Monday, January 23, 2012
Life, In Spite of Me - Kristen Jane Anderson
"Disbelief filled me. I was looking at my legs...lying about ten feet away."
Kristen Jane Anderson, the co-author of Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice, is also the main character in the non-fiction work. As a 17-year-old girl struggling with depression and feelings of worthlessness, with nobody telling her differently, she attempts to commit suicide, by laying down on a train track in front of an oncoming train. She survives, even when by all medical and engineering accounts she should have died. However, the train takes both of her legs, leading to a long recovery, and the repetitious refrain of "God must have kept you alive for a reason, Kristen."
The book begins with the night in question, and works both backwards to define how she came to the point of wanting to end it all, and forwards to where she works through both the physical recovery and the spiritual struggle of why she is still alive. She questions whether she would have gone to Heaven or Hell had she been successful, and she begins to work forward in her relationship with God. Her recovery isn't easy, and she relapses several times into depression, before she begins to realize "focusing on myself was the wrong thing to do. God should have been my main focus...and he wasn't." Once she turns her eyes and focus to God, she finds that she has "a beautiful story to share." From there, she feels the call to minister to others who may find themselves hopeless, and lost in darkness with nobody else to show them the Light.
The story of Kristen is an amazing one. Although it speaks directly to readers who may have considered suicide, or know someone who might, it also speaks of God's amazing grace and goodness, his faithfulness to get us through even the toughest, unimaginable situations. Kristen is honest in speaking of her weaknesses, and the story is a compelling transition from a lost soul to one found in Christ. I was amazed that Kristen even came to the point where she was "grateful" for having lost her legs, and could say that it was "worth it," because it brought her to to Christ, and it gave her the opportunity to speak to countless people who were struggling through Reaching You Ministries.
You can read Chapter 1 HERE.
I give this book 4 stars out of 5.
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I received this book for free to review as a part of the Blogging for Books program through Waterbrook Multnomah publishing group. I was not required to provide a positive review.