I wrote last December about Bittersweet.
I'm still working my way through it...one chapter at a time. I'm discovering it's like opening a box of decadent chocolates. You can eat them in order, one at a time, in one sitting. You can eat one, put the lid back on and come back again another day for a different piece. Or you can choose a caramel filled one or dark chocolate with almonds or some other flavor depending on how you're feeling that particular day.
Bittersweet has short chapters. Snippets of life penned onto pages that are deeply moving, highly encouraging and utterly transparent. They are best read in order, because it is ultimately the story of the author's life, but I've read a few here or there because I knew I would identify with a particular chapter.
Some of you have mentioned to me that you bought a book because I've written about it here on my blog. There is not a single book I've read that I recommend more than this one. It is full of beauty and heartache and loss and grief and waiting and joy and one woman's journey through the life God is writing for her.
I will say it again: I cannot recommend it enough. However, it may not be for all of you. But for those of you who have waited or are waiting, have experienced the loss of a baby, sibling, child, parent, a broken relationship, struggles in your marriage....the words will touch you deeply.
And if you haven't experienced those things, but love to read words and stories that challenge you in your relationship with God and make you think twice about the relationships in your life, you will take much away from these chapters. Shauna is honest about motherhood to her 3-year-old son Henry, her marriage to her husband, and her friendships.
I'll leave you with this quote:
"We dilute the beauty of the gospel story when we divorce it from our lives, our worlds, the words and images that God is writing right now on our souls.....There is nothing small or inconsequential about our stories. There is, in fact, nothing bigger. And when we tell the truth about our lives - the broken parts, the secret parts, the beautiful parts - then the gospel comes to life, an actual story about redemption, instead of abstraction and theory and things you learn in Sunday School."
My hope and desire for this blog is exactly what Shauna writes about....telling God's story of our lives. The good. The hard. The waiting. The tender moments that fill our days and remind us it's all worth it. And as Shauna says, pastors and preachers and leaders cannot tell my story. They can reference it and even ask me to share a portion of my story, but only I can tell the story of God's grace and healing and faith in my life.
Bittersweet. We cannot experience the sweet without the bitter. That's the way it works. And that's what makes us courageous and strong and ready to face whatever tomorrow brings.