A story full of pain. A story full of hope. A story full of anger. A story full of forgiveness. Does this sound like your life? It certainly sounds like mine! It also sounds (in the extreme!) like the story of Kim Phuc Phan Thi. You may have seen her picture. She’s the famous “napalm girl” whose picture was snapped by a young photographer as she ran naked, screaming, and severely burned down a Dang Trang Vietnam road. The photographer who took the iconic photograph scooped Kim up and rushed her to a nearby hospital where, initially, they refused to treat the girl. After some arm-twisting and showing of credentials, he convinced the hospital to take her in and they arranged her transfer to Saigon. When she arrived, unconscious, at First Children’s Hospital she was deemed hopeless and taken to languish in the morgue.
It is from these horrors that a story of survival, hope, and peace rose like a Phoenix. Her survival from burns was only the beginning of Kim’s remarkable story. Living under the oppressive system of Communism, Kim continued to suffer loss after loss. She had been introduced to the Christian religion but had stopped attending services regularly. She was so despondent that she planned her own death, but somehow she found the will to cry out to God…a simple prayer. With that prayer, and action she took in faith that God had heard her petition, things began to turn around for Kim Phuc.
Her book, Fire Road, tells the remarkable and inspiring story of redemption and grace in Kim’s life. I found myself writing down quotes and thinking of applications to my own life as I read her words. Kim is an inspiring role model. Her story teaches lessons that are hard to forget because they were lived, not just preached. I can’t recommend this book enough!
*I was provided with a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
I loved Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven, so when I got the chance to review a devotional by Randy, Seeing the Unseen: Expanded Edition, I jumped at the chance. This 90-day devotional book can be read sequentially, or by searching the table of contents for a subject that addresses a particular need. Some of the devotional topics are humility, happiness, God’s sovereignty, giving, grace, love, and forgiveness…and those are just on the first of more than four pages of devotional titles!
The devotions are quite short and each includes a short message, “Perspectives from God’s Word” (related scriptures), “Perspectives from God’s People” (quotes from prominent Christians), and a link to a blog post at Eternal Perspective Ministries about that topic.
From the back cover:
Scripture tells us to fix our eyes on the unseen. Rather than focus on what will fade, we’re encouraged to lock our gaze no things of eternal value. But how exactly can we do that amid the immediate demands of life?
In this expanded edition of his devotional Seeing the Unseen, Randy Alcorn provides ninety inspirational readings that will help you view today through the lens of the eternal.
As we better grasp the realities of the spiritual realm, we gain a clearer perspective on our present life, including things like suffering, happiness, generosity, and peace. This transformative devotional equips to live with a right view of eternity — on that will shape not just what you believe, but how you navigate the challenges and opportunities of each day.
I’ve been reading these devotionals with my family after dinner while we’re still at the table and they’re the perfect length and depth! These readings are appropriate for late elementary age through adult.
***I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. ***
There are lots of “Bible Promises for…” books out there. This one is the same — and different. Like many (most) this has a table of contents with different issues that might by faced by a parent of a child (or children) with special needs, such as:
- Advice (when you don’t know how to evaluate all the advice you’re getting from others)
- Decisions (when it feels as if you have no options) (when you need God’s direction moment by moment) (when you’re making a major decision)
- Fun (when there’s no time for fun) (when you have something to celebrate) (when it’s hard to relax) (when you long to have fun as a family)
- Joy (when you’re searching for joy) (when you wish someone would take joy in you) (when you fear you’ll never smile again) (when your cup overflows)
Amy Mason cites verses you can look to for encouragement, sympathy, love…all things our Heavenly Father wants to express to us based on our need. Then at the end of each section, Ms. Mason writes a little summary about that topic. For example, the one for the entry on joy says:
God created you to have feelings, so don’t be surprised when you experience emotional highs and lows. However lasting joy and contentment run much deeper than momentary emotions. Lasting joy is like a strong current that runs deep beneath the stormy surface of your feelings….It is the peace of knowing that God accepts you and wants you to be with him forever…
The author is a mother of two boys, one with special needs, so she knows the rollercoaster of emotions that pass through the life of all parents, let alone the ones with children who have special needs. She writes from a place of understanding.
As a mother of three (now adult) children with special needs, I’ve dealt with most of the doubts, fears, hopes, disappointments, and yes, even joys that come with parenting these special children. I love that this book is small enough to carry with me, or place on my nightstand, where I can look to the word of God when I am faced with an emotion I don’t quite know what to do with.
*I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.*