Thursday, March 27, 2014

It Had to be You

Title:  It Had to Be You
Author:  Susan May Warren
Pages:  480
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale Publishers
Susan May Warren really nails the heart with love and grace when characters in the novel begin to understand how they are viewing themselves, and when what they do in their lives becomes the standard to which they measure their hopes, fears, triumphs or failures is the dawning of a new day. Jace is known as the NHL Blue Ox team’s bad boy.  The more he fights instead of scoring, the happier the fans.  Eden thought writing obits was a meaningless job when all she has ever wanted to be was an honest reporter.
In reality, our lives tend to mesh and we gather our identity through another person’s life or whomever we tend to idolize.  The Christiansen family isn’t depicted as perfect Christians, but has its own problems, hopes, dreams, failures and triumphs.  With each page, readers will be able to identify with various characters with different life situations.  Sounds like reality does it not?
When parents watch their children become adults, they learn to let go and pray hard for their offspring to be the people God has called them to become.  It is never easy for a parent to let go in the hope and knowledge that God their Father is right there with them.  While I read, I learned it takes faith and grace to let go with one hand and hold onto the Father’s hand with both.  One child in the novel needs a heart transplant; her father is a single parent, having lost his wife to the same heart condition years ago.  As time passes without seeing any hope, the father on his knees hands over his daughter’s care and life into God’s hands because he realizes he cannot carry the burden alone any longer.
Susan May Warren draws the audience into the adventure of the Christiansen family and friends as they live very active lives in Minneapolis in a story that is written with a mother’s heart and life experience.  Each page speaks about an individual’s choices in faith and how God can redeem what looks to be a life wasted.  I appreciated the reality that is reflected in some parts of the story when a character hears words of wisdom with their ears, but God brings it to a rock solid truth in their heart.  I cannot imagine the pressure that professional athletes are under to perform, meet certain criteria or even take on a persona that is not who they really are.  In one scene, readers will read a tender moment where a hockey player is reading his Bible looking for answers, understanding and peace.  Our times with God can sometimes be like this, during trials when we are on our knees handing a hard situation into God’s hands.  For me, meeting with God in His Word is not a ritual to perform or something to mark off a “to do” list, it is a relationship.  A relationship He initiated, keeps and grows for which I am immensely thankful for each new dawn.  I have learned that I have a part in the relationship also by coming to Him just as I am.  How about you?
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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