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When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances (Pilgrimage Growth Guide) [Kindle Edition]

Carol J. Kent
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Join author and speaker Carol Kent as she shares her personal story of unshakable faith in unthinkable circumstances in this interactive DVD curriculum.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When the phone call came at 12:35 a.m., a bleary-eyed Kent listened as her husband passed on the unbelievable news that their son, a United States Naval Academy graduate and Navy lieutenant, had shot and killed his wife's ex-husband. During those first few hours after receiving the harrowing news, major decisions, both legal and financial, needed to be made quickly. So began the Kents' two-and-a-half-year journey that led to the trial, conviction and sentencing of their son for first-degree murder. Kent (Tame Your Fears; Becoming a Woman of Influence; Secret Longings of the Heart), whose position as President of Speak Up Speaker Services made her the family's primary breadwinner, had no option but to continue working and speaking throughout this ordeal. She wondered if people would even want her as a speaker if they knew she was the mother of a murderer. Using a biblical story from Genesis 22 where God asked Abraham to literally "lay down his Isaac" as a sacrifice and then intervened at the last moment, Kent prayed for a similar miraculous outcome for her son. She shares her story with a transparency and vulnerability that readers will find both disarming and bracing. The Kent family's ongoing fight against despair and hopelessness is fittingly paired with their resolute faith in God's ability to transform even the most crushing circumstances into something good.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"The Genesis story of God ordering Abraham to slay his only son, Isaac, is the basis for the title of this true story. It was written by the mother of an only child who, at age 25, after an exemplary life as an honor student, Annapolis graduate, and naval officer, shot and killed his wife's ex-husband. From this unthinkable circumstance and the life sentence that followed, the author and her husband faced emotional and spiritual trials that are described with gut-wrenching immediacy and humility. Carol Kent's narrative skill and desire to help people in trouble are obvious in her mature, straightforward telling of her own tragedy." 
T.W. © AudioFile Portland, Maine

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book about surrender, and the lessons it can teach August 2, 2004
In some theoretical realm we all know that life can change drastically in an instant --- a slip on the ice, a freak accident. But most white-collar, suburban churchgoers do not expect the message that Carol Kent and her husband received in October 1999, just a few weeks after she had mused, "Does life get any better than this?" (Their careers --- directing a national Christian speakers' bureau --- were on track. Their only son --- an earnest Christian, a navy lieutenant --- was married and the stepfather to two young daughters, whom they enjoyed grandparenting.) The devastating news? That their son, Jason, was in jail, charged with the first-degree murder of his wife's ex-husband --- a crime witnessed by several bystanders. With this as the book's setting, you quickly understand the subtitle "Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances."

As may be obvious, the book's title is drawn from the biblical story of Abraham, who was willing to give up all claim to his son Isaac. It is a book about surrender and the paradoxical lessons it can teach. "There is hidden power in our unthinkable circumstances," she says. Subtitles of the eight chapters outline the journey: "The Power of Unthinkable Circumstances;...of Relinquishment;...of Heartache;...of Community;... of Hope;...of Faith;...of Joy;...of Speaking Up."

The narrative, which includes quotes from journals of Carol and her husband, draws the reader into the depths of parental wipeout but without dragging the reader through detailed specifics of the author's own circumstance. It is, at the same time, a very personal and yet impersonal story.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help and Hope July 6, 2004
Carol Kent not only shares her inexpressible pain over the sudden change/loss in her life due to her only child's arrest for murder, she also takes time to encourage her readers to look into their own lives for the Isaac they may need to lay down--or to reflect on the one they already have. I was brought to tears as I read about her suffering--always shared in a noble and authentic way--so like the Carol I have heard speak and teach. I was able to ponder my own loss, the Isaac that I was called to lay down 25 years ago. A new level of inner healing occurred. I recommend this book to everyone and anyone who is ready for God's mercy and comfort in the midst of sorrow.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous depth. August 26, 2005
Carol Kent has a deep, honest walk with the Lord that does not settle for cliches or easy answers. Her years of study and work as a teaching leader in Bible Study Fellowship probably explains why her book rings true beyond the typical mush that the Christian Booksellers Ass'n churns out. I don't know Carol personally but I do know a couple of her friends and they know what it means to suffer, to question, and come to the point where what matters isn't the "answers" but Him and only Him. I grieve over what Carol's family and her son's family have had to endure, but I am so profoundly grateful that Carol journaled through the tragedy and put the raw truth and the magnificent insights into a book. This book will be a classic and should go into multiple printings. It will be read for decades to come.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Love Giving, Mind Altering, Life Changing Book December 1, 2004
By Susan
I bought this book on a Thursday morning and finished it within a handful of days. It is the story of the author's son murdering another man and God's work throughout this life shattering tragedy. God's timing for having me read it was incredible. Perhaps it is your time to read this book.

Carol Kent's writing of her family's true life tragedy manages to express both gutwrenching raw honesty with promises of hope and God's true love conquering all. Conquering ALL- rarely can we speak in absolutes and yet she reminds us that God's love conquers ALL. Like me, you will be grateful for the gift of her writing and the courage she displays in sharing her family's story.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HOPE... when circumstances don't make sense... July 13, 2004
By A Customer
This is for those who are on a journey that they did not choose.
It's also for those who love someone in the midst of horrific will help you know how to be a support and remain supportive for the long haul.
A practical, gripping, personal, honest and sobering story of Gods presence in a fallen world.
No matter why you read it, you will be challenged to be willing to release what you love to the One who loves you more.
It's a pretty quick read. You will not regret reading this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book will turn you inside out. It is the core of the power of faith. You will be challenged. Tested. That reveals a gift from God - a gift of one mother pouring out her heart, revealing the gift from God, that is ultimately for all of our hearts - in reminding us that faith is ACTION, not passive. Out of the pew and into the battle for souls.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars National Coverage November 24, 2004
I read When I Lay My Isaac Down and was absolutely amazed at not only the story but also the help it gave me in my every day life. I recommended it to everyone I know, and then I saw the author, Carol Kent, on MSNBC last night. She reminded me of the power of her story and message and, in turn, I wanted to remind all the women out there: read this book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring
Carol inspires because of the way she tells her story of her only son. Even as we grieve we lay our Issac s down knowing God is in control.
Published 3 hours ago by Ricky Sellers
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to help you navigate tough circumstances.
This book came highly recommended by a Christian therapist and also our church's director of women's ministry. Read more
Published 6 hours ago by J. Abney
1.0 out of 5 stars unfortunate
It seems a by product of our modern day church that we expect easy and comfortable lives. The losses that the Kents faced were those of a hope or idea of what their own and their... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Jenni Jessen
5.0 out of 5 stars Victory in the Face of the Unthinkable
The unthinkable happened to Christian writer and speaker Carol Kent and her husband: Their wonderful son and only child, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, a husband, and a... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Barbara Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars This is One Book You MUST Read!!
Reading this book was very raw and very helpful at the same time. Our only son was involved in some sexual sin when he was 16 and 17 and is now incarcerated for 10 years. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cynthia Shelton
5.0 out of 5 stars When I Lay My Isaac Down - CD's
This item was received in very good condition. I have been listening to the CD's. I love it. Very touching story that provides hope for those of us relinquishing control of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Connie
4.0 out of 5 stars Transparent and thought-provoking.
It was written with real transparency and gave specific bullet points at the end of each chapter to challenge the reader along their journey of laying down Isaac. Loved it.
Published 2 months ago by Dina Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but sad
To start, this book helped me to remember there is always someone out there worse off than me. Also it helped me to see that God is in control & I should never forget to trust Him... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Debra Tufford
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book about laying it all down at Jesus' feet
One of those books that really speaks to the heart about making sure you totally give it all to God. He is in control, He is sovereign, and He is good all the time. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding Writing in Capturing Life's Pain and The Solution...
Everyone has a challenge in their life. When I Lay My Isaac down addresses so many areas of what we must face. It kept the commitment of reinforcing unshakeable faith. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Judy D. White
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More About the Author

Carol Kent is a popular international public speaker best known for being dynamic, humorous, encouraging, and biblical. Founder of Speak Up With Confidence (a communications training seminar), Speak Up Speaker Services (a speakers bureau), and Speak Up for Hope (a prison ministry), Carol is an expert on public speaking, on writing, and on encouraging people to hold on to hope when life's circumstances turn out differently from their dreams.

Carol has spoken internationally in South Africa, Germany, Bulgaria, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Guatemala, Mexico, and Canada. She regularly appears on a wide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts.

She entered the public eye with the story of her only son's imprisonment for murder, a journey she shared in the powerful book, When I Lay My Isaac Down. This painful experience has led Carol and her husband, Gene, down a long road of sacrifice and redemption.

Carol holds a master's degree in communication arts and a bachelor's degree in speech education. Her bestselling books include: A New Kind of Normal (starred review in Publishers Weekly), When I Lay My Isaac Down (winner of Christian Retailers Choice Award), Becoming a Woman of Influence, Mothers Have Angel Wings, Secret Longings of the Heart, Tame Your Fears, Speak Up With Confidence, and Detours, Tow Trucks, and Angels in Disguise (all NavPress). She has also co-written with Karen Lee-Thorp the Designed for Influence Bible Studies (six books in the series, NavPress). Carol was the co-author and general editor of the Kisses of Sunshine Series of five books (Zondervan). Her articles have been published in a wide variety of magazines and in on-line resources.

Her new book, Between a Rock and a Grace Place, will be released by Zondervan in October. This book is the ongoing story of her journey with her son and it includes riveting letters he wrote from behind the razor wire of a maximum security prison. It also addresses the felt needs of people who hurt, and instills a surprisingly new way of thinking, leaving readers irresistibly drawn to see God's astonishing "grace places" in the middle of their roadblocks.

To book Carol for speaking engagements, or for information on her itinerary, or go to Join Carol on Facebook, follow her on Twitter@carolkentspeaks, or read her blog on the above website.

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