Author: Bo Stern
Complimentary Copy Provided by: Litfuse Publicity Group
Sometimes life throws a curve ball. Sometimes we are able to adjust our stance in time and clip it a few yards out. We waiver for a moment and are able to bounce back with relative ease, with no major consequence. Sometimes, we shift our weight, dig our heels, keep our eye on the ball and despite our best effort, strike out with an exasperated swing. Using the resources at our disposal, we give it a good effort, attempting to alter the outcome to no avail. So we file away the lesson learned in order to be prepared for the next time.
And then, there are times, when it all happens so suddenly we don’t even have time to react. In spite of our concentration, years of training and practice, we are completely caught off guard and left to wonder “What the heck just happened?” The effect is immediate and long lasting, requiring a shift if perspective, training, and preparation.
The latter is the context in which author Bo Stearn finds herself. Sitting in the doctor’s office reviewing test results, she encountered a whopper of a curve ball in the form of a terminal diagnosis: ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
In the pages of Beautiful Battlefields, Ms Stern conveys, through precious vulnerability, the ways the carefully constructed foundations of family, friendships, finances, faith, and future have all been impacted and altered in response to the paralysis systematically overtaking her husband, Steve’s body, and the tender ways God is journeying with them in the midst of this crisis.
In section one, “Discovering Beauty In The Hard Places,” the author shares lessons learned of God’s promises, provision, and presence in the midst of the prolonged seasons of hardship. Every single page oozes with the assurance that God is present, that God is real, that God cares, that God provides, and that if we allow our perspective to shift from “Why me?” to “What can I learn from this?” we will discover a depth to faith, love, trust, character development, and compassion that would not be possible without experiencing some hardships in life.
In section two, “Strategies For Growing Stronger Through Every Battle,” the author outlines an action plan for how to endure, survive, and grow through hardship. The multi-step approach is rooted in two core principles: press into God, daily, and intentionally build support systems that will provide emotional, physical, and spiritual encouragement.
There are times in life when we experience a prolonged season of difficult circumstances during which we feel we are suffering under the crushing weight of our troubles. Yet what Bo Stern conveys so confidently, beautifully, and tenderly on every page of Beautiful Battlefields, is this: God is present with us always (ALWAYS!), God walks with us through everything (EVERYTHING!), and that in the midst of suffering and hardship God reveals Himself in specific, powerful, purposeful ways that breathes fresh life, new perspective, and compassion for others in the midst of our circumstances.
If you find yourself in the midst of a prolonged or overwhelming season in life, Beautiful Battlefields is written specifically for you.
Bo Stern knows the most beautiful things can come out of the hardest times. Her Goliath came in the form of her husband, Steve’s, terminal illness, a battle they are still fighting with the help of their four children, a veritable army of friends, and our extraordinary God.
The Sterns make their home in Bend, OR, where Bo is a teaching pastor at Westside Church with a passion for making theology accessible, compelling and transformative. Both her position in the church and her personal battle have allowed Bo to minister to others as they are facing their own giants. She considers it to be a privilege to be able to provide a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on — being a part of another’s Army so that they don’t have to fight their battle alone.
Bo and Steve also serve on the international board of Kings Kids Village, a home for AIDS-affected orphans in Nairobi, Kenya. They are also active in ALS advocacy — a disease Steve has been fighting since 2011.
Bo also writes of their unexpected journey at www.bostern.com.
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(I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.)