Guest Author - Sonya L. Wilson
When people go through hard times, they often say that they would like to “hear” from God so that He can tell them what to do. In “God Speaks to Me” author Valerie Love writes fictional, true-to- life accounts on how women learn to listen to the voice of God while they deal with difficult and sometimes tragic life lessons. The stories show women overcoming heartache, pain, or tragedy by listening to the still, often quiet voice of God. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, this book teaches some valuable lessons about trusting your inner voice.
Valerie Love lists some of the themes of the book in her introduction. She tells the reader that life lessons typically have seven general themes: 1.) Few lessons are revelatory, meaning that they are sometimes just reminders of what we already know or feel 2.) Sacred lessons are not always monumental or life-changing 3.) All lessons are for our eternal benefit, especially the painful ones, 4.) God is effective, 5.) God is always on time, 6.) Some sacred lessons become public for the benefit of others and 7.) God is love. Ms. Love illustrates these life lessons by relating the stories of six different women dealing with various issues. These accounts are very realistic and the reader may very well see herself in the stories. The book is divided into four parts, God Speaks through Relationships, God Speaks through Money, God Speaks through Home Goings, and God Speaks through Religion.
In part one, God Speaks through Relationships, we find "Sandy's Saga". This story is about a woman named Sandy who begins dating a man that she continually has doubts about. Sandy establishes a seemingly good relationship with a man named John. They share a friendship, similar interests and a mutual respect for one another. However, we find that Sandy continually feels that there is something not right about him. Even so, Sandy doesn't listen to these inner feelings and gets caught up in their romance.
They eventually marry and the strange feelings she had about her new husband in the beginning of their relationship return. John's negative patterns with money, lax employment, and missing money from her purse only intensified these doubts. Our heroine continued to rationalize his behavior until a year later when, after her husband goes missing one afternoon, she gets a call from her mother-in-law. She tells Sandy that John is in prison for bank robbery. Amidst this devastating news, Sandy also discovers that John is a heroin addict. Sandy realized that her "inner voice" had been trying to warn her about John all along. Sandy eventually picks up the pieces and moves on with her life, without John.
At the end of this story, as well as the end of the other seven stories in the book, the author gives the reader an overview of what life lesson is illustrated in the text. In “Sandy’s Saga”, Sandy learned life lesson number one, few lessons are revelatory. Sandy had inclinations about John’s real nature from the beginning but she did not listen to this tiny, inner whisper of truth. The “inner voice”, “intuition”, or “gut-feeling” one gets is God sending you a beneficial message.
Another story in the book, "Chocolate Cake Don't Love Me", tells the story of Jade and Tom, a couple who had a 13 year relationship, despite the fact that he was a married man. When Jade, a lonely single mother is helped out by a handsome co-worker he ends up becoming her "hero". The appreciation she feels toward him and their mutual attraction leads to a romantic relationship. During the relationship, Tom tells Jade that he doesn't love his wife, he and his wife do not sleep together, and he will leave his wife when his children are old enough to understand. Also, in order to control Jade, Tom tells Jade not to be around or talk to other men because he would "hurt" or even kill them. After the subsequent births of his third and fourth child, which showed a very active sex life with his wife, Jade realized that Tom was being dishonest. However, she doesn’t leave him and holds on to him out of "love”.
Tom's wife ends up leaving him years later. She had known about the affair for a long time, especially since Tom would often call his wife by Jade's name. She had gotten her Master's Degree, set herself up financially and left with the children. Of course, Jade thought this was a new beginning for the two of them because now they could be together. However, Tom began enjoying life as a single man immensely, without Jade. He began dating other people and when Jade pressed him about marriage he simply said he was not ready. Everything comes to a head when Tom stands Jade up for a date. When she finds him the next day, he greets her brashly at the door naked. Behind him Jade sees a woman's belongings on the couch. Jade is forced to move on.
At the end of this story, Ms. Love shows how life lesson three is illustrated, all lesson are for our benefit, even the painful ones. Jade remained in a bad situation with Tom for thirteen years when it was clear he did not love her as much as she loved him. It took her all of that time to learn or accept that Tom was not the one for her. Jade wanted to leave Tom often over the years but she "loved" him too much to leave. Because of this she ended up deeply hurt. The author calls this the "chocolate cake syndrome”. She explains how she loves chocolate cake and though it may be pleasurable and sweet, it did not love her because it put weight on her and raised her cholesterol. She equates this to how some women love. No matter how toxic the relationship, a woman in love can find it difficult to let the relationship go.
There are many things that readers will be able to connect with and relate to in "God Speaks to Me". The book can read like a cross between a fictional piece of writing and a self-help book. This is the difficulty in completely enjoying the book. Though the front matter of the book clearly states that the book is a work of fiction, in "Chocolate Cake Don't Love Me" for example the author interjects herself into the story of Jade and Tom by relating how Jade called her about the confrontation with her lover, which may lead the reader to believe the story is actually true. There is also "My Story--$1,269.38" which is Valerie Love's own account about a difficult time in her life where she had to learn to listen to the voice of God. It is unclear why she chose to put a personal account in the middle of a work of fiction. The reader may end up confused because they do not know if this account really happened to her or if it is fictional.
When reading, "God Speaks to Me" it is probably best to read it as good spiritual insight for women instead of a typical work of fiction. There is a lot one can take out of "God Speaks to Me" and the issues the women face in the book are ones that any woman can relate to.