To pray for someone is the greatest call believers have on their lives. The power behind it is truly incredible. Sometimes, the hardest things to come to terms with is regrets. Regrets for things not done, love not given, things not said. Often times, regrets come when we reach the end of our life and are reflecting back, other times it comes when we least expect it. When we believe we will have time to make changes and thus, no regrets. I've told myself every day when faced with any decision, to consider any regrets that might come later for not taking the road less traveled. For saying yes, instead of no.
In Karen Kingsbury's novel This Side of Heaven, we get a sense of what this all means in a story she wrote based on her own brother's life. It is that reflection that she shares at the novel's conclusion and one that once again makes you glad that you read any of her novels. Because you gain an understanding that only comes from sharing the painful parts of our lives with close family and friends, and if you're a reader of her books, then that includes you. Welcome to the family.
Josh Warren is considered a disappointment by her parents, Annie and Nate. He had the world in the palm of his hands and after some bad decisions, watched his hopes for a future with his long time girlfriend, Becky and college slip between his fingers. Hanging out with the wrong crowd can do that do you, as well as believing you'll have time to rectify some of those choices but then life moves on without you. Becky gave Josh an ultimatum that told him he needed to straighten up otherwise they had no future. Josh waited too long and Becky found love somewhere else. Josh soon lost interest in school and found the only employment he could find would be driving a tow truck. Now it seems whenever his father, Nate faced reelection, all of Josh's failures in life were brought to the surface by those successful people in campaign.
So Josh kept to himself while the unanswered prayers of his parents and sister Lindsey went unanswered. Until the day, his parents received that dreaded phone call that you think would change things. Josh had been hit by a drunk driver. It would mean that his life would be forever changed by his actions that day, and he would face years of pain and surgery. Instead of his parents being grateful for that second chance, it only seemed to push them to pressure Josh to make some changes in his life. To find a way to start over again before it was too late. But Josh had other plans. Plans that would give them the greatest gift this side of heaven and change things between them all forever.
I received This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained in this review are strictly my own. I was blown away first by the story and later to learn that it was based on a true story made it that much more impactful. It made me realize the power of our testimony and how it can completely changes lives if we are willing to let down the walls and let people see how God can change us from who we were to who we are in Him. This is a novel of regrets but also of resolution that can come from them, but more importantly about realizing how truly priceless our time here on earth really is. Hands down another 5 out of 5 stars from Karen Kingsbury and another permanent addition to my personal library.
This book is based on actual fact in the author's own family. The topics covered are very much in tune with what is happening in today's society, and yet healing and love are found. A very good book for parents who are suffering.
Even for those who are not going through grief right now, it is an excellent book to read. It gives us a good picture of what others may be going through. Throughout the book, it is one that you are constantly wondering what is going to come next in the turn of events that happen in this family.
This book made my cry and want to keep reading. I recalled decisions of my own I've regretted and reminded me that I can do things differently now. I read this book aloud to my husband who also enjoyed it right to the end. I love the way Karen writes.
I would say that if you choose to read this book,keep a box of tissue near. This was one of the best books I have ever read!!! I have passed it on to my son that loves to read too.I will probably never forget Josh,because the things he went through makes me realize that I ought to pay more attention to my children and know what is going on in their lives and to know how God is using them.He can work in someones life and we may not even know it.