3 out of 4 stars
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When Allison Broughton’s pastor told her he saw her “dancing with Jesus,” she thought he was predicting for her a future bursting with happiness and wholeness in faith and family. But, just a year after Allison heard these hopeful words, she was crushed by the news that her eldest son, Nicholas, had been killed in a collision with a semi trailer. Broughton’s long and heart-wrenching grieving process has taught her what it truly means to dance with Jesus through every circumstance, which is why those fateful words are now the title of her book. In Dancing with Jesus: Through Hurt, Loss, and Disappointments (author’s formatting), Allison reflects on the grief of losing her son while simultaneously sharing the faith and wisdom God has given her through this painful experience.“We don’t always understand the purpose in the middle of our hurt or loss, but we must just keep doing the next right thing, which is our part in life. We take our hands off the reins and have faith that God will cover the rest.”
This compact read of about 100 pages is best described as a letter from a friend who has “been there” and is writing with the intention of easing the readers’ burden while encouraging them to look to God as the ultimate source of meaning, purpose, comfort, and hope. While Broughton has peppered her book with short, personal stories where appropriate, much of the text deals with her beliefs about God and His relationship with people. She covers deep subjects such as the nature of obedience, what it means to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and the importance of prayer and forgiveness - concepts she thoroughly explored personally while grieving the loss of her son. Having processed all this, she is eager to share her advice and experiences with her readers in the hope that her insights will steer them toward emotional healing.
The author’s respect for the Bible shines throughout, and relevant passages of scripture are frequently quoted to support her points. Her personal anecdotes include what she calls “signs” in her life (what I would refer to as “God winks”), interesting instances when she responded to God’s leading, and miraculous healings she has witnessed. What I appreciate most is how approachable Dancing with Jesus is - not just in style, but in the fact that the author isn’t claiming to have special divine knowledge for the world, to predict the future, or other such pretenses. Broughton has a very intimate friendship with God that is mostly relevant to herself, and she wants her readers to know that intimacy is readily available to them, too. As a Christian, I appreciate the simplicity and honesty of her book. Though I occasionally disagreed with her on theological points, I applaud the fact that she does not shy away from tough subjects or misrepresent the message of the Bible.
Dancing with Jesus would benefit from the attention of an editor. I found many errors, mostly related to missing or misused punctuation, as well as occasional redundancy, subject-verb disagreement, and run-on sentences. In addition, I wondered if there were continuity issues, as I was sometimes confused about the order of events described. That being said, I believe we would all benefit from exposure to more stories such as Allison’s - stories which take fortitude and bravery to live through and share but which can be a lifeline to those who feel as if they’re sinking. I would recommend this book more specifically to adults, as it deals with heavy subjects, and especially to those who are grieving. It would probably not appeal to those who are offended by religious themes. I award Dancing with Jesus, by Allison Broughton, 3 out of 4 stars for encouraging me to take God out of the “box” I had inadvertently put Him in, which amounts to opening the best gift of all.
Dancing With Jesus
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