In his candid new book, author Gilbert Ahrens shares with readers how he was able to reconnect with what matters most after experiencing loss and adversity
In the blink of an eye, life can change forever. Hopes and dreams of what we’ve envisioned our lives would be can disappear in a moment. Tragedy and heartache can instantly pierce the veil that once separated the world we knew and the one we could never have imagined. In his new book, Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred: Reconnecting with What Matters Most After Loss and Adversity, author Gilbert Ahrens recounts his own personal story of conflict, struggle, and suffering in an intimate letter to his young daughter. His story offers strength, suggestions, and encouragement to others who find themselves on the solitary journey of loss that-sooner or later-is the one thing that we all have in common.
On a beautifully clear, crisp autumn evening in 2002, while traveling outside Denver, Colorado, Gil’s car was hit head-on by a drunk driver traveling 95 miles per hour. Gil, his wife Kim, sister Margot, and three-week-old daughter Olivia had been going 60 miles per hour. The driver of the other car was only 18, and the passenger in his car was killed instantly. Gil’s family survived but just barely. Among many other serious injuries, the worst was that his wife, Kim, suffered a broken neck that paralyzed her-sentencing her to a wheelchair. Their baby daughter, however, emerged miraculously unscathed.
In a split second, the lives of this seemingly ordinary family were upended, disrupted, and derailed-just as they were beginning to learn the ropes of parenting a newborn. They were instantly transported to a new world of “survival”, which then over time transcended to the less dramatic but still unknown world of “coping.” But, in the wake of devastation and anguish is where recovery and, ultimately, redemption are found. In Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred, Gil explores and embraces the process of struggle, brokenness, and healing in a way that is honest, heartfelt, and yet at times, reassuringly humorous.
“Suffering has no purpose unless it draws us closer to God, which I think is why He allows it and created it in the first place,” writes Gil. ”It is very difficult to connect with God when we feel able, strong, and self-reliant. But it is often only in our weakness, need, and insufficiency that we allow ourselves to be open enough to let God in.”
In Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred, Gil tenderly encourages readers with an eternal truth he has learned through personal trial and affliction: When there is hardship, it is for a reason. “Any valuable tool or piece of equipment needs to be tested and pushed to its limits in the laboratory before it can be ready for service in the field. God is not testing us to see if we are worthy; He is preparing us for something greater than we can imagine. The key to everything-to surviving, coping with loss, adapting to changed realities, and managing to get by-is Faith, Hope, and Love; that is how we find and reconnect with joy.”
MY REVIEW: Gilbert Ahrens gives explicit insight into his, his wife’s and daughter’s world after a devastating car accident. He is mainly writing to his daughter, who was only a few weeks old at the time of the accident. He wanted her to know the circumstances, the setbacks, and the inner connection to a different world with the same God.
This book is a great resource that can help those who have gone through a major setback, as in this case, a car accident, giving insights on what things you will need to look at and change, how to manage your finances, work, long-term injury, insurance, etc.
The book shows the changes in perspectives of life, as to what is important, where we are with God, how to handle His answers that don’t fit into our time frame or idea. etc. It’s not comprehensive, but well thought out. I also find that it could fit other scenarios as well, i.e., major illness, financial ruin, foreclosure, natural disaster, etc.
The essential issue is reconnecting to your new life. It’s a book of hope and encouragement in God and man.
It’s also for those who have not gone through such an experience, to teach us ways to help people through a major catastrophe–the main reason for my reading the book. An informed friend can be a lifesaver in that person’s life. “God with skin on”!
Definitely a must-read for pastors to help the family connect with their spiritual needs as well.
Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred by Gilbert Ahrens
Positano Press/October 2009
ISBN: 978-0984289516/224 pages/softcover/$14.95 ISBN: 978-0984289509/224 pages/hardcover/$24.95
This book was provided by Tracy of the B & B Media Group for my review on the book. I write reviews to help others choose good Christian writing, fiction or non-fiction.