on April 28, 2014
Let's first start by saying that I absolutely adore Sarah. I follow her on several social media sites and enjoy the countless pictures,written quotes and blog post that she shares with her following. Before reading this book she evoked incredible change in me that reached my heart and actually made a difference in what I thought about grace and love. Which drove the anticipation of me wanting to read her book. Sarah is a great writer and has alot to contribute to the literary world.
Okay so instead of prolonging this review lets just say....
I am an avid reader and absolutely love stories of redemption which drew me to Sarah's book as well.
However, with the turn of every page like other readers I was pretty confused at what actually took place. I have read many books about redemption and even until this day, my heart is moved and renewed at every thought. I can remember scenes, I can remember crying and my heart breaking at what they had to endure before they overcame or was redeemed, so to me this book lacked in my personal opinion hope and true redemption.
Although I did not experience early motherhood, I did however experience unhealthy relationships. On my journey through recovering from this relationship, my family, friends or even I couldn't help me overcome the insecurities that were left behind after I decided to completely sever that relationship. My only hope was God, no job, no marriage, just me, my Bible and the sweet holy trinity. So it seems to me that Sarah although with the heart to help others overcome, wrote this book to convince herself and others that she had indeed overcome the hurt and insecurities of her past. Not to say that she isn't over what happened to her instead stating that this book seemed more like a session to be had with a therapist and not for a book.
As stated in another comment, this book was full of Sarah-ism's and not enough factual or biblical references that would've made it more relatable. Yes God had never left her but what else happened in between the struggle and redemption? What scriptures kept you on your worst days, What was your alone time with God like? When did you fervently pray? What were some obstacles that you had to face that only God not a promised Job or Family could get you out of? I would have loved to hear more about things like this.
Furthermore, the focal point of Sarah's speaking and ministry seems to be about the fact that she was a teen mom, however, through this book, which chronicles her life from birth to present would not propose that as it barely mentions her relationship with her child or the struggles that came with the demand of a child at 14. In fact after telling the family that she was pregnant, returning to church and a couple of other times, it would be easy for one to forget that her story started at the birth of her son and not her unhealthy relationship with her ex husband.
As much as I wanted to LOVE this book I can't say that I do. While it does a great service to help those that have been in rough relationships understand that it is okay to walk away and choose to love yourself, it did not give me hope, it did not encourage me to love harder and it did not make me want to recommend this book to someone that may have dealt with this issue. Most importantly it did not make me want a closer more intimate relationship with God as alot of other faith based books have.
This book left me with mixed emotions. I expected so much more from Sarah, her blogs are so on point and maybe because they provide practical stories that are not all based around her story. I thought that her book would be more than what it was, so my reasoning for giving this book 3 stars would be because giving anything less would suggest that Sarah's story is irrelevant and that she isn't indeed a good writer when clearly she is.
With a little more life and wisdom, I believe that if Sarah gave it another try a few years from now that she'd nail it.
on April 2, 2014
“Lost and Found” is a story of grace meant to reach those who believe they’re so broken, so ashamed, or so lost that there is no hope. Author Sarah Jakes shares openly about the choices she made throughout her teens in the hope that her readers will learn from her experiences and find hope and restoration in their own circumstances. While her intent is clear, and her desire to share her story for the sake of others is admirable, I felt her message was mixed. But more on that later; here’s what I did like:
Ms. Jakes conveys a number of great insights throughout this book, such as the lie that a façade is easier to live with than the truth and that you’re “in trouble” if you are not free to think, feel, or communicate in a relationship. She sheds light on the vicious cycle of eroding self-value and destructive relationships, and most importantly, she communicates that God’s grace is always available to us- no matter what.
I admire Ms. Jakes for sharing her story and I think she has great wisdom to impart to others who struggle with the belief that they are unworthy of love, or that somehow they’ve made such a mess of life that they can never find freedom. I also think her story will resonate with those who have given up on Christianity either because of the mistaken belief that they just can’t measure up to everyone’s (perceived) expectations or because they grew up “in the church” and learned to resent it for various reasons.
But here’s what I struggled with:
Ms. Jakes is very brief when it comes to sharing the details of her experiences, but she’s quite verbose when it comes to analyzing them. For every paragraph of narration there are probably five paragraphs of rambling, metaphoric introspection that go back and forth between Ms. Jakes either rationalizing her choices or imparting the wisdom of hindsight to her readers. These are two distinct voices- one exploring her self-identity and the other dispensing self-help concepts- but they’re used interchangeably, and this leads to textual incoherency because at times you can’t tell when exactly she switches from rationalizing to advising.
The author also frequently uses confusing terminology that caused me to reread passages several times in an attempt to decode her meaning. Here’s an example:
“I’ve seen so many people lose their way in ministry because they were unwilling to pretend to have it all together.” What does this mean? Is she saying we should pretend to have it all together so we don’t lose our way? I truly don’t think that is her intention, but I didn’t get it (I strongly suspect my understanding of ‘ministry’ [service] differs from hers).
Here’s another example that had me scratching my head:
“Ultimately, in most relationships I think we confuse love and respect. The two are not mutually exclusive, but I had no way of knowing that because I had never known love that didn’t come with respect.” Again, I’m not quite sure what this means, or how it is that we confuse love and respect in most relationships, or how this distinction applied to her circumstances. But I can say that the frequency of rambling, ambiguous, and awkward sentences such as these made for difficult reading. There were also numerous examples of pronoun reference errors throughout the book. Of course, this is as much a reflection on the editing as it is on the author, but I mention it because it did detract from the book overall.
The bottom line for my rating this book less than favorably, however, is that I wasn’t convinced a reader would come away grasping that the love of God is completely and fully life-changing; nor would a reader learn how to bring God her brokenness and pain. I tried to imagine how a young woman caught in a web of her own poor choices and a tragic search for love would truly find hope- let alone redemption- when she reads Sarah Jakes’ conclusion that, “In the end the ministry I tried to outrun most of my life is what saved me.” (There’s that word again!) Ultimately, Ms. Jakes found a sense of purpose and wholeness when she began working for her (famous and very wealthy) parents’ in their various church-backed enterprises. The redemption is her own achievement; she redeemed her past when she discovered she was able to offer something to others. I don’t think she intended this conclusion at all, but its there, and it blurs the true meaning of redemption, making her story sound like a journey of self-actualization rather than a journey of deliverance. To be fair, Ms. Jakes does acknowledge that God’s grace was always available to her, and that accepting her imperfections and God’s love was life-changing- but the message is mixed. What really comes through most powerfully is that she was saved from a painful life by her parents’ unconditional love, the opportunities they offered her, and her discovery of purpose, rather than a revelation of God’s love, his mercy, and His transforming power.
I absolutely hate to be critical of what is clearly a courageous and genuine desire to help others by being transparent and honest- but when I think of young women I know who are in destructive relationships or a pit of bad choices they can’t seem to pull out of, I can’t help but think that they would say upon reading this book, “I can really relate to what Sarah went through, how she felt, and why she did what she did. It’s nice for Sarah Jakes that she has a loving, strong and wealthy family to rescue her…but I don’t.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
on April 2, 2014
When I saw the title of this book in my email list I did not pay attention to the last name of the author. I just saw the first name. It was a story of a single teen mom and I was very interested to read more about it. I came to find out that the author is T.D. Jakes' daughter. I am familiar with some of his books but I have never heard of his daughter.
So in this book Sarah Jakes is sharing about her childhood that ended when she was 13. She got pregnant and had a child when she was 14. She went to a private school, graduated, entered college where she fell in love with an athlete. He turned out to be a cheater. She stuck with him, married him, fought for him for years. The book ends with her divorcing him.
The story frequently goes off to lyrical digression to describe what pain, fear, doubt etc are and how they influence our decisions. Relationships with men are the main focus of the book. There is very little said about raising children, working on career or developing relationship with God. There is very little about seeking God but there are a lot of details about the cheater, his texts with mistresses, his children outside of marriage. It gets really long and boring. How did God actually help Sarah Jakes? He gave her great parents who helped her above and beyond. I doubt she would be so accomplished today without them. I was hoping to read some powerful testimony but I found everything very predictable. What did I learn from this book? I am afraid not much. I am not even convinced that the author is actually found yet.. Divorce is not the happy end to me and definitely not a destination.
I am very glad I did not have to buy this book, it is too expensive for the content.
P.S. I received this book for free from Bethany House for my honest opinion.
on June 1, 2014
My mother and I listened to this ear torture in the car because it was a book club selection for the previous month. Not only was it a terrible choice for her to read her own book, but the story itself was not redeeming or inspiring in any way until about the last chapter. And that is up for debate. It was full of melodrama disguised as this "grace" she keeps mentioning but nearly completely glosses over. My mother concluded that this was an adolescent book but I believe that insults the intelligence of adolescents.
on May 10, 2014
Bishop TD Jakes is the pastor of a mega-church in Texas, comprised of 30,000 people in multiple campuses. I'll be honest; I've heard his name before but am really not familiar with his ministry.
So when I chose to review this book, it was because I love to hear testimony of God's redeeming grace in others' lives. It was NOT because I'm a superfan of the Jakes family. I really didn't know anything about them before I read this book.
Sarah Jakes is the daughter of this well-known pastor. Once the church boomed during her childhood, she grew up in the "fishbowl" known as a pastor's family. She was under the spotlight.
I have to say that it was brave of her to write this book, chronicling her many, many poor decisions. It would be hard to admit (let alone let the entire world read) your stupid mistakes.
But can I just stop right there and say it was one of the most depressing Christian books I've ever read?
Here's a very quick synopsis:
She was pregnant at age 13, gave birth to a little boy at 14, finished high school early at age 16, went on to college. Met a boy at college who was not good for her, but she wouldn't let that relationship go even though it was obviously unhealthy (he was unfaithful from the beginning)...Ended up living with him. He became a pro football player after college. They married. They had kids. He was unfaithful. A lot. She apparently cussed him out, a lot (though no cussing was present in the book). They got divorced. The end.
See what I mean? The subtitle of the book is "Finding HOPE in the Detours of Life." But the only "hope" she seems to present is divorce.
At the very end of the book, she divorces him, and is now working at her parents' church. Because she couldn't make godly decisions while married to her husband?
Our God is a God of reconciliation and redemption. Those things are beautiful. He is powerful, and His Spirit should change us from the inside out. And yet all I see in this memoir is SIN - SIN - SIN - SIN - DIVORCE - ALL BETTER.
Where is God in that?
And I think that's why, after I turned the last page on this book, I was so very sad for Sarah Jakes. Because while she did challenge the world to be transparent about their struggles, she never did challenge the world to be HOLY in the midst of their struggles. And that, friends, is a waste of a book.
*Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. All opinions are mine, and I was not compensated monetarily for the review.*
on April 14, 2014
This book was very disappointing and not at all what I expected. I did not find it inspirational. It was chaotic and drama filled from start to end.
I realize the author's intent was to be vulnerable and transparent, but it seemed like she was counseling herself in most of the chapters. I did feel for her, being a prominent pastor's daughter, pregnant and unmarried and the stigma she faced with all of that.
However, much of the book felt very "self promoting" as readers are constantly reminded of her family's accomplishments and successes. For as many times as Sarah writes about wanting to be "just Sarah" and not recognized as a "Jakes", she then turns around and writes about the family's success story.
The very first page, second sentence, comments on her father being featured in Time magazine as the next Billy Graham. The very next sentence talks about their church being the fastest growing church in the nation. And then the name dropping begins.......Oprah, Aretha Franklin.........the first page of the book has very little to do with Sarah's story at all.
At one point, it felt like a reality TV show in print, as she described being angry at her fiance', taking off her jewelry and getting ready to brawl. I was concerned for her young son throughout most of the book, wondering where he was during all of this drama, and WHO was caring for him? Not just physically, but emotionally.
I found myself aching for a baby boy who seemed to be taking second place to his mother's relationships. The baby appears to be an afterthought, while the dysfunctional relationships with men are front and center in just about every chapter.
I was REALLY concerned, when as a married woman, Sarah takes off after her cheating husband and his girlfriend, leaving the two children sleeping in the house.
This "story" wasn't anything new, fresh or inspiring. It doesn't clearly lead readers in the direction of God as far as what it means to walk with Him, be in a relationship with Him and turn your life around.
It's mainly about a privileged young woman who rebels, and has her family backing her up, no matter how poor her choices. Regardless of how many bad decisions she makes, she is constantly bailed out by her family, who she eventually ends up working for.
Her version of "single divorced mom" is much different than most single moms I know. While Sarah definitely had her struggles, I think most young women who are truly struggling will find it hard to relate to this particular "Cinderella" story.
I would suggest checking this out from your local library, instead of wasting your money.
on May 3, 2014
I mean no disrespect to the author or her situation(s), but since she wrote the book and is selling it, I will write an honest review. There were 2 good ways to write this book -- very sensational with details of her situation(s) OR write it in a very spiritual way. She chose neither. There is no mention of the oldest child's father or what was missing in her life that led her to become sexually active and have a baby very young. I would like to understand, so I can possibly help my teenagers to make a different decision. And I seriously got tired of her staying with a man who was so abusive when her family was right there to help. Most girls do not have family support nor do they grow up with nannies and housekeepers doing their laundry -- or a mom who delivers a house full of furniture, including a leather couch. I have no clue who can relate to this book.
on April 21, 2014
I struggled with writing this review because I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, I didn't. I am glad that she shared her struggles and disappointments. She was revealed many more personal details than I would ever be brave enough to do. She was forthright, candid, but convoluted. Her writings would go back and forth between something she described as happening, then she would give more details about it and its relationship to her future, then leap back to the story. It wasn't difficult to follow, but after the tenth or so time it became a little annoying.
The thing that made me nearly put this book down was one sentence: I don't believe that you can lose your salvation. Really...so I'm puzzled as to whether she felt that she was still saved in the midst of fornicating, cussing, fighting, and lying. I'll go one better there is absolutely nothing in this book concerning a religious conversion experience or coming to know Jesus as her Lord and savior. There were some sentences about God always being there, but I didn't see anything that would make me comfortable giving this book to someone that was struggling in their walk with God. Maybe she took for granted that we would know she "found Jesus", but a good editor should have caught that glaring omission in a book filled with vivid details.
on May 7, 2014
This book was a HUGE disappointment. I was interested in reading this book because I thought it would be interesting to read about the life of a pastor's daughter who was a teenage mother. Most of the book chronicles why she made certain bad life choices and how her parents fixed things. This book was filled with drama, drama, drama. Frankly I can't believe someone actually published this book. It has to be one of the worst Christian books I have ever read. At the end of this book I was saddened. Saddened because the author spends the majority of the time trying to promote her father T.D. Jakes' ministry instead of speaking about the great glory of God. This book shouldn't really be considered a "Christian" book because she does NOT point the reader to Christ in any way shape or form. Please note that I did receive a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for this honest review.
on April 12, 2014
I saw her on Dr Phil and was inspired to read her book. Very good life analogies but too much of that and not enough story telling about her life events. But something I would recommend my daughter read who is in high school.