Held by God, written by twin sisters Lori Phillips and Lynn Willers, is the real-life story of finding hope and trusting God in the midst of crisis. Both Lori and Lynn were diagnosed with catamenial pneumothorax (a condition involving frequent lung collapses) within the same year. Shortly after their treatment, Lori battled renal artery stenosis (a condition involving one of her kidneys). Finally, the sisters discovered that their mother had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. This book is meant to encourage Christians, especially Christian women, who are going through struggles and asking, “Why?”
The sisters make several points: there are no such things as coincidences, everything is part of God’s plan; it’s okay for a Christian to feel depressed at times; and God is always, always there. Each chapter is broken into readable bite-size segments, which kept me interested in the different stories being told and the different points being made. It’s also obvious that these sisters did a lot of in-depth medical research related to the conditions they and their mother experienced.
One part of this book that was extremely personal and touching was when the sisters spoke about feeling hopeless and depressed. They said that they began feeling guilty because, after all, they were Christians! They were supposed to feel happy and full of hope all the time, right? This guilt something that a lot of Christians feel at times, and the way Lori and Lynn address it is relevant and comforting.
Held by God surprised me. For someone who generally doesn’t read nonfiction, I was drawn into the amazing stories these women told. They ranged from heartwarming to heartbreaking and kept me alternately laughing and crying. I came away with an entirely different view of God’s love and provision. The only flaw I could identify was that it was sometimes difficult to tell from which sister’s point of view the stories were being told. I would recommend this book to anyone who is going through tough times and needs encouragement from people who have been there.
Lori and Lynn prove that they really did believe Jesus when he said, “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). – Becky Farb, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Catamenial pneumothorax, Renal artery stenosis, Cloacogenic carcinoma.
Three rare medical conditions. Just one of those would be enough for any family to deal with, but all three? Over the course of six years we came to know those conditions quite well. They would test our courage and try our faith. We fought back of course, but as with most battles, there were days of advancing and days when we were overrun by the enemy.
While struggling through those valleys of retreat, we learned the value of making a conscious choice to look for the hand of God working through our circumstances. When we made an effort to see, he made a point of showing us.
We are not alone in our struggles. At some point, all of us will face times of hardship and intense suffering. While we may not fully understand why God allows us to experience such pain, we do know that God's plan is ultimately for our good. He uses all situations to draw us back to himself and therefore our pain is not wasted. When we can recognize his intervention in our lives, we are reminded that God has not forgotten us, and that we are in fact, Held by God.