Monday, May 17, 2010

Life In Spite of Me

I've been reading a lot of books in the last week that have really made me appreciate the blessings in my life. Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes made me realize that even though I suffer pain daily from my rheumatoid arthritis, I am blessed to be alive, just to be here on a daily basis for my children. It may shorten my life eventually, but barring an accident or other game-changer, I will be there to see them get married and to see grandchildren some day. I've been there for each of the major moments in their lives, from Doogie's graduation to Molly's junior prom, to Mia's first lost tooth.

Scars & Stilettos by Harmony Dust reminded me that I had a wonderful childhood, surrounded by the love of two protective, caring parents. At the time, I felt them to be over-protective, but now I know that they wanted to shield me from the darkness of the world. Not every parent cares enough to do that for their child, too caught up in their own living.

I am Nujood, Aged 10 and Divorced by Dauphine Minoui is a reminder that I am blessed to live in a country that allows me to choose my own husband, to divorce when I make a mistake, and to remarry, again a man of my choice. I am blessed to have a husband who would never abuse me or use me as that poor little girl was wounded. My husband, Jesse, doesn't have it easy. Because of my illness, he often has to handle the household chores, and he does the majority of the chauffeuring (although Molly getting her license should lighten his load). It's hard on him, and I know that it wears him down, but he loves me, and always takes the time to tell me that I'm pretty.

Today's book, Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Anderson and Tricia Goyer reminded me what it's like to be a teenager, internalizing everything and feeling both out of control and overly controlled. I am blessed that my two teens are such great kids. They have both kept me up late at night praying and worrying, and together they are responsible for about 90% of the gray hair on my head, but I am proud of them. I know that they are going to grow up to be good people, which is every parent's goal. They've both made mistakes, but they are learning from them and growing as people. I don't just love them, I like them too.

Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Anderson & Tricia Goyer is a proclamation of hope that God has plans for each and every one of us, even when we try to mess them up. The year Kristen turned seventeen, she faced an enormous amount of upheaval and tragedy. Date raped at a party by a cute guy, the death of her beloved grandmother, the suicide of a close friend all steered her toward a hard-drinking and partying lifestyle. When her parents cracked down, grounding her indefinitely, she felt at the end of her rope. Sick of hiding the pain inside and feeling that she was a disappointment to everyone who loved her, she laid down in front of a train hoping to end it all. Thirty-three train cars traveling 55 miles per hour raced over her body, cutting off both of her legs, but she was still alive. In the months of recuperation, Kristen at first forgot how she ended up on the tracks, but then was forced to face the terrible decision she had made. Her struggles with depression, guilt, and horrendous pain caused her to turn to Jesus in hopes of making sense of it all. Kristen's story is told with brutal honesty, but even in the midst of the darkest days, the reader can feel her faith on every page. This young woman has turned her tragedy into a triumph and uses it to reach out to other teens who may be hurting like she was.

Click here to read the first chapter. 

Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this book for review.