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Article first published as Book Review: 'Tangled and Tormented: A Memoir of Christian Testimony by Elena G. Rahrig on Blogcritics.

June 6, 2015

Tangled and Tormented
A Memoir of Christian Testimony
Elena G. Rahrig
Aviva Publishing (2015)
ISBN: 9781940984919

New Book Chronicles One Woman’s Path from Pain to Fulfilling God’s Promise

Tangled and Tormented: A Memoir of Christian Testimony by Elena G. RahrigElena Rahrig is a phenomenal public speaker and the creator of the BoxCrushers program. She has authored other self-help books, including Are You Boxed In? about how we all need not only to think outside of the box but to climb out of it and crush it. But until now, only those closest to her knew just how messy her life has been at times. In her new memoir, Tangled and Tormented, Elena offers a surprising, honest, and introspective look at her life. Her purpose in telling her own story is not to shock, not to sell books through sensationalism, and not to degrade herself. Rather it’s to testify to the power of God and how He works in mysterious ways to mold us into the amazing people He meant us to be.

Early on, Elena tells us: “You, the reader, will experience all my tangles and torments with me as you lick your finger and turn the pages. My desire is that, in the end, you will see my triumph. It was during one of my darkest, most painful nights that I prayed the prayer of helplessness that so many of us say, ‘God, where are you?’ In that moment, I saw myself in the pits of a dried up stone well sitting in my own dark misery. I looked up and saw Jesus’ lit face and His hand reaching down to pull me up.”

Jesus did pull Elena up, but not until she had basically run as far away from Jesus as she could. The result, Elena tells us, is, “I was captured within Satan’s battlefield and my life became his playground.” The funny thing is that from an early age, Elena knew God had a purpose for her life. When she was still a kid, her father used to pay her to read self-help and business books to encourage her to make something out of herself when she grew up. Of course, she agreed because she wanted the money, but the books also sunk in, and eventually, they led to an extraordinary experience: “About the time I was fourteen, God came to me and gave me a vision of being on stage, touching the lives of His children and also writing books.”

Most people spend their lives searching for their purposes, so God’s message was a true gift for Elena. Still, she let the world distract her from that purpose. She goes on to tell us, in often painful detail, how she was a misfit and outcast throughout middle and high school. She was also very attractive, but she never believed it. She had boys who were interested in her, but she also had a boyfriend cheat on her, including with her best friend. She ended up changing schools and eventually dropped out before graduating. When she discovered sex, she became boy crazy, and eventually, that resulted in children, failed relationships, and all kinds of other complications.

More than once, God showed Elena that He was still there and watching over her, and one man in particular seemed to hang around, almost as if God put him in her life to help her, but she remained resistant to changing, going back and forth from God to chaos.

In time, however, Elena’s life started to turn around, but it was a long process, and whenever she took two steps forward, she was sure to find herself taking a step back. Sometimes, it got so bad that she became paranoid, anxious, and convinced that the devil was out to kill her, but even through the worst moments, she held on and turned back to God, and ultimately, she realized He was making her stronger so she could fulfill her purpose. As she honestly says, “The truth is that we do need to live a life of no sin, but for too long, I tried to do that on my own instead of allowing God to work things out in me in His own way and His time.” Truly, that she survived all these experiences has to have been a miracle.

Elena also knows that no one will ever totally arrive at complete perfection or happiness. Even when she finally found the courage to live her purpose, the people closest to her began bringing up her past and asking, “Who do you think you are?” Hurt, but determined, she ignored them. “On my journey, none of Satan’s attacks were working. Yes, he knocked me down a lot of times, but so far, I had not quit. It is the abortion of our purpose that he desperately wants to see take place, but I refused to hand over a dead baby to him.”
Elena’s courage and honesty are inspiring. She is obviously not a saint, but a flawed human being, like the rest of us. The difference is she’s not afraid to bare her soul in her great desire to help us. In her imperfections and faults, we can all find hope and healing, knowing that we aren’t alone. Whatever readers’ religious or spiritual beliefs, everyone can benefit from her message in Tangled and Tormented of finding and holding on to your purpose against all odds.

For more information about Elena Rahrig and Tangled and Tormented, visit www.ElenaRahrig.com.

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., and award-winning author of The Children of Arthur series

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