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Rarely does a book hit me in my core like Sarah Johnson’s memoir, “Life is Beautiful, How a Lost Girl Became a True Confident Child of God.” Sarah’s life is a testament that regardless of how hopeless or tragic a circumstance is God is in control and can take those circumstances and still use it to make something beautiful. Sarah’s story begins with her parents, her brother Zachary and 10 other missionaries seated in a Cessna Caravan single propeller plane on a mission trip in Guatemala to make a difference in lives of the people there, but unbeknownst to them it was their lives that would be drastically altered when the plane violently crashes to the ground, shattering lives and hearts. Sarah’s description of this horrific crash left me gasping as she describes seeing her father and brother dead and trying desperately to free her trapped mother. When she writes about her mother screaming for her to help her, I had to put the book down for a moment because it was just so unbelievably tragic. Sarah escapes the crash with minor injuries and we find out that her mother survives although severely burned and hurt. You may be fooled into thinking that the premise of this book is about a devastating plane crash, but the real story is of Sarah’s journey from hopelessness, alcoholism, and depression to becoming a confident child of God.
Throughout the book Sarah gives us glimpses of her life and her family’s life leading up to the plane crash. We learn about her father’s drug addiction and his road to redemption that eventually leads them on this life altering trip. We learn about her aunt dying of uterine cancer in their home and Sarah’s insecurities as she navigates adulthood. After the crash Sarah hits rock bottom. She’s drinking too much, she’s sad, angry, depressed and the relationship she has with her recovering mother is strained. You can feel the desperation in her life at that time and how she’s in dire need of peace that passes all understanding which can only happened through God. Eventually she seeks counseling and even better she begins seeking God and this is when the real miracle happens. You get the feeling that Sarah was always in some way seeking God, but was holding back and when she finally surrenders I just wanted to hug her through the book!
I loved this book because Sarah doesn’t sugarcoat her struggles or pain instead she writes about it honestly and with a completely vulnerable heart. Although I couldn’t relate to her personal loss from the plane crash, The pain she experience in the other areas of her life and her desperate need for a healing resonated deeply with me and I’m sure many other lost girls will relate as well. This is a must read story of hope, resilience and how the love of God has true healing power. You will come away inspired and encouraged by Sarah’s testimony.
Learn more about Sarah Johnson at http://lifeisbeautifulbook.com/
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