Books I have Edited: Tending to My Thoughts

Books I have edited: Tending to My Thoughts by Sharon Hastings

A few years ago I was given a book to try and market – my first thought was, ‘oh, another book from IVP on mental health’. Please don’t take that the wrong way – I’m proud to work for IVP, and glad we have published some fantastic books in the area. But why did I need to be excited about this new book? Sharon Hastings published her debut book, ‘Wrestling With My Thoughts’, in 2020 – and as I read the book in preparation for marketing, I had to repent. This was not just ‘another book’, but something rather special. So special that I wrote a review, and still recommend it even when not on the work time and work dime.

So when Sharon came to us again, with a sort of followup, sort of companion book, I was intrigued. And it has been a genuine privilege to shepherd this book to publication. It was one of those books that needed a little time gestate and land – and I think it is worth it.

Here is some of what I said (virtually, as I was on tenterhooks about the impending birth of our 3rd baby) at the launch:

Sharon’s book blew me away. She’s a fantastic writer – and I can say that pretty bluntly because my job is reading things, and I like reading things around my job too. It was one of the best books I read that year – and despite the pandemic, it seemed to find resonance with people. Memorably, it received a positive review in the Church Times – which if that means nothing to you, fair enough, but it was a big deal for us at IVP because usually that’s not an outlet that loves evangelical writing and thinking.

That’s just one example – and I’m excited about this new book partly because it continues on from and builds on that first, stunning book, but mostly because it retains the blend of honesty, hard won wisdom, healthy wrestling with God’s authoritative word, the Bible, and a heart that recognises that this world exists somewhere between perfection and pain, in a way that is intertwined.

This is a book about recovery – a complex word, loaded with meaning. It isn’t a book about healing – though that is in view – but focusing instead on the reality of recovery in and from a complex and broken world.

We had a number of other folk warmly endorse it, here’s two, one from someone focused on ministry and mental health, the other from a pastor:

‘”Tending to My Thoughts” is a book that needs to be read by every pastor. It not only illuminates the reality of living with severe mental illness, but points to the hope that is found in Jesus and the ways in which people can experience recovery even when a cure does not come. For fellow sufferers it provides a wise companion for the journey. Sharon writes with clarity – but more importantly with compassion – and this is a book I will return to time and again.’

– Rachel Newham

‘A unique and brilliant book full of realism and hope. Sharon walks us through her journey of recovery. She speaks with raw honesty, not hiding her failures or glossing over her pain. Recovery is not simply cure, but living a life that is filled with purpose, and even joy, despite battling mental illness. She examines those tools that she has found helpful, looking at them through a Christian lens. I found the last chapter, on our eternal hope, most encouraging. As you read this book you will find yourself engaged with the story and helped by Sharon’s wisdom.’

– Paul Ritchie Pastor, Limerick Baptist Church, and author, Is It Unspiritual To Be Depressed?

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