Friday, August 8, 2014

As Is By: Wendy Stenzel Oleston

Spoiler alert in this review: This is a very thought provoking book. Real life issues, questions, and troubles are talked about and dealt with from being an alcoholic to losing a job to someone spreading rumors that aren’t true. How would it be if Jesus was right by your side as you endured these? What would he say to you as you go through life? Mara has a life filled with hard choices and consequences from her past. Can she accept her freedom as Graydon Davidson presents it, or will she reject what he has to offer?

Mara has been court-ordered to attend counseling. On the way there she meets Graydon. He becomes an integral part of her and her son’s life. He opens her eyes to a life filled with forgiveness, second chances, and God’s love for her. Can she accept what he is teaching her? Can she believe someone would love her for who she is and that there is nothing she can do to make his love stronger because he already loves her and went through so much just for her? Graydon asks her point blank questions, and makes her think about her actions. Sometimes we need to have a one-on-one conversation with God to find out where we stand with him. Our thoughts and actions could be holding us back from accomplishing so much for him.

The conversations between Mara and Graydon are so realistic. I felt like I was right there, especially when he’s looking in the mirror and tells her to look and see what she sees. She can never see past what is right there to see what God sees in her. God sees on the inside. Sometimes that’s harder to show others, but God knows what is there.

There is cursing in this book, which I think takes away from what the author is trying to do here. The words are used in context to what is going on, but they take me out of the story every time one is used. After finishing the book and realizing what I had thought was right, I want to go back and read it again, but I don’t want to because of the words. The story, characters, and meaning are excellently woven throughout. Once you finish the book, you are left with your thoughts. Is Jesus part of your everyday decision making processes? Is he the first one you think to talk to when you have an issue come up? What would it be like to have him right there with you, to talk to, to hug, to feel his love in all that you do? This book brings this out so poignantly. Jesus loves us this much. He wants to be this close to all of us as we go through life.

If there was a version without the curse words, I would say this book would be a great addition to read to get a full understanding of how it would be having Jesus right there with you, going through life with you. This book puts that into perspective in such a way, that even after reading the book, you still feel him there. You can have conversations with God; you just have to be willing to listen for the answer and accept what he has to say.

I can’t say too much more without giving the whole book away. If you don’t mind the curse words and can skip over them, I say pick up this book today. You won’t regret it! If they bother you, it will take away from the book and you won’t get out of it what you should. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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