Niequist, Shauna. Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013. 256 pages.
Shauna Niequist continues to be one of my favorite authors. I found so many parallels in her Bittersweet story to our own story, that by chapter two, I was in tears. Thankfully, that was the “change” part of the book, and the “grace” part was still to come.
This book was raw, relatable, and beautifully crafted. The chapters are short and easy to read on the run–which is perfect as a mom to a very active toddler! I’d read a chapter or two before bed or between tasks during nap time, and it was a retreat in itself. Be ready to do some soul-searching and “self-processing” when you pick up this book–and maybe have a box of tissues nearby.
Her book Bread & Wine is still my favorite, but this was a good companion book. It didn’t get too deep or offer Scripture references for thought, but it was full of wit and insight into the practical side of dealing with emotions during seasons of change and disappointment, while leaning hard on Jesus. It very much felt like diary entries over a season of time that Shauna graciously allowed us permission to read.
My favorite quote is actually found on the back cover: “I’ve learned the hard way that change is one of God’s greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we’ve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I’ve learned that it’s not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God’s graciousness, not life’s cruelty.”
[Wanted to share a little followup after reading and thinking more on this…
I loved her Bread & Wine book. Bittersweet was very relatable–sobbed thru the first half!
My only question mark is that she’s really vague about what she actually believes–like is she just a justice of the peace or an ordained minister?? There seems to be hints of Judaism and Catholicism, as well as a steep pendulum swing against the hypocrisies of hyper-conservatism. I like her writing style, but I hesitate to call her a Christian author–religious, yes, but not so sure about Christian.
There’s some really good food for thought & awesome hospitality & grace & forgiveness analogies, but I wouldn’t necessarily say deep–raw, vulnerable, sure. I had to actually stop reading her Savor devotional because it was kinda wishy washy–mostly one or two verses plus an excerpt from one of her books. 😕 Gifted author, but, like any author, don’t forget to read with discernment.
Here’s an interesting article about Shauna and her husband Aaron: https://bereanresearch.org/willow-creeks-the-practice-blends-new-age-catholic-mysticism/.%5D