“‘You wanted to know how you’ll make it on your own?…You’ll never know. Because you never will be.'”
Synopsis from Goodreads: Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Cafe, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle. Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask God a question of her own. Heaven answers in a most unexpected way.
Feelings: For the first half of the book, I was disappointed. It’s Max Lucado! I had really high expectations for the writing and the message it would contain. It stands at a little less than 200 pages, so I knew that even if I ended up not liking this book, it wouldn’t take me long to read – no harm, no foul, no bruise.
Something happened in the second half; Max Lucado showed up. The spiritual truths suddenly became so thick and tangible. My head was filled with images of brilliant glory battling the crippling darkness around me. I made such a personal, spiritual connection with the words on these pages. This is the kind of book that can give someone hope and the knowledge that they aren’t alone.
Issues: Again, there’s a distinct difference between the first half and the second, for me. When I think about that, though…isn’t that true in our spiritual lives? Our lives before we truly see God for who He is are dark and somewhat meaningless. Then He opens our hearts and minds to His truth and we’re forever changed, covered in his light and warmth. That’s this book. At first, I thought I had an issue with the writing and how bland it all seemed, but after a while it wasn’t about writing style or anything critical. I was crying every few pages because my spirit was joyful, then mourning, then sympathizing, the full of thanksgiving.
Characters: I felt for Chelsea and Sawyer’s children – I was SO them, watching the world around me change, feeling helpless and trapped. I wanted to wrap them up in a warm hug and tell them that He’s got them.
The book blogger side of me wants to say that I wished for some deeper character development from Sawyer. He said he changed and Chelsea notices things, but we don’t really know what changes he made or just how different he really was. I didn’t connect with Chelsea or honestly see that much growth in her in the end. Sure, Manny showed her the truth, but then it just kind of ends with a bit of hope. I wish I had more!
The Christian, non-critical part of me wants to say, “Read this book, whoever you are, wherever you are in your life.” Is it a literary stroke of genius? Probably not. But if you’ve ever struggled with anything in your life, Max Lucado has painted a picture for you of what’s really going on. This picture will change the way I see my own struggles and the way that I see people struggling around me.
Final thoughts: In the end, I’m thankful that I read this book. Anything that adds to your spiritual growth is worth a read, right? Again, it’s a short book, but it packs a punch.
Pick this up if you liked:
The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
Goodreads rating: 3.97/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5
My rating: 4.25/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn