Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Club! "A Grace Disguised" by Jerry Sittser

Welcome to our very first official Book Club! Pull up an easy chair, your beverage of choice and get ready for some thoughtful discussion.

I heard from Denise the other day that she's already purchased some extra copies of this book because the author "put all my feelings into words." I felt the same way!  The author helped me clarify, identify, and label feelings that lurked so deep inside me that I couldn't see them clearly at the time. Did you find that, too?

This book also helped me answer people's objections to my husband's death and their declarations that it "wasn't fair." I suppose it was chapter 9, "Why Not Me?" that helped me realize "fairness" isn't some integral right that comes with life. Once I faced the fact that it wasn't fair that Bruce died, but neither was it "fair" that in our divorce-prone society I'd had a good marriage in the first place, gratitude flooded in and I felt extremely privileged and blessed to have been granted those years.

I also appreciated his thesis that it's not the experience of widowhood (or any loss) which defines us, it's our response to it. Recovery/returning to "life as it was" is an unrealistic expectation, but transformation can be pursued through the the choices we make and the grace we receive. His loss is so touching, and his writing is so thorough and clear that in mourning his loss, my own grief was able to progress.

But what about you? What did you carry away from this book? How did it change you? Did you object to or disagree with anything? What one helpful thing will you remember? Is this a book you'd recommend to someone before they suffer a loss, immediately after the funeral, or is it better for a few months after?

Feel free to address other questions or simply comment about your experience in reading the book.

Click on the comment line below and type your thoughts in the box that will open up, or email your comments to me at  I have to work several hours today, but I'll try to get them posted as soon as I get home later this afternoon.

Our next Book Club will be in October: From One Widow to Another--Conversations on the New You by Miriam Neff. It's full of practical help and covers vulnerabilities, strengths, relationships and purpose all in mind of your relationship with God. Be sure to tell me if there are other books you'd like to discuss, too!
*If your library doesn't have From One Widow to Another, ask if they would either purchase it or borrow it from another library through inter-library loan. Or if your church has a library, ask them.
*A list of Book Club books and dates will appear here on the side-bar in the near future.


  1. Oh no...I couldn't remember the date of the Book Club and I didn't get a chance to read the book yet. I will be interested to hear what everyone says.

  2. I have not finished the book yet, but I found that it was a bit too heavy for me early on. My sister had read it during my husband's illness and recommended it to me. I intend to finish it at some point.

    I like the idea of not being defined by the loss, but by how we respond to it.

  3. I'm not sure anyone else got a chance to read it either, Wendy! lol So you're stuck with just my comments so far (but they're pretty good!) It's a really good book, and I can see it becoming a classic in the grief arena.
    Joannah--with just losing Michael in the spring I agree it might have been too heavy. I received this book as a gift from a missionary lady who'd been in a car accident when she was younger and lost her parents. She gave it to me a few months after my loss and suggested I wait a while to read it. After what you said, I think she gave me some good advice. Thank you both for sharing. :)

  4. I found so many things to be true as I read this book. I was connected right away. A line that caught my attention wha this comparison of grief to floodwater is on page 27, "like floodwaters refusing to subside, finds every crack and crevice of the human spirit to enter and erode." Having experienced a flooded home and sifting through the muck, a person finds the muck in everything. It is left behind by the raging waters. Our loss as he discusses changes us. It can destroy us or as I like to think about it "fertilize" us another similarity to flood water. We can use it to make us stronger and is gives us more appreciation for this life and the life to come.
    The present is a huge challenge since we are in a way relearning how we live and who we are. The emotions are in constant turmoil and easily go from sadness to hope and the many others that he discusses. This book is enlightening, but I would agree with the other discussions that it is most useful at a later time and not when the fog is still heavy. I have purchased it for several friends not only for them to get a sense to understand what I often feel or think, but also to help them with losses they have had and will have in their lives. I did get frustrated that the assurance that we have in eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus took awhile to get to in the book. I am glad that he finally put it in during the final chapters. Without Jesus, we have no hope!


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