Chavos Buycks, Author
Book Reviewed by Theresa Harvard Johnson

In her debut devotional memoir, Dear Woman: Get Well Letters of Hope, authorChavos Buckys courageously confronts ten years of shame and torment resulting from chronic illness; and turns it into a collective, poignant message of endurance, hope, comfort and healing.

Buckys was diagnosed with Stage IV endometriosis, an often severely painful gynecological disorder “in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside the uterus (endometrial implant).”[1] While the condition is treatable, it can result in infertility and cancer.[2] During the “endo-storms” - as she termed them – she found herself desperate for encouragement and comfort in the form of a book to speak to her specific crisis. Unable to find what she needed, she decided to write her own memoir as a series of earnest letters to women experiencing similar crises.

Each letter is written as if she is speaking her closest sister-friend, withholding nothing. The book title, Dear Woman, is inspired by the narrative of the crippled woman whom Christ healed in Luke 13:11-13 . And each letter, 52 in all, begins in remembrance of her victory.

While Dear Woman indeed follows the standards of a devotional and a memoir, in the sense of the author telling of her own story and pulling her readers into the presence of God, its presentation is far from typical. Her letters are filled with raw emotion, practical insight and a non-super-spiritual approach to her healing journey. In other words, we are introduced to an authentic and believable process. Buckys makes sure her readers KNOW her, and makes them feel as if she KNOWS them. She confronts the challenges of being a woman and makes no apologies for describing what that can be like in the midst of chronic illness -- right down to discusses extra care and concern she has to give her body during her monthly periods.

One of the strongest sections in this collection address dealing with anger toward God. In one letter she wrote, “Dear Woman, The thought of having children has never gone away. Even after 10 years of marriage, the desire hasn’t gone away. I never thought infertility would’ve been a problem for us. I figured when the time came for us to ‘start a family,’ it would happen without any problems or difficulty. It hasn’t been like that at all. It’s been a battle, a struggle and a long wait. As I wait, the clock keeps ticking.”[3]

Another highlight of Dear Woman is that women will receive permission to feel and to express themselves without apology. She affirms that you can have a deep desire to love God; and yet struggle in one’s ability to fully and completely trust him. Each letter serves as a reminder TO BE... and to take one-day at a time despite the level of discouragement that will surely come.

Instead of the traditional scripture studies and journaling activities that one might expect to find, Buckys takes a different approach – leaving the reader to decide how to respond. She closes each letter with a declarative prayer that she prayed for herself; a theme to meditate upon; and simple tips to help women stay strong in the faith. As you read the prayers, there’s this since that you are not only standing in agreement with Buckys – but that you are praying for your sisters who moving toward their victory as well.

If you’re not careful, you will find yourself nursing a box of tissues or laying on the floor in your prayer closet immersed in the love of God. Seriously.

A consistent message that permeates Dear Woman is this memoir is this: No matter how difficult the moment believe that God will come to your rescue.

I’ve read quite a few women’s journals in my day. While this one is specific to Buckys journey through endometriosis, it becomes clear that it is relevant for any crisis a woman might face. Readers will cry, laugh, praise God and war with the author. Most of all, they will learn to wage a good warfare and remain in hope until their victory comes.

 

Dear Woman: Get Well Letters of Hope
By Chavos Buckys
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Ear To Hear Publishing (August 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 098619350X
ISBN-13: 978-0986193507
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
Available on Amazon.com



                [1] Mayo Clinic, Endometriosis, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/basics/definition/con-20013968

                [2] Ibid.

                [3] Chavos Buckys. Dear Woman: Get Well Letters of Hope, p. 55.

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