Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finding the Good in Grief by John E. Baggett - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Kregel Publications)
When his son was diagnosed with a disabling mental illness, John F. Baggett experienced a journey of grief unlike any other—a grief for the loss of all his son would never be and that he, as a father, would never experience.  Through that difficult period he learned that grief—by whatever definition and for whatever reason—can be a time of momentous spiritual struggle: it is no smooth sailing even for faithful Christians.  How then can believers navigate the struggles of faith that so often accompany personal tragedy?

Finding the Good in Grief is both a practical and inspirational guide that teaches readers to learn, change, and grow through their grief. In five stages, Baggett demonstrates how to:
  • Trust God and rely on others
  • Choose reality instead of illusion
  • Resist the temptation to get stuck
  • Recognize moments of grace
  • Discover new meaning and purpose
Finding the Good in Grief will help Christians successfully negotiate faith struggles that often accompany the different stages of grief and will encourage them to find and develop spiritual resources to survive their darkest days of emotional turmoil.  Most of all, it will guide them to understand that God does have the power to transform events of radical suffering and to use them for good in our lives.

My Thoughts:
Denial, even if it is expressed as religious hope, is a type of unfaith.  It is a refusal to face reality, the reality of God’s universe where pain and suffering are a part of life.  It is an unwillingness to acknowledge and respond in faith to our unique, tragic experiences, as God in compassion intends for us to do.”  (p. 41)

John Baggett writes with poignant honesty about suffering and the choices we can make when tragedy strikes.  No matter if it is your life that has received an unexpected blow, or if it is a family member or friend, this book MUST be in your library!  The chapters contain personal stories  and the resulting responses to life tragedy.  Sometimes healing comes easily, and sometimes it comes over years of painful struggle.  The true constant in each story is God’s incredible faithfulness in every single instance!

The end of each chapter contains a series of though-provoking questions.  I think it would make a great way to journal with guidance.  I think this book offers healing opportunities galore for everyone who comes to this book with an open heart and an open mind to receive God’s blessings of comfort and healing. 

Maybe your tragedy is recent.  Perhaps it is years in your past.  It really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you take the first step beyond the pain and seek what God has planned for your life.  Your life, and the lives of those you love will be so BLESSED with the wisdom found in the pages of this book!

The author doesn’t presume to tell anyone the “best” way to deal with tragedy.  He simply shares what he has learned in the midst of his own life circumstances and the lives of others who have walked this very unexpected path.  God is faithful – and in that alone rests the hope and strength everyone needs to get through to the other side.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough!! IT IS AMAZING!!! Go! Buy a copy for yourself  and a copy to share!

About the Author:
Rev. Dr. John F. Baggett (MA, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is a pastor, counselor, and mental health professional who has served as a United Methodist pastor in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Chicago for more than a decade. He has served as executive director of The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of North Carolina and as director of The North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. A member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, the Association of Christian Therapists, and other pastoral associations, Baggett is the author of Seeing Through the Eyes of Jesus and a contributing author to the Handbook of Mental Health Administration and Management. 

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