"Can I face things as they actually are in the light of the reality of Jesus Christ, or do things as they are efface altogether my faith in Him, and put me into a panic?" ~Oswald Chambers (10/3), My Utmost for His HighestAnna Whiston-Donaldson has written an honest, raw account of her twelve-year-old son, Jack's, death. As hard as it is to read, it is refreshing to read a book that tells about loss, and the confusing, angry feelings that come with it.
Anna writes of how her God was too small for the pain she had -- a "God of rules and committee meetings and sermon notes and praise music" (pg 2). Having grown up in church, in a stable loving family, and losing her mother when Anna was eighteen, she wasn't a stranger to being shocked by grief. But she was not prepared for how much losing Jack would change their lives.
And who could be? How can you go from enjoying (or grumbling) about your child and the funny things he does (or messes he makes), to putting him in the ground?
I saw this book recommended on a blog I read, but I didn't buy it. My own son is twelve, and it wasn't something I wanted to read. But when I saw it was available for review, I decided to give it a go. I am glad I did.
Anna is open and honest about what she thought and how she felt. Some of what she says is uncomfortable, because I am so used to doing things the "Christian" way, the "good" way, that even if I did say the "F" word in my raging grief, I would be hesitant (if not downright adverse) to putting it in print in a book.
But isn't that why so many of us are coasting in our faith? We are so scared to show emotion, to be honest about how we feel about anything, that a true crisis can cause us to feel totally unmoored and unable to cope. Because the things that rock our world aren't easily soothed by superficial or fluffy faith.
If you have lost a child, or if you have found yourself frustrated with your children, I encourage you to read this book. Anna has a wonderful way of sharing her pain that evokes hope, and makes you want to be closer to God, to make lists of things you are thankful for, and to go hug your kids.
Thanks to the publisher, Convergent Books, for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. To purchase a copy of this book, click here.