Hope in the Midst of Loss: Beth Weikel
Hope can be defined in many different ways and in different contexts. You can hope to get a good report from a teacher or a doctor’s results. You can hope that a loved one will get well and come home. You can hope that a young son will be safe and come home from his tour in the army. You can hope that there will be peace in the world. How do you deal with hope and not give up your faith when there are many lessons of loss and a year of events as the author relates that will cause anyone to scream, yell, cry, should and feel anger in every fiber of her body.
The “season of loss that her husband, Dave, and I ( in her words) had been walking through with the Lord has brought layer after layer of events that rocked us and our world.” They are no longer the same two people. Their oldest son Ian, went off to fight in Iraq and never made it home alive. Her daughter-in-law left the army to give birth to their first grandchild. Later she would discover something about herself that would cause her to need medical attention. Learning about her son’s death followed and was traumatic. How do you deal with the rawness of grief? God is with us every step of the way and within this book the author relates many scriptures, verses and important devotionals to help show you that God is there to bring you through. His heart, mind and light always shine. “When we come before God in our pain we gradually realize something profound.” This gook answers many questions that we all have and will help guide you through rough and difficult times, bring you light and a better understanding of God, yourself and others. At the end of each chapter the author asks you to reflect on the chapter by thinking about the answers to the questions that she poses. Hope the author states is a treasure of the gospel message in its fullest dimension. She gives examples from the Bible of this definition. The chapter deals with what is hope and what is it not and other questions to think about regarding the definition as she continues with what happens when life unravels in chapter 2. I should add that the book is divided into six sections each focusing on a different challenge that we all face in life: Life in the Unexpected focuses on hope, when life unravels, finding footholds and much more. Adjustments is the second section and deals with what is truth, grieving and reflecting on three years later. The third section is titled Hope Reaches Out, the fourth Relinquishing and Remembering, Transparency and Heart Strings round out all six. From Perspective Still to Making Meaning and the questions that end each chapter or section the author gives readers much to think about. Adding in Bible verses, songs lyrics and her overall love for God and her understanding that he is their for her and protects her on times of loss and joy, the author’s voice is heard loud and clear as she relates her personal experiences and her journey with God each day of her life.
Chapter 21 has several Scriptures that the author shares that made a difference in her walk with the Lord. Sixty is definitely a milestone and the author reflects how she managed to celebrate. The pressure of turning sixty and understanding that everyone reaches it at one time or another the author shares a special surprise in an Italian restaurant the magic words spoken by a grandchild. Imagine a young child wishing you happy birthday, getting the best gift in the world a big hug and coming home to find that there is a party with a circus theme for you to celebrate even more. Ask yourself what types of celebrations would be meaningful for you and answer the questions on page 149 because that next milestone could just be right around the corner. Section five focuses on transparency and God’s Grace in Human Weakness, followed by God’s Grace in Insecure Times which I found quite helpful for many reasons. Courage, hope, love, family support and the joy of knowing that you are not alone are all part of what the author hopes to relate to readers. Whatever religion you worship God is there and He is true and faithful to all of us and you need as I do to never ever give up on Hope in the Midst of Loss. Wherever you are in life and whatever struggles you might encounter you can handle them as long as you embrace God and allow him into your life and follow his words and guidance.
A great question is at the close of this book: How do we become the kind of person God wants us to become as a result of loss? A hard question yet the answers are present within chapter 31 titled Holding Fast. The Lessons of Loss provided me with the understanding of how to deal with losing my sister, my mother in law, my mom, two aunts and my best friend within one year. I still find it hard to comprehend that my sister is gone. This chapter helped me greatly. This is one book that will touch everyone in a different way and will force you to reflect, pause and understand: When life unravels , hopes are dashed, and dreams slip away, our thirst for transcendence rises and longed for intimacy with a God who is there surfaces.” As the author states: As there is a hurt in life I do not have to surrender my hope. Neither do you and nor do I. While your journey into understanding what loss means and how hope plays a part might come to an end after reading this book, your is always changing, new insights and ventures and never give up on HOPE! It will never be too far behind.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/ MJ Magazine