> Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson and Tricia Goyer is the powerful story of a young woman’s journey from despair to wholeness in Christ. A beautiful young girl, 17-year-old Kristen felt overwhelmed as a series of life events weighed down on her. Everything came to a head one cold January night when a way out just seemed to present itself. Sitting near the tracks alone in a park, Kristen heard an on-coming train. Convinced that the lives of her loved ones would be better if they needn’t worry about her any longer; convinced that death would be freedom; convinced that death would come immediately when the train ran over her body, Kristen laid on the tracks and braced for that death.
But death did not come. God was not finished with her yet.
The story of Kristen’s attempted suicide, miraculous protection, and journey through healing is, without a doubt, inspirational. But, in all honesty there are many stories of God miraculously saving lives. What makes Kristen’s story truly relevant is less the specifics of her thwarted suicide and more her journey of spiritual growth. Kristen’s experience – and her continuing battles with depression -made her question deeply whether or not she would have gone to heaven or hell had she succeeded in ending her own life. With the help of her physical therapist’s husband, Kristen discovered the truth of Scripture – the truth that her baptism as an infant and her family’s faithfulness in church were not enough. She needed to surrender to the Lordship of Christ in her life.
Even after her salvation experience, however, little changed in Kristen’s life. Essentially, she knew that she would go to heaven were she to actually die, but depression still weighed in on her heavily. It was several more years before she realized that there was more to salvation than “fire insurance”. God wanted a growing and vibrant relationship with her. He wanted to be a daily part of her life. It was that discovery that truly brought her to the point of living life to the fullest and of discovering why God had miraculously prevented her death. It was that discovery that brought her to point of saying she would never go back and change a thing – the loss of her legs was a small price to pay for wholeness of spirit.
That spiritual journey is what makes this book so powerful. Many, many Christians walk through life completely unaware that there is more to salvation that simply a one-time experience. There is growth and relationship. There is a discovery of usefulness in the Kingdom of God. Kristen reached that point through tragedy. My prayer – and I’m sure hers as well – is that because of her story many others can reach that point through tragedy-free surrender. But, even if the tragedy must come, Kristen’s story is proof that the results can be more beautiful than anyone could ever imagine.
This book was sent to me for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. To watch a video introduction to the story, click here. Click on the book cover or title for purchasing information. And, as always, check out this Blogging for Books link if you’re interested in being a book reviewer for WaterBrook Multnomah.