My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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*WARNING* This discussion may contain spoilers that someone who has not read this book yet may not want to have spoiled for them!
Today, Lydia over at The Overweight Bookshelf is hosting the Christian Fiction Book Club featuring Jody Hedlund's The Preacher's Bride. I'm not an overly huge fan of "bonnet" books but this one really grabbed me from chapter 1. I did not know until the very end of this book that it was written on the life of John Bunyon.
This book is full of tragedy, love (sometimes pretty sensuous!), and determination! I was amazed at John's inability to accept Elizabeth's help after the passing of his wife. How did he think that his children would receive the care they needed from their elder sibling, Mary, who is at the tender age of 8 and blind? I'm not saying she couldn't have done it but it would have been nearly impossible for her to care for the newborn in need of milk. Elizabeth steps in and finds the baby a wet nurse against Mrs. Grew's desires and wishes. For me, Mrs. Grew represented the old aunt (played by Angela Lansbury) in Nanny McPhee! I really admired Elizabeth for standing up to Mrs. Grew and for keeping her faith throughout the story.
I was disturbed by the lack of caring John gave to his children, especially his newborn child. While I can see where his heart was (and that is not a crime!) I felt that he was being somewhat hypocritical by caring so little for his family.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for lots of suspense, determination, and love!
When Elizabeth lost her baby, she felt abandoned by God and by John. Have you ever felt abandoned by God or someone you love? How did you recover? What do you think of Sister Norton's statement "Hardships are the Lord's greatest blessings to a believer. Without them we would love the Lord only for what He does for us. Our troubles teach us to love Him for who He is"?
This scene in the book was incredibly difficult for me to read. I have lost a baby and I have gone through the emotions that Elizabeth expressed. I was so angry at God for a very long time. I was also angry at myself for "allowing it to happen." I have now grown to realize that this wasn't my fault and that God needed my baby more than I did. It took many months for me to overcome my hurt, grief, anger, and feelings of guilt. I was even more angry when I became extremely ill after the miscarriage and had to endure painful medical tests for many months following. I kept asking God why He was continuing to punish me. Hadn't I given Him enough? Today, I do not feel that God punished me or my husband and the entire situation has brought me closer to God. After all, He gave His ONLY Son...why should I complain? I had two healthy children already.
I don't know that anyone ever "recovers" from a loss, you learn to live and function while that hole in your heart is always there. Going through all of this has made me a stronger person. I have a greater appreciation for my Lord and everything He endured. I appreciate my family and friends more. While the hole is still there in my heart, I know I'll meet my baby in the most glorious place ever created...HEAVEN! God has taken much better care of that baby then I ever could and for that, I simply cannot complain.