Sometimes, in the day to day life as a mom, I need perspective. I don’t need someone to tell me five ways to be a better mom. I don’t need another book to tell me how to keep my house perfectly clean and organized (though if there’s really a secret that works, I’d be glad to know it). I just need someone to speak truth, reminding me of the bigger story we’re living in.
Bekah Bowman has written just such a book. Can’t Steal My Joy is both heart-wrenching and life-giving at the same time. I’ve highlighted line after line, sometimes barely able to see through tears.
“It’s not the letting go that gives me the survival strength, it’s Who I am releasing these burdens to.”(Can’t Steal My Joy: The Journey to a Different Kind of Brave by Bekah Bowman)
Can’t Steal My Joy is not an easy read, but it’s a gripping one. It shines the bright light of truth into the midst of fear and tragedy. For Bekah Bowman, that tragedy came in the form of a terminal diagnosis for her children.
“…my worry didn’t gift us anything. Instead, it used future what-ifs to rob the present.”(Can’t Steal My Joy: The Journey to a Different Kind of Brave by Bekah Bowman)
Danny and Bekah’s siblings are friends of ours, so we have watched from afar as they grappled with the devastation of the disease. From the first frantic prayer requests, to reading Bekah’s blog posts, we’ve cried for the Bowmans and simultaneously been encouraged by their testimony.
“When there is an absence of truth in my life, I’m at the mercy of whatever my circumstances and emotions feed me. There is no strong foundation to filter them through. I am up, I am down. I have no control – no, in fact – they control me.”(Can’t Steal My Joy: The Journey to a Different Kind of Brave by Bekah Bowman)
But that’s the thing about truth. The lessons Bekah shares in Can’t Steal My Joy are applicable to everyday life–not just life lived in the midst of incredible tragedy. With humility and vulnerability, Bekah shares their story, interspersed with excerpts of what she wrote from within the raw depths of their brokenness. Bekah’s pursuit of joy puts one’s own personal heartbreak in a new light, no matter what form that adversity may be taking at the moment.
“I’m going to live in this moment right now, knowing I get to witness redemption and victory even here in the mundane and broken.”(Can’t Steal My Joy: The Journey to a Different Kind of Brave by Bekah Bowman)
The Bowman’s story hasn’t ended. It’s not wrapped up neatly with a bow in the epilogue of Can’t Steal My Joy. They are still living in the midst of unthinkable unknowns. But their testimony of faith in Jesus is made all the more beautiful, blooming in the midst of such brokenness.
“…please, Lord, radiate strong from my being, through my broken stem and beaten leaves, right to my new and beautiful bloom. My broken stem shows my weakness, and my new bloom shows that You take brokenness and make it SO beautiful… Bloom beautiful in me, despite my ugly, broken stem.”(Can’t Steal My Joy: The Journey to a Different Kind of Brave by Bekah Bowman)
My daughter Ruth Ann (age 11) shares her review of Can’t Steal My Joy:
“Bekah Bowman’s book Can’t Steal My Joy is a new favorite on my bookshelf. It’s a serious wipe your eyes kind of book. Though it may seem like God doesn’t answer their prayers, it jumped out at me as I read that even in the darkest moments, HE IS THERE! It’s an awesome book and I heartily recommend it. I hope it is an encouragement to you, too.”
Disclosure: I am on the Can’t Steal My Joy launch team and received a digital ARC for review purposes–then promptly ordered multiple copies to give as gifts.
Sunflower Photos Courtesy of Hannah Acheson Photography