Review done by Kimmie Ledesma author of Mommy RN blog to visit her site Click here
A couple of months ago, I was asked by Heather to read her new book, Waiting for Heaven: Finding Beauty in the Pain and the Struggle and give my perspectives on it. Of course, I said yes and within a week I received an autographed copy of her book, a keepsake of one tiny mustard seed in a glass bottle, and a sweet message encouraging me on in the building of God’s kingdom. I am so very honored to have had the privilege to read and digest this book and I hope that as you read my review you will also be blessed and inspired to go purchase your own personal copy at your nearest bookstore or online at www.amazon.com (digital and hardback copies available). Proceeds of her book will benefit Bowen’s Hope---a foundation with the purpose to help children with kidney disease and their families and help put an end to Polycystic Kidney Disease.
Beauty for Ashes: a book review
“God is good, God is love; He has a plan even though I don’t understand it.” I have heard this message throughout my life in various sermons, seminars, and have even found this truth to be accurate from my own personal life experiences that I have been through in my walk with the Lord. However, that statement has taken on an even deeper meaning since seeing faith lived out by the lovely Heather Gillis and her husband Mac in their up-close and personal story of Waiting for Heaven: Finding Beauty in the Pain and the Struggle.
Beauty and suffering...talk about an oxymoron, right? And yet, one cannot ignore or escape that universal law that governs everything about human beings and the world in which they live. Even nature itself displays this—a seedling has to die before it can become something new, the butterfly is only beautiful because of what it endured inside a dark and suffocating cocoon, and muscles can only grow and become stronger after literally tearing apartthe fibers strand by strand. This is a difficult truth to accept—let alone appreciate—isn’t it? I’ll admit it---it was not a truth that I easily came to terms with and something I have definitely wrestled with in the past.
I've been asked about this many times by others over the years. After all, how can this injustice not beg the question that if God truly loved the world then why does He allow pain, suffering, and sin? Further to that, how can God barge in and be the “hero” of our circumstances “saving” us from this peril when He could have just prevented the event(s) in the first place? Why design a world with even the option of evil? Wars, terrorism, plagues, cancer, suffering, corruption, pain, perversion, etc…it seems so incredibly overwhelming. How does one look even one of these “giants of evil” in the face and say with confidence that “God is good. God is love; and He has a plan even though I don’t understand it”? How do we reconcile the love of God and the current fallen situation we find ourselves in--humans held captive within a world bound by a curse? What can be done to cope during life-changing trials and devastating struggles?
Heather Gillis eloquently and transparently gives the reader an insight into her and Mac’s lives as they navigate and tackle many of these same questions head-on. The book is autobiographical in nature yet has the beautiful blend of inspiration/devotional-like moments that provide the opportunity for deep pondering for the reader. While reading this book, one cannot help but be taken away into the world of the Gillis family traveling along the time-line of events that make up their story before, during and after the life of baby Bowen—their dear son who lived for 13 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Tears flowed freely more than a few times while reading this book. Over my career as a NICU RN, I have unfortunately seen more than a few parents lose their infant children. While I grieve with the parents during those experiences, I never realized until this book what is truly going on in the parent’s hearts and minds when they can’t be with their infant and the entire grieving process that follows after their beloved infant is gone. I feel very honored and incredibly grateful that Heather and Mac would be willing to so openly share their family’s story, their raw emotions, the high and low points, and all stages of their grieving process. The most intriguing part of this book was that alongside of sharing their story, Heather heroically challenges the idea that just because pain and suffering occurs does not mean that God is not love.
Heaven—life eternal with Jesus—is the hope of every believer. This hope is made that much more tangible and meaningful after 'watching' the Gillis family stand for faith through various storms and trials shared in this book. For the first time in a very long time, I was reminded and inspired to re-examine my own faith and to throw myself head-long into an even stronger hope that heaven is real, Jesus will make all things right, and even though I don’t understand everything I know that God will restore what has been lost.
If you find yourself questioning your faith, lost in life or purpose, struggling with working through loss and grieving or perhaps someone you care about—or care for—is going through these things, this book is an absolute must-read. Furthermore, I believe that this book should be required reading for every Neonatologist and Neonatal professional (in fact all medical professionals could benefit from this book) if for no other reason that to be encouraged and inspired all over again as to why we do what we do and better serve our clients and their families going through loss.
Last, but not least, to read this book is to fall in love with sweet baby Bowen. As much as this story is Heather’s and Mac’s, it’s also a testimony of the all too short life of Bowen and the impact he has had—and continues to have!—on so many. His loss of life to Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) was not for nothing. The dedication, passion, love, courage, and commitment of Bowen’s parents, his siblings, and the thousands of supporters who have come alongside them is a testimony that no matter how awful one’s circumstances may be, there is one thing that can be counted on—God is good. God is love; and He has a plan even if we don’t understand it. That is the message of Bowen’s life and my prayer is that as you read this book that you too will be reminded of that truth, cling to it, and allow God to use your life to further His kingdom.
*****this book is available on www.amazon.com in both digital and hardback copies. Get yours today and a few extras for gifts!!! Visit Heather's website for more information and contact info at www.bowenshope.com
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