4 out of 4 stars
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Faith, Grace, and Cancer: A Fight To Shine Brightly For Eleven Years by Stephanie Hoff Rodrigue is a beautiful and memorable book about the author’s unwavering faith in God in her eleven-year journey with cancer.
In 2004, a year after Stephanie Rodrigue, her husband Kenny and three children: Nicole, Marc and Garrett moved to Ocala, Florida from Palm City, Stephanie was diagnosed with Stage IIIC Peritoneal Cancer. She underwent surgery for the removal of the cancerous tissues followed by a series of chemotherapy sessions. For the next eleven years, Stephanie lived with the shadow of the dreadful disease. However, instead of feeling sorry for herself and blaming God for her pain and suffering, Stephanie thanked and praised the Lord each day as her faith deepened and her love for God grew while she waited for whatever plans God had for her.
With a foreword by Evangelist Ed Lacy, the book is divided into twelve chapters. It is a collection of emails, mostly from Stephanie, sent to friends and prayer warriors. Through emails, Stephanie, Kenny and Stephanie’s sister Nan gave updates on Stephanie’s condition from the time her diagnosis was confirmed. The emails also contain Bible verses which was Stephanie’s way of praising and glorifying God despite her affliction. Moreover, Stephanie shared in her emails some beautiful and inspiring paragraphs mostly taken from the devotional material Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon. Aside from doctors’ appointments, chemo sessions and surgeries, Stephanie also included in her emails some updates on her family, especially her children, trips and vacations she took as a way of enjoying life and appreciating the time and opportunities God gave her.
This is a touching, inspiring, encouraging and memorable book about a woman’s courage in the face of the most terrifying of adversities. It shows how one woman accepted and embraced her affliction and turned it into something that would glorify God and used it to spread God’s love. It depicts not only her faith in God’s promise of eternal life but also, as is natural to human beings, her pain, her suffering, her fears and her doubts. The depiction makes it easier to connect and empathize with her.
Since the book is a collection of emails to friends, the tone is generally casual and easy to read. However, the devotionals, which are written in italics and contain some archaic words, may be a little difficult to understand. The Bible verses, written in bold, are plentiful and are carefully selected, mostly, from the book of Psalms.
I, easily, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is inspiring, encouraging and life-changing in its intensity. However, what believers may think of as emphasis, non-believers may find repetitive, redundant, pretentious and overrated as some of the Bible verses were repeated, probably based on what Stephanie, or whoever wrote the email, was feeling at the time the email was being written. Agnostics may even find the entire book hypocritical. Needless to say, this book is not for light reading and not to be read for fun and entertainment. This is a beautiful testimony of God’s love and the author wanted to share that love to everyone.
Faith, Grace, and Cancer
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