Here are some reviews/articles/talks and places I’ve spoken. I’ll try to keep it updated…
Reviews of A New Day
Youth works Magazine (November 2017)
One page into Emma’s book, I’d already cried “Me too!” a number of times. Her second book is written in the entirely relatable tone of a best friend, which puts the reader at ease even when looking at tough topics such as anxiety, anger and shame.
The book is beautifully structured, leading the reader from sunset to dawn, drawing from the narrative of the Garden of Eden. Alongside this, there is clear information on common mental health conditions, and it reflects theologically on the issues that sufferers and carers face.
The book contains questions and prayers to guide readers’ thinking and enable them to perhaps look at their experiences a little differently. I’d wholeheartedly recommend it for youth and children’s workers, for dealing with their own struggles, but also as they seek to understand what their young people might be facing and where God is in the midst of it all.
Rachael Newham is founding director of Christian mental health charity ThinkTwice.
Proclamation Trust/Proclaimer blog (July 2017)
A SHINING BOOK (Rebekah Brown)
This is a unique book which speaks the good news of the gospel into painful heart issues with raw honesty, grace and compassion. This is much more than one extra-ordinary woman’s story of admitting and working through hunger, anxiety, control, shame, anger and despair. It is the story of many ordinary women.
Emma particularly addresses the wrong perception that Christians are ‘all sorted’ and deals head-on with the real but often silent, Christian struggle – particularly with mental health. It is a brave book that leaves the author exposed but in doing so, provides the opportunity for others to address their hidden but real struggles both privately and with one another.
Emma uses the 24-hour clock as her timetable for moving from darkness into light which provides clear progression and hope throughout the book. There is no shying away from how dreadful, dark and hopeless the darkness is. Neither is there any pretence that when you are in the light all your troubles instantly vanish. Instead there is a clear focus on God’s gracious rescue plan through his Son – even whilst we groan and wait.
Emma writes readably. Short titled sections; real questions and answers; personal testimony; tangible illustrations; short fact sheets and ‘think it through’ sections. There are certainly aspects to the book that may feel uncomfortable, for example: writing a letter to Anorexia. However, the overall focus is not on naval-gazing but Christ’s power to change. Emma manages to bring together both practical suggestions and spiritual help by richly applying God’s word throughout.
This book is relevant for most women and is particularly accessible to teenagers. It is a valuable read for anyone who knows first-hand the struggles of mental illness but also those who just have “bad days”. This book deserves a wider read beyond the Christian community. It offers answers and hope where these are often hard to find.
Evangelicals Now (June 2017)
ALL NEEDY PEOPLE (by Dr Cathy Ayers)
The book takes us on a 24-hour journey from darkness to light. It is a picture of the Christian life. Starting in the evening, as darkness falls, it looks at how our struggles are the same as those of Adam and Eve. The issues of hunger, anxiety, control, shame, anger and despair are issues for us all, not just those with a mental health diagnosis.
We have old chains on our hearts and often make bad choices as we seek to overcome them on our own. In the darkness of our struggles a Saviour enters. Emma shows how, instead of feeding our own hungers by overworking, overeating, overexercising or overorganising, the Lord Jesus goes to the Father for his needs and is torn apart like bread for us. In the anxiety of Gethsemane , Jesus lays his fears before the Father and wins us peace. I could go on, it is glorious stuff.
As dawn comes and we step into the light of the gospel, Emma shows how Jesus changes our identity and self image. As the gospel transforms our thoughts, emotions and behaviours, she shows how we can stop listening to lies, resist anxiety and despair and deal with regret. The last chapter is a massive challenge to the church, to be a place of hope and healing as we are honest about our struggles and carry one another in the light.
This book is brilliant. It is full of real-life stories that hold nothing back in describing the raw pain and the grip that anxiety, shame, despair, etc., can have on us. But the way Emma uses gospel truth to challenge our thoughts and emotions in a way that can transform the realities of everyday life is remarkable. It is packed with wise thoughts and advice, particularly for those suffering from eating disorders, anxiety, OCD, self harm, aggression or depression. But the truth is that we all have hearts chained to some degree by different struggles. We need this book to show us that there is genuine hope of real change, as we step into a new day with the Lord Jesus.
Inspire magazine – May 2017
Emma Scrivener, who has told her story of struggling with an eating disorder in her previous book A New Name (also by IVP), has written an excellent follow-up.
This book, which, has grown out of her blog, offers a lifeline to those struggling with issues related to eating disorders, control, anxiety, anger, and self-harm. It skilfully weaves Emma’s experience with the insights of dozens of those who have interacted with here over the years, and a careful reflection on how to seek and find help. There is something deeply illuminating in her admission that: “It was ‘self-control’ that kept me enslaved!”
I particularly liked the way the book takes seriously the role of Scripture in how we adjust the way we think and behave. The author manages to apply the grand narrative of Scripture to these complex issues.
The book offers no simplistic solutions, it is honest about the ongoing struggles, yet it offers hope of moving into a new day. Hope arises out of a robust acceptance of what Jesus can do for us, learning to form strategies for moving beyond the issues that control us, the decision to allow others into our lives, and the willingness to seek help (including medical help).
This book, which is crammed with gospel wisdom, good advice and practical information could be a lifeline for follow strugglers, a ray of hope for those that love them, and an invaluable resource for those who seek to support them. There is also a wide range of suggested help and resources in the appendix, which will prove immensely useful to many.
Reviews of What Does the Bible Really Say About Eating Disorders?
Evangelicals Now – Nov 2016
“This little booklet is a compassionate, biblically sound and practical look at Eating Disorders (EDs) written by someone who has struggled herself. If you have an ED or want to help someone who does, this booklet will certainly leave you more informed.
The booklet starts with a biblical look at EDs, showing how hunger is deeper than a need for food and that only God can satisfy our deepest hungers. The writer shows that the root of an ED is common to all mankind. We may not all have an ED, but we all hunger for that which does not truly satisfy. Next, a description of different eating disorders is given, including an explanation of what goes on in a person’s mind with an ED. The rest of the booklet offers gospel-centered answers as well as practical advice. Each chapter has a key point and accompanying Scriptures for study.
The booklet was a refreshing, quick read on a complex, delicate topic and thus a great resource for those with EDs or their friends. Even though it is aimed at Christians, I think it would be great to give to non-Christians too, as it sensitively offers them the only true solution to all disorders: the Bread of Life himself.
Presbyterian Herald – July/Aug 2016:
“This booklet is one of a series produced on what the Bible really says about subjects like depression, social media and the importance of Sundays.
Having read Emma Scrivener’s book, A New Name, about her own experiences of suffering with anorexia, I did wonder if this would be a condensed version of the same. How wrong I was. While this book has also been written in a style which communicates grace and love throughout, it does exactly what it says on the tin, that is, it lays out all that the Bible has to say on the subject of eating disorders. It has been written with both sufferers and carers in mind.
Emma beautifully weaves relevant Scripture into each chapter and suggests further reading from the Bible at the end of every chapter. She also reinforces the key points at the end of each chapter. I was particularly impacted by Emma’s key point in chapter one, having focused on Genesis and the Fall, she writes, “God gave us good hungers so we would turn to Him, but since the Fall our appetites have become distorted.”
This booklet is an extremely insightful and helpful read – it is good to be aware of the signs of eating disorders and to know how to speak wisely and pastorally into these situations. The book concludes with some practical advice and encouragement on self-care.” (Lisa Skinner)
Reviews of A New Name
Anita Mathias – 17/7/12
Ruth Field – 26/7/12
Kath Cunningham – 26/7/12
Admiral Creedy – 30/7/12
Emily Paterson – 15/8/12
Matthew Currey – 26/8/12
Steve Jeffery – 29/8/12
The Vicar’s Wife – 11/9/12
Good Book Company – 14/9/12
Peter Mead – 14/9/12
The Grove is On Fire – 18/9/12
Andy Johnson (Theology Matters) – 23/5/13
Walking Worthy – 07/13
Triple Helix (Christian Medical Fellowship) – Summer 2013
Jonathan Guy – March 2015
Call for the Church to address body dissatisfaction among women – IDEA (EAUK) – 31/5/12
Editorial: The Power of Prose – Belfast Telegraph – 18/6/12
Eating Disorder Care in Northern Ireland Falls Behind Rest of UK – Belfast Telegraph – 18/6/12
A Real Faith Helped Me Fight My Food Demons – Church of England Newspaper – 21/6/12
Anorexia: The Good Girl’s Drug – Woman Alive – August 2012
Youthworks: Eating Disorders – Youthworks – August 2012
Too Much Too Young – Families First – August 2012
Good Book Company series of posts – September 2012
Bible Reflections interview – November/Dec 2012
Momentum: Threads Testimony – August 2012
What Does Jesus Say About Eating Disorders? – Bible Reflections – Dec 2012
UCB Radio Interview – Dec 2012
4Thought – 23/3/13
Mindandsoul – Premier website (couple of posts on EDs/recovery)
A New Name – Christian Medical Fellowship – Sept 2013
Premier Gospel Radio – March 2014
Magnet Magazine – February 2015
Radio 4 – (March 2014)
Songs of Praise – feature on my story, (Oct 2015)
Radio 4 Sunday Worship – my testimony, (August 2016)
Christianity magazine – June 2017
Speaking platforms (seminars and talks) include:
Presbyterian Women’s Convention (Belfast) – main speaker (Jan 2015)
Christian Medical Fellowship (various events, last one in September 2015)
Women’s Convention, (London)
Christian Resources Exhibition
Bible by the Beach
Keswick (Summer 2016)
Various church/university/mission events