Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Color of Rain by Michael & Gina Spehn

We should never be shocked by God’s timing.  Enough things have happened in my life that I’ve had to say “God’s timing is so much better than my own.”  Already knowing this, I’m not sure why I found it so surprising when, last week, I received an e-mail with an opportunity to review this book – about 2 people who had lost spouses to cancer and ended up connecting and joining their families. 

Why was this significant to me?  Well, because last Monday marked the 18-month anniversary of my best friend Sue’s death (after a nine-month battle with ovarian cancer); and next Saturday her husband will remarry.  While I’m so happy for him and I think his wife-to-be is sweet and lovely, it’s just been hard these past few weeks.  All I got in the e-mail was this information (and I knew it was a book I had to read):

It tells the remarkable true story born from cancer slowly robbing one young family of a father and suddenly taking a mother from her own young family. What unfolds is a deep love story that brings together two families told first hand by the couple who lived it.

I visited The Color of Rain website and viewed the video.  I felt an immediate connection with the authors.  I wrote back to my contact and said:

I think I NEED this book.
My best friend died of cancer last March, and her husband is remarrying in 2 ½ weeks.  I know I could use the encouragement of  this book.  It sounds like a wonderful story.

The book arrived at my door and, as much as non-fiction really isn’t my thing, I devoured it!  For the first time since Sue passed away, I found myself staying up really late at night to read it.  Because, unlike the authors who found themselves unable to sleep at night after their losses, my grief went the other direction (and has made me want to sleep much more). 

As I read the stories of each of their spouses’ battles with cancer, and eventual deaths, I was immediately transformed to facing that battle with Sue, and spending that precious time with her in the hospital at the end of her life.  I remember posting on my blog about how Hollywood just really does not portray death-by-cancer in a realistic light – it’s NOT all peaceful at the end – it’s a horrible, tragic, awful thing to witness.  As both Gina and Michael individually recounted their stories, I could understand and connect with them. 

Here’s a bit more about the book:

This real-life Brady Bunch story is about what it means to endure the unthinkable—and still open one’s heart to what’s next.

When two childhood friends die of cancer six weeks apart, the shared experience of loss brings their grieving spouses together. After months of late-night phone calls, family dinners, and countless dreams and tears, this unlikely pair builds a trust, a love, and a shared life.

Told from alternating points of view, The Color of Rain illuminates the stepping-stones of healing that lead to a joyful new beginning for Michael and Gina Spehn and their five children. Like many who grieve, Michael and Gina had to choose to hope again. Along the way, they discovered that God can restore the darkest circumstances—and even from death, He can bring new life.

Michael and Gina’s gripping story of “growing new hearts” will inspire readers not only to survive loss but also to receive the new courage, faith, and identity that God gives in the midst of tragedy.

I so appreciated their openness and honesty throughout this book.  Written in alternating first-person perspective, it’s very easy to become connected with both Michael and Gina. They don’t just share the stories of losing their spouses and meeting and connecting with one another; but they also share  about their upbringing, their families, and their personal relationships with others. 

It’s so refreshing to hear people giving glory to God, even through trials and adversity. While, of course, both Michael and Gina had times of questioning their loss, they are both giving God the glory for how things have played out in their lives. I’m sure it’s not the story either of them would have written for themselves, but it’s a beautiful story – and one I’d definitely recommend for anyone to read!

If you’d like to learn more about Michael and Gina Spehn, you may do so at their website – where you can learn more about their story and their ministry.  I’d encourage you to head over to Amazon and pre-order The Color of Rain today!

NOTE: I received the book mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


Nancy ~Lessons Learned on the Farm said...

Oh, Heidi. This books sounds wonderful and I think it's wonderful that God brought it your way at just the right time.

I can understand how bittersweet it is to be happy for your friend's new marriage while at the same time, still grieving for your friend, Sue.


Allyson said...

I think this is a beautiful story of loss and hope through God.  There is no doubt in my mind that God brought these two suffering families together and they have His blessing.  Whether I believe in it or you do not, it's not for us to judge or comment on.  These two famiies are happied through their love and faith in Christ.  That's all that really matters.  While it is not my place to question, I do have a problem with both of these two professeing to be "hopelessly in love" with their deceased spouses.  Carrying a love for someone and being in love with someone are two different things in my opinion.  I don't believe God wants them be be hopelessly in loved with their deceased spouses, while being married to another here on earth.

Miklo said...

I'm sorry, I don't think I can be as charitable as others have been.
The circumstances of these two getting together, to me, is repulsive.
One of our litmus tests should always be, if the circumstances were reversed, how would  this outcome affect me?
For example, and Heaven forbid, but would Gina have been delighted to learn that her husband met his next wife at HER visitation?  I seriously doubt it.
I mean, this man had only learned of the terminal nature of his wife's disease three weeks before he and Gina organized their first "great" date!
No, I don't like the sound of it.

I too lost a close friend to Cancer in January of 2009. Her husband began dating the woman he is now married to within two months of his first wife's passing - and everyone thought it was wonderful!

I thought it was lousy.  Not that he should grieve bitterly for the rest of his life, but I don't know - wait six months before you begin dating again? A year?
The church has gotten too lax about stuff like this... People should think of the children involved and their grieving process too.

Unlike most of the pollyanna responses you will hear and read, I think this is "selfishness wrapped in a glossy bow" = annoying.

Miklo said...

Please understand, I am NOT saying that God cannot work blessing from tragedy - and perhaps that is what He has done in the case of this blended family.

But too many times we see these sudden new pairings taking hold, even before the funeral benediction - as if the affected parties don't need time to process and heal from the loss.  Our children need to see us grieve and learn to trust God and stand firmly on our own again before we melt into a new romance, as if nothing ever happened.

I don't like this story. It strikes a difficult chord for me. But I don't ever want to kybosh the grace of God or the blessings that He has for those who love Him and trust Him.

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