Monday, December 19, 2016

Review: Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix

About the book:

Of Stillness and Storm (Thomas Nelson, December 2016)

"I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing."

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream---reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family's undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren's past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It's thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

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My Review

I have read many true life missionary tales, and though I have been amazed at their faith and tenacity in reaching third world peoples for the gospel, I have always felt a tinge of sorrow on the part of their families: their immediate family, wife and children, at how much they had to sacrifice in order for the father to follow his calling.  Of Stillness and Storm, a cautionary tale as the author puts it, gives us a fictional yet hard hitting truth at what some missionary families, especially the kids may have to sacrifice.  This was a hard book to read.  It was agonizing in parts and by the end I felt a little bit shattered.  What happens when the zeal to reach the lost becomes even more important than the family God gave you, or even more important than God Himself? 

This book reminds me of what Jesus said in Mark 8:36:  “And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?” (NLT version).  In the case of this story the souls of your children.  I like that the author brings up this very important message of missionary kids and that it is not all a happy experience.  I think you can attach this to even pastor’s kids and really to all children who are sacrificed to their parents’ career choices and pursuing of their dreams at the cost of the security and determent of their family. 

Zeal is not bad.  Pursuing careers is not bad.   However, we should as parents strive to be more like how God truly is, not our idea of what we think He is.  Conclusion, tough subject matter and at times hard to read, like watching a train wreck, but thought provoking and heart searching(searing) at the same time.

I received a copy of this book for free through Litfuse.  I was not required to give a positive review and the views expressed are my own.

About the author:

Born in France to a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle Phoenix is a consultant, writer and speaker with a heart for Third Culture Kids. She taught for 20 years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own advocacy venture under Global Outreach Mission. Michèle travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students, Marvel movies and paths to healing.

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