Broken Hallelujahs: Learning to Grieve the Big and Small Losses of Life
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InterVarsity Press / 2016 / Paperback

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Broken Hallelujahs: Learning to Grieve the Big and Small Losses of Life

InterVarsity Press / 2016 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW843230

Product Description

Life brings loss. We leave home. We experience physical illness and disabilities. We struggle with vocation and finances. We may long for a spouse or a child. We lose people we love to addiction or illness and death. All of these losses can build into questions and doubts about faith. We may experience depression or other mental health struggles. What does God offer us in the midst of our losses? In this book spiritual director Beth Slevcove narrates her own losses along with her path to healing. She introduces distinctive spiritual practices that can guide us back to God and, in the end, to ourselves.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 083084323X
ISBN-13: 9780830843237

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Publisher's Description

2016 IVP Readers' Choice Award The losses in our lives are both big and small, and cover a range of experiences. We leave home. We experience physical illness and disabilities. We struggle with vocation and finances. We may long for a spouse or child. We lose people we love to addiction or illness and death. All of these losses can build into questions and doubts about faith. We may experience depression or other mental health struggles. Where is God in the midst of our losses? In this book spiritual director Beth Slevcove shares stories from her own life about losses and struggles. Along the way, she offers distinctive spiritual practices that can guide us back to God and, in the end, to ourselves.

Author Bio

Beth Allen Slevcove is a spiritual director, retreat leader, writer, surfer and mother in San Diego, California. She served as the director of spiritual formation for Youth Specialties for seven years and holds advanced degrees in theology and education. She also co-led a spiritual direction training program through Christian Formation and Direction Ministries (CFDM) and recently co-led the San Diego Spiritual Directors Association. Beth is deeply rooted in her urban Lutheran congregation, and is an Oblate at a Benedictine monastery. She created and runs the Surf Monkey Fellowship, a Southern California surf company and online community. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two young children.

Editorial Reviews

"The beautifully fashioned sentences throughout Broken Hallelujahs summon deep contemplation and provoke a wrestling with the realities of our mysterious lives. What is truly refreshing about Broken Hallelujahs is the absence of sentimentalism. With a timely cadence, this book moved me to tears—tears of grief, loss and lament, but also tears of joyfulness and gratitude. Beth's willingness to be vulnerable and to call a thing what it is gave me permission to sink into the profound truth that Jesus Christ shows us it is truly human to sometimes cry out, 'My God, why have you forsaken me?' Broken Hallelujahs ministered to my soul like a balm of Gilead. I love this book and hope you will take care of your soul by reading this astonishing story."
"This book provides a needed resource for anyone struggling to stay connected with God in the midst of faith-shaking turmoil and loss. Beth's courageous vulnerability encourages her readers to equal honesty, while the spiritual practices that close each chapter offer a means of experiencing God without denying the human emotions that accompany loss. It is a book I will read and reread, and one that I will share with others. For who has not experienced the grief and loss that are part of every life?"
"Not just another good grief book but a helpful journey through grief from happy hallelujahs to broken hallelujahs, and in the midst of multiple losses, finally to the hopeful hallelujah of faith and endurance."
"My Sunday School faith prepared me to approach life with an expectation of happily ever after. But at some point it became clear that life really is broken. If we are not prepared for this—and few of us are—it can lead to disillusionment and loss of faith. In this beautiful book, Beth Slevcove invites us to accompany her on her own journey of loss and tragedy. I often cried along as I recognized many elements in common with my own experience. I was challenged by her determination to find God in the midst of it without turning away from reality. In the end, her ability to still say hallelujah through the tears and in the midst of the mess is deeply inspiring. This is a charming, sometimes poetic book with profound insights, and it is also a book that I will return to again and again, since each chapter ends with prayer practices and exercises for seeking and occasionally wrestling with God."
"Loss and grief, if confronted alone, can leave us feeling abandoned and despairing. But when given the perspective of a wise, experienced—and above all—tender guide, it can lead to wellspring of a deeper life. Writing in prose that bends toward poetry, Beth Slevcove is precisely such a guide. Using her own losses and her own life to lead us to the truths that lie amidst our own life fragments, Beth asks and attends to the hardest questions of life and faith with candor, courage, vulnerability and a wit that will make you sigh deeply and smile amidst your tears. This is a simply splendid book."
"Beth's personal story joined with her theological reflections becomes a paradigm for those on the path of spiritual maturity. This book is simply eloquent, profoundly wise, inspiring and practical. It is a truly fresh perspective on the reality of grieving our losses as we progress through our lives."
"Beth Slevcove chronicles her story of disappointment and grief and invites us to see the hidden beauty of the dark and lonely places in our own lives. With the gentleness of a spiritual director, she offers earthy and practical wisdom for navigating life's inevitable difficulties. This book makes me hungry to discover paths through pain and loss that are more honest, creative and God-conscious."
"Beth is a singularly unique person. When you meet her, it's clear there is no box to put her in— she's equal parts theologian, mystic, surfer chick and earth mother. In Broken Hallelujahs, Beth invites us along as she explores her personal losses and her learnings about God in the process, offering spiritual practices that can help us do the same."
"I don't normally think of grief and beauty cozying up with one another. But that's the indelible impression this gorgeous book imprinted on my heart and mind. Slevcove—with sometimes startling vulnerability and relentless authenticity—opens up her journey into and through grief, shining a light on something far, far better than simple platitudes or greeting card perk pills. This book reveals truth. And it's the best kind of truth, messy and heart-wrenching and full of the potency of new life."
"Those who find themselves in the dark and disorienting cavern of loss will sense a true and faithful companion in Beth Allen Slevcove. She has spent a great deal of time in the dark and has not only survived but has learned to discern the subtle grays and cracks of light to guide her forward. She has tended her grief well and her life's journey has given her a deep 'heart of wisdom' that some people gain but few articulate so poignantly."
"In Broken Hallelujahs, Beth Slevcove tells a brave, unsentimental and surprisingly redemptive story. She explores the way grief can both shatter and transform our hearts and offers spiritual practices that help readers authentically express and grieve their own wounds and disappointments. It's a beautiful, honest book."
" Broken Hallelujahs is a book to keep nearby when sorrow intrudes and you need a friend to help. Beth Slevcove has walked the way of grief and tells the stories of a traveling companion who knows the way. Through her experience and expert reflective questions, Slevcove nudges the reader to step out in faith, honor the loss and trust that God is near the brokenhearted."
"This book is a wonderful collection of real life stories, down-to-earth exercises and the needed encouragement to feel, express and engage with grief in unedited and honest ways. Beth, drawing from her own experiences, provides practical wisdom for those journeying through their own grief and those who are invited to companion with others through grief."
"Beth Slevcove has provided us with the quintessential primer on learning how to 'grieve the big and small losses of life.' No one would ask for any of these losses to come their way. Yet, in all the losses that Beth has experienced, she has and continues to be attentive to holding all before God, offering her own deep response to the pain again, and again, and again. Throughout the book we are provided with the privilege and opportunity to do the same. And you know what? Over time, we may discover that the broken hallelujahs in our own lives are the very things that take us deeper into the unbroken hallelujah. O may it be so! Thank you, Beth."
"All of us have experienced loss in some way, but too often we don't take the time to grieve that loss, and most of us, myself included, don't even know how to begin to process the loss so we can move toward healing. Beth's new book Broken Hallelujahs is a beautiful reflection on loss and love and finding God again after God's silence. Through her stories and the exercises and practices included at the end of each chapter, Beth gives us the tools we need to process our grief and help us connect to God and actually move on toward healing."
"In Broken Hallelujahs Beth Allen Slevcove gives us a beautifully written, deeply personal account of her experience of loss—its pain and its potential. As I read it, I began to see some of my own experience of loss through the lens she provided. Reading her story is a hopeful encounter, one I would wish for anyone struggling with loss. And at some point, that will be all of us."

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  1. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Beyond the Happy Hallelujah
    May 17, 2016
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    On New Years Eve 2015, our family had gathered with friends for our traditional celebration, but I had decided to shake things up a tiny bit. Yes, we would eat goodies and play games and laugh at our crazy kids as usual, but I had found a list of thoughtful questions for us to ponder. One of them stopped me in my tracks, because, without hesitation, my husband and I gave the identical answer in unison: With what word would you describe 2015?

    Disappointment, we both said, and now, having read Broken Hallelujahs by Beth Slevcove, I cant help but wish that the book had been written a year sooner, for Beth looks squarely at the truth that for most of our lives, we are living on Holy Saturday, waiting for a resurrection and walking in a hope that feels, at times, beyond hope. Her journey began with multiple stories playing out in her life at the same time: her brothers diagnosis with brain cancer; his decline and eventual death; an on-going struggle with infertility; the realization that rheumatoid arthritis would limit her activity level and cause chronic pain; and a crashing economy that took her family business into bankruptcy.

    Beths poignant memoir of grief and waiting moves beside a parallel narrative of spiritual formation. God, are you kidding? became Beths prayer and anthem of loss, sung as she groped toward enough light to stay on the way of faith. I especially appreciated her admission that her practical theology had centered around a cause-and-effect-vending-machine God. Disappointment and unmet expectations led, eventually, to a howling lament that opened her ears to the sound of her losses, and, like the psalmists who poured out their sad hearts before God, she found that the answer to her cry was not an answer at all but a Person. In learning how to pray out of that place of depletion, Beth realized that prayer postures can be a wordless connection, an expression in themselves of openness, vulnerability, acceptance . . . submission, humility, and repentance.

    At the end of each chapter, Beth challenges her readers to dig deeper in a heres what worked for me tone through exercises that require three healing behaviors:

    Listening to your body, to your desires and emotions, to your places of poverty and neglect.

    Engaging through projects that foster creativity, movement of the body, prayer practices, self-examination, and through questions that reflect on past behaviors and habits.

    Connecting with God through heightened awareness of His love and His trustworthiness; entering into intensely personal communication with God without fear.

    There is a tendency in Christian circles to soldier through grief and to minimize wounds and feelings of loss. An example close at hand comes with my New Years Eve story, for right away I was tempted to reassure you that my family is blessed beyond measure and that our tiny disappointments of 2015 were minor compared with those of others we know (and maybe yours). We minimize our feelings as if each of us is only allotted a small amount of grief and we had better put it to good use on something really important. Allowing ourselves to feel authentically opens our hearts to see the beauty, feel the joy, hear the laughter, and be touched by Gods innumerable graces that course through our veins and sneak into our circumstances.

    The truth of Broken Hallelujahs is that we are constantly being called upon to hold simultaneously two irreconcilable conditions in our mind and heart: the way things should be and the way things are on this fallen planet. Transformation and wholeness will come, but NOT through giving up on the beauty and order that we long for, NOR by stuffing our disappointment.

    As a spiritual director, Beth Slevcove is uniquely positioned to share not only her own experience of healing out of grief, but also her observations of others creative engagement with loss, their process of making room for hope. For instance, at the first hint of loss, my mind wants to start launching questions toward the heavens, and this is fine except that I tend to ask unhelpful whys. Acknowledging the loss while affirming the presence of God (with me in the vacuum) leads to more helpful what questions (What can I do in this unwanted situation?); where questions (God, where are you in this?); and how questions (How are you inviting me to be in this?). This kind of fact-finding demonstrates that I am paying attention to what God wants to do with a situation that feels like chaos to me. Can I trust Gods motives?

    Our hearts long for a depth of spiritual discernment that will enable us to hear the voice of God and follow with certainty. We dread the hurt and disappointment at the end of rabbit trails that we thought were The Way Home. Our broken hallelujahs, sung by and with the suffering during these days of shadows and longing, will find their way to a full-throated grief-enriched hallelujah not in spite of our suffering, but because of it.


    This book was provided by IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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