Friday, January 27, 2012

Hope for the Better

I haven't blogged about the books I read in a very long time. At long last, I feel like talking about one or two maybe. Some of them have eased away idle time I barely found for myself; several others had done a little more by tingling this little thing called my emotion. I think I'll talk of the latter ones. Or maybe just one. 

via Beaded Hope
I like Beaded Hope.

Beaded Hope by Cathy Ligget is a novel inspired by a non-governmental organization of its namesake based in South Africa. It tells of four women, all of different ages and standing in very different stages of life, who cross each other's path when they all signed up for the two-week mission trip to Mamelodi in South Africa. Supposedly to give hope to the HIV/AIDS stricken community of mostly women and children who have been left to support and fend for themselves, we all know inspirational stories of this sort always end up with the individuals who have gone to a place to bless whom are themselves blessed instead.

The story opens with a portrayal of an overly-loving relationship between Gabby and his husband, which I have to admit, felt slightly cheesy to me. As it turns out, the loving couple has invested so much financially and emotionally into years of trying to conceive a child -- and coping with the miscarriages. The amount of love Tom still pours out to his beloved Gabby is disarming and enviable.

On the whole opposite end of the issue of life, stepmother-and-stepdaughter pair, who still mourns the death of their husband/father and who seems to have a widening gap between them, faces another jolt of life's surprise for them when Katie, the daughter, becomes a pregnant seventeen-year-old.

Then there's Cassandra, a career woman who has arrived at her success and owns everything that she has by her own effort. She trusts no one; not God, not humans.

The women meet, initially wary of each other, but they experience, and so they learn.

The novel didn't turn out cheesy like the first few pages had caused me to fear. In fact, it became quite so engrossing that I read it through amid the busy traffic of people coming to and going from my house during the core days of Chinese New Year festivity. I quickly became drawn into the emotions of the characters -- didn't matter which side of the Atlantic Ocean they were situated at that time. The author sure knows how to make the women and their thoughts relatable to the readers.

More than just a feel-good novel about women helping women, and the incredible bond nurtured between them and with the African community in a span as short as a couple weeks, this novel became a much-needed reminder to me of the faithfulness of my God. It was through this novel that I felt God speaking to me when I was in one of my absolute lows in my walk with Him. If you have read my previous post, I was just like Gabby in the story; disappointed, feeling abandoned, and bitter.

This novel spoke so much to me because it was a sincere portrayal of our Father in Heaven who is forever faithful, even if having things be unraveled to us in His timing can feel like otherwise a lot of the times. But God is faithful, and it doesn't matter if you are a woman suffering from AIDS and having to live with the fear of leaving your children orphaned, or if you feel guilty and spoilt after seeing the generosity and gratefulness of the lives that have less than half of what you have, or if you are bitter towards Him, or if you have made Him absent in your life for the longest time. In the novel, He redeemed every lady in touching, different ways.

And if an author can portray God as such in a made-up story -- that has touched me so and made me cry in quiet abundance and realize again that He is indeed so real -- how much more amazing and real are the things that Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, can do in my life, right? I admit, things aren't going to be easy even after this. But it is really good to have a novel that reminded me of God's goodness.

And to the author's credit, the story line wasn't as predictable as I had originally thought it to be. Because I predicted some parts wrong.

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