What would you want your children to remember about you, should you die today? Jill writes, "This book is everything I hope my daughters eventually learn, always remember, and never forget.” (x)
Jill records moments in her life and what she has learned from them. She has grouped her experiences into chapters, each one covering a topic. At the end of each chapter Jill has included a list of what to remember and never forget, a prayer, and Scripture related to the chapter's topic.
For example, she writes about a birthmark she tried to hide, likening it to a relentless longing that echoed through her soul – a longing she was able to hide from everyone but herself. She shares other experiences from which she learned lessons on love, significance, forgiveness, suffering, giving, prayer, faithfulness, and death.
Many of her lessons came from painful situations. Probably the most painful was the death of their toddler son from a rare genetic disease. Jill honestly shares her complete collapse under the weight of the grief too intense to bear. She writes, “The temptation to reject the Word of God and buy into the lie that God had abandoned me was overwhelming.” (172) She came out of the experience with a deeper understanding of the power of the gospel.
Through all of these experiences, Jill concludes, “God is more concerned with who we are than what we do, more concerned with our character than our achievements. Godly character will necessarily lead to loving obedience, while its lack can still produce all kinds of good works with proud and self-righteous motives.” (160)
Jill is very honest as she shares her experiences. This book is certainly an encouragement to anyone facing painful circumstances in life. Jill relates her encouragement because she has gone through similar situations herself. We'll be thankful someday for those hurts, she writes. “It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow – but someday... For it's your sorrow that will lead you to His love, and your suffering that will bring you to His grace.” (191) Wise words indeed.
Jill Kelly is the wife of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. In September 1997, months after their infant son was diagnosed with a fatal disease called Krabbe Leukodystrophy, Jim and Jill founded Hunter's Hope Foundation. Jill and her husband live in Buffalo, NY, with their two daughters. Jill is also the author of Without a Word. Find out more about the Foundation at www.HuntersHope.org.
FaithWords (Hachette Book Group), 224 pages.
I received a complimentary galley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.