Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Review: The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen

Lisa Gungor and her husband Michael were stars of the Christian music scene. They knew what they believed and their path through life seemed all figured out. But Lisa's certainty crashed into pieces the day her husband admitted he didn't believe in God anymore. They faced intense backlash from their church, their fans, and their families when they were honest about their doubts. When their second daughter was born with Down syndrome and needed several surgeries in her first few months of life, she wondered if she could ever find her way back to faith.

The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen will be familiar to many readers who found that their early faith couldn't hold up to the pain and brokenness of the world. But it is also a very personal confession. Lisa even bookends her memoir with letters to her mother, sharing her grief for the way they have been separated over the years and highlighting the choices she understands now as a mother herself. She lays out the entire story of her life: the churches her family attended, listening to her parents fight, the first time she went on a date with her husband Michael, and the need to find new people when her family and church told her she was no longer welcome.

This is not a story where everything is resolved by the end; instead it is one woman's experience of an expanding mind and heart. It can be frightening for us to realize our core beliefs have changed, but Lisa explains with kindness that it feels very much like thinking you were living on a dot only to discover it is actually a line and then a whole circle. The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen is about finding the place somewhere between a handful of friends in your basement and the stage of a megachurch where you can recognize the beauty in the midst of life's pain and admit out loud what you think about love, life, and faith.

The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen:
Opening Your Eyes to Wonder
By Lisa Gungor
Zondervan June 2018
214 pages
Read via Netgalley

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