Friday, February 1, 2019

Broken Pieces - A Book Review

Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them
When we walk through the valleys and storms of life, where can we find an anchor for our souls? What is our true comfort? How can we care for others who are suffering? In Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them, Simonetta Carr shares her painful journey through the unknown waters of schizophrenia and offers support and encouragement for others who are going through similar trials. Again and again, she turns her eyes and directs ours to: "...the triune God--not only as a helper and comforter of sorrows, but in all his greatness and the perfection of his attributes" (pg. 106) demonstrating that God's unchanging character (Ex. 34:6-7) is the anchor for our souls in any and every aspect of life. She writes:

"Ultimately, Christ is my only true comfort and my only anchor in this sea of uncertainty" (155).

The struggle of faith is to see God the Father rightly and then act in light of what we know to be true, rightly imaging Him. This "Faith is not defined by our feelings. What we feel doesn't change what's objective" (190). One of Simonetta's pastors, Michael Horton, encouraged her with the words of John Calvin:
"All things around us are in opposition to the promises of God: He promises immortality; we are  surrounded with mortality and corruption: He declares that he counts us just; we are covered with  sins: He testifies that he is propitious and kind to us; outward judgments threaten his wrath. What then is to be done? We must with closed eyes pass by ourselves and all things connected with us, that nothing may hinder or prevent us from believing that God is true" (191).
In response, Simonetta writes: "And so I continue, day after day, to divert my mind from all the many things that pull me away from God’s promises" (191).

Simonetta Carr
And this is exactly what Simonetta seeks to do for her readers as well. While Broken Pieces shares the Carr family story, ultimately, this book isn't centered on Simonetta and her family but on the good God who faithfully carries all believers through life's trials and the promises of the gospel that sustain us in these struggles. She shows us what it looks like for one mom to " 'to the rock that is higher than' us (Ps. 61:2) and point our loved ones in that direction" (213). Simonetta is honest and transparent about the wrestlings of her heart and illustrates how one family's relentless love of a sufferer speaks of Christ's relentless love for us when we were in no condition to love him back (83).

Broken Pieces is full of wisdom and offers lots of practical advice to support caregivers including resource recommendations. It seeks to fuel compassion and empathy, allowing us to enter someone's pain, feel deeply, and weep with those who weep. Simonetta teaches us the importance of guarding our speech and judgments as Christians and how to be a friend to sufferers. She also highlights the primacy of the gospel and the ministry of the Word in the life of the church revealing the intricate inter-relationship between what we believe about God and how we live and walk through trials. I'm very grateful that Simonetta and others have reopened their tender wounds to build up the Body of Christ and help all of us image God more closely as we care for sufferers!
"It’s only when we realize who God is in Christ that we can not only accept his sovereignty over all but welcome it with joy and relief. And this realization comes when we understand the Bible as the unified story of a loving God who is redeeming a rebellious human race. God is not just an abstract sum of his attributes. He’s a God who acts in history, and his acts constitute an integral part of his revelation of himself as an omnipotent, omniscient, all-just, all-loving, all-good, and all-wise God. No one will ever know our loved ones like he does, and no one will ever love them more than Christ, who has died on the cross for them" (272).
*Many thanks to P & R  Publishing for a complimentary digital copy of Broken Pieces! These are my honest thoughts.

1 comment:

Annie Kate said...

Great review! You really brought out how Simonetta relied on God, and that is the central part of her book.

Thank you!