About this book: As a respected Bible teacher, Kasey Van Norman had dedicated her life to sharing God’s Word and encouraging women to trust in God during times of crisis. Then, just as her ministry was poised to explode, Kasey was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that shattered her spirit and rocked her faith to its core. Sick, frightened, and in pain, Kasey suddenly found herself facing the greatest challenge of her life—believing her own message.
In Raw Faith, Kasey chronicles her courageous battle with cancer, taking readers on a candid and poignant journey of faith and discovery, from the depths of despair through triumphant victory.
Drawing on a variety of Bible stories and characters, Kasey discovers and distills the singular truth that has existed since time began: while change and uncertainty are inevitable, God is always unchanging, and He is always faithful—even when our circumstances might tempt us to think otherwise.
About the author: (excerpted from Tyndale Media Center) In Kasey Van Norman’s 2012 book and Bible study series, Named by God, she opens up about her past abuse, traumatic rape, promiscuous teen years, her extramarital affair, and attempted suicide, culminating in a heroic rescue by Jesus—pointing to his restoration of her marriage and life. In Raw Faith—What Happens When God Picks a Fight, she chronicles her battle with incurable cancer and her struggle to believe her own message of faith amidst such pain. Kasey’s passion is teaching others the power of their story. [Aside from me: Yes!]
Kasey makes her home on the US mission field. Along with husband Justin and their two children, Kasey works and lives each day on the largest working rescue ranch in the United States. As a child rescue agent for Still Creek Ranch in Bryan, TX, Kasey helps rescue minors from abuse, neglect, and human trafficking.
Kasey is a licensed professional counselor with earned degrees in psychology, public speaking, counseling, and biblical studies. Kasey founded KVM (Kasey Van Norman Ministries) in 2010.
[Another aside from me: to get the full scoop, you really need to check out her story on her website. I got so sucked into her captivating bio that I let the broccoli burn.]
Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Living/Cancer
Would I read this book, judged on its cover alone? Sure, if I was in the market for a book on this topic.
You’ll want to buy this book if … you or someone you know is struggling to hold onto their faith in the midst of difficult circumstances–perhaps, especially, cancer.
Why did I read this book? For Tyndale for review.
Would I read another by this author? Oh yes. This book and her website make me eager to get my hands on her first book, Named by God. And she hints that she has a few other stories needing to be told. Fingers crossed that she gets the chance to tell them.
My take: When a book begins with “I did not want to write this book,” you kinda know it’s going to be a difficult read. And it was. Not because it was poorly written. On the contrary, Raw Faith is a beautifully written book, filled with glimpses into the author’s personal journal, which are no more heartfelt–and heartrending–than the rest of her writing. She refers often to the stories of the Bible and fills her pages not only with gut-wrenching honesty but with hope.
Nonetheless–it’s tough. It’s tough to read about another human being’s deep suffering. It’s perhaps tougher still when the author says that her suffering could well be the reader’s own. She states that a crisis of faith must come to nearly every Christian. That it’s not a question of if, but when.
However. What she offers women going through a situation similar to hers–whether it’s cancer, or the loss of a loved one, or an unrequited dream or romance–is compassion. And truth. And, yes, hope before always circling back to the Father’s unfailing love. His showing up–and showing off–at the lowest points of our lives.
So no, it was not an easy read–but it was a powerful one, one which could quite possibly be the answer to prayer for many who, like the author herself, long desperately to find purpose in their suffering–and whose faith seems at times to be enduring by only the slimmest thread.
Thanks to Tyndale House for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
Now your turn: I’m curious…is this the kind of book you could give as a gift to a friend who you think might benefit? Or would that be overstepping? Is it instead a type of book that you need to discover and choose for yourself? Let me hear from you–I really would like to know what you think.