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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Rhyming Reflections by Lisa Jo Symonds is a support devotional that blends poetry, scripture, and journaling pages for a reader in an interactive style of formatting. Symonds channels the pain of childhood trauma and the aftermath that carries on for the rest of a victim's life, resurfacing in ways one neither expects nor is usually able to identify. When emotions, behavior, and cyclical torment converge, processing these moments, whether addressed, avoided, and/or locked away, is frequently required when outside influences trigger a psychological relapse. Symonds presents an arrangement where the reader shifts to focusing on what remains within, beginning each of the twenty entries with a relevant Bible scripture, an original piece of poetry written by herself or in collaboration with another, and a blank lined page for journaling thoughts and feelings.
How each of us processes pain is as deeply personal as the circumstances that gave way to our exposure to it. There are plenty of resources and memoirs that share an author's triumph over trauma in an attempt to inspire and motivate, but much of the time the push-and-persevere only sweeps pain away and can have the unfortunate side effect of making a reader feel even worse. Less than. A failure. Lisa Jo Symonds takes a different approach, using empathy, her own pain, and the dark thoughts that will always come back no matter how far removed we are, to connect and let us know that this is normal. Grief is normal. Exploring the depth of pain and acknowledging it is healthy. That we may never come to terms with what we have been through is okay. What matters is that we nurture ourselves and do so with absolute honesty. It is the profound honesty of Rhyming Reflections that inspires the same degree of honesty in ourselves, and although it breaks my heart that devotionals like these are necessary, this is one of the better ones for readers looking less for a cheerleader and more for a kind friend.