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.
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.*
Steven R. Music kept a secret for decades. His secret was that he had died (due to a severe medication allergy) and seen Heaven. Everyone around him knew that he had spent weeks in a coma and that he came out of that coma a profoundly disabled person. Before he died, he was a SEAL candidate, bound for Annapolis. Afterwards, he was honorably discharged from the Navy on medical grounds. He spent a decade with severe respiratory disease before he was miraculously healed. Even then, he only told a few people about his spiritual journey to the other side of the veil.
I’ve read several books on NDE’s (near death experiences) and they all have many things in common. Musick’s account of going to Heaven is similar to the others in several ways. What’s different about this book, however, is that the last third of the book focuses on how Musick’s NDE changed him, and how we all can be more sensitive to the “Heaven bubbles” (Musick’s term) that happen in our lives. Heaven bubbles happen when the veil that obscures our earthly lives from the spiritual realities around us becomes thin.
I’ve come to believe that Heaven is closer than we think, and this book is a testimony to that assertion. I particularly love the stories that Musick shares about his Heaven bubbles…times when his spiritual eyes were opened and he was able to see a dimension beyond what we can see with our physical eyes.
I really liked this book and recommend it to anyone who wants to feel encouraged about the fact that there are angels in our midst, and that there is more to this life than what we can detect with our physical senses.
* I was given an unpublished proof copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The book will be released on March 7,2017. It is available for preorder on Amazon.com.