Scepter Publishers , $14.95;
A Grace Given is at times heart-wrenching, at times enlightening, at times humbling, and throughout, beautiful. The book is a remarkable testament to a couple’s faith and trust in the midst of a parent’s worst nightmare–learning that your child has a terminal illness and watching her suffer at the very earliest stages of her life. Kent Gilges writes vividly of the struggles he and his wife, Liz, went through as part of that journey. In so doing, he offers an honest glimpse into the heart of a man struggling with his faith as he tries to accept why God gave him such a cross to bear. And that glimpse draws you in to join in the pains and the joys along the way.
The author highlights the many people he met along the way through this journey. From the other parents in the hospital who were going through the same things that he was with his daughter, Elie. There were the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who did all that they could to save her life and to let her lead as full a life as possible. Kent’s boss back in Michigan who allowed Kent to work when he was able, and who found ways to provide benefits to Kent, Liz, and Elie during Elie’s sickness. There was Fr. Mike, the parish priest back in Michigan who reached out to Kent like a brother and befriended his family during this time. There were the local men like Randy Dunn who stopped by the Gilges house to help him remodel and to offer their prayers, despite not knowing his family at all.
Yet running throughout the book is Kent Gilges’ growing relationship with another Person. Gilges’ relationship with God is the consistent thread running through the book. “God has, at various times, been a merciful God who gave me my child for longer than He had originally planned. At others, I have complained about God snatching away my first child’s promise.” The unrecorded dialogue between Gilges and his God are one of the more powerful aspects of this book. Almost in the same breath as a father describes his lost opportunities to call upon the intercession of Pope John Paul II, he also reveals his deep abiding faith that led him to desire that intercession in the first place. Gilges’ story of faith, and that of his wife, Liz, is an inspiration worth reading.
In exchange for an unbiased review, the author received a complimentary copy of this book.