Overcoming the Shipwrecks of Life on Broken Pieces, by Marie Muhammad
My review: ★★★
This book is part autobiography and part sermon, and is focused on sharing the healing power of Christ and forgiveness. The title, and a persistent theme through the book, is a reference to the apostle Paul and his deliverance from a shipwreck through his trust in God.
Marie Muhammad is great-granddaughter of Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam. Marie’s childhood was traumatic – dominated by her lecherous and controlling grandfather, abusive father, and worst of all the life-long trauma of parental rejection due to her mother’s persistent regret that Marie should never have been born. This led Marie into corners so dark she nearly committed suicide in her teens, and contributed strongly to the breakup of her marriage.
This book is a testament to the healing power of forgiveness. Marie slowly worked her way through her trauma by recognizing the intergenerational pain at play; the unhappiness experienced by her great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother as a result of the sexist views of the men in her family. She eventually found the ability to forgive and accept herself through her connection with Christ. She was also able to find forgiveness for her mother by recognizing her mother as another human in pain. The combination of these two things led Marie to healing, and a life mission of bringing the power of Christ to heal others.
The primary self-help to be picked up by the reader is a reinforcement of the power of forgiveness and a connection with God. Readers with similar experiences with trauma may find peace and encouragement in hearing the story of someone else who shares their experiences. Other readers might appreciate the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of how deeply such childhood trauma affects others. Truly, it’s not something a person can snap out of or let go of easily, and reading this book helps you understand what a long and hard journey it can be to achieve self forgiveness and a sense of purpose.