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Beautiful Nate: A Memoir of a Family's Love, a Life Lost, and Heaven's Promises Paperback – January 10, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
Dennis Mansfield helped lead the fight for traditional family values for almost two decades while working in association with Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and the Promise Keepers movement. In 2009 he helped form 8:4 Pictures, where he writes and works as an executive producer.
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Most readers of mine know that my life has been impacted by the addictions of another, so I knew going in that I would relate to that aspect of the story. What I didn't expect was that the book would take me down memory lane when it came to coming to faith in Christ in the Jesus Movement of the 1970's and then maturing in Christ in the years to follow. Although my children are long since grown, it made me consider choices I made as a parent when they were at home. It even made me remember some of my favorite worship songs from decades ago (the author and his son both became friends with the widow of Keith Green, a favorite artist of mine). It also served as a reminder that following the rules, even rules of evangelical Christianity, does not guarantee a particular outcome. We can never be perfect. Not a one of us.
A beautiful, heart-wrenching, uplifting story. I recommend it.
My dad's voice was solemn. 'I didnt know whether you had seen it yet or not, but I need to tell you something. In the obituaries this morning...I saw Nate. He died.'
Shock. Tears. 'No, no, oh.....Dennis.....oh no....oh no. No, Dennis, Im so sorry.' This was my internal dialogue. I turned to my mom in tears. 'Mom!? Nate's dead.' She looked up in shock and horror, and then quickly her face morphed into grief and she sobbed. We both loved him.
Things I Remember about Nate:
I grew up playing soccer with Nate. He was the superior player. We had the same thirst for the back of the net. He just had the ability to quench his more regularly than I. His father, our coach, was fantastic. Our team did very well, for many years.
Nate was the boy on the field I wanted to be. He had the speed, agility, and ability to strike that no goalie could stop. His father, Dennis Mansfield--my coach, my friend, brought out the best in men. I don't know why Nate had to go this way. His Dad, Daddio, is the best of fathers and yet it was not enough. Each man is ultimately responsible for himself and must be willing to surrender his will to God if he wants life. Its an odd thing--give up your life to keep it (your earthly desires). Nate didn't do this on earth. So God took him--too soon for me, too soon for Nate's incredible family, but God did take him. Nate was saved.
From the Book:
'If I said I loved Mom and yet cheated on her throughout the twenty-seven years of our marriage, you would rightly question the validity of my beliefs. Saying something doesn't make it so. Not in marriage and not in life. Living it makes it so.' - Dennis Mansfield (a letter to his son Nate on December 1st, 2009)
Dennis tried to get Nate to realize his actions needed to catch up with his beliefs. We can't believe in God and push Him away, doing whatever we want, hurting ourselves and those around us, and not expect eventually the consequences to consume us. Insanity, Jail, Death: these are the fruits of a life lived in opposition to God. Nate had a heart for God, but he would not follow it in his adult years. Satan knew Nate's potential and won the battle against Nate on earth. But Satan will lose the war. And in Nate's case Satan already has lost. Nate is in Heaven. Dennis and his family have picked themselves up, brushed off the dust, and stepped further into the ring. Satan won that battle but once again the Mansfield's won't stop. And each time a blow comes they grow stronger--sharpened for the next battle here on earth. Sharpened and ready to reap fruit for God, to send sofas on to heaven--a metaphor you will understand once you've read the book.
If you knew Nate as I did you must read this book. If you did not know Nate then YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!
'Drug addiction was Nate's bondage. Many in-betweens are not addicts, in this sense. Clearly defined morality and doctrine, though, won't keep them from idolatrous marriages, the ravages of divorce, greed and covetousness, consuming anger, and a litany of other miseries....And where we confuse truth and life with knowledge and intellectualism, we guarantee our own failure. Victimization is an institution in our culture. Nate perceived himself, in many ways, as a victim of other's failures...For this generation, Nate's a wake-up call...Life comes when they (we) refuse to play the role of entitled victim.' - Pastor David Snyder (from the book Beautiful Nate)
If you have a child addicted to drugs who is not able to pull themselves out of the victim mentality, this book brings great insight into what must happen in order to heal this way of thinking. God had an anchor in the heart and soul of Nate that would not let go. But Nate would not stop steering the ship away from God at the same time. Are you or a loved one steering the ship in the wrong direction? Anyone who reads this book will know answers as to how to get back on track. God's anchor is there for a reason. It's trying to hold on to you for dear life--like a man holding on to your hand as you dangle from the edge of a cliff. Here in this book is how to get back on to firm ground. PLEASE, IF YOU ARE READING THIS REVIEW AND HAVE YET TO READ THE BOOK, THEN READ IT. IT MIGHT JUST GIVE YOU THE INSIGHT TO SAVE YOURSELF OR YOUR LOVED ONE FROM LOSING THE BATTLE THAT NATE LOST.
'Nate's death will bring many to new life...' - Melody Green (from the book Beautiful Nate)