As Soon As I Fell, by Kay Bruner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
BOOK DESCRIPTION: What happens when being radical for God brings you to the edge of disaster? When Kay Bruner and her husband, Andy, took their young family to live on an island in the South Pacific, she found the purposeful, adventurous life she'd hoped for-along with isolated living, dangerous sea travel, tropical illnesses, and a floundering marriage. As they worked on a Bible translation project with a local language group, Kay sank into burnout and depression while Andy medicated his stress with a pornography addiction. Bringing life back from the brink required a radical reinvention of life, from a ministry and marriage built on high performance and spiritual heroism, to a nourishing daily walk of grace, freedom, and intimate connection. This is a story about going to extremes for spiritual acceptability and failing dismally, only to find that love and grace transcend failure. For anyone who's ever asked, "When will I be good enough for love?" this book resoundingly answers: "Right now. You are loved, right this minute, in this mess." While few of us will live on a tiny island in the South Pacific, many of us will find hope and healing in this story of a painful fall into the arms of love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kay Bruner was born in Buffalo, New York and grew up in Brazil, Nigeria, and the wilds of Kentucky. She and her husband have raised their four children in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and the great state of Texas. Kay divides her work days between counseling and writing. She blogs at www.kaybruner.com.
MY THOUGHTS: As a missionary, I identified with the culture shock, the inadequacy, the loneliness, the pressure from without and within, the feeling of being overwhelmed by it all and not seeing how God could possibly make something beautiful out of the mess life on the field turned out to be. I was riveted to this book and thought Kay's story couldn't possibly get worse, when each page seemed to prove me wrong.
I have found that my time on foreign soil has served to help me grow far more than those I came to minister to, and that God has shined light on all sorts of misconceptions and untruths in what was forming the foundation of my beliefs, not only theologically but in who I was at my core. Kay went through a similar journey--maybe we all do--and I found hope in how God patched up those cracks to fix the faulty foundation.
I applaud Kay and her husband for their willingness to share such personal details, not only because I know so many people will find themselves in their story, but also because their happy ending offers hope and encouragement.
**The author offers a free study guide with great questions for reflection, which are appropriate both for personal use or group study. Download it here.