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on April 22, 2017
A few years ago we walked through a grievous loss which came without any warning. A number of books were recommended or given to us over the next months. A friend (and pastor) recommended Sittser's book. While several of the other books were helpful, A Grace Disguised MINISTERED to us. The author combines the compassion and reflection of one who has suffered great loss himself with excellent biblical insight that avoids facile efforts at consolation.
I am sure we have given away dozens if not scores of copies of this book in the years since; most recipients have told us it has also become their favorite book on processing loss.
10 people found this helpful
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on July 25, 2016
If you have experienced a sudden loss, do yourself a favor and buy this book so you can make notes and underline passages. I keep this as a reference book. A friend who's daughter died in an auto accident gave it to me when we suddenly lost our son. It's written by a seminary professor, but it is a journey through his own loss of his wife, mother and child in car accident. You won't find cliches, "how to's" or "steps to healing". It helped me because I identified with his loss and grief and encouraged me because he slowly but surely walked through it, discovering that it is possible to feel joy and pain at the same time.
12 people found this helpful
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on January 6, 2018
This book was suggested to me several years ago, when I was a hospice nurse, and sat in my cart for so long. I felt myself to be very prepared for grief and able to help others, until last month when my grandfather became ill and we all feared death, my 32 year old cousin died suddenly of the flu (leaving his wife and young children behind), my mother in law got news her terminal cancer had become suddenly worse, and other small things pushed me to the absolute brink. I ordered this book, thinking I would screen it to give to other family members. Once I received it, I realized my denial of also feeling this deeply and decided I would benefit from reading. I sobbed my way through this book. It’s a heavy read, but it helps me so much to face this grief, not allow myself to continuing denying or ignoring what is happening. I’ve been able to talk about the loss of Tyler, who my children called Uncle and I planned to raise my family alongside. I’ve been able to recognize the grief I’ve felt over 2 years with my mother in law is becoming more acutely painful and been able to open up with my husband and children. And I have cherished the time I have with all my loved ones in a way only pain can make you recognize. I highly recommend this read. Be warned that is it heavy, reading his story and feeling the pain is very hard, but the theme of the book is growth through pain and that is certainly the purpose it serves.
3 people found this helpful
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on May 14, 2017
This autobiography traces the difficulties and adjustments one man made through the loss of his wife, mother and daughter in a car accident. He discusses his journey through the grief process and all the ways God comforted and blessed Him and all the ways he's grown spiritually. He offers great insight by sharing his own experiences while never minimizing the experiences of loss others have faced not only in death but in many life-altering situations. His constant reminder that every situation is unique and each person's grief uniquely devastating. I read this book while preparing to share with pastors and lay leaders in ministry in Benin W. Africa, as well as preparing to counsel those who had experienced the recent death of immediate family members. My own husband of 35 years had died about 11 years ago. The book raised a number of issues for me as I was reminded of my own loss, but also a celebration of the grace and ministry God has given me since that time. Highly recommend it!
5 people found this helpful
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on December 6, 2016
Years ago just after I lost my husband, I stayed with my aunt and uncle for a week who helped me through some tough times. My aunt had the book--one that a cousin had given her husband after he lost his first wife. I started reading it about 9 p.m. and read it straight through. Jerry Sittser really spoke to me about how the soul does grow through loss. It's hard to explain but this is a book that can lead someone through loss with something solid to consider. My husband died 18 years ago and I still pick this book up from time to time and read the familiar passages and they still resonate with me.
7 people found this helpful
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on August 9, 2016
Our daughter was recently killed in a motorcycle accident. A friend recommended this book to me. I found it very helpful-especially the insight that we all suffer individually in various ways that shouldn't be compared.

I, too, am finding the most surprising thing is how I have such sorrow, and at the same time, so much joy...I know it is because of Jesus. I've been a Christian for over 30 years. I'm not surprised that He gives grace and comfort, but I do marvel at the extent of it.

At the end, Jerry's comments about choosing to leave a good heritage was a challenge to me. I want to choose well, and have my part in God's larger "story" lived out in a way that glorifies the Savior....
12 people found this helpful
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on January 11, 2014
One of the most difficult things to grapple with in life is to lose someone you love deeply. In this book Jerry Sittser shares the gut wrenching story of how he lost his wife, mother, and daughter in a car accident. What Jerry does well in this book is he walks us through his journey of loss and how God's grace intermixed in the various contours of his pain. Jerry's story is our story. We all experience loss - jobs, loved ones, status, youth, health, pets, dreams, and many more. The author not only grapples with his own loss, but also the realities of loss that we all have to wrestle with in life.

What I like about this book is that it doesn't offer simple steps to dealing with loss. The author helps you identify and grapple with the difficult realities we face in our losses. In the preface to the book Eugene Petterson describes this book as a "companion" for your journey of suffering and loss. That's the way I felt as I read this book. As a fellow journeymen in the path of suffering I felt like I had a wise companion to walk with me and share with me in my loss.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is struggling with loss: loss of a loved one, job, or anything that once was precious to us, and is now no more. Jerry helps you to gain God's perspective in a compassionate and gracious manner. This not a "self-help book," or an "easy answers book." The author writes as a fellow struggler of the harsh realities of the tremendous loss he has faced. However, he also recognizes that all human beings have and will suffer loss and that we all desperately need the grace of God to sustain us. He shares helpful stories, insights, and pearls of wisdom to encourage you with your own losses and how to move forward in grace and truth.

As a result of reading this book you will be encouraged to go deep in the multi-faceted realities of your loss and pain, as well as gain a new perspective of how God's grace is available to help you move forward in your loss. I am grateful for Sittser's vulnerability, transparency, honesty, and amazing insights into the grace of God. He comes across as a friend, a counselor, and an empathizer. It's a serious book, because it's dealing with serious pain. Sittser walks the talk and in the end is a very helpful and gracious guide and companion for your own journey of finding your own disguised grace in your loss.
2 people found this helpful
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on May 13, 2018
90% Five Star ratings on this book. I want to add my voice to these because this book is that good. I'm a follower of Jesus, but what Jerry Sittser writes applies to anyone who is dealing with tough events...which is all of us. A Grace Disguised transparently shares wise life-lessons and perspectives he learned…and is learning. Rather than give fixed answers, he deals more with values and perspectives. This makes the book so superb for those who have gone through crushing tragedy in their past or to prepare for the future. From my perspective, developing a healthy approach to learn to use tough times to launch our life ahead, rather than scuttle it, has be crucial for my personal growth.

I harvested a baker's dozen foundational life-responses from this book. Here is one of them to whet your appetite to buy it for yourself. "Loss is like the fading light at sunset. We can frantically chase the loss by running west in our futile attempt to outrun the darkness. Or we can accept and embrace the loss of daylight, turn east and plunge into the darkness with rising expectations focused on the new dawn of tomorrow (transition). Take ownership. We have the power to face the dawn and to be transformed by this experience."
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on May 3, 2018
The essence of this story was so sad, but the wonderful writing and the transparency of Jerry was so encouraging. It left me with the feeling that he let us into his life like a friend. The encouragement that he received to walk forward into the darkness was so good! It was encouragement for all of us to wrap our arms around our suffering instead of letting it define us. He doesn’t dismiss his suffering and that of his children, but he relates how they all grew through it. He gives credit to a faithful God who walked the walk with him. It was a grace disguised, looking unredeemable but yet coming out on the other side with beauty and joy, along with the memory of what happened and how his family dynamics were changed almost in an instant! I recommend this to the hurting and those who aren’t hurting yet, a course in healing and hope when we will need that kind of healing.
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on March 12, 2015
This book has been the one piece I've been able to read. It's written in plain-speak, not psycho-babble and is extremely relatable. It makes me feel like the roller coaster I'm on is not just for me, it's comforting to know that others have been on similar rides. Of course it will bring out emotions and feelings, but it's also incredibly helpful and insightful. This book is a must for anyone who has ever lost someone they love.
4 people found this helpful
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