Author: Marilyn Meberg
Reviewed By: K. Fisher
In 2010, I attended the Women of Faith conference in Columbus, Ohio and picked up this book. I bought it because I liked the cover, which holds the warm and comforting image of a cup of coffee. (Turns out, it was actually a cup of tea, because the author is not a fan of coffee. But since reading the book, I’ve forgiven her for that.) The back cover of the book has a cleverly designed coffee ring that I tried to wipe away before realizing it was not real. This book had me at hello.
I also liked the title. Tell Me Everything. In my family, I’ve been the rebel: I haven’t kept our family secrets under wraps as I’ve tried to heal from my past wounds. At family gatherings, we keep things at the surface level, and I can tell by the silence when I’ve stepped over that edge. I will gladly share my story with people I trust, and, sometimes, if the Lord leads me, to perfect strangers. I don’t want the secrets of past generations to continue in my family or in anyone else’s. As Marilyn Meberg writes, “infection sourced in dark secrets can be lethal to your happiness, a road block to your contentment. Its poison can burple up through the layers of your emotions, undetected, to cause you to respond in bizarre ways to ordinary events–and then it can disappear as mysteriously as it appeared. Or its fermenting poison can permeate your daily moments silently and invisibly–until eventually the venomous infestation becomes completely disabling, precipitating an emergency response and sometimes revealing irreparable damage.”
I have lived like that. I’ve had what a good friend calls “a level 10 response to a level 2 infraction.” I’ve had hurt feelings over what I thought someone might be thinking when they didn’t acknowledge me at a social event. I’ve drowned my sorrows with a giant bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup and cashews, and then pledged to not care what others think of me. A few days later, when something similar would happen, I’ve done the whole thing again.
In this book, Meberg shares many stories from her life, from her practice as a counselor, and from her life as a believer in Christ. “Only God heals,” she writes. “But psychology gives us categories and helps us understand the origins of our psychic wounds. And when we understand the wounds’ origins, we become candidates for God’s healing.”
That is what happened to me. After so many years of wondering why God gave me life and imagining how disappointed He must be in the measly job I was doing in living it, I was introduced to the Eve Center, a ministry that provides a safe space and a listening ear to hurting women. At the Eve Center, through the leading of the Lord, women gain a greater understanding of themselves and of His unimaginable adoration for them. Their lives are changed. I didn’t really know that I had secrets holding me in captivity. But the Lord eventually revealed them to me. I sat in a small, quiet room with one other woman, a Volunteer Peer Counselor, who had been there before me, walked a path similar to my own, and made it to the other side, to the place of joy. I wanted that. I had no idea how to get there, but I was willing to show up week after week no matter how I felt and trudge through the mud of my past as long as she was willing to sit there with me, pray for me, ask me questions, and just listen to me. I shared my secrets as I remembered them and I found that it is true that their power only exists when they remain hidden in the darkness. I was sometimes embarrassed by my secrets, sometimes surprised by how minor they seemed once exposed to the light, and always glad to have them out and find that my volunteer peer counselor didn’t seem to think any less of me once I had shared them. I thank God regularly for that woman and for the journey He led us through together. I am free now.
Most of the women I’ve come to know in my life have secrets. Some are still unaware of how those secrets are keeping them from the life of joy and freedom that God had in mind when he created them. So of course I like this book about outing our secrets. Meberg writes in an easy-toread, often humorous, often compassionate, always truthful way. The book is filled with psychological insights as well as practical advice for women who have struggles in various parts of their lives–marriage, parenting, intimacy, selfesteem, addictions, anger, fear, doubts about God.
Healing is there for the taking, through our amazing Lord, if we want it. It’s not easy. It’s not fast. But it is freeing. This book, I think, can be a good step. Another great step is to find a Christian listening ear. The Eve Center is an amazing place to look and can be reached at www.evecenter.org or (513) 985-9959.