Full Circle

Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God

Non-Fiction - Memoir
224 Pages
Reviewed on 06/04/2017
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Author Biography

I’m a former radio host, blogger, author, speaker, publisher, and a pastor’s wife. I'm active in my small town community and currently serve as president of Northwest Christian Writers. I help women who’ve been wounded by the church or other traumatic life experiences so they can learn to trust God again. After 12 years of a “Job-like” experience where I lost everything I held dear, I found God redeeming me in ways I could never have expected. Through this intense period of suffering and healing from the fallout of toxic leadership and extreme spiritual abuse, God proved Himself faithful to walk with me through the valley of the shadow of (emotional) death and brought me into wholeness and restoration. My modern-day Cinderella story is a testimony to the faithfulness of God. I love sharing my story with crowds across the nation.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God by Athena Dean Holtz is an incredible story of loss and redemption. But just saying loss would be simplistic, very simplistic. This is one woman’s journey through an epic fall to finding trust and healing in Jesus. Fired with the desire to know God, Athena was open to exploring different spiritual paths. She describes herself as a woman who wanted attention from childhood and one who wanted a very deep spiritual connection. But her search for God led her to the wrong places.

She writes: “The enemy used my hunger for God with my typical reckless abandon (normal for a type-A) to draw me into what I finally realized was a bona fide Christian cult. That hunger for God was misused by a man I allowed to become a spiritual authority in my life. He misused that authority and through him, the enemy robbed me of my marriage, my family relationships, my house, car, credit rating, my 3.5-million-dollar Christian publishing company, and almost my faith.” In clear and powerful words, she described how an encounter with the wife of Tim Williams, the founding Pastor of Sound Doctrine precipitated her fall.

This is Athena Dean Holtz’s unfiltered story of her epic fall — through all forms of abuses — to finding redemption in Christ, but it is also the story of the psychological game played by pseudo-pastors who prey on weak and searching souls for their own personal gain. This book contains wisdom and principles that everyone seriously searching for God should know. The story is told in clear and beautiful prose and one has no doubt that it is written by someone who knows the publishing business from close quarters. Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God is both delightful and informative, a story that will make readers alert and warn them of the dangers on the spiritual path. I enjoyed every bit of it. It is, indeed, a powerful testimony of God’s redeeming love.

Mamta Madhavan

Full Circle by Athena Dean Holtz is a compelling memoir for all those looking for love, faith, and hope as the author takes us along in her search for God, after being trapped in spiritual abuse, bad leadership, and a cult mentality. The book begins with Athena’s intentional loss of a child that leaves her with the feeling that she should not let anyone use her again. This story is about Athena’s experiences and how grateful she is for God’s protection and guidance as she tries to find her way back to Him. The memoir traces Athena’s problems to her childhood where she learns about trust issues, physical abuse, victimization, and control issues. It is a beautiful story of redemption and self-discovery that will give hope to all those who are broken and in need of restoration.

The story also speaks about Athena’s distant relationship with her mother and how, being the only child, she craved her father’s attention and always tried to please him. The story will touch the hearts of readers with Athena’s trials, hardships, tribulations, and moments of joy. Athena’s firsthand account about spiritual abuse is intriguing and she also sheds light on how cults work. The story is honest and direct and Athena writes with passion as she reiterates the power and presence of God in our lives. Athena’s story is uplifting and encouraging and will motivate us to have faith in God, no matter how deep the wound is in our hearts.

Romuald Dzemo

Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God by Athena Dean Holtz is a captivating memoir, an incredible story of the journey of faith that brilliantly showcases the incontestable truth that God writes straight with crooked lines. Driven by her quest for happiness, Athena gets used by the wrong people. She dabbled with mysticism, Scientology, found herself abused in a cult that is very legalistic and that placed so many restrictions on her. Her quest for happiness cost her so many losses — family, friends, business, home, and her reputation. This book documents how she finally found God and a new life.

This is a story that is candid and that rings true. Athena Dean Holtz has not only written her story, but she has also created a powerful exposé on the deceptive nature of cults and false religions that prey on vulnerable souls. This book highlights the importance of studying the Scriptures for ourselves, rather than allowing pseudo-prophets with their half-truths, bent on using followers for their personal gain, to deceive us. The author describes the psychology of the cult in very clear and courageous terms. The story is told with a lot of honesty; it takes a lot of courage to share things that Athena shares in her story. For instance, she writes: 'When I was five years old and living in Georgia, something happened that would change my young life. Our black maid, Odessa, began sexually molesting me. She’d say, “Little girl, this is our secret.”’ This is a story that will inspire anyone who feels abandoned, sullied by greed and sin, used and thrown away, to open their heart to the healing love of God and His grace. Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God is a book with something for everyone. Well-written, entertaining, and a book with a golden message for readers.

Christian Sia

Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God by Athena Dean Holtz is an inspiring memoir, one woman’s incredible journey to find God. From the start, Athena states that she was hungry for her father’s attention — a man who was hardly home — but this desire for attention will cost her a lot, involving sexual abuse from her maid, the loss of her husband, family, home, and business, and a lot more. She shares the heartbreaking story of her abortion and writes: “Deeply hurt, I felt taken advantage of and used. I didn’t allow myself to feel the depths of the pain of the loss of my baby, the betrayal of the broken relationship, or the abortion. I hardened my heart. I will protect myself.” She is determined to find happiness and she looks for it in the wrong places, which leads to a lot of abuse from cults and some religious movements. In this book, she shares the miracle of God’s loving embrace, and how she was restored in faith.

Athena Dean Holtz is brutally honest in her narrative and her memoir will undoubtedly be a great source of inspiration for readers and seekers, those who honestly desire to encounter God. Readers will understand how some cults and sects prey on the weak and how they manipulate and twist God’s word for selfish ends. Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God is a journey of faith, and many readers must have seen or heard similar stories taking place around them. I enjoyed the beautiful prose, descriptive and very accessible; I also enjoyed the author’s courage in sharing her story and her wonderful testimony without fear of judgment. Here is one of the inspiring stories that will encourage readers to seek God personally by getting familiar with His word. A very touching, inspiring, and empowering story, a gift to receive with gratitude and share generously.