Lisa Gungor thought she knew her own story: small-town girl meets boy in college and they blissfully walk down the aisle into happily ever after. Their Christian faith was their lens and foundation for everything—their marriage, their music, their dreams for the future. But as their dreams began to come true, she began to wonder if her religion was really representative of the ‘good news’ she had been taught.
She never expected the questions to lead as far as they did when her husband told her he no longer believed in God. The death of a friend, the unraveling of relationships and career, the loss of a worldview, and the birth of a baby girl with two heart defects all led Lisa to a tumultuous place; one of depression and despair. And it was there that her perspective on everything changed. The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen tells the story of what can happen when you dare to let go of what you think to be true; to shift the kaleidoscope and see new colors and dimension by way of broken pieces.
Lisa’s eloquent, soul-stirring memoir brings you to a music stage before thousands of fans and a front porch where two people whisper words that scare them to the core. It is the story of how doubt can spark the beginning of deeper faith; how a baby born with a broken heart can bring love and healing to the hearts of many, and ultimately, how the hardest experience in life often ends up saving us.
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Have tissue nearby!
Lisa’s writing is honest and poignant. She shares the loss and reconstruction of her faith, her struggle with fertility, the death of a close friend, and the birth of her second daughter, Lucie, who was born with Down Syndrome and heart defects.
This was a really special book to read because I’ve cherished Lisa’s music since college. I turned to Gungor’s music when I went through the loss and reconstruction of my faith. I’ve journaled and prayed using some of her lyrics; I’ve sat in dark closets and cried with her music. After reading this book, I realized that a necessary part of honoring a musician’s art is thinking about the pain in their creative process. Lisa bravely shared the toughest moments in her life that led to some of the most beautiful music we get to enjoy.
This book also reminded me of the need to advocate for and consciously regard special-needs people. In the US, 70 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero are electively aborted. Holland, 74–94 percent. Canada, 80 percent. Denmark, 98 percent. Iceland, 100 percent.
One of my first jobs as a teenager was at a child development center; Seth, an adorable little boy with Down Syndrome, was my brightest little student. I’ve often thought about him and wondered what his life must be like now or if he’s even alive. While I strongly support women’s reproductive choices, I have to believe that if society had a more wholesome and healthy understanding of “special needs” people, the crazy high abortion statistics would go down and we’d have more Seths and Lucies, who teach us unconditional love and never fail to see the magic in all, not just some. Lisa, thank you for reminding us that the very things we think will crush us actually help us see the world as more vibrant and ablaze.
So grateful to have read this beautiful book. I love how real and vulnerable Lisa is. Not enough words for the beauty within these pages.
One of the Most Beautiful Books I’ve Read
This is probably one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I will admit at the start I was a bit taken back by the artistic and even seemingly “out there” style of writing/storytelling, but once I got into it and saw how the book was constructed, I realized that it is actually an artistic masterpiece. I’m a pretty straightforward, direct kind of person, so for me to say that, it takes a lot.
I’ve been fascinated with the Gungors and their journey, particularly in regard to the unraveling of their Christian faith, so to hear the story firsthand in more detail was incredible. Lisa has such a poetic way of telling the story of her life. It’s not too much, and it’s not too little. It’s just right.
I will definitely be recommending this book to whoever wants to read it, and I’ll end with my favorite quote from the book. “To love is the most profound thing I know. Love is the narrow road, not the wide one. I mean, have you ever tried to truly love unattached? It isn’t what the masses are going for. It will leave you dropping all of your belongings and baggage as you go because there just isn’t room for all of that.”
I was given an pre-release copy of this book and have agreed to write a review. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book or my review.