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Title: The Bankrupt Spirit: Principles for Turning Setbacks into Comebacks
Author: Vivi Monroe Congress
Publisher: Little Light Productions, LLC http://www.littlelightprod.com/
ISBN: 097480200X
Reviewer: Dian Moore

Is your heart-fund empty?

Vivi Monroe Congress’s debut book, The Bankrupt Spirit: Principles for Turning Setbacks into Comebacks, is based on Jeremiah 1:10, "See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

It is a tool for women, and men, to refill their bankrupt spirits.

This small book is power-packed with truth and the step-by-step instructions describing how to discern the state of one’s spirit, and then fill it to the max. It is an excellent study guide and leaves space for notes by the reader as she goes through each step to discover, and heal, her personal state of bankruptcy.

Just as a lack of funds and overspending of dollars can lead to financial bankruptcy, so can the lack of a personal relationship with God lead to a spiritual deficit.

Bankrupt(cy), as defined by the author, is being in a state of brokenness and unable to draw effectively from our faith account.

She conceived the idea for this book for her own experiences as she sought God’s purpose for her life.

The Bankrupt Spirit explores the different types of bondage one can find oneself in; for example, grief and misery create a cumulative deficit account, especially when the circumstances behind these feelings are not resolved.

Bondage, with a capital "B," blinds us to personal healing, and can be recognized by any of these: guilt, low or no self-esteem, generational curses, depression, perversion, financial devastation and idolatry, or the desire for someone or something that overrides the desire for God.

Congress is a gifted wordsmith and immediately places a picture in the reader’s mind of how Bondage moves in and steals our joy.

The format of The Bankrupt Spirit leads the reader through the steps to determine:

How much damage is already done
How to proclaim victory
How to exercise the body and spirit
How to harness the power of Scripture
How to look to God as His Child and gather the full inheritance of your rights as His child.

Congress encourages readers to come clean, admit bad habits and thoughts and name whatever issue we might have.

She is also wise in pointing out how to prepare for increased trials and tribulations, because the harder God’s children try, the harder the devil attacks.

Highly recommended for readers of both sexes and the subject matter is explained very well and can easily be understood by young adults through senior citizens.

The author’s website (http://www.littlelightprod.com) currently (April 2005) allows the reader to purchase directly from the site, request an autographed copy, and pledges to donate $5.00 of the purchase price to the Broken Spirits Network (http://www.brokenspirits.com) in an effort to help defeat the bondages created by the trauma of domestic violence.

* * *

Interview with Vivi Monroe-Congress

FWM: I recommend this book as an inoculation against the violence, suicide, immorality and abuse that runs rampant in our society today. How would you like to see "The Bankrupt Spirit" used?

VMC: Wow! Thank you for that. I would hope to see the book utilized in the same manner, but it has also been revelatory to readers who are "in transition"; people who know God, but somehow became displaced from hearing His voice and direction; people who are on the threshold of a personal spiritual revival and so on.  So many are "stuck"  and unfortunately their efforts to become "unstuck" manifest in the behaviors you mentioned because they haven't yet surrendered their will in exchange for His. But there are also those who have simply lost loved ones or lost themselves even and can't pull it together. I think God's message in this book skillfully and lovingly covers the gamut of bankruptcies, so that there is an individual blessing for everyone, whether they believe they need it or not.
FWM: Tell us more about your website, http://www.brokenspirits.com/ and your commitment to donate $5.00 from each additional copy of the book ordered to affiliates of the Broken Spirits Network.

VMC: While the manuscript was off being "prettied up" by my editor, I spent time praying about the impact I'd hoped it would have on its readers and more importantly, what God wanted to have happen with the book. As a result of this prayer time, I knew that I was to make not only a deposit in the spirit, but a tangible one as well. Hence, the $5.00 donation for every two books purchased by the same buyer. The donations support the efforts of the Genesis Women's Shelter in Dallas, TX. The website, www.brokenspirits.com, serves as a point of reference, a directory that assists those victimized by abuse. But for the record, my website is actually www.littlelightprod.com, where book purchases can be made to support Genesis. 
FWM: You are a mother of three from Texas and spent 17 years in customer service and automotive finance; became the founder of Little Light Productions, LLC in 2002. How did "The Bankrupt Spirit" first become an idea that was then transformed into a book?

VMC: It became a book idea only after it was first a life EXPERIENCE! Mothering is no easy feat in this day and age, but life itself isn't always a moonlit walk on the beach either. During what was to have been a "dark" time in my life, where it would have been oh so easy to adorn myself in complacency, God revealed Himself to me through the scripture that would become the foundation for building The Bankrupt Spirit, Jeremiah 1:10.
FWM: How do you incorporate your love of the arts into your calling to reach those who are suffering?

VMC: Because "The Bankrupt Spirit" is non-fiction, you won't see much of that this go around. However, I suspect my love of the arts will appear in upcoming works. Stay tuned!
FWM: Your background in finance allowed you to relate in "financial" terms how one's spirit can become bankrupt. When and how did you first realize you could apply your employment experience into a tool to transform lives?

VMC: I don't know if I ever really just "knew" to incorporate life experiences (including employment), but as I began to pen "The Bankrupt Spirit," it just felt like a fit to approach the manuscript in that manner. It certainly made writing easier since I was able to draw from what I was being paid to do as well as from what I was called to do.
FWM: Can you share how the enemy tried to put roadblocks in your path as you sought to bring "The Bankrupt Spirit" to fruition?

VMC: Well, I certainly could line a city block with the laundry list of attacks and roadblocks, but I won't give the enemy that much time or credit. For starters – believe it or not – I was, by far, the biggest attack the enemy used to come against the completion of the book; I was initially filled with so much doubt about my WORTHINESS of being used by God that I almost didn't write it. When I came to my senses and refused to give in to defeat, the world as I knew it was leveled by the sudden death of my father. Overall and through it all, the book is also my personal testimony of the rewards of obedience and perseverance.
FWM: The book is based on Jeremiah 1:10 – What event or defining moment brought this verse to the forefront as your branding phrase?

VMC: Well, the scripture Jeremiah 1:10 was one that served to keep me buoyed during my divorce. Through studying and pursuing God for this scripture's relevance in my situation, I realized it was a Biblical process designed for the bankrupt spirit in order to provide guidance for turning setbacks into comebacks. I knew it was a universal and timeless message, a roadmap for hurting people who, for whatever reason, couldn't find their way "back." 
FWM: What has changed in your life since you began Little Light Productions, LLC and became an author.

VMC: I've developed a greater sense of purpose and an urgent desire to please Him. I'm at peace and very content with my decision to follow His lead. On the "downside" (or could be the "upside", depending on how you look at it) some of my friends have been less than supportive and some have distanced themselves altogether. That was initially disheartening, but perhaps they thought I'd be the same person after writing the book, yet by the grace of God, I'm anything but!
FWM: Do you have a routine you follow for writing? What is it?

VMC: Not really. I've tried routines, but for me, there's really no "formula" other than praying for guidance. Once I've done that, I trust, listen and usually jot down words, phrases or sentences in a binder (or speak into a recorder if I'm driving) as they come. Somewhere along the way, those written words, phrases and sentences eventually become a paragraph that becomes a book! All in God's timing... 

FWM: What are you working on now?

VMC: Oh, I've made the proverbial "multi-tasking" thing an art form! Let's see ... I have a completed children's book entitled, "My Church" that I expect will be in print by the end of 2005. I'm also working on my first Christian novel which I anticipate completing by 2006.  In addition, I host and sponsor an annual Author Showcase event that features the literary work of African American authors in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, so I'm busy preparing for the upcoming 2006 showcase. And then I'm finishing up work towards my Masters in Theological Studies to be earned June 2005. 
FWM: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as an author?

VMC: I'd like to believe that in five years God will have established me in the Christian/Inspirational literary world as a force to be reckoned with! I would LOVE to see my books on the shelves, side-by-side, with the likes of Michelle McKinney Hammond, Juanita Bynum, Joyce Meyer and Iyanla VanZant – all women that I admire. Of course, there are other projects I'd like to pursue as well, but we'll see. I'm simply grateful that God chose to use me at this time to "take dictation" for "The Bankrupt Spirit." 
FWM: How has the process of writing brought changes into your personal and professional life?

VMC: Personally, the process of writing has phenomenally influenced my appreciation of the gifts that God has given me and my ability to trust Him as I use them to His glory. And then the biggie is that I've learned that having less of the world has given me so much more of Him. Professionally, I'm now active in public speaking – something I would've never guessed! I also have a "following" of young girls that I work with; moving them beyond their fears by determining their giftings and then encouraging them to walk in it. I've also taken writing more seriously, as a business almost, my life work. It's what I do for and because of Him and it deserves no less.
FWM: Please share anything you like about your book, upcoming projects, a message to readers – the page is yours!

VMC: I am confident there is a personal message to every reader within the pages of "The Bankrupt Spirit." According to Psalms 51: 6, God's desire is that we be truthful and honest in our hearts. When we are, we become teachable and He can then share, teach and direct us towards His wisdom.  Whether you purchase and read The Bankrupt Spirit for yourselves or not, please do take the time to investigate Jeremiah 1:10. It is a MUST read! I also invite readers to share their Jeremiah 1:10 "Comeback Experiences" with me for possible inclusion in future printings and/or versions of The Bankrupt Spirit as a blessing to others. My email is vivi@littlelightprod.com.
FWM: Thank you for the privilege of reading "The Bankrupt Spirit."

VMC: Thank you for the opportunity to interview and for your review!
Dian Moore is a freelance writer, editor and reviewer and the hands behind Hands for Hope, www.handsforhope.com. If you would like to write to Dian, you can do so via the Letters page of this magazine.
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