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This Undeserved Life: Uncovering the gifts of grief and the fullness of life Paperback – September 18, 2017
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Sometimes it seems like the world of writing where real life and Jesus collide is just for women. It would be easy to put this text in that same vein. It is more than that though. As a foster dad figuring out how to love and raise kids that aren t like me, this book spoke to my heart. As someone trying to figure out what it means to love The Church when hurt is everywhere, this book spoke to my heart. As a guy trying to figure out the meaning of life and birth for the women all around me, this book taught me pieces I never before understood. Natalie is exactly what she seems like. Full of hope and kindness even in the darkest of places. There is nothing false or fake hiding between the lines. Grateful for the words of this book.--Seth King, Refugee Family Support Specialist
If you've ever wondered if it's okay to be sad, if you're wondering where God is amidst your greatest grief, read this book. Natalie's story is our story. --Jeff Goins, Bestselling Author of The Art of Work
Some words of advice when you read Natalie Brenner's This Undeserved Life: clear your schedule because you won't want to put it down; start a book club because you are going to want to talk about this book with everyone you know; and try not to bawl after reading because you realize how painful, incredible, stressful, and magical life can be. Natalie weaves a story about grief, adoption, infertility, heartache, love, and more. Page after page you will be amazed at how one person finds her way through trauma and pain to a beautiful, imperfectly wonderful life. This is a must-read for anyone looking to find more purpose, beauty, and life. --Crystal Perkins, Editor-in-Chief at Adoption.com
About the Author
NATALIE BRENNER is wife to Loren and mom to two under two. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. You can love Jesus or not, go to church or not: she'd love to have coffee with you. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a wanna-be runner. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her email list.
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My breath caught in my throat as she explained the diagnosis of infertility she’d received when endometriosis was diagnosed. My heart broke for her as I realized little has changed in the five decades since I received the same diagnosis. People react to despair on so many different levels. We tend to live in the dark shadows of our loss because no one has ever given us permission to grieve for our inability to be normal. Does God create us to accept our faults and the wounds others inflict on us in their callous responses to our loss?
“God did not give us brokenness, tragedy or trauma…He is faithful, even when we are not.” Natalie’s words are similar to the words I use when told the tragedies of my life were part of God’s plan. My response is always, “My God is a loving God. He did not create me to endure the abuses I suffered as a child or as an adult. It’s not His plan that I should spend my entire life suffering silently to cover up the injustices others have inflicted on me.”
This is a perfect book for anyone who has suffered loss and struggled with the grief that doesn’t seem to diminish as the days continue to slip by. Natalie teaches us it’s perfectly acceptable to ignore a culture which conditions us to hide the agony of the hardships we’ve faced. She reminds us that being sensitive toward others isn’t a failure; it’s a form of power many will never experience. This book teaches us that we have permission to feel the sadness through the joys in life. The raw truth too many fail to understand is that we should never allow shame and fear to rule our lives.
The scripture verses and workbook at the back of the book provide the beginning of your journey to acceptance of your grief and His healing grace. “Christ sits with us as we carry the cross of loss and hurt. Instead of erasing our scars, He validates our pain.”
First, this book opens up with a very shocking story that I think provides the perfect kick-start for this story. It is a story of loss, grief, accepting grief, redemption, and love. The first part of this book chronicles a very long, tedious journey between Natalie and her husband in a memoir. It is full of stories of joy, but also and more importantly, it touches on some of the most private and intimate parts of their life. The fact that she opened up so publicly in this book was nothing short of breath-taking and sobering. Natalie takes on, arguably, one of the most difficult subjects for someone to discuss: loss & grief. The passion and honesty brought into this book, backed with real-world experiences was incredible.
The book then moves on to the subject of dealing with loss, personal faith, and trust. It shows the journey Natalie and LB went through to deal with their loss - the nights of sleeplessness, the tears endured, the hugs, and finally, the love. Natalie perfectly grasps what it is like to lose and how to fight back and deal with grief.
Not only is the content of this book so immaculate, pertinent, relevant, and real, but the story in-and-of itself is so beautifully told. The story reads so flawlessly that you fly through the pages without even realizing that you've been reading for hours on end.
I am very much looking forward to more books from Natalie Brenner int the future. This story is so eloquent, timely, and quintessentially told.
This book is superb and is a page-turning must-read. Bravo!
I received an advanced copy of this book; all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I received a copy of this book as part of the advanced copy team, I have received nothing for submitting this review, these thoughts are my own.