From Trauma to Transformation: a book review

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger or so the saying goes. In fact, non-lethal pain can be debilitating: grief, chronic illness, loss of a job, flesh-eating-bacteria (or whatever). But as emotionally and physically draining hard times can be, they can also be a means for a fresh work of God, shaping you into who he wants you to be. Clayton King, founder and president of Clayton King Ministries and Crossroads Missions & Summer Camps, knows pain . In Stronger he tells the story of losing both of his parents before he turned forty and the trauma and turmoil it put him in.

His mother died unexpectedly after being rushed to emergency. She had a secret addiction to prescription drugs. King’s father was in the later stages of diabetes, undergoing dialysis three times a week. King was not there when either of his parents past away. He was stuck in Toronto, Canada, unable to get a flight home when his mother died. He left his dad’s side to attend an awards ceremony for his kid when his father passed away. King shares about his pain, regret, and feelings of brokenness. His parent’s deaths also opens up other wounds (like his grandfather’s abandonment of his father).

However this book is not about wallowing. King wants us to see how God uses hard times, pain and moments of weakness to further our transformation, “Sometimes God will remove the weakness and sometimes he will redeem the weakness, but he will never waste your weakness” (18). King shares about where God met him, blessed him amidst brokenness, taught him humility and redeemed the pain. In the middle of his grief, God’s spirit was present with him, he was able to experience God’s grace and forgiveness in a vulnerable time.

This would be a good book for anyone facing hard times (which is all of us, at some time). King is personal and vulnerable. While saying to someone in a crisis, “God works out all things according to his pleasure” is trite, when someone shares that truth through their experience, it is a more apt word. That being said, those in raw grief probably aren’t ready to read a book like this quite yet. Still I give this four stars.

Note: I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for my honest review.

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I am a pastor, husband, father, instigator, pray-er, hoper, writer, trouble-maker, peacemaker, and friend. Who are you?

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