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Grace in the Middle: An Imperfect Journey to God's Perfect Plan Paperback – July 17, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
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Grace in the Middle has just ranked as one of my all-time favorite books--EVER. You will laugh out loud and cry empathetic tears. But there's a story within the story that every believer must tackle for the sake of their own faith; Surrender. I want to know Him in the power of His resurrection, and in the fellowship of His sufferings (Phil 3:10). The Holy Spirit will minister to you through Wendy's fellowship of His sufferings, and if you're willing . . . it will change your life!
- Rachel Lee Carter Author of Fashioned by Faith (Thomas Nelson, 2011), Founder of Modeling Christ Ministries
This book touched me deeply. I sat down one night thinking I would just read a few chapters, but I couldn't put it down and finished in one sitting. Throughout the story I found God speaking to me in so many areas that challenged me to examine my relationship with my entire family and most importantly, with Him. The story is an honest look at heartbreak and joy at the same time. It's okay to say life is hard. Sometimes life doesn't make sense, but Wendy's mad writing skills bring things into perspective. Sometimes men will see a book by a female author and think it's a chick book. This book is for everyone!
- Darrell Cothran Minister of Media, First Baptist North Spartanburg
How do we react when tragedy unexpectedly rears it ugly head into our lives? Who do we lean on? Who do we become? Wendy and Scott Duke saw their world collapse around them when they heard some frightening news regarding their unborn daughter, but, through it all, they never let go of God, and, most importantly, God never let go of them. This is a must-read book for all of us who have hit tough times in our lives. Wendy shows us in Grace In The Middle, that even when there is tragedy, there is also faith, hope, and above all else, love. - --Brett Parks Author of Miracle Man: A Bullet That Ignited a Purpose-Filled Life, Founder and President of Second Shot Ministry
Honest, raw, and deeply compelling, Grace in the Middle is a book for anyone who's ever felt powerless, who's wondered, Where is God in all of this? Wendy Duke lays bare the road from heartbreak to hope, from spiritual numbness to powerful faith. In Savannah's strength, determination, and resilience, readers will find their own.
- Lisa Wingate, National Bestselling Author of The Prayer Box and The Sea Keeper's Daughters
What a terrific reminder of God's grace and love and provision and steadfastness and . . . well, everything HE says in HIS word. Get this book by Wendy Duke, in fact, get it and get another to give to a friend! - --Mickey Henderson Pastor of Spiritual Development, Sunnyvale First Baptist Church, Sunnyvale, TX
Grace in the Middle is a MUST-READ for all moms! Wendy Duke beautifully describes the hope that can be found in Jesus regardless of our personal circumstances. Every mom will be blessed to experience this journey filled with struggles leading to the profound mercy of God's sovereignty that is available to each one of us. Wendy is a skilled writer who uses her stones of remembrance of God's faithfulness to issue a tender call for full surrender to God. - --Chimene Shipley Dupler President/CEO of Passion4Moms passion4moms.org
About the Author
Wendy Duke lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. She works with her husband in international sports development, using their backgrounds in coaching and telling their story throughout the world. When she's not traveling, she is a Bible teacher, speaker, blogger, sports junkie, and middle school chauffeur. Grace in the Middle is Wendy's first book. She writes on her blog at wendyduke.net.
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In Grace In The Middle, Wendy Duke starts with recounting the early years of her marriage. Let me just say, the story of how she got her husband's attention the first time they met -- adorable! She then recalls her deep desire for motherhood, and the struggles to carry a child to term. She suffers multiple miscarriages until years later when she becomes pregnant with daughter Savannah Grace. Sadly, the Dukes are told that Savannah, in embryo, has only developed one of her legs. The other does not look like it will develop. The Dukes immediately see the challenges their daughter will face --- I cannot believe the doctor actually suggested possible termination of the pregnancy! -- but were up for taking it on, for the chance to meet the child they so longed for. I laughed at the story of how when Wendy goes through a procedure that requires a needle to enter her pregnant belly, baby Savannah inside grabs the end of the syringe! My mother had similar stories of what she labeled "that spirit of yours." X-D
Savannah comes into the world, and if missing a limb weren't challenging enough (for anyone, let alone an infant!), the Dukes get further news that Savannah has cancer. Just ten days old, she begins chemotherapy. Ten days old! The heartbreak I felt to read that.I On top of that, it's discovered that Savannah has a blocked valve in her stomach, causing her to repeatedly projectile vomit until the stomach is surgically repaired. Given what Wendy says about how important the blood donations were to keeping her little one alive, it made me so proud to be a blood and organ donor myself.
Wendy goes through a crisis of faith, angry at God for feeling like she was denied motherhood for so long, only to be given a child that has to suffer so much after birth. She didn't understand all this "all part of God's plan" everyone kept going on about. Over time, what she starts to see is her community coming together, praying, offering strength in numbers, shoulders to cry on, opportunities to laugh when she is just about broken to the core. Wendy also sees just what a remarkable spirit her daughter has -- nothing seems to be all that much of a setback to Savannah, only a minor hiccup to bigger and better things.Through these moments, Wendy Duke learns lessons of gratitude, strength, humility, and the patience to have faith that answers will come in their right time.
While it was painful to read of such pain and hardships being placed upon a child virtually from her first breath, I admired Savannah's spirit and perseverance. I enjoyed Savannah's story in her own words, which makes up the very last chapter of this memoir. I was also impressed at Wendy's honesty about seeing now that she needed to get out of her own head to see what a gift her and her husband had been given. Their story of renewed faith was an enjoyable and inspiring read!
FTC Disclaimer: Ambassador International kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
For some time I’ve been in a dry spell in my reading, there’s been nothing that draws me in and keeps me glued to the page. But I do just love to get hold of a book that I can Not. Put Down. Maybe it is the low volume of books that I read in the course of a summer or a semester, or maybe I’m grabbing from the wrong shelf. I don’t know. But I do know this, Grace in the Middle is that kind of story. In late July I received “Grace in the Middle” by Wendy Duke, and once I opened it, I Could Not Put It Down.
Ever wonder how intimately God pursues us? I am in a season where everywhere I look, listen or read, a particular message with ripples in a couple of directions is being called out to me. And not only did that message call out from Grace in the Middle, but it was bound together with a sense of “I’ve been there” as I read the story of Wendy and her daughter Savannah. I have different circumstances, different timeline, but still I remember the day I stood at my kitchen sink and asked God, “Where are you?”
Grace in the Middle is Wendy Duke‘s first book, a memoir recounting the struggle she and her husband encountered as they faced the greatest crisis they had ever endured. “Heartbreaking, triumphant, this inspiring story is an authentic reflection on battling and overcoming physical illness and disability, resisting the dark doubt that plague us in the midst of tragedy, and trusting the faithfulness of God through the deep twists and turns of life.” from the back cover What an a powerful story this book is. I am particularly inspired by Wendy’s courage to tell the more personal, darker parts of her story. Once again, through her honesty, shame is blown off my shoulders and grace has overwhelmed me.
There it is. It is so important for us to share our stories with one another, even some times, the whole dark ugly truth. Because when we do, and we allow the light that redeemed us in those stories, we offer grace and redemption to those who listen. And in those stories, lessons that we are already being taught are further illustrated.
“Sometimes the decibels of hurt make even the strongest of us lose our minds, all semblance of reason and clear thinking disabled. This is why God reminds us not to stop meeting together, encouraging each other, speaking truth into each other’s lives: to tell us we are not alone in this.”
Another powerful part of this book is that Savannah, who is a young teen, wrote a chapter. Considering all the awkwardness of the early teen years and a story that is so personal and amazing, I think she must be quite a courageous and generous young woman. I love this quote by her, ” don’t know what God’s plan is yet, but that’s okay because I’ve got a while to figure it out…I’ll just have to trust him to show me, one step at a time.”