Three new memoirs offer messages of hope, focusing on God’s goodness in trying times and the blessings that await those who move forward with faith.
A SURVIVOR'S STORY
April 15, 2013 was a day that changed Rebekah Gregory’s life forever. She was standing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon with her young son when—a mere three feet away—two terrorist-planted bombs exploded. Her son was spared, thanks in part to the cover provided by Gregory, who suffered severe injuries due to the blasts. In Taking My Life Back: My Story of Faith, Determination, and Surviving the Boston Marathon Bombing, she recounts the horror of that day and the long process of recovery that followed 18 surgeries and the amputation of her left leg.
As Gregory proves in this heartening memoir, her personal journey is a testament to the power of faith. She grew up in an abusive household, the daughter of a violent-tempered preacher, and her early experiences with religion were unsatisfying. But her belief in Christ blossomed over the years, giving her the ability to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. “Repairing my body wouldn’t have had much point if my spirit couldn’t have thrived,” she says. “The power of Christ alone sustained my strength.” Gregory’s is a story of trials turned into triumphs, and she shares it in a refreshingly frank and unaffected manner. Readers in need of a spiritual boost will find it in this inspiring book.
TRIUMPH OVER TRAGEDY
Grammy Award-winning musician Steven Curtis Chapman has been writing and recording heartfelt country songs rooted in faith for 30 years. A native of Paducah, Kentucky, he’s a Nashville favorite who has performed on stages around the world. As a small-town boy who made it big, Chapman has had his share of personal and professional struggles. In his new memoir, Between Heaven and the Real World, he traces his path to success and offers an up-close look at the spirit-filled life he leads with his wife and fellow adoption activist, Mary Beth, and their six children.
Despite the career highs—winning 58 Dove Awards, selling more than 11 million records—Chapman has wrestled with questions of faith, never more so than after the death of his adopted daughter Maria in 2008, a tragedy that nearly ended his career. But, as Chapman recounts in the book, through his belief in God’s design, he found a way to move forward. In his songs, Chapman says, he hopes to provide “the voice of a friend encouraging and challenging others from my own experience.” That’s the voice readers will find in this open, honest memoir. Seasoned with Bible verses and anecdotes from the Opry, Chapman’s story will resonate with his many fans and with folks for whom he’s a new discovery.
A LOVE THAT ENDURES
Married in 2002, Joey and Rory Feek had plenty of blessings to count: three wonderful daughters, a farm in Tennessee and a joint career as the celebrated country-music duo Joey+Rory. On his popular blog, thislifeilive.com, Feek posted updates from the farm and shared the message of Christ. But everything changed when Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Her death in 2016 at the age of 41 left Feek devastated. In This Life I Live: One Man's Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever he tells his unforgettable story.
Born in Atchison, Kansas, Feek was raised mostly by his mother, who struggled to make ends meet. After serving in the Marine Corps, he entered the music business, penning tracks for Kenny Chesney and Randy Travis. He found success as a performer with the radiant Joey, and their popularity was growing when her illness struck. In his book, he recounts the painful process of letting her go and the challenges of moving on. Throughout, he emphasizes the comfort he finds in Christ. “I have peace,” he says. “Because of my faith. And finally opening my hands and turning my life over to God.” Feek is a gifted writer with a plainspoken, down-to-earth style that’s appealing. His faith is palpable on the page. So is his love for Joey.