I may be late to the game, but I recently read Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. Shauna is a Christian author who would undoubtedly be my friend if our real life paths ever crossed. Her book is a series of stories, life experiences and encouragements written within the common themes of change, pain and grace. Shauna’s writing style incorporates humility, humor and faith through the perspective of personal hardship. Shauna touches on everything from marriage, deep lasting friendships, miscarriage, death, travel, writing, and personal failures and accomplishments. This book is a compilation of reflections during a life “season” which proves entirely relatable to this female, Christian, blogger, and thus the basis of our hypothetical friendship. My future book (which may never actually exist) would read similar to Shauna’s, largely due to our shared interests, with the exception of her great love for feeding others and entertaining. You can come over, but I’ll probably just have chips and salsa. As I read Bittersweet, I found myself in her crowd of company and in her deepest sentiments and in the pursuit of her goals. I believe Shauna’s own words will give the best glance into the authentic storyline of a Christian writer living an ordinary life with an extraordinary God:
“This is what I’ve come to believe about change: it’s good in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. By that I mean it’s incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God’s hand, which is where you wanted to be all along, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be.”
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
“Writing wakes me up, lights me on fire, opens my eyes to the things I can never see and feel when I’m hiding under the covers, cowering and consumed with my own failures and fears.”
“I didn’t think either of us were going to cheat or leave, but I was, in my most private, fearful moments, afraid that the damage would be irreparable, and that we would slide into being one of those couples who closed their hearts to one another in the deepest way.”
“Full life is lived when the whole system works together, when rest and home and peace live hand in hand with taste and sparkle and go.”
And I would quote the entire last chapter because it is power, but you’ll just have to read it yourself.
Shauna, thank you for being real and inspiring me to tell my stories, no matter the cost. Thank you for telling your readers, “If you have been transformed by the grace of God, then you have within you all you need to write your manifesto, your poem, your song, your battle cry, your love letter to a beautiful and broken world. Your story must be told.”