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Reviewed by Constance Stadler for Readers' Favorite
Healing Grace: Inspirational Poetry for Coping and Closure stands apart in self-help literature in mapping a path to becoming whole again after life-changing devastation. In dividing the book into three stages, Michelle G. Stradford offers a resource that may be turned to whenever and wherever help is essential. Life decimated by traumatic circumstances is the primary theme in the chapter on coping. It acknowledges that pain exists and healing is possible through self-discovery, rejecting abusers, and releasing regret. Restoration calls for self-examination that will reveal newfound strengths and living in the present. It allows for a back-and-forth process; anguish is not on a timetable. Finding closure is the hard-earned reward of the struggle and a hallmark of healthy life created or renewed.
The poems and affirmations in Healing Grace are readily accessible. This accessibility and sense of authenticity are apparent in the care expressed by Michelle Stradford, beginning with the first few pages. Affirming that solace, support, and guidance to return to a meaningful and valued life can be found, in part, in these pages. While the scars may always be there, they are no longer open wounds. Abuse is no longer a threat because a new outlook will never allow it to return. With self-love affirmed, destructive patterns will have been markedly lessened or eliminated. One of the most moving phrases near the end of the book is a simple "Hello me." Unlike many books that address the same issues, Healing Grace fosters a sense of kinship that will have much to offer to those in greatest need.