Maybe I should preface that I'm a Shauna virgin. So I was ill prepared for the box of Kleenex I would require throughout the enitre reading of this title, nor was I prepared for the insane food cravings that would come about from EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER.
I started reading because just the title seems to describe the phase of life I'm in.
I'm teetering between rejoicing in a new love in our family, and the anxiety of losing that love with each spot of blood, each cramp, each time I ease myself down onto the ultrasound table or the doctor approaches me with the heart monitor.
I'm holding on to the sweet of my one year old son, who has starting shouting "HI!" from his crib at 6:00 in the morning, smiling his cattywampus smile, one tuft of hair sticking up towards heaven, and waving vigorously at me. He's growing and learning and running and exploring. He's incredible. But he's also testing. He spills the dog water daily, punches me square in the face when he is excited, and threatens to wear my first trimester self ragged with all the chasing in our every day life, all the dumping of things all over the floors, the losing things only to discover he put them (comically most days) in our shoes or worse, in the toilet. How am I going to add another one? My mind keeps repeating "two under two" and I already want a glass of wine which I won't be able to even consider as a coping mechanism until November.
And then there is Tim, who is the best husband and daddy in the world, but who I just miss because he is absolutely being who God created him to be, a genius engineer with a brain the size of Texas. I love that he gets to do this thing, really. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone to pay your way through PhD school so you can show the gifts God gave you. Yet, I'd be lying if the PhD didn't vacillate between being my source of pride in my Dr. Engineer and my worst enemy on a daily basis.
Bitter. Sweet. Bitter. Sweet. Bitter. Sweet. As if my emotions wouldn't already be on a pregnancy induced hormone roller coaster.
But you know what the sweetest of the sweet is? God's grace upon grace upon grace.
I find myself "right in the palm of God's hand," with an oatmeal heart because of this bittersweet life. My bitters are probably much more sweet than many other's bitters. My sweets are probably much sweeter than many other's sweets. I know this, but I also know that God allows each one of us our own bitters and our own sweets to point us directly to his face.
Wasn't it the most bittersweet when Jesus went to die for us, while simultaneously saving our lives? For bridging all the bitter of this life so we could have the sweet with him? Our stories, every bitter and sweet part of them, point to this gospel.
So I absolutely recommend this book, no matter what stage of life you are in, to help you say "thank you and grow." The book was meaningful to me for expressing many of the situations myself or my friends have found ourselves in lately. I appreciated her thoughts particularly on telling your (but God's) story, miscarriage, friendship, hospitality, challenging stereotypes, house church, and marriage.
How are the bitter and the sweet pointing you to Jesus? Have you read Shauna before? What book should I read next?
Love you, readers. I hope I get to be a part of the sweet in your life. You certainly sweeten up mine.