Reviewed by: Lacy Andrews
Date posted: 07/19/2009
Parting the Waters: Finding Beauty in Brokenness, by Jeanne Damoff. Published by WinePress Publishing, 2008. Paperback, 213 pages, list price $12.95. Reviewed by OP minister Lacy Andrews.
I remember getting a phone call on May 23, 1996, from my father. What I remember most was the emotion in his voice when he asked me to pray for a young man from their church, named Jacob Damoff, who had nearly drowned that day in Caddo Lake.
Over the months that followed, my parents kept me abreast of the remarkable developments surrounding the recovery of this fifteen-year-old boy. I was even privileged to meet him after worship one Sunday when visiting my family.
I received another call from my father a few weeks ago, saying that he was sending me a book relating Jacob's story, which had been written by his mother. When I opened the pages, I couldn't put it down. The book had a profound impact on me.
The sovereignty of God is our bedrock doctrine. We study it, talk about it, teach it, and preach it, but this book is a testimony to God's sovereignty in the life of a family who experienced what we humanly call tragedy.
When I finished the book, I didn't come away thinking about the strength of his parents' faith, or their ability to persevere through trials. Instead, I understood their weakness. It's easiest to see this in Jeanne, Jacob's mother, because she's the one who masterfully tells the story. It is refreshingly candid and honest. The passage that kept going through my mind was, "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).
The book is first and foremost about the Savior, and the glory he brings to himself through the lives of those touched by the suffering of Jacob and his family.
As Jeanne weaves together the strands of this story, she often puts her thoughts and prayers in italics. In a moment of weakness, she prays, "Father, I don't want to spend the rest of my life caring for a vegetative son. But I'll never be asked to pay as big a price as Christ. I can't pay it. And I can never pay You back for my salvation. Make me willing to do Your will, no matter what it is."
The book is filled with Jeanne's openness about her heartache, her weak and doubting faith, her jealousies and bitterness, and also her hopes, dreams, aspirations, and joys. Yet, again and again the Lord demonstrates this truth to her from 2 Corinthians 12:9: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
Why do I recommend this book? We talk so much about God's sovereignty and we glory in the doctrine, but is it simply abstract truth? We need to read biographies like this to see our doctrine embodied in real lives. My father was right when he said, "The gospel is in this book."