Healing What You Can't Erase

Transform Your Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Health from the Inside Out

Hardcover

March 19, 2024 | ISBN 9780593445303

Ebook

March 19, 2024 | ISBN 9780593445310

About the Book

A path from trauma to transformation that doesn’t rely on willpower, but rather on the daily power of the Holy Spirit—from pastor and leadership coach Christopher Cook

“Razor-sharp focus . . . a clear-cut path to find healing.”—New York Times bestselling author and pastor Mark Batterson


The pain that happened to you is real . . . and it matters immensely.

The notion of healing what you can’t erase is not about ignoring the devastation of your past or putting a glossy, positive spin on current tragedy. That plastic version of faith isn’t actually faith; it’s unbelief.

Healing What You Can’t Erase offers a far better solution—a road map for moving forward through the losses and scars by allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us . . . spirit, soul, and body.

Through story, instruction, action steps, and guided questions, you’ll discover
• why transformation beats willpower and self-help
• how to recognize and heal a broken spirit
• well-researched, biblically grounded strategies to revitalize your mental and emotional well-being
• how inside-out integrated transformation changes your spirit, soul, and body

Whether you’re wrestling with the loss of a marriage, a fractured friendship, a betrayal at work, or a chronic illness, there is hope. No matter your pain or traumatic experience, the Holy Spirit can heal and restore you to the life God created you for.
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Praise for Healing What You Can't Erase

“To reframe our pain, we’ll need to retrain our brains. In this insightful book, Christopher Cook combines personal stories with powerful truths to help you gain a fresh perspective toward life’s challenges, so that what was meant to harm you can help expedite your process of transformation.”—John Bevere, bestselling author, minister, and co-founder of Messenger International

“Christopher Cook is gifted with a penetrating intellect that grasps complex truths, yet he has an empathetic spirit overflowing with compassion. Like a wise teacher reminding us of what’s most important, Christopher challenges us to become the best versions of ourselves.”—Dr. Anita Phillips, bestselling author of The Garden Within, trauma therapist, life coach, and minister

Healing What You Can’t Erase leads us on a heartfelt journey to and through profoundest grief and then one step further to the light beyond.”—Anna Lembke, MD, author of Dopamine Nation

“The health of our hearts determines the course of our lives. Christopher not only explores that truth but also gives us a clear-cut path to find healing and redemption after crisis, loss, and disappointment.”—Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker

“Fear, guilt, and shame change your physiology. Read this book now to learn how to change them!”—Dave Asprey, father of biohacking and New York Times bestselling author

“Chris unfolds truths in this book that will set you on a path to healing and freedom only found in Jesus.”—Dave and Ann Wilson, hosts of FamilyLife Today

“The potency of Christopher’s words will point you toward healing in your spirit, soul, and body. This journey of transformation isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.”—Daniel G. Amen, MD, psychiatrist and New York Times bestselling author

“This is a well-crafted, practical guide that will help you discover the courage to get up out of past trauma and follow the loving God who is constantly calling us forward.”—Jamie Winship, co-founder of the Identity Exchange and author of Living Fearless

“Chris compels us to move toward thoughtful daily rhythms that will transform our hearts, minds, and spirits. The words within this book strike a beautiful balance—they are both a balm for the hurting and a wake-up call for the brave.”—Hannah Brencher, author of Fighting Forward and Come Matter Here

“This book is a pathway to life as God intended. It offers the insight you need to faithfully endure and overcome what you couldn’t alter.”—Dharius Daniels, author of Relational Intelligence and lead pastor of Change Church

“Chris has learned the necessity of transforming his deep pain into deeper perspective, power, and peace. You may not be able to change your past, but you can certainly heal from it.”—Debra Fileta, MA, LPC, licensed counselor and bestselling author
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Excerpt

Healing What You Can't Erase

One

“Hole”-­ness

Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

—­C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Think back to the day when it happened. What is it? Maybe the ugly divorce. The cancer diagnosis. The far-­too-­early death of a loved one. The betrayal of trust in a relationship. The indescrib­able and unidentifiable weight of defeat that keeps you from moving forward in life. The slow and steady buzz of anxiety that has been with you for so long that you wouldn’t even recognize Monday morning without it. Waking up in physical pain for the umpteenth day in a row, exacerbated by fear and anxiety that cloud your view of a hope-­filled future . . . or perhaps, just for once, a pain-­free afternoon.

Or how about the chatterbox of taunts that greet you every morning before your feet hit the floor? You talk too much. You’re not taken seriously. You’re too sensitive. You’re too needy. You’re never going to heal, so you might as well give up now. Your spouse is going to cheat on you. Your children are in constant danger. It’s too late. No one really wants to be your friend. You’re not good enough. You don’t have what it takes.

It’s tormenting, isn’t it? For a lot of us, we are languishing, and anxiety, overwhelm, exhaustion, and cynicism are the norm, even though their presence in our lives is anything but normal. And the scariest part? We’ve endured those feelings and internal indictments for so long that we don’t even know when they first showed up on our doorsteps.

That was my story.

The details I’m about to share are as raw as they are honest. But I’m beginning our relationship here because I want you to know right off the bat that you aren’t alone in your pain and loss, even though I’m sure it feels like you are. I also realize that it’s hard to step into someone else’s trauma while walking through your own. And for that reason, I want to reassure you that, as you go through this book, you won’t walk alone as you chart your path to wholeness either—­the wholeness available only through the ongoing process of transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us. I pray that you’ll learn from my experiences in both pain and healing. No doubt, I have plenty of scars. I’m sure you do too. But those scars tell a very personal story. And that story begins right now.

The Nightmare on Our Street

Autumn had settled on the Midwest, and despite our reputation for brutal winters, this time of year was absolutely breathtaking. It was Saturday, November 3, 2012, and at a glance, you’d think it was going to be a picture-­perfect day. Though the morning temperature was in the low forties, the sun was rising on the dew-­covered grass, and the crisp air seemed to awaken the neighborhood in unison. Our family’s quaint quad-­level home, where we had lived for seventeen years, sat on the corner lot. Within its walls, Mom and Pops had hosted high school graduation parties, birthday celebrations, Thanksgiving dinners, and memorable get-­togethers. And in the home office where my parents operated their professional counseling practice with precious care, marriages had been restored and many lives—­young and old—­given focus, compassion, challenge, and empowerment. To this day, when I envision a place of peace and rest, it’s that house. The literal blood, sweat, tears, laughs, and sacrifices that built and rebuilt that house from the inside out made it our haven. It wasn’t elaborate by any stretch, nor was it perfect, but it was perfectly ours.

Just across the street on that November morning, the sun’s reflection shone on the tiny lake. The fiery colors of autumn blanketed the trees in the background. Trust me when I tell you that you haven’t seen beauty until you’ve been to Michigan in the fall. If you don’t believe me, book a trip here and witness it for yourself.

As I stepped off our front porch to go for a quick walk, our neighbor Lynn, with coffee in hand, sauntered to the edge of her driveway to retrieve the newspaper and waved in my direction. “Morning, Chris!” she exclaimed.

Have you ever been so deep in thought that you don’t even hear someone talking to you? This was one of those times.

“Chris! Mornin’, honey,” she called in her soft, quintessential midwestern tone.

I waved back. “Morning, Lynn. Hope you and Tom have a good day.” Truth be told, I wasn’t lost inside my mind. I was drowning there. Allow me to explain.

That particular Saturday was my birthday, and it became the third-­worst day of my life. You see, four weeks earlier, doctors had sent my mom home without any further medical recourse. At the age of fifty-­five, she was fighting for her life after a nearly two-­decade battle with multiple myeloma, a rare, medically incurable form of cancer. With tears in her eyes, my mom’s oncologist placed her into hospice care—­the very organization for which Mom was once the bereavement coordinator. If you’re unfamiliar, when someone is placed on hospice, death has been declared imminent.

Despite this prognosis, our family was relentless in our pursuit of healing. Sobered by the medical facts, we were equally anchored in and focused on the truth of the Scriptures: Our God is a healer. We were tired, but we weren’t giving up hope for a miracle. People had told us to stop playing “the faith game” and instead face the facts. But this was no game.

Through weeks of sleepless nights and tear-­filled days, we poured ourselves into her care, often ignoring our own needs to provide for her in the most personal and intimate ways while protecting her dignity. Because Pops—­hero that he is—­worked three jobs for nearly twenty years to keep the family out of medical debt, my sister and I were on rotation, sleeping in our parents’ bed to cover the arduous night shift with Mom. Our love was stronger than any embarrassment or shame at her total dependency, because her worth, value, dignity, and beauty were not clouded by the terrible disease destroying her outer shell.

Though Mom could barely speak or even keep her eyes open, multiple myeloma was not her identity. She was not cancer. And that’s why I was internally distracted when Lynn called my name that morning. I was hoping that when I got home from my walk, somehow life would be good again. That all of this would be a bad dream. But it wasn’t. I hated that day. I hated my birthday.

When I returned fifteen or twenty minutes later, I went upstairs to tend to Mom, who was barely conscious. I asked her, “Momma, do you know what today is?” She shook her head no. “It’s my birthday! Do you know how old I am today?”

She whimpered, “A hundred and thirty-­five?”

She wasn’t trying to be playful, though her gregarious Italian personality, now absent, was my favorite part about her. She was in and out of a comatose state. I kissed her on the cheek and left the room for a moment, heading toward the bathroom as a flood of tears fell down my cheeks. I leaned into the sink and dropped my head. How can this be real? I turned on the faucet and splashed some cool water on my face.

That night, my sister and a few close friends took me to my favorite sushi restaurant for dinner. They sang “Happy Birthday,” but I didn’t hear anything. I could barely stomach my food. When I caught my sister’s eyes a few times during the meal, I noticed she lifted a soft smile toward me, but I saw the shared exhaustion in her countenance.

About the Author

Christopher Cook
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About the Author

Dr. John Delony
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