There never seems to be any real respite from the tension and stress that underscores life. I feel tautly coiled; like the world I inhabit spins far too fast. Like a merry-go-round you wish you could stop for a moment just to catch your breath. ~Sarah M. Johnson
The quote above pierced my heart as I read the words several times over. It touched me deeply because I’ve experienced the exact same feelings, but never put them into words so perfectly.
Life is Beautiful by Sarah M. Johnson is her personal story of brokenness and redemption. She takes the reader on a journey through her family’s real struggles as her Father’s drug use comes to light and his determination to redeem his life.
After finding out her father had been using for more than a decade Sarah begins to face her own insecurities while spiraling out of control due to alcohol use and depression.
As this family deals with their new reality Sarah’s parents decide to take in a relative dying from cancer. Her father visits Africa with her brother, and then wants the whole family to make another trip together.
It is this trip’s tragic end that causes Sarah to look at her life and living it out in a completely different way.
When I compare Mrs. Johnson’s story to my own life (I believe as readers we do this without even thinking) I can feel her pain of wanting to fit in but not knowing how.
I can step inside her house and feel the distance between family members as they discover how to live with ugly truths that now exist.
I can picture my own season of spinning out of control and making choices that lead to heartbreak and regret.
Mrs. Johnson has a way of exposing her vulnerabilities that cause me to cringe and whisper me too.
My vice was not alcohol, but don’t they all make us feel the same?
When I’m drinking, I feel as if I’m a passenger in my own life. I want to love God, I want meaningful friendships, and I want to do well in school, but alcohol, insecurity and anxiety impel me down a much different path ~Ch.7
If you’ve ever been addicted to anything you know what she’s describing. The life around you seems distant, almost as if you don’t belong.
Insecurity and anxiety play a vital role in Mrs. Johnson hitting rock bottom as she deals with the pain of the Cessna crash, her mother’s deep resentment and physical pain, and her own addiction.
I matched my experiences to Mrs. Johnson’s as she finally reached out for help and found comfort in therapy. The way she shares her private thoughts and feelings is another reason why I love this book.
When we are honest with others about the worst parts of ourselves we can connect on a much deeper level.
Time passes slowly, like an inexorable drum beat, but each day seems to build on one another…Telling Pauline my story has not magically cured me, but it no longer feels quite so fearful to talk openly and honestly about what I experienced. ~Ch. 11
Life is Beautiful is a book I will recommend over and over to anyone searching for a story of redemption and God’s love.
It truly is about a lost girl who became a true, confident child of God.