 2020, wasn't it, we started working together. 

Fran: Yeah. 

Trish: Yeah. And it's been delightful for me actually watching Fran's Progress, you know, going from creating her first program, what was it called?

The speaking one? 

Fran: Yeah. The 10 step game plan. 

Trish: 10 step game plan. Yes. And then she was actually, I think you were starting to write the book already were you not found when I started working with you, you were already in the progress of writing the book. 

Fran: Yeah. I just was in all doing my, do my first draft as I was developing the program.

Trish: Yeah. And then the book has come out and since then she's been doing the spiritual abuse counseling, What do you call it? You don't call it counseling? What do you call it? 

Fran: No, I call it therapeutic coaching. 

Trish: Therapeutic coaching, yeah. So, and if you just hear Fran's voice, that's enough to coach you.

She's just got that demeanor about her and personally, when I actually, we were talking, weren't we Fran? And I said about the book Redeeming Love. No, I said, Francine Rivers whatever. Way round. I think I said Redeem in Love. And you said what? The book by Francine Rivers. And you said, Yeah. I've read that book and oh my gosh, that's a lovely book.

Blah, blah, blah. And I started telling you about it and in the end we were like, you know what? We need to just get on and do a podcast about this. Yeah. 

Fran: Absolutely. So here we are. 

Trish: Yeah. So here we are doing the podcast and, and I just gotta tell you that I have, wept, wept literally through that book. And the reason I've wept so much through that book is because I see that God is trying to tell us all he is to us and we're not believing him.

Fran: Yeah. 

Trish: Yeah. He says, You are mine. I love you. I want the best for you. And all we keep looking at is what was. And so this is where I want to start off. I kept seeing in that book, examples of where God had been speaking to me, but I was too much into what other people had said and what had happened or my current circumstances.

And so because. What other people had said, or because my current circumstances didn't look like what God was saying to me, it was easier to look at those circumstances and what other people had said rather than believe God, and this is exactly what this book is about. It's about how God had to break down this person that in the end became known as Angel, to show her how much he loved her. And so it meant her going back into her past life. So let me just give you an overview of the book. At six years old, she met her father, her natural father, but he didn't want to know her. So that was her first experience of being rejected. Right, Fran, you remember that? 

Fran: Yeah, absolutely.

Trish: And we'll probably come back to each of these cause I don't want to do a precis of the book, as it were. Right. So if it seems like I'm rushing through, it's because I just want to get to the part that I'm talking about. At eight years old, she was sold into slavery, sex slavery as a result of her mother's death.

And let's just put it this way, she has experienced one rejection or grooming after another? After another. I think this went on for about 10 years. Did it not Fran? 

Fran: It did. 

Trish: Or just over, and you know, I've written down in my notes, right, that everybody she cared about eventually left. Her Papa didn't wanna know her.

Her mama left. When Mama had nowhere to live, mama went to the grandparents and the grandparents said, no. Cleo was her nurse. Cleo left. Rab, her uncle was murdered in front of her, and then Johnny, the boy, she ran away with away from the brothel to try and get away, they caught him. Caught them both, and then we don't know what do we know what happened to Johnny, but we know he was killed?

Fran: Yeah. Yeah. No, um, I can't remember the detail, but I was just reflecting that if it, it was done in modern day. We'd be calling that acute childhood trauma. Because it wasn't just one experience that she had. There was multiple and complex trauma that this young. Girl went through. 

Trish: Yeah, absolutely.

Absolutely. And I'm gonna give away a little bit of, No, actually no, I'll come back to that later on. Sorry, people. 

Fran: You're teasing us there.

Trish: I'm teasing. Yeah. So. So she eventually gets married to this man who is called Mr. Hosea because the book is based on the book of Hosea. And we know that that book was written for Israel where God was showing them that no matter how many times they go whoring after other gods or whoring, because that word is used in the Bible by the way, so I am not swearing.

God even refers them at one time that you go whoring after other gods. So in other words, you're lusting after something that is false. Right. It's not going to give you the satisfaction, but because you are so focused on your immediate needs, you keep running back to other gods, to other things. And that's exactly what happens with Angel in the book even bible even though Michael Hosea, who the character is based on as well as her. He effectively rescues her from this brothel and he marries her after she'd just been beaten up as well. He literally rescues her. And he's breaking her down bit by bit to understand what real love looks like, not the fake love that she had been accustomed to.

In fact, actually it wasn't even love. I mean, they were using her. And, and they taught her that people just use you. And so she was so groomed to believe that nobody could give you real love. What was real love you just used men for... And it wasn't even what they can give you in terms of sex. Cuz she didn't want that. 

It was a way of looking after her. Yeah. Yeah. It was a waste. And then I, Yeah, go on Fran 

Fran: But then and then, um, her first encounter with real love was when she saw what happened to her mother based on the fact that she loved her. She loved her, you know, biological, Yeah, her biological father. Yeah. And that love destroyed her because he, you know, rejected her mom.

So again, she's having such a poor first, encounter with what love should be like. Yeah. So it's just bad, isn't it? She has a really, really rough start. 

Trish: Really, and you know that story, that part of the story at six years old when her mom dresses her up to see the father and he comes along because this man, by the way, is already married to somebody else.

He's got children elsewhere. She was a prostitute. The mother was a prostitute. He's bought her a home and, but he didn't want the little girl to be born. So he made that very clear in front of her that, you know, don't call me papa. And, you know, did you put blue on her just so that her blue eyes would shine.

And so that was her first encounter of the rejection. And that, that's just so hard. But I'm gonna read something from the back of this book here because I think it will actually help people help us ground the whole narrative that we're actually bringing to this podcast. First of all, it says, Angel expects nothing from men but Betrayal. Angel's not her real name by the way. 

Angel is the name that they gave her as a prostitute. Right. Her real name is, is Sarah. But she doesn't, throughout the whole book. She doesn't even tell anybody that till right at the end. It's just, whoa. Right. So this is from the back of the book. So as I said, again, spoiler alert, if you want to read this book, don't listen to this podcast.

Right. So Angel expects nothing from men, but betrayal sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his father's heart in everything. Michael obeys God's call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Day by day, he defies Angel's every bitter expectation.

Until despite her resistance, her heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. So Angel runs. Isn't that what we do with God? 

Fran: Yeah, absolutely. 

Trish: And the book is written based on California's gold country, in 1850, a time when men sold their soul for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.

And that is effectively what this book is about. It's about survival in every way. But bringing it back to identity, you know, one of the things I noticed in the book, I can't remember what page it was, when she met her father, the first thing she said was, he's not like all of the other fathers that I saw in the church.

And I was like, Oh my gosh. She'd already identified them. The church might think is doing a really good job by, you know, the priest being the father, and she didn't say father. So I think by all accounts she'd moved around with her mother to different places and she'd seen so many men, that she looked upon as father and then she saw this one and he was different.

He was handsome, he was tall. And the very one that she wanted to be father, he rejected her. Yeah. And very often when women are rejected by their fathers or the men that they have in their lives, they find it very difficult to have a relationship with their Heavenly Father. 

Fran: Yeah. And that's so. It's so raw, isn't it?

Because it's someone's lived experience and it's so real to them, and even you know, the role, but also the word and all that it carries. 

Yes, it's huge. 

Trish: Yeah, Yeah, absolutely. And yet again, from a perspective of somebody who's not lived that life, it's so easy for us to criticize other people and say, Well, they must have got themselves in this mess.

Oh, they're only a prostitute. I don't even like when... somebody wrote a book and they named it "How to Witness to Addicts," and I was like, You shouldn't have written that. Yeah, you shouldn't have written that. Sorry. 

Fran: It's not the most loving title is it? But labeling

Trish: Exactly. It's all in the name.

So, in the book, she would keep referring herself to a prostitute and Michael Hosea, her husband, would keep referring to her as his wife. Yeah. Yeah. He, he didn't know her real name. 

Every single time she would look back at her past, he would keep looking at her future and every time she doubted, he would just keep reminding her of his unconditional love for her. And there's a part in the book, Fran, where she admits, I'm not sure whether I'm gonna say this because again, I know we're gonna spill some stuff in the book, but I don't wanna spoil it too much for people, but she spills something about something she'd done really badly and she decided that she was going to tell him what had happened because that's surely would be that defining moment that he would say, "Get out."

You know, my goodness me, he literally, he's like shocked, and he goes, "Whoa." And then he says, "What else have you got to tell me? Just tell me everything so there's no more, there's gonna be no more surprises." And then she's like, You still love me? And he says, "Yes." But then she had his, it wasn't his brother, was it?

Cuz he married his, the, the man that married her sister, his. 

Fran: Yes. It was his brother-in-law. That's right. 

Trish: Yeah. His brother-in-law, he recognized Angel when Hosea bought her to the house, to the farm. Yeah. And he was like, Do you know who she is? And he couldn't believe that this lovely Michael, because by all accounts he sounds like St. Michael . 

Fran: Yep. The golden child of the family. 

Trish: Exactly. Would bring home a prostitute for a wife. But what's interesting is that Paul recognized her that he had visited her in the brothel, but he had such distain and hatred for her. But it was an example of the hatred really, that he had for himself.

Fran: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that was also compounded because when he first saw her, she was wearing his, deceased wife's clothes. And so here he sees this woman, by all accounts a spoiled women according to him, in a very wholesome woman's attire. And he couldn't see her from the, now, he only saw her for what she did and who she used to be.

You know, so it's interesting how some people's perspectives can't move forward. They can only go backwards. 

Trish: And one of the things we talked about earlier, Fran, when we were talking about how we were gonna break down the conversation, was that God is constantly trying to remind us that this is what our future looks like.

And until we allow those barriers to break down. We just keep going back. What is it The Bible says like a, dog to his vomit. And she just kept wanting to go back to the brothel because she believed so strongly that that's where she belonged and she didn't deserve the love. And then every single time this Paul saw her, he saw it as an opportunity to remind her who she is.

She's nothing but a prostitute. You know, Angel, You need to go back. And he actually even offered her a lift at one point he was going back to Sacramento. It was Sacramento, wasn't it? Where he was going back. And he offered her a lift. And then on the way he decided that she had to pay for the lift, if you know what I mean.

And even then, he blames her for that, even though he was the one who suggested, you know, you're not gonna get a ride for nothing. Yeah.

It's hard to say, but when we don't know who we are, we base who we are on what has happened to us or what we've done. Yeah. So in terms of identity, Angel, the main character in the book was basing her identity on the fact that she's just been a slave girl since she was eight years old. Men are just there to use her and to be used.

So they use her for their pleasure. She uses them to get money, and the worst thing was she wasn't even really getting the money because when she was in these brothels, the owner of the brothel was getting the majority of it. They had their food and their clothing and their, yeah, their fine clothing at that.

But it's not like they had their own money to go and do what they wanted to do. 

Fran: No, no. She wasn't free at all. 

Trish: She wasn't free. She wasn't free. She was, she was bound up in every single way. And then Paul, his identity was wrapped up in, he had the sweetest wife by all accounts. Michael Hosea's sister sounded, just an angel . So Paul, probably thought, well, you shouldn't even have the name Angel because you an angel, just don't fit the name. My wife, on the other hand was the angel, but sadly she's died and then as a result, he doesn't have that. He goes and seeks prostitution, but, he's then blaming the prostitutes, for the fact that he's ....

And isn't that what people do. 

Fran: Yeah, and I think it really speaks to me of just the problem with dysfunction is that we just sit in that cycle where we, we look for something to fulfill a need or we look something to really meet our identity, and then it's messy and then we won't own, take responsibility for it, you know, even if we're able to, and then we just go, round in a circle.

But yeah, absolutely. It was a real almost clash with those two. 

Trish: Yeah, yeah. Was constant, constant, constant clash. And, um, in fact, we're gonna talk in, in the next section about community, but a family eventually comes into their lives, into Hosea and Angel's life, and they end up setting up home on the same land. And there's a girl in there called Miriam, and she is the only one who could really get to Angel because she just doesn't stop asking questions. And she's the opposite to Paul because whereas Paul would just keep reminding her because he'd met her in the brothel.

Miriam was just like, I don't care where you come from, what you did. This is you now. 

Fran: It's amazing.

Trish: Honestly, , that book is so deep, right, that I know that there's a lot of controversy around the book and people saying it's, it's, oh, I've heard all kinds. It's just a sex book. It's a pornographic book, and I'm just like, Yo, if that's all you saw from this book, then number one, you picked it up with the wrong intention in the first place.

And number two, you've missed the how God redeems us. How he brings us back. Yeah. How it, it's not a matter of, Oh, I got born again yesterday and today everything is okay. God knows that we have a tendency to go back and do. I'm telling you, I'm talking now and I am feeling goosebumps. Cos we wanna go back to what we are comfortable with and God says, come with me because it's not gonna be comfortable. But when you come out the other end, you are gonna be so grateful that you didn't stay in Stuck Street. 

Fran: And I think it also speaks of how much he relentlessly pursues us with, with, with love. Relentless, you know? Um, Because in the book, like Michael, the husband, he went after her, not just physically when she ran away, but even with his attitude and his decisions, there was so much consistency and steadfastness.

And to me that really shows us the character of God. And so even though Michael saw her entirely, He still pursued her. God sees us entirely, our faults, our messes, the things that we run away from within ourselves and away from God. But he still says, "You are mine and I love you." And actually it's like you said, it's in a time, isn't it?

The redemption, the redeeming love. 

Trish: Yeah. And what I love about the story of when she runs away the last time, he knows that she's gonna run away because he saw her with the baby in her arms, and she's like, he wants kids and I can't give him kids, and so I'm gonna leave him. And she's got it all worked out in her head that he's gonna marry, Miriam.

And they're gonna live happily ever after. He doesn't need me because I can't give him what he wants. So even though he tells me he loves me... and isn't that us with God, you know, God, but, I know you can love me for all of these other things, but this bit you can't accept me for because surely this is what you want from me and I can't give that to you.

And so therefore, God, you know, I'm just gonna go back to my past life. But it's when they are on the mountain, and she's dancing before him cos he told her the story, didn't he? He used to keep reading to her, reading the Bible and he told her the story about how King David danced before his wife and she called him a fool.

And um, and she's like, " why would you do that?" And he said, Well, if you wanna dance before you are husband. And, and you know, to... he didn't say, he didn't use the word provoke, but you know, effectively what he was saying was, a wife can dance before a husband with love if she wants. So she decided that she's gonna do that, and he feels it.

He knows that she's gonna leave. He knows what she's doing. And God says to him, Let her go my beloved, let her go. And he's like, No, God no. I can't let her go. And he decides when she does actually leave, he sets it up to, to try and make it difficult for her, which I won't go into, but, she still ends up leaving and you see how many months later where he's still upset that she's gone.

And, I've written it down here actually, where God says to him, at one point, you should have no other gods before me. And he argues with God. No way. I loved her, but I did not set her up as a God. And God says to him, "You became hers." So it's like you were doing what I told you to do, to show her unconditional love.

But you were almost idolizing her, and I didn't ask you to do that. I need her to focus on me. So when she then leaves him for the last time there, there's a couple of things I want to mention here and Fran, if I forget, one of them is about her determination that she wasn't gonna go back into what she was doing.

Yeah. But when she left for the last time, and even though he was told to go after her and he just kept saying, No, she's made her decision. No. If she comes back this time, she's gonna have to come back on her own without me going to rescue her. And even though he would be praying for, and Paul even caught him one day in the barn on his knees, and he's angry.

You know, he's still praying for that fool, you know, that prostitute still calling her a prostitute. He pray for her and he said, God, I feel like she's in danger, but I need you to protect her. And to me, that part of the story is just so wow, because God is saying, I don't want you to rescue her this time, it's my time.

This time I'm gonna do the rescuing and I'm gonna speak to her. And going back to what I was saying just now, she'd made her decision that when she got to San Francisco, that she was not going to go back into her old life. And even when she got there, she was tempted, right? She was tempted to go back, but then, she was like, "No, there's other things I can do." And she ends up working for somebody and then that place burns down and she's like, "Whatever next." And then she meets her past. I'm telling you, I'm not even gonna go into that part too much cos I've already given away enough. But she meets her past.

And the minute I saw that, cos I'll be honest with you, Fran, when she was gonna leave again, I was ready to put the book down. I was like, God, no, this is too much, right? She's gonna leave again and go back into that life. And I'm like, nah, I don't wanna read the book. And then when she meets her past life again, I was like, No, I definitely wanna put the book down.

But then I thought sometimes we have no choice but to go back and meet our demons, as it were in order to move forward. 

Fran: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And part of it wasn't her choice. No. But she still had a choice as to her attitude, you know, and her behavior within that situation. Yeah. So, you know, there's a bit where she or she starts to fight back and just not take on board everything her, her past or her captor is his saying.

Yeah. Yeah. And I think that shows of of growth. So even though when she was with her husband, She wasn't always responding or, you know, but I think seeds were being sewn big so that we're gonna mature later, and the same thing happens with us, doesn't it? That we don't always have immediate change and we don't always make what we've been taught a reality.

But there comes a time when it has to produce fruits. 

Trish: Amen. Yeah. And this morning I was pondering on that when I was in the kitchen, and I thought, this is the reason why sometimes even when we don't wanna read the word and we think we don't understand what we're reading, we have to keep reading because what is it the Bible says the Holy Spirit will remind us of those things that we've even forgotten.

Yeah. But if you didn't read them in the first place, you wouldn't know that you've forgotten them. Yeah, absolutely. That's what kept happening. That where he was reading the Bible to her all the time and telling her the stories and where he could get her into church, it was all of those things that would keep coming back to her.

And even when she got there and she's like, "What do I do? There's a brothel there. I could just go in and just go earn my money." But she's like, she made her mind up, that there has to be something else that she can do. And in my view, it's that making up her mind that God says, "Now I can work with you."

Fran: Yeah, 

Absolutely. And I also think this is a great encouragement for those of us who have family members or loved ones who aren't in the faith or who aren't believing it. And you feel like all of this effort, all of this love and pouring and all of this, these, you know, seeds in essence, , there will come a time, you know, that things will change as, as their hearts are softened and they make that same decision too.

So we have to keep going. Yeah. And, you know, stay faithful. 

Trish: Amen. Yeah, I totally, totally agree. It's like, the word is being watered all the time and it's, I mean, come on. When she's made to go out on the stage and sing and she doesn't know any words and they start singing some raunchy raucous song, and she couldn't remember the words or was it that she didn't wanna sing?

I can't remember which one it was. And then the only song she could sing it, we don't know at the time. It's not until later, but I had a feeling it was that. It was that song. Yeah. And she starts singing and one other person, a well dressed man in a suit who just looked like he didn't belong starts singing with her and we realize the song is Rock of Ages.

Yeah. And effectively, he rescues her out of there and, and you know, if you still wanna read the book after Fran and I have done, 

Fran: if You read the book, like I mean, you shared I'm such a big fan of, of the author of Francine Rivers anyway. But there is so much goodness within the story that we can learn.

And you know, and I was thinking about that same scene earlier on, because when she first heard that song when she was with her husband and the other family, she couldn't sing. 

No, No voice. Yeah. Absolutely. Refused to. Yeah. You know, But yet she was absorbing it and taking it in. Yeah. I think maybe even unbeknownst to her, you know, however, Her heart had been softened so that she could retain those words.

Because let's be honest, lyrics of a song aren't all easy to remember. No, no. And yet at, you know, when it was the right time or the appointed time, that song brought deliverance to her life. 

Trish: Absolutely. And again, in terms of that whole story, which I won't go through, how it worked out that this man ended up being in there.

Cause when he got in bed at night with his wife and his wife was like what were you doing in that place anyway? And she's like, "Is everything all right at the bank?" And he is like, Everything's really good. He said, But that day I couldn't be still. And something just said I had to go for a walk. So he wasn't going towards the brothel.

He was going for a walk and he heard them singing or being rowdy or whatever, and he thought, let me go in and see what's going on. And, uh, not only did that man end up helping her to help others, he was also the one who shut down effectively the business of this guy who, you know, would groom the prostitutes. And how God works that it, it wasn't just "Angel, I'm gonna take you out of this situation and I'm gonna make sure that you're set up and you are gonna help other women," it was the mere fact that he destroyed this other man's business and, and everybody saw him for what he was. 

Fran: Absolutely. And what's really powerful is that yes, Angel had to face her past and confront, let's say her demons, but it wasn't just for her life, it was for all those other young girls that were in the same situation. Yeah. Yeah. And yet if she didn't, what would've happened to them? Yeah. You know? And our lives are so often not about us and the things we go through and the things we struggle with, and you know, even our own healing and all of that, it makes a difference to other people when we're willing.

Trish: Absolutely. Oh my gosh. Absolutely. Because you know, even afterwards when she met her, One of the other prostitutes in the marketplace. She heard this voice and the voice called her name and she recognized the girl and she was thinking, I just wanna move on. And, and the girl started talking about different people and what had happened to them, different girls and you know, they realized that some of them were dead, et cetera, et cetera.

And she just wanted to leave. You know, I don't want to hear about them. I don't wanna hear cuz it reminds me of my past. And as she went to leave something said, "No, go to coffee with her." She said, I wanna buy you a coffee. And she was like, What me? Buy me a coffee. Yeah. Come on, let's go. And that was the beginning of her ministry,

Fran: Oh my gosh. Absolutely. Yeah. Incredible. 

Trish: Yeah. And in that moment, she realized what she was destined for. And it may not have been God's original plan for her. But suddenly she realized her identity, who she had become, and she needed for other people to know who they are. Who they are in Christ. And the reason I hesitated there was because, She went back to the house late.

She's living with the bank manager, basically, and his wife and his daughter and his daughter had become very fond of her and became very good friends with her. And again, there's a story around that, which again, I don't try not to get away too much. And when she comes back and she's full of it and they're angry with her because she's late back and they wondered whether she'd been pulled back into prostitution.

And she says, I met so and so today. And I realized at that moment what I can do, help them to find what they are able to do so that they don't have to sell their bodies to make money or teach them to read or teach them to do arithmetic, to sew, to bake to, you know, start up a small business.

And for me, I was just like, Fran, if we look at certain things in our lives when we're asking God to answer prayer, if we just step back at times and let God do what only God can do, because Susanna, the banker's daughter who Angel became good friends with showed her, I can't remember what she called the box now, but it was like a prayer box, wasn't it?

Yeah. And she said how she would write down her prayers and put it in the box, and when she did, it was, God's. It was no longer hers. Yeah, and she just kept saying to Angel, You don't know what to do. Just keep praying about it. And she was praying about it. She says, God's not answering. He's not saying anything.

But it had to be an experience in order for her to see it. Sometimes we want God to speak and say, thus says the Lord God Almighty, I want you to . You know? 

Fran: And it doesn't, it doesn't work like that sometimes. It has to be that actual, like you said, that experience. That encounter. 

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. 

Trish: And exact, that's the word.

I love it. Thank you, Fran. That's the word that encounter. It was when she had that encounter with the girl, and even though she didn't wanna talk to, Suddenly as she was ready to run away, something said "No, take her to coffee." And in fact, actually I forgot she even got a job with the previous place that, Angel had worked in the cafe, didn't she?

And Angel, Yeah. Had to teach her to, to cook cuz she didn't know how to cook . But she got her a job so that she didn't have to go back to that place and, and live that life. And oh my gosh, I'm, I'm telling you. 

Fran: It's really powerful because each and every one of us, we are a solution to somebody else's problem.

Amen. No one can ever say, Oh, I haven't got value. I haven't got worth, or I'm just a, no one's just done anything, Each and every one of us with our gifting, our experience, our story, even our pain. Yeah. We can be a solution to somebody else's problem. 

Trish: Absolutely. Oh my gosh. I think it was, I think I first heard it from the lady who had had the affair with Bill Clinton.

I've forgotten her name now, and she said that she found purpose in her pain because she saw how other people were destroyed online because of their lifestyle and they committed suicide. Some. And that's when she turned to her mom one day and said, This is what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna start reaching out to these people who have had their stories all over the internet, where the internet wants to destroy them.

And before, because I think it was a young boy in this case, who had died before we lose another child, to their shame. I'm gonna use my shame for purpose. This is what God does. This is what God does. So whilst we are talking about a novel here and some people might be thinking, Wow, those two got into that book so much and it's only a novel...

I am not into novels. I read that book because my daughter just kept going on and on at me about reading that book. And she'd come in here sometimes with tears in her eyes and say, No, Mommy, you've got to read that book. And, and I was like, Elodie, I'm not into novels.

And she's like, No, this is like no other. And we've said ourselves, haven't we , Fran that she is such a magnificent writer. I'm jealous. . 

Fran: Yeah. She's one of my all time favorite authors. I've read so many of her books and I think because she just articulates it in such a way that you feel like you know the person and also you can relate to so much of their humanity.

That, let's be honest, we're not always as vulnerable to make it known our issues and challenges, even our thought processes, that can be completely off. But yet she. She encapsulate it so that you're like, Yes, I get it. 

Trish: And also the other thing I want to say is, even though Fran and I are talking about two aspects of the book, the identity is this part.

And the second part will be about, the community aspect. When you read the book, if you read the book, you probably get something different from that book than we have, because that's the great thing about God's word, is that it approaches people because of where we're at. Yeah. And for me, even though I have been abused when I was young, I didn't actually even look back and look at the abuse part.

For me, it was the things that God has been speaking to me about my business, about certain situations where I'm still praying on certain things. Those were the things that, it was just like God was reminding me. And one of them that was just really powerful was when he said, let her go. And then there was, what was the other bit where he said, he said, let her go.

And then he said, "Michael, beloved, would you let her hang on her cross forever?" And I was like, Whoa. So in other words, she's suffering. But she needs to go back to a certain place in order to know that she doesn't belong there anymore. You've got to let her go so that I can deal with her.

Yes. So that I can finish off the work that I ask you to start. But I'm the author and finisher of her faith. Not you, Michael. 

Fran: Come on.

Trish: When he said let her go, I went, God, what am I holding onto that you've told me to let go? And I am telling you, I still remember 2004 stood in my living room when God said, "Give Chris to me."

Right? My husband's not been well, has suffered a number of, health issues for years, and I've been praying and praying and praying about. I tell you, even now, my heart, I want to cry. And for me, that's where I went back to, and this morning I was thinking about it and I said, God, I know I haven't let go. I think that I have to be sending him things. Because he suffers with tinnitus as well.

Trish: He can't hear the word of God. Sometimes he's too tired to read, so he doesn't read his Bible as much. And I'm like, God, how is he gonna know if he doesn't hear the word? And sometimes I've taken upon myself to be his preacher, and no husband wants them to be the preacher, cuz we're already having a go at them to take the bins out to do this.

Trish: Why didn't you do that? ? Mm. And I am telling you before we got on the call, my gosh, God dealt with me again. And I remembered where I was in the living room and I was like, God, I've not let go have I. That has nothing to do with sex . And that's cause I, The reason I said that, by the way, for people who think, Wow, that was out of the ordinary because that's what people have been looking at this book and saying, Oh, it's a book about pornography.

It is a book about intimacy. There's no doubt about it, but the intimacy, Listen, if you read Song of Solomon and you think that that's, if you can read Solo Solomon, read the book, right? Because 

Fran: Absolutely. Yeah. 

Trish: You know, you can try and spiritualize Song of Solomon all you like, but they are being intimate.

But as you said, Fran, what God is showing her is the difference between what the world's standard of intimacy and relationship is and God is showing her through Michael Hosea what he, how he sees real love. And so at this stage, I am going to talk about what I was gonna talk about at the beginning, and that is..., I used Audible because I am a little bit of a slow reader and apparently it has to do with my eye movement.

And so to keep my, my, what's the word I'm trying to think of? To keep me motivated and inspired to keep reading the book cuz as well, when I see a book this big... 

Fran: yeah, it's, it's a thick book.

Trish: I'm like, This ain't for me. This is for the bookworm and I ain't a bookworm. And this isn't even a book about God, this is, well it is a book about God is very much about God.

But this isn't even a Bible book with John 3:16 in there and all the rest of it. And you want me to read this? And so I had to use audible. And the woman who read it brings the book alive and right at the end of the book, they interview the author. And the author explains that she, in her past life, had written a whole load of raunchy books, and she actually purchased the rights back to those books.

And so none of them are in print. And this book was the very first Christian book that she had written. And she couldn't write. She felt that she wasn't allowed to write for about three years. And interestingly, she says that writing and writing those books became her identity and God had to strip that away from her so that she knows that, hey, yes, you can write, but you're writing isn't your identity.

Apparently her husband even asked her one day, if you could just write, and be on your own and not with me and the children. You would rather do that, wouldn't you? And she said, I'm not lying, I would rather have had a cabin somewhere where I could just write all day and read my books. And she said God pulled her away from that.

And then they started doing these Bible studies, home Bible studies, and then they started studying the minor profits Hosea was one of them. And that's when God spoke to her and hear what he said. I want you to write a book based on Hosea and show them what my love looks like and how different it is compared to the love that they get in the world.

And she says, These are the people who reached out to me. She said, of all the books combined that I had written before, I have never had so many letters. And she said, we're not just talking about prostitutes who have lived the life that Angel had lived. We're talking about people who identified with Paul, who said that they were the critic who said, "How on earth did these people get into this situation? It's their own fault. You know, she says that she's got many Altman's in her life, and we'll talk about that after. People who are in prison, people who don't identify with any of that, with any of what Angel went through, but rejection, cos rejection is in the book, feeling unworthy for whatever reason.

Yeah. They may have been raised in poverty and to them, when God starts blessing them, they're like, I can't have this. I've never had this before. And so the range of people that have been reading and enjoying this book is not the person who wants to read Mills and Boone, I'm afraid. 

Fran: No. No, I actually agree with that.

It's, it's, it's so rich and it's so multilayered and I think that people can get so much personal revelation that can absolutely transform their life. Or, or like you were sharing earlier, bring back to their remembrance something that God said that they need to do. Yeah. Or be reminded that, you know, good People who love us might have a plan for our life, but God's plan is bigger than that, you know?

And so to trust him, I mean, there is so, so much Yeah. In this it's so much more than, a love story. Yeah. You know? 

Trish: Yeah. Big time. Big time. And, and the thing is, the love story that comes out is the love story of how much God loves us. And that's those bits that made me break down when she would basically describe herself as just a prostitute.

And her husband would say, you know, is this what you believed? And he would say something and she would be like, Well, that's your God, right? Because for her, God cannot do anything, anything really good. And I would look at it and say, You know, God, your Bible says. That I can do all things through Christ, but then I just keep doubting and saying, surely, but I can't do this.

And it, it was just, ah, it just pierced at times that I would just cry and, and you know why I would cry, Fran? Not just so much because of what I missed out on, but because I'm hearing more of what I can see in my circumstances, the things that I'm praying about or elements of my past that I'm just not, I'm just not letting go and giving to God.

Fran: Mm. Yeah. Gosh. I felt that. 

Trish: I felt that. And, and one other thing I want to say, and then we're gonna wrap this up. One other thing I want to say is in the book, when God speaks, it's not always, You can't always say, Oh, I identify with that scripture in the Bible. He writes it almost as if, if you could think that he's using the message Bible, right?

He's not using King James, he's not using New King James or the amplified. It's like he's, he's bringing it in today's terminology, but those were the things that she remembered when she was away. And it was like little snippets, like he would say to her when she was like, What am I gonna do? And he says, live, keep going, don't give up. 

Right. Live. Keep going. Don't give up. And she just, she just thinks, well, okay, help me then. And then another part where she's asking him a question and all she hears is, "I am." And I just think, Whoa. And the reason I said that was because Elodie has joined up with this Christian company and they do t-shirts and hoodies and whatever, and I think, if I'm not wrong, she's done some photos for them.

And every time they bring out a new merch, as it were, they send it to her. Sure. And they're scriptures, but they're not written as scriptures. Right. Yeah. And she's just started wearing, Lord, I feel your presence. She's just started wearing these T-shirts and the hoodie to work. And I must admit, there was a part of me and I was thinking, Boy, what are they gonna think when you walk in with this?

Do you know the conversations that she's had about the hoodies? And people going, "Oh, that's really nice." And it's not until the very bottom that they realize it's a scripture. Yeah. And they've gotta look hard, but they're like, Oh, that's, that's really nice. And she's just started having a conversation with a girl in her office who is interested.

Fran: That's wonderful.

Because it's in language that they understand. Yes. You know, so as much God is the same, He's relevant for every generation. Amen. You know? Amen. He, yeah. 

Trish: That's what Michael Hosea was doing to Angel when he was speaking to her. He wasn't necessarily giving her Johns 3:16, or speaking in King James speak, he was speaking to her on a level that she could understand and cut a long story short as well, Elodie's got a tattoo on her hand, believe it or not, that says "Redeemed." I won't give you the story now, but she's put it online so people can go see the story. Now, there are gonna be some people who are gonna go and bring out, shouldn't have tattoos.

And don't get me wrong, when she said she wanted a tattoo, I was like, No, no, no, you're not right. She had to wait till she was 20 before she eventually went and had it done. And there is a reason and again, as I said, it's her story, so, and she has got it online. But do you know the conversations that have started through that tattoo.

And she told me that, she said, before she had it, she said, I'm gonna have redeemed. And people ask me why. And it will be my starting point to have a conversation with people. So again, sometimes we can be so critical and so sorry to say it, religious that we can't see beyond. And I dare say it, some of the lies that we've been told in church , but we are not gonna go there today.

Fran: Yeah, no comment. 

Trish: Some of the lies, Sorry, go on. Go on 

Fran: No, it just made me remember that God can use anything and anybody to speak to his children. Yeah. Um, and, and he will in a way that is meaningful to them. Yes. Those are the stories that, that I love and yeah. Yeah, I think that's powerful. That's a really powerful, 

Trish: Yeah, absolutely.

Trish: I remember when I was made redundant years ago, for those people in America who don't use that term, laid off years ago, and it was that, I can't even remember who sang the song now... things can only get better. It can only get better. I'm not sure, but yeah, I can't remember the boy band.

Trish: And it was just going, everywhere I went and I would start getting depressed over the fact that I didn't have a job. And all I heard was this song, "Things can only get better." And it was what pulled me through. Wow. The time that I was going through the feeling depressed and feeling like nobody wants, nobody wants me.

And then I got offered three jobs, . So things indeed did get better. Yeah. So, so that is the end of part one of our overview or discussion on Redeeming Love. And part two, we are going to talk about the community element and how that helps to shape us as individuals and certainly how it helped not just shape Angel, right, Fran, it wasn't just Angel, it was all of them that was in that community. So that's what we're gonna do in part two. So if you enjoyed part one, Fran is going to take the stage, center stage for part two. So, looking forward to having you on the next episode of the Influential Woman. Okay, that's it ciao for now.

Fran: Take care, bye.

About the author 

Trish Jones

Trish Jones is the author of Unleash The Hidden Power of Your Voice and an advocate for women, equipping and empowering them to rise up and take their place of influence in life and business, doing what they were born to do.

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