Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., is a Presbyterian minister and mother of two boys. As they wrestle on the floor, she enjoys wrestling with her manuscripts. She writes for Huff Post Parents, the TODAY Show Parenting Team, and has been a repeat guest author at in(courage). You can find her on her blog, where she writes about faith and parenting, and on Twitter and Facebook.
Every once in a while you come across a book that should do more than remain on your "one day I'll read it" list. It begs you to create the space for it, and once you do, you can't put it down. Today, I'm writing about such a book.
Face it, our schedules are full and our lives are harried as moms. Especially this time of year, my mind races with internal lists even when I'm not ticking tasks off of my to do list. But there is something sacred about this season that begs us to slow down and notice its wonder, and if we don't, we'll miss it.
The writer of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet is well aware of these whispered invitations to delight in God's presence. But she hasn't noticed them in the quiet glow of Christmas lights. She has noticed them through pain and struggle in her life - through the bitter things.
Writing with boldness and vulnerability, Sara Hagerty invites us into a world - her world - where things are not working out as she'd planned. Her marriage is rocky, her finances are strained, and her infertility leaves her broken. She writes in short vignettes akin to personal journey entries as she seeks God in the darkness.
But in the darkness, she finds a great light. She discovers the bitter things are developing a hunger within her. It's a hunger for a genuine faith relationship with God, one which is rooted in adoration. Yes, in the midst of the darkness, she begins to adore.
It is through adoration that her story becomes so compelling and life changing for her readers. I felt motivated to reach for God in the hardened recesses of my being as I saw her strain for God through her tears. I was inspired to enter into an increasingly intimate conversation with our Creator as I saw Sara do the same - and as I saw God subsequently lift her up.
In the pages of her book, readers will discover the great lengths God will go to to be faithful and answer our every prayer. If you have been feeling listless in your faith relationship, look to Sara's book to ignite a new passion between you and Jesus. If you are hardened or in darkness, reach for its hope.
The gift of faith journaling is that our experience of God's faithfulness will forever live on the page. The gift of Sara's is that now it can also minister to us. Jesus indeed is coming to Earth to be born in a manger this Christmas. By reading Sara's book, he's now even more at home in my heart.
This week on my blog, I'm giving away two free copies of Sara's book. If you are a US resident with a street address for shipping purposes, click here to register before Thursday evening, 12/18, at 7 pm EST.