Jill Kelly, wife of professional football player Jim Kelly, writes a collection of wisdom that she has gained through coming to Christ as an adult, rocky times in their marriage, and the death of their son Hunter.
She divides the book into eight chapters that each cover a topic including love, significance, suffering, and death. She includes many personal stories as well as lots of scripture. And while she points out that she is not a Bible scholar, she is quick to point people back to God in the midst of circumstances in life that are out of our control or don't go the way we wanted. Each chapter ends with a list of scripture that pertains to that topic, a prayer, and a list of things that she wants to remember never to forget.
This is a great book filled with truth in the midst of pain and reality. I found it hard to follow in a few places because she told her story topically instead of chronologically. But overall, it has great practical advice and an overwhelming picture of hope.
What would you want your children to remember about you, should you die today? Jill writes, "This book is everything I hope my daughters eventually learn, always remember, and never forget." (x)
Jill records moments in her life and what she has learned from them. She has grouped her experiences into chapters, each one covering a topic. At the end of each chapter Jill has included a list of what to remember and never forget, a prayer, and Scripture related to the chapter's topic.
For example, she writes about a birthmark she tried to hide, likening it to a relentless longing that echoed through her soul - a longing she was able to hide from everyone but herself. She shares other experiences from which she learned lessons on love, significance, forgiveness, suffering, giving, prayer, faithfulness, and death.
Many of her lessons came from painful situations. Probably the most painful was the death of their toddler son from a rare genetic disease. Jill honestly shares her complete collapse under the weight of the grief too intense to bear. She writes, "The temptation to reject the Word of God and buy into the lie that God had abandoned me was overwhelming." (172) She came out of the experience with a deeper understanding of the power of the gospel.
Through all of these experiences, Jill concludes, "God is more concerned with who we are than what we do, more concerned with our character than our achievements. Godly character will necessarily lead to loving obedience, while its lack can still produce all kinds of good works with proud and self-righteous motives." (160)
Jill is very honest as she shares her experiences. This book is certainly an encouragement to anyone facing painful circumstances in life. Jill relates her encouragement because she has gone through similar situations herself. We'll be thankful someday for those hurts, she writes. "It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow - but someday... For it's your sorrow that will lead you to His love, and your suffering that will bring you to His grace." (191) Wise words indeed.
I received a complimentary galley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.