Monday, January 26, 2009

Necessary Heartbreak

Today is the beginning of a very busy week. Jesse has a medical procedure scheduled for tomorrow which will take a few hours, and after that we are hoping to visit Tristan and Howard at the hospital, and then do a little shopping. Tomorrow night Molly's cheerleading squad is performing their competition routine at the basketball game, so we're going to see it before Saturday. Saturday, the big day, is both Mia's birthday and cheerleading regionals competition. We're having Mia's party on Sunday at Chuck E. Cheese, and she can't wait. The first thing she did this morning was count the day on the calendar until her birthday. There is so much to do and get done this week, and of course, Saturday I could feel the beginnings of an RA flare-up. I feel like my body is betraying me just when I need it to function best. I've been praying for relief from the pain or at least a mental release from the frustration and guilt I feel whenever a flare-up happens. In the meantime, I have to weigh out what is a want and what is a need. What errands and chores can only be done by me, and what can I delegate. As a control freak, my brain says nothing can be delegated, but my aching body says different. I've learned so much from and through this illness, and yet I still fight it. I crave some peace of mind.

Mom just called and told me that Howard has been removed from the ventilator! What an amazing miracle. She's going to see him tonight, and if I can see him tomorrow, I'll have more news. Your prayers have absolutely been felt, thank you so much!

Necessary Heartbreak
by M.J. Sullivan is the first book in the When Time Forgets Trilogy. The genre of Christian fiction has been expanding by leaps and bounds. Necessary Heartbreak is a moving novel about a father's love with a twist involving time travel. Michael Stewart is still suffering from a gaping wound in his heart after the death of his wife. He's been raising their daughter, Elizabeth, alone for thirteen years, and the pain of trying to do it all by himself has left him bitter toward God and overprotective of Lizzie. While the two of them are volunteering at a church event, they discover a door in the floor of the church's basement. Lizzie's irrepressible curiosity brings them down a ladder into a dark tunnel that seems to go on forever. At the end, they stumble blindly into what they think is a Passion play, but they quickly discover is 1st century Jerusalem where a man can be arrested just for questioning a prisoner's beating, and a young girl can be forced to marry a Roman soldier who wants to own her. Michael and Lizzie are taken in by a young widow named Leah who helps them navigate this strange world. Michael's disbelief in God is put to the test by encounters with Jesus himself. The father and daughter have to learn both to let go of and lean on each other in new ways. Sullivan's writing is clunky in a few spots, but Michael is a powerfully sympathetic character. The reason for Michael and Lizzie's travel into the past isn't made clear by the end of the book, but I'm sure that Sullivan will clear that up in the second book. Michael does use some strong language in the book, but it's always in character. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and learning more about the Stewart family and their mysterious tie to the past.

For a wonderful story about how God moves through tragedy, read David Meigs' blog about his family's recent house fire. I love stories like this!