On occasion I come across a book that not only entertains me but provides knowledge as well. To me, these books are most treasured. I believe you can learn from just about anything. Some knowledge can be obtained from practically every book. It can be practical knowledge like how to garden or it can be social knowledge on how to navigate difficult social situations. This is one of those books.
I, Saul by Jerry Jenkins
This book is written from multiple perspectives: Luke, Paul/Saul, Auggie. It takes you expertly from modern-day Texas to days before Paul/Saul’s execution. The historical information is fleshed out by the author to make a rich story of Saul’s end of life. The author obviously did a significant amount of research prior to writing this novel. The author changes between the two stories every other chapter. Now, I often shy away from this type of writing because it often times is done poorly. I will admit the first few chapters it seemed a bit disjointed. However, once get into the two stories, it isn’t noticeable and I found myself waiting for the next chapter.
This story is a book of redemption, strength, and love. Redemption is found in both storylines. It demonstrates how God can use all circumstances for good. Strength seen with both Augie and with Paul/Saul’s stories. Love is an ongoing theme. Paul/Saul’s love is very evident in not only the book but in Bible, so that’s a given. Jenkins furthers this theme through Luke, Auggie, Roger, Auggie’s mother and father, and so many other characters.
This book has several good points. It was well written. It helps provide a connection between myself and Paul/Saul. It provided insights to life during Nero’s terrifying rule. Jenkins managed to flesh out and give life to historical characters. If you have interest in church history, Paul/Saul’s life, or historical fiction. This book would be for you.
As I’ve said before, no book is perfect. This book was difficult to get into at first. It took several chapters for me to feel completely pulled-in. The first chapter has Auggie receiving an urgent text from Roger but it took several chapters for the novel to pick-up. Once it did, it got interesting fast and I enjoyed it.
I absolutely recommend this book. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Paul/Saul’s life (but remember it is a story) and any Christian who enjoys a good novel. I can also see the non-Christian could enjoy this book if they like a historical mystery.
I give this book a 5 of 5 bookends.
What are you reading?
Recently I’ve heard and read of stories about loss. Lot’s of loss. And, for whatever reason, I’m fixated on those stories. I do this every once in a while. Most recently, a dear friend of mine has been fighting terminal breast cancer. She has young children and it seems like her illness just keeps kicking her. She’s usually quite positive and hopefilled. I’m forever impressed with her. A friend of a friend just suddenly and somewhat traumatically lost her husband. Again, they had younger children. Finally, another friend lost a dear friend to a car accident. And, guess what, young, in this case very young, children.
Some of these children are young enough memories of their mom or dad will be quite limited. And in all except my dear friend with cancer, they lost their parent expectantly, meaning there was no time to plan “fun” memories. These children will be dependent on their daily memories and those already built. And those others around them share with them.
This got me to think, if I would tragically be taken away from my very precious family. What will the remember of me? What do I want them to remember? I know, a bit morbid, right? But, this is so important to me. Because even if I don’t die (heaven forbid) tomorrow, and I live to see my grandchildren, I want my children to have positive memories of me. I want them to laugh and tell stories about the things we do together. I would love it if they remembered little “daily” things too. Not just the big trip or vacation or the trip to the pumpkin patch. Although these are important, it’s not the only thing I want them to remember.
I want my children to remember (in no particular order):
My love for them
Snuggling on the couch
Fun in the mundane
Giggling and tickling
Dinner around the dinner table
My love of life
My love of coffee
My love of God
What I don’t want them to think when they think about me:
They were not a priority
Housework was more important than them
Cranky and tired mom
Question if they were loved
So, how do I make sure I’m making the impression I want to make? How can I ensure my children’s memories are positive?