I love books.
Even more so, I love a solid Jesus-centered, practical living book OR a powerful memoir.
Tyndale graciously offered a complimentary book to those in the writing seminar at the Influence Conference last month and, while there were a large variety of my first love of books (see the "solid Jesus-centered, practical living" description), something immediately drew me to this book with its dark, dramatic and intense cover.
Once home and settled into book reading mode, I knew exactly what had been calling my name.
This is the story of Mark Bouman, told in his voice, about what it was like growing up in a home where his father was not only to be respected but also feared. The harsh, unpredictable image of "Dad" throughout the book is one of power, abuse and unrestraint. Mark shares his story in such an incredibly personal and riveting manner that the reader is compelled to keep turning page after overwhelming page, all the while questioning how much more intense could it possibly get.
Mark lived a brutal childhood, one that he logically should not have survived. And yet he did.
But it was not due to him overcoming insurmountable odds with an unbreakable spirit or having a deeper sense of purpose or self. Actually he was quite the opposite - his spirit was broken and, away from his father's command, he had no awareness of who he was or what his life could be.
He floundered and failed until, at last, he fell....at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.
"Why would God ever want me? I wondered. I had failed at everything I ever tried. I had nothing to offer. Nothing.....With that, my life - that broken house built on sand - was leveled in a single shuttering instant." - Chapter 37
For the next five chapters (plus the epilogue), Mark shares the amazing redemptive story that could have only be written by The Author and Perfecter of Faith.
The story of The Tank Man's Son is not pretty in the initial details. It is overwhelming and difficult to comprehend the reality of this experience. However, once the last page arrives and the final words are understood, we see the beauty in what our Father saw all along.
I encourage you to read The Tank Man's Son because it is, indeed, a worthwhile read, but I also encourage you to go a step beyond just digesting the words, and instead sit before the Lord and sincerely ask Him if there is an area of your life (possibly a relationship or experience or hidden part of your heart) that you view as "unredeemable", as unreachable with His extravagant love and forgiveness.
For the story of The Tank Man's Son does one thing extremely well - it demands that we confront those areas of our story that we have labeled as impossible and challenges our notion of the ability of God to heal and redeem every part of our story.