IN EVERY PEW SITS A BROKEN HEART: Hope for the Hurting

Ruth Graham, Author, Stacy Mattingly, With with Stacy Mattingly. Zondervan $19.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-310-24339-7

By turns memoir, Bible study and self-help book, Graham's platform as the daughter of beloved evangelist Billy Graham gives her the credentials to spin this competent tale of brokenness. But she offers more than a famous lineage: "I am qualified to write this book because I am flawed," she writes. She shares her struggles parenting three children through out-of-wedlock pregnancies, drug use and bulimia; her battle with depression and flirtation with suicide, and her disappointment over her two divorces. "I know what it's like to sit in the pew with a broken heart," says Graham. It's her vulnerability in the memoir portions that lend credence to the fairly basic application items at the end of the chapters. (Advice to those experiencing suffering: "seek godly counsel" and "maintain your daily devotional times with God.") Graham finds solace for the brokenhearted through scripture, looking at the lives of Jeremiah, Elijah and other biblical examples. Unlike many inspirational books of this ilk, there's no fairytale ending. Graham admits she is in the midst of a third faltering marriage, but says she's grateful God accepts her as she is—"hurting, wounded, broken." In true Graham fashion, the book concludes with an altar call. Weary Christians disappointed with the way their lives have turned out should find this a heartening read. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
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