Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book Review

Life, In Spite of Me, by Kristen Jane Anderson

Just three hours...that's how much time it took me to read this book. The story of Kristen Anderson is an amazing story of God's sovereignty over every part of our lives - even attempted suicide! At the end of her rope and in the pit of despair, Kristen suddenly decides to end her life when she hears the whistle of an oncoming train. Sure that death would be a much better alternative than continuing to live her painful and disappointing life, she lies down on the tracks, expecting that her life would be over in a matter of minutes. Apparently God had a different plan for her life.
Conscious throughout the events of that night, Kristen recounts the years leading up to her decision to end her life, as well as the terrifying moments after the train rain over her body when she realized that she was alive and that her legs were no longer part of her body. And if she thought her life was bad before, it was much worse now that she was confined to a wheelchair and dependant on those closest to her. And then...the question of faith. A woman from her family's church met her in the foyer her first Sunday back, and told her that it was a good thing she lived through her suicide, because she would have gone to hell if she had died. Of course her parents assured her she would have gone to Heaven; she was a good person, after all. But this woman's simple, careless statement left Kristen wondering - Heaven or hell? And how could she be sure? Little by little, using different people along the way, God revealed Himself to Kristen. And Kristen surrendered her life to Him - the one who held her down on those tracks the night rather than allowing her body to be sucked up into the train, the One who loved her enough to send His Son to die on the cross for her sin. He saved her life, her soul, and now has given her an amazing story. A story that thousands have heard in many venues, including the Oprah Winfrey show. Because of what God allowed in her life, she has been able to bring the gospel of hope to many teens who understood her despair and needed to hear her story of hope.
In Chapter 21, Kristen writes: "What if it (the botched suicide attempt) had never happened? I shuddered, thinking of where I could be. Losing my legs showed me how big and real God is. For the first time I realized losing my legs was worth it. I wouldn't go back, even if I could."
I highly recommend this book! Especially if you are at the end of your rope or know someone who is; if you're living with pain and disappointment, or know someone who is; if you're wondering what the point of your life is, or know someone who is. In other words, we can all benefit from the message of this book. God is in control. It's all about Him.
Read it.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for free, for the purpose of writing this review. I am not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: Praying for Your Future Husband

Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer do a wonderful job presenting the reader with reasons and encouragement for praying for a future husband, in a devotion-type book. There are personal journal entries, stories and testimonies from women that they have interviewed for this book. Both women present their pre-marriage times honestly and transparently. They expose their own sinful backgrounds to us as they tell us of premarital relationships and even abortion - something most Christian authors might not be willing to admit to in order to preserve credibility.

I applaud both women for caring enough about the current population of unmarried Christian young women to write a book as real as this one. As Christians, we are called to "bear one anothers burdens". The burden on young women to find a mate is a heavy one. Teaching young women to pray for their future mates is one way to lighten that load. I plan to go through this book very soon with my "almost a teen" daughter, and would strongly encourage other moms to do the same. It's never to early to cast our cares upon the Lord, because He cares for us. He cares for our purity, our future and our joy. Christian marriage is a picture of Christ and His Bride, the church. Christ prays for His Bride (Hebrews 7:25), so of course we should pray for our future husband.