MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

ISBN: 9781601425195
Publisher's Synopsis:
On the other side of heartbreak, a story of hope rises. 
On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.

In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.” With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.

This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.

MrsK's Review:
When the publisher offered this journey, I recognized a small voice within my heart that whispered... you must read it to know, read to understand, and read to get this in someone's hands.

 "I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. 
Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, 
and only one came home…."

How often does a book's forward really begin your journey? Glennon Doyle Melton began my journey with this heart-warming prayer of understanding and hope:
"Help them. And please help me find the strength and faith that they have.
Help me mother like Anna does. Help me to believe like she does.
Help my son learn what her son knew. Help my daughters trust God and persevere like Anna's daughter does."

As a reviewer, I too have glimpsed the essence of Anna's heart. This memoir is a gift so beautifully wrapped, so eloquently composed, and so truthfully exposed that my spirit trembled with a desire to bring honor to this woman of faith. If you have ever wondered how Christians walk through the tough times of living, this is the journey that will resonate deep within your heart and soul. Christians are not promised a life "free" from hardships, moments of doubt or anger, weakness, heartache, or gut-wrenching truth. Christians are promised that they will not walk alone! This journey will inspire a kinship with Anna. It will unveil a mother's love. It can strengthen your resolve with your personal path. Most definitely, it will bring about a clarity to everything you are experiencing at this moment in time.
For nothing is impossible with God.
Luke 1:37 
This was Jack's special Bible verse. This verse provided a promise to "cling" to, a hope that Anna would not be forgotten in her sorrow. A sorrow that began on a rainy day, on the day that their creek became a raging river. As a mother my heart began pounding when I read Anna's words, memories reminded me of my small son's face as he walked in the shallows and quickly disappeared beneath the water. My life was changed and I knew that Anna's would never be the same as I read of her frantic search for her beautiful son. Even though my son had a blue haired angel that dove in for him, Anna's story is filled with moments that Heaven was watching out for all of them. Moments in which her faith will give her the boldness to "reveal" the anguish within her soul. Moments in which her answers from Heaven will be in a song, a text message, and through the dreams of others.

For I know the plans I have for you...
Jeremiah 29:11 
 Within our pain and brokenness, our humanness seeks His goodness. Anna's faith is strong enough to ask the hardest questions of God. Questions that so often we try to quiet because we are trying to fit God's wisdom into our grief. What Anna taught me is that God is big enough to handle our anger, and that He is true to His word...His promises. We do not walk alone!

"Are we so rooted in the here and now that we treat Heaven just as some insignificant, distant reward?"
 Anna's struggle with God's plan for Jack is an inspiring moment of truth between a mother's heart, soul, and aching desire to know that her son is in a better place than here with her. As Anna's honesty pours forth, we are given the opportunity to experience grief as it longs for comfort. In no way will this beautifully crafted conversation leave you with a heavy heart, you will know the peace of His understanding.

My words can not portray the beauty of this woman's heart, soul, and motherhood. I can only hope that I have given you enough courage to take this journey for yourself, for your loved ones, and for your friends. 

Take a moment to experience this gift and then share it,
  A journey for your heart. A must read, share, and discuss.
Excellent for book clubs, definitely will be shared at the Booked to Dine book club.
 Meet the Author:
  Anna Whiston-Donaldson holds a master's degree in English from Wake Forest University. She taught high school English and photojournalism for six years. Currently, she is popular blogger and manages a Christian bookstore. She lives with her husband, Tim, and daughter, Margaret, in suburban Washington, DC.

"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."
 Convergent Books Logo

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