Book Review: Holy Care for the Whole Self by Laura L. Smith

Posted February 5, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, Christian, devotional, Laura L. Smith, nonfiction / 6 Comments


Holy Care for the Whole Self book review

Holy Care for the Whole Self by Laura L. SmithHOLY CARE FOR THE WHOLE SELF: Biblical Wisdom for Mental and Spiritual Well-Being by Laura L. Smith
GENRE: Non-Fiction / Spiritual & Mental Health (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Our Daily Bread Publishing
RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2024
PAGES: 256


“There are stages and steps to healing, some big, some small. There might be pauses in between – discoveries and recoveries. But in the end Jesus is a healer.”

Before I share my review for Holy Care for the Whole Self by Laura L. Smith, I want to share my own personal story of mental health. I struggled with crippling anxiety from third grade until my early 30s and for a handful of seasons at different points over those years it also caused a dangerous depression. I should have gotten myself into counseling and onto medication long before I did but unfortunately there was a stigma about mental health in my church world. Namely, that you just need more faith, that counseling and anxiety/depression medication aren’t for believers – you have Jesus and He’s enough to fix this. Here’s the thing though – the anxiety wouldn’t shut off no matter how much I prayed. I was doing all the ‘right’ things and it wasn’t working. Because chemicals in my brain that should be working a certain way weren’t. Y’all… Jesus IS enough to fix it, just like He is enough to fix cancer or allergies or diabetes. But most of us won’t be so irresponsible as to tell someone with a physical illness that they don’t need to see a doctor and follow their prescribed treatment. Why? Because we realize that while Jesus CAN heal us instantly – and sometimes does – He most often chooses to work through gifted medical professionals who help realign the systems in our body that aren’t working correctly. The same is true of mental health, and I am so grateful for the counselor that gave me the tools I needed – including medication – to get those pesky chemicals working correctly again. I haven’t been trapped by anxiety in years, praise be to God!

Because of my experiences, I am passionate about books & teachers that present a balanced approach to mental health treatment, books like Holy Care for the Whole Self which talks about the value of counseling and medication (among other proactive & reactive strategies) AND the value of prayer and what Jesus teaches in Scripture. Because as believers, we get to use all of those things, giving us even more weapons in our mental health care kit.

“Prayer is not a substitute for medical care or self-care but a complement to them. Prayer is a weapon that continues to erode the walls that block us in.”

As with her other books, Smith’s writing voice helps you feel as though you are sitting down with a friend over a plate of warm cinnamon rolls with a Bible and a copy of this book open in front of each of you. She sensitively and honestly walks us through snippets of her own story and those of several other people, allowing readers more than one opportunity to personally relate to the struggles presented – from PTSD to addiction to panic attacks to grief and more. I loved the depth of topics covered and all the practical & Biblical advice to add to our toolkits including exercise, creativity, prayer, memorizing Scripture, getting outside, helping others, setting boundaries and the aforementioned counseling & medication.

“But taking care of our well-being isn’t all about fixing broken pieces, it’s also about reclaiming some beautiful parts of ourselves that we may have forgotten.”

Bottom Line: There are two things readily apparent right from the start of Holy Care for the Whole Self – author Laura L. Smith loves Jesus & His Word and she loves people. This combination makes the book warmly written and conversationally engaging, and the author’s use of story, research, and Scripture wraps around readers like a comforting embrace as we tackle some emotional themes together. The time given to medical treatment, therapy, and prayer/Scripture gives readers a whole picture of care, and I really appreciated the advice on these pages. This isn’t another fluffy book on self-care or an approach to mental health that purposefully overlooks valuable options; rather it’s a wonderfully helpful – and balanced – resource and encouragement for those who feel like they are all alone in the battle to get the help they need and continue to gain ground.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / highly recommend!

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Laura L. Smith

Laura L. Smith has been searching her whole life for beauty. Not in the world—there’s plenty of that—in the crimson of a cardinal’s feather, in the sound of waves crashing along a shore, in the melody of a Beatles’ ballad, or in a Chagall stained glass window. The world is filled with beauty, but for her that was another story. It took her years to discover her true beauty, to fully grasp she is made in the image of her Creator, and therefore, she is beautiful. The incredible thing is…so are you. You were marvelously made by God to inspire awe. No matter what the world tries to tell you, no matter what you try to tell yourself. No one can rob you of the incredible true identity God instilled in you. Smith tells stories (through books, blogs, and speaking) in hopes of helping you discover what took her so long to see: your beautiful true reflection in Christ. Smith lives in the college town of Oxford, Ohio with her husband and four kids. Connect with Laura on her website.

Other Featured Books by Laura L. Smith


What about you? What makes you want to read Holy Care for the Whole Self by Laura L. Smith?

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6 responses to “Book Review: Holy Care for the Whole Self by Laura L. Smith

  1. Janice Moore

    From deep in my heart, I am praying that God will bless you for sharing your struggles. This will help me and others. It sounds like everyone could benefit from this book. Bring on the warm cinnamon rolls!

  2. Donna Irvin

    Miss Carrie, you shared your struggles with us that is good!
    Not that you have the struggles, but realized later it is okay to realize them and seek help.
    Run, run, run away from people, that tell you seeking help/medication/counseling is wrong! Jesus made mental health professionals etc, just as they were meant to be!

    As an RN, I do respect any patient beliefs, but surely I was made to be able to guide people to resources to help them…..

    I purchased the book, as all of us need to seek help at times, and help that also encompasses our faith journey is a blessing!

  3. Regina

    Carrie, thank you so much for sharing this review and your struggles. 🤗💗 I’ve battled with my mental health almost all of my life and was ashamed to ask for help for years because of the stigma you talked about in my church. I hope more people read this and understand that an illness is an illness, and whether it’s physical or mental it needs to be treated to get better. 🙂

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