Thursday, September 24, 2020

Book Review: Breathe Again

I have the first PTO meeting of the year at my younger girls' school tonight, but I have to talk about this book. I feel like 2020 is the perfect year to do some introspection, what with all of our free time and such, and this was a good one to get into for that. 

Breathe Again - Stacy Henagan

What Do You Do When It Seems God Hasn’t Come Through for You?

When the miracle-working God whom Pastor Stacy Henagan loved and served did not answer the prayers on behalf of her terminally ill one-year-old daughter as expected, she was left crushed with grief and struggling to understand.

How could a loving God allow this to happen?
What do you do when it seems God has let you down?
Is God trustworthy?
Rather than choosing to remain in overwhelming pain and doubt, Stacy emerged with a much greater belief that God is good and trustworthy, even when we don’t think His plans make sense.
If there is anyone that can say she feels like life has legitimately left me broken, it is me. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to bed wondering why this is the hand I'm dealt. I no longer believe the "God gives you what you can handle" because that just feels cruel and something a sociopath would say as they torture you. 

I cannot say that I have ever experienced the loss of a child, I haven't even come close to that, so I don't know that grief and I don't know those feelings. Normally I shy away from stories that deal with this because child loss is a huge fear of mine; however, the overwhelming theme of the story is overcoming tragedy and moving forward, and that is something I feel like we can all use. 

The story is really heartbreaking start to finish (at least for me) and while I think I could agree a lot of her feelings after her daughter passed away.. I couldn't connect. I will say that I am not a particularly religious person and I don't necessarily believe in God. When someone says the hole in the heart is filled with Jesus, I don't know what that means. I think even more so now, post brain injury, the concept of this is beyond my reach so there were parts of this book that didn't make sense to me, but I feel like that is fully on me. I think if you practice in your faith and have faithful convictions, this will read like a powerful sermon. It would be almost expected to sound like a sermon since the author and her husband are pastors of a church they founded in Arkansas. 

Easily, my favorite part of this book isn't the hope, or strength in her faith, the best part was it highlighted the internal struggle of parents following the death of a child. She talks about every phase of grief, but also talks about how grief doesn't have an end, it just moves between the phases as the years go on, but you never stop. I loved that because, though my situation is 100% different, I've felt that people get frustrated, sometimes angry, when I get upset when I can't do something. Old Sara could, and it is forever going to upset me in some way when I hit a brick wall and am faced with yet another thing I can't do. I am still grieving what was, and in every sense of the concept, my previous self completely died that day, and I'm learning my new self. It is really hard to give ourselves grace, and the author mentions that as well. 

Overall, I thought this was a lovely book. It was a solid 3 star for me because I liked it but I'm not sure it is one I would read again. It is definitely one I am going to pass to a friend who has lost a child and still has good days and bad days, too. I think if you are strong in your faith this would be a powerful read for you, even if you haven't experienced this kind of loss, I'm sure you have experienced a loss that rocked your world and this would be good for you. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson Publishing for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review. 


Stacy Henagan said...

Thank you so much for that honest review. I appreciate your kind words. ❤️

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm not religious, per se, but I am spiritual. However, some times when people talk a lot about God and faith, it do. It doesn't really connect for me either. It can be hit or miss. I'm glad you found aspects of the book that you could understand or relate to a bit though.


Why Girls Are Weird said...

Sounds heavy but very good.