Hunting for Hope in Non-Fiction
Hope,  Inspiration

Hunting for Hope in Non-Fiction – How God Used Books to Help Heal My Broken Heart

Hope story by @Deenamadams

Hunting for hope in non-fiction is the second in a series of posts I’ll be sharing over the next couple of months. These posts feature a condensed written version of the Facebook Live seven-day Hope Hunt I recorded in May. Today’s post focuses on how we can find hope in non-fiction books.

If you prefer the more in-depth video version, find it here.

Philippians 4:8: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (NLT)


The part of this verse I want to zoom in on is “fixing our thoughts on what is true.” Don’t we all need truth in our world permeated with lies, deception, and darkness? Doesn’t it seem like every time we watch the news or scroll on social media, we encounter conflicting reports and opinions?

Sometimes I’m confused and don’t know what to believe. Anyone else?

Amid all the craziness and uncertainty we face today, here are a few facts I’m convinced are true about God.

God is real. God is good. He’s on the throne. He sees us and knows our concerns, and He cares. He’s not taken by surprise at anything going on in our world or in our personal lives. He hears our prayers and answers according to His sovereign and perfect will.


I’m a believer in being real and that by telling our stories, God employs them for Kingdom purposes. So this week, I’m sharing about a family crisis we endured about fourteen years ago that has shaped me forever. In fact, I’m in the editing phase of a novel based on my experience.

As a Christian parent, my heart’s desire has always been for my children to follow God with all their hearts. So, when one of my kids ran away and lived in rebellion for several years, my heart broke, and I couldn’t understand why God hadn’t answered my faithful prayers. 

As the situation escalated, I spiraled into a cavern of hopelessness and experienced an identity crisis.

Woman in a Cavern
Cavern of hopelessness Photo by José Ignacio García Zajaczkowski on Unsplash

I was desperate for God to intervene and solve our mess. To restore our daughter. To deliver us from the turmoil. But guess what?

God wanted to fix ME!

Like I said last week, most of the time God doesn’t take us out of the trouble, but transforms us through it.


Through those excruciating years I came to realize that I had wrapped up my identity in who I was as a mom. Even though I knew in my head identity was found in Christ alone, I learned that deep down, I believed my worth depended on my children’s behavior, obedience, and success. 

When my teenager chose the world over us and God, I had a choice.

Would I stay in the pit and wallow in my heartache? Or climb out and allow God to transform me and the way I think.

I yearned to change. I truly desired to honor God with my emotions, concerns, words, and actions, but making that a reality was another story. 

I’m so thankful God gifts people with the ability to encourage and build others up through non-fiction books. That was the case for me in my situation.

I devoured resources written by individuals who had experienced what I was going through, or those who had the wisdom to guide us through tough decisions we had to make.

Non-Fiction Book Recommendations


“Come Back, Barbara.” 

“Parents with Broken Hearts – Helping Parents of Prodigals to Cope.”

“Will Your Prodigal Come Home?”

Although reading these books, and many others, didn’t change my daughter or resolve my crisis, they altered how I viewed myself and my trial.

God used non-fiction works, along with His Word, to help heal my heart and shift my faulty perspective.


Maybe your struggle isn’t with a prodigal child, but your marriage. There are lots of resources out there to assist with marital troubles. Here’s two I’ve read and recommend:

Love and Respect and The Five Love Languages.


Do you wrestle with unforgiveness? The book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace,” by Philip Yancey was so powerful in opening my eyes to the overwhelming grace of God in my own life.

When God’s forgiven me so much, how can I not forgive others?


Or do you battle with finding your identity in your career, success, or possessions? The book by Neil T. Anderson, “Victory Over the Darkness,” leads us to grasp the power of our identity in Christ. 


If you contend with guilt over an abortion, check out, “Empty Arms,” by Wendy Williams & Ann Caldwell. It’s packed with over 60 life-giving stories of Hope from the devastation of abortion.

Loss of a Child

Have you endured a miscarriage, or loved a baby who only lived a few hours, months, or years, and grief overwhelms you? Angie Smith tells her story in the book, “I Will Carry You.” She weaves her experience with a biblical story of hope that aids in understanding how to better cope with loss and disappointment.


Another publication by Angie Smith, “Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole,” teaches how God uses our brokenness to affect the lives of others. She says on the back cover copy that God reminded her if it weren’t for the cracks in us, He couldn’t seep out the way He does.

CLICK TO TWEET: There are lots of circumstances we will never understand, but will we trust in God’s sovereignty and discover our hope in Him?

I’ve developed a helpful PDF highlighting ten truths we can cling to when we’re heartbroken. It’s free to every blog subscriber.

Join the conversation. Can you recommend a Christian non-fiction book that may help someone dealing with a difficult circumstance in their life? Do you need a book recommendation? Comment and let’s build community!

If this post has encouraged you, please share with others using the social media icons below or the Click to Tweet block. Thanks for reading!

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  • Teresa Moyer

    I have a friend that clearly places her identity in being a mom. So much so that her entire world and life revolve around her kids. She is also a helicopter parent on top of that to protect them from ever being hurt, or making a bad choice, or eating a food they are allergic to etc. So much so that she volunteers to go as a chaperone on every field trip, school event, school dance etc. Every day she posts pictures of memories from FB of when her kids were younger talking about how she wishes they were still this young etc. Her oldest has already moved away as soon as she was 18, well she tried to move out when still 17 but that did not happen. All her teen life she was in trouble and rebelled. My friend has 3 more still at home. one is starting high school, one is starting middle school, and the youngest begins kindergarten. I know she is struggling with the fact they are growing up. I have no idea how she will even begin to live life after the youngest grows up and moves away. She does life for the kids. She does zero for herself and the few times she attempted she missed the kids too much and just had to get back home. She never does anything without the kids in tow. She does not even read books or magazines as she says she has no time for that as her kids need her. She is not a Christian but she does hear all about Jesus from me in chats on FB messenger and from my posts on my fb page. I worry about how she will handle life after the kids are all gone.

    • Deena Adams

      Sadly, many women are so wrapped up in raising their children they have no life of their own. Of course, our kids need us when they’re young, and we should spend plenty of time teaching and training them, but there’s a delicate balance. Hard to imagine how non-Christians handle these life challenges. Even with God in my life, it was difficult and I made so many mistakes. Praise God for grace!

  • Deena Adams

    Thanks so much for your response, Deb. Your words are filled with truth and hope. Yes … but God! My children and grandchildren have to go through their own trials to learn the hard lessons I did. They are building their testimony through their mess. Praise God none of us are a match for Him! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Deb Gorman

    Hi Deena,

    How this post touched the pot-holed concrete and rutted roads I’ve traveled in my Christian life! Unfortunately, I created most of those obstacles. But God.

    I don’t have a non-fiction book to share, but the truth you proclaimed, that God allows trials and harsh circumstances into our lives to tune our hearts to Him is, well, truth. I’ve learned (finally!) to first ask God how I can know and love Him better, obey Him more fully, and glorify Him when something speeds at me from left field and smacks me in the heart. I’ve dealt with wayward children, deep-seated issues amongst my parents and my own siblings, and now, sadly, wayward and confused grandchildren who desperately need to know Jesus.

    But God! What a stupendous gift is prayer. Where would we be without that hotline to pour out our fears and receive back from Him courage and persistence. Every time I pray for them, I’m reminded of where I was when He found me and redeemed me. And then over and over again throughout my life, He’s put on His running shoes to come after me when I’ve gone off the rails. He’s never harsh with me, only wraps His arms around me and tells me how glad He is to have me back in His arms.

    So, now when I think of my still-rebellious family members, I just smile and think, “You’re no match for Him!”