Original Design : Set Free to be Who God Created by Denise Buss is an autobiographical account of a three year period in Denise’ life where she experiences much emotional healing.

Denise’s story begins with an emotional crisis where she is suicidal. She is about forty at this time. Her relationship with God had started well enough but now has grown distant. Nevertheless she has a pastor friend, Ed who she calls and asks for prayer. This relatively small step towards God begins an amazing journey which continues for the next few years.

Ed and Denise meet together regularly, sometimes several times a week for several hours. God reveals many of Denise’s false beliefs which stem from childhood traumas. The devil had been able to use the pain of her childhood to plant his lies. Over time Denise gradually replaces these lies with God’s truth but the book illustrates this is not as easy or simple thing to do. Lies which have been part of our lives for decades are hard to dislodge. Nevertheless through Denise’s persistence, Ed commitment and God’s enabling power, Denise experiences many break throughs and healing. So much so she senses that God has returned her to his ‘original design’ for her life.

Denise was fortunate to have such a good friend in Ed who was available to spend so much time praying with Denise. So while the book offer much hope for healing, it’s also a challenge as to how we ministry to people with deep emotional problems. Are we prepared to spend this much time helping someone in need? Is it sustainable? Are there other way of ministering that we should be considering?

I found Denise story easy to read, though towards the latter stages it became a little repetitive. I was also disappointed with the ending. Our journey with God never ends and he always has new things to teach us, so it can be difficult to find a good place to end a testimony. For Denise, she believes she is about to face another challenge but the book finishes before this eventuates. It made for a slightly unsatisfying ending.

Despite these minor issues, overall I found it an amazing and absorbing read.

With thanks to Denise for providing a free book for review.