One of the best books I’ve read lately, one that has captured my soul in a time of hurt and healing, is Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. I was introduced to it by a few friends on IG and she spoke recently at my former church in the RDU area. It has indeed been a book that I will re-read in different seasons of life. I will be doing an official review of it on another site, but here I just wanted to give some personal reflections – and have a giveaway (Thanks to Zondervan.)
First, just two notes…This book may not be for you. It is a memoir of Sara Hagerty’s journey of a wife, adoptive mom, and now a mom. It is one written on a painful journey and how God met her in her time of need. There are Scriptures at the back of each chapter – dive into those verse. Even if you know you know them, read them again. Scripture is good for our soul – as Psalm 19 says, “It revives the soul”.
“I was a different woman than the one I had been before my life unraveled, because God had become to me a different God than the one I’d contrived to be when it all was working as it should.” (pg 180)
2014 was a difficult year to say the least. I had a 2 year old and a newborn. We moved states and my husband changed jobs. I learned new meanings of the word trust. I cried so much. Hurt was a regular part of my vocabulary. But, what I’ve been learning even into 2015 is that God is an amazingly, close Father and I am in so desperate need of the Gospel every minute of my life. When we walk through valleys, our God shows up so clear to us – because He is often all we have – and that is a beautifully hard thing to learn.
“She was finding a new identity. She was walking out the fulfillment of our feeble prayers. Her heart was growing. Pain had made space.”
Friends, I’m not there yet. Not completely. There’s more space, but not near as much as there should be. I’m learning every day how to trust again, how to be selfless (which I’m so not, and that’s not humble modesty). I’m learning to lean into Jesus and his Word. I want God to be daily re-creating me more and more into his image.
Perfect for Mother’s Day (even though it was yesterday)
“If my chief end as a mother is anything less than knowing Him and carrying His glory in my life, I will walk through these years empty.” (pg 156)
I need to hang this on my mirror so I see it every day. Notice she didn’t say to have the cleanest house, have the best “work from home” business, or have the most well-dressed kids. She said to know Jesus and carry his glory. Reflect his glory!
“He wants us to make a habit out of coming near. Because His response to our pain will be safe.” (pg 146)
In the presence of God is the only safe place there really is – because there there is no sin. God is perfect and holy and gently. He will not break us. He will shape us into the image of Jesus with gentleness. Other people – in response to our circumstances – will bring us (even more) pain. Don’t set your hopes on other’s responses. Focus your hope of the Lover of your Soul. He is good.
“Delight and life from a tongue can change a soul.” (pg 101)
This needs to be the air I breathe to others. Conviction shouldn’t be the first thing on my mind. Critique shouldn’t be the first thing on my list. I know God’s Word calls us how to live and I want to know how I can bring life (not sappy optimism) into others. I want to love on others like Christ would. That is a hard balance. If you see others living in sin, tread lightly, be gentle, allow the healing words of Christ and gospel to speak through you – not the harsh words of condemnation. Remember when you are speaking that there is no condemnation in Christ – so if your words leave someone feeling condemned – that’s not Jesus.
I have one copy of this book to giveaway. If you’d like it – please answer: What is one thing you’ve learned about God as you’ve walked through a difficult season?