Interview with Valerie Limmer, Author of ‘Captive Set Free: How to Find Freedom Through Forgiving’

Jan. 9, 2023

I was privileged to invite Author Valerie Limmer for an interview to discuss her latest book Captive Set Free: How to Find Freedom Through Forgiving, and the inspiration behind it. Enjoy!


What's your book about, and what inspired you to write it?
Captive Set Free is a guide on how to find freedom through forgiving for people who want to forgive but don't know where to start. It’s really an invitation to step out of being imprisoned by pain and toxicity, and into the free and abundant life that Jesus has to offer.

Sometimes, when we think about forgiveness, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by our heavy feelings or spooling thoughts. This book helps to cut through all of that with simple tips and tricks, real-life examples, and opportunities for application.

If we are Christians, most of us have heard about the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, and so on), and the gifts of the Spirit (e.g., pastor, prophet, evangelist). The Holy Spirit also seems to also choose certain life themes for each of us. One person might learn a lot about what it means to be His child, another person might continually learn more and more about God fulfilling His promises, and another might learn about the ways God provides for us. One of my major life themes is forgiveness.

Over the course of my life, I’ve been badly abused by half a dozen different people, starting in childhood. I started writing this book when I was healing from some horrific abuse I’d experienced as an adult. I realized that the things I was learning, the principles and techniques I was applying in my own journey of forgiveness, might be useful to people who might be struggling with the same issues. It’s a beautiful thing to witness God redeeming the horrors we’ve experienced and transforming them into something beautiful that can help other people.


Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?
Captive Set Free is meant for anyone who is hurting, especially for Christians.  As followers of Jesus, as recipients of His love and forgiveness ourselves, we have access to an emotional and spiritual toolkit that can help us apply the principles of forgiveness in a way that’s intensely powerful and transformative. Jesus is not content to leave us hurting and broken. He is the Gentle Healer, and through applying the principles we find in the Bible, we can experience not only healing, but increased joy and trust, and a renewed sense of our own belovedness in Christ.

I supposed Captive Set Free is appealing because it isn’t theoretical. It’s practical. It’s not written by a theologian. It’s written by someone who’s been in the trenches of abuse and despair. It’s conversational and vulnerable, and willing to tackle difficult topics because the truth isn’t something that has to be scary. It can be freeing. We can find freedom through forgiving. I want to journey with you through those dark places and show you the beauty that’s waiting on the other side.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?
Forgiving someone who has hurt you is possible! Not only is it possible, but the journey towards forgiveness will deepen you—both your faith, and your understanding of the forgiveness that Jesus offers to you. Forgiveness requires courage and endurance, but you don’t need to have it all at the start. Sometimes starting with a prayer (“Jesus, please help me want to forgive”) is all we can do, and God delights to honor this type of prayer. You will grow through the process, and as you do, Jesus will unlock doors to joy and peace in your heart that you might never have realized were there!

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I tend to be a very private person. Whenever I write, I try to be vulnerable enough to be effective, but without feeling like an exhibitionist. However, often God asks me to share more of myself than I might be comfortable with the average person knowing. For me, this is really scary—especially when hearing about all those internet trolls out there, or people who are super-critical. But the verse that keeps drawing me back to trusting and obeying Jesus is:

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.(Psalm 73:28)
Jesus is my refuge. I can trust Him, and I won’t hide away His good news of salvation to protect myself.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?
I’ve enjoyed putting these life lessons on forgiveness onto paper. With a sense of delight and awe, I've even found myself referring to my own book as a reference manual for what is pure and honoring to God in the midst of some of my own decision-making of late. I love that not only can we learn from other people in the family of God, but sometimes (through reading our past journals) we can learn from our younger selves when the way forward becomes painful and confusing.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?
If I had unlimited space, I would choose paper-based books every time. I’m a very tactile person, and I love being able to read and re-read an old favorite, physically underline and notate it, and know exactly where my favorite passages are on the page.

That being said, my husband and I are missionaries in Japan. We have a 450 square foot apartment there, and there’s almost no room for books! So, we usually use e-books, simply because paper ones aren’t practical for our lifestyle.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?
I usually write Christian non-fiction books on topics related to spiritual growth. However, if I were to write in a different genre, it would probably be historical fiction or fantasy.

What books and authors have most influenced you?
I love the writings of Amy Carmichael, Beth Moore, and A.W. Tozer.

If I had to pick specific books, I would choose “The Pursuit of God” (Tozer), “Rose From Briar” (Carmichael), and “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” (Moore). Also, I’ve found “Boundaries”, by Cloud and Townsend, to be transformative.

Do you have any more books in the works?
Yes! I can’t stop writing. I have ideas for abut 11 more books. My next one will be on the armor of God. Right now that’s in second draft. After that, I’ve got two more in first draft. One is a book specifically for missionaries, and the other is about listening to God.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Sometimes I read reviews, but I generally try not to. I don’t want to get sucked into investing too much mental energy in what other people think of me or my work. Dealing with bad reviews is like dealing with any other type of criticism. You try to listen/read humbly, you resolve to forgive anything hurtful, you search it to see if theres something true in the criticism that you should address and change in your life, and then you give the rest to Jesus and don’t worry about it anymore.

Mention 3-5 fast (and/or fun) facts about you that you'd like to share
I can burp on command!
I enjoy making Japanese wax food models as a hobby.
I host my own Japanese-language cooking show on YouTube.
I’m part of a neighborhood network of ladies that takes care of stray cats in Okinawa, Japan, where I live.
I’m always losing my phone. I have to use the “Find My Phone” app at least once a day!

Last book read?
The Humans, by Matt Haig. I’ve only read one other book by him, which was very good. This fictional story is about an alien who’s come to earth and is inhabiting a human body. He doesn’t understand anything about human culture or customs, and it’s ridiculously funny to see the world through his eyes.

One book that changed your life?
Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend. I grew up in an extremely abusive household, and this book helped me to develop my own personhood, distinct from my parents. It helped me to understand that I wasn’t responsible to keep my parents happy so they didn’t mistreat me, and that although I had certain responsibilities to them as their daughter, I was not responsible for their behavior or emotions. This was transformative not only for me personally, but also for my marriage.

Your favorite quote/saying to live by?
It’s a little quote from the Bible: “He must increase, I must decrease.” (John 10:10)

Any advice to new/aspiring authors?
The Japanese language is consistently rated one of the top five most difficult languages in the world to learn. My language teacher likes to encourage me, saying: “Drops of water can wear away stone.”

Find a regular time to write. It doesn’t have to be often; it just has to be consistent. If you stick with it, you can accomplish amazing things! I write on our day off, once a week for a couple of hours, and I’m able to publish a new book every 5 years or so.

“Drops of water can wear away stone.”

I believe this is just as true for writing a book as for learning Japanese!

How can readers get in touch with or follow you (website, personal blog, social media handle, Goodreads)?
I have an author Facebook page, a website, and a blog with a variety of spiritual insights and stories from our ministry. Earlier, I mentioned that my husband and I are missionaries. Every two months, we send out a newsletter about what’s going on in our ministry, so you’d be welcome to sign up for that as well.

Author Website:
Missionary Website:
Newsletter signup:


Valerie Limmer lives in Japan, where she works as a missionary, sharing the good news of Jesus’ love, hope, and salvation. She is neither a therapist nor a theologian, but she has experienced severe abuse from a handful of people. In Captive Set Free, her second book, she shares many of the principles and techniques she’s learned and applied to her own life on her journeys towards forgiveness.

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