A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker

Every good and perfect gift is from above… James 1:17

A Good and Perfect Gift
Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny
Amy Julia Becker
Bethany House
September 2011

Every woman traversing her first pregnancy has similar worries.  They range from the immediate:  What if we don’t get to the hospital on time? What if I can’t handle the pain?   To the long term:   What if I’m not good enough? Strong enough?  What if I do something wrong? What if I don’t teach him/her the right way?  To the ones specifically about the baby:  How am I going to take care of this little bitty person?   I’m going to break him/her.  And in the end:  Everything will be fine…as long as the baby is healthy.

The birth of Amy Julia Becker’s first child, Penny, brought those questions and more.  In the face of an unexpected diagnosis, Amy Julia must both care for a newborn with an unknown future while sorting through her own doubts, fears, and hurts.  She does what is to be expected: she wonders if she will be able to care for her daughter, questions what she might have done to “deserve” this, and struggles with maintaining what had always been a strong relationship with God.

What I like about Becker’s condensed memoir is how very honest and transparent she is.   Many others of faith I know who have been faced with adversity will simply talk about how they were able to get through it by relying on God.  For those of us who might temporarily be lost in our own haze of grief and anger, that response only serves to add guilt to the mix of emotions.  We wonder why we can’t mange to make it beyond our own feelings to see God waiting for us on the other side.

Becker details an experience just like that.  She talks about how during the early days of her daughter’s life, she struggled with coming to terms of the new “normal” for her family.   She expresses those moments of feeling stronger, only to have someone’s words bring her back to the realization that life would now be completely unlike she expected.   After she is able to wade through that grief and anger and able to move through some of those doubts, Becker is then able to make her way back to God…who has always been waiting.

This book really spoke to me because of personal experience.  After enduring something I never thought would happen, I too had to wade through my own feelings to get to God on the other side.  Becker’s story is one that I really could have used in those early days.  Days when I had really grown tired of people telling me to rely on God and that it would all “be okay.”

In the end, it was okay.  And in the end, I did find my way back.   But I had to get there on my own.  Reading Becker’s story made me feel a little less guilty for not being there right from the start.

Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.