He Holds My Hand

Desperate to Hear God’s Voice

Imagine the shrill ring of the phone and the jolt into wakefulness. The voice in your ear carries unthinkable news. Is it possible that you are still dreaming?
“Your son has been been arrested.”
“The charge is murder. The victim: his wife’s ex-husband.”

As daylight comes, you learn more.
Your son was desperate to protect his step-daughters from their father’s abusive behavior. An unsympathetic judge had lifted restrictions and mandated visitation. Taking matters into his own hands, your son has somehow come to believe that the only way to save the girls from more abuse was to take their father’s life.

This is Carol Kent’s real-life story, lived out against a backdrop of grief, shame, and self-recrimination:
What kind of mother produces a murderer?
What about all the prayers, committing her son to God’s care and guidance?
How could she continue as an author and a speaker at Christian conferences when her son had been sentenced to life in prison?
If they had been more spiritual, would God have protected them from this nightmare?

Following a tragedy too big for her heart to hold, Carol was thrown back on her trust in God and her dependence upon His Truth. Heart break slowed her reading pace to a crawl, and she clung desperately to the sound of God’s voice, meditating on the words, writing down the morsels of comfort that came, line upon line.

As she has shared in her book, When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances, there was no neat and happy ending to Carol’s story. Her son continues to serve his sentence in prison, God has not intervened miraculously, and yet, Carol continues to learn, “day by day, that there is no obstacle that Christ’s resurrection doesn’t give me the power to overcome.”

Living with the daily need of God’s presence and protection, Carol has produced He Holds My Hand: Experiencing God’s Presence and Protection, a devotional work offering 365 individual meditations on Scripture. Accompanied by a relevant quotation, thoughtful questions, and a suggested prayer, each reading offers the Words of God as Words of Hope, spoken over each day. Having experienced the miracle of receiving life- altering truth in the midst of crisis, she recommends that her own words be a devotional complement to a regular schedule of Bible reading as you pause and listen for daily reassurance that God is present in the midst of your circumstances as He was present for her.


This book was provided by Tyndale Momentum, the nonfiction imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I have begun to experiment with including an Amazon affiliate link here in my book reviews. If you should decide to purchase When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances  or He Holds My Hand: Experiencing God’s Presence and Protection, simply click on their titles here, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

69 thoughts on “Desperate to Hear God’s Voice”

  1. Hi Michele! I loved the book but can’t imagine the pain Carol faced. It’s good to know a devo awaits. Appreciate your review, as I hadn’t heard about its release. #heartencouragementThrusday

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  2. Dear Michele, Thank you for reviewing both of these books by Carol Kent. I didn’t know she had this new devotional out, so here’s another book going on my wishlist! I have listened to Carol’s story several times with women’s groups that I led or was a part of. Such heartbreak, but yet she lives with such beauty from ashes as she shares about placing our burdens before God. Blessings to you today!

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    1. It’s good to know that you’ve also been encouraged by Carol’s story. As mum’s that kind of story sets off all kinds of alarm bells, and we know that it would take supernatural grace to survive the sadness. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bettie.

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  3. I remember hearing about When I Lay My Isaac Down years ago but never got to it. It’s a blessing this came to my attention now, as a situation has arisen in extended family – I might check into sending one or both books to those involved.

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    1. The timing on this review must have been tailored to you, Barbara, because another one was “supposed” to have come first, but I just couldn’t wrestle it into coherency in time. So glad it has worked out for a reason . . .

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  4. Goodness! It is unthinkable…well, you just don’t want to think about that scenario in your own life. We have 5 of our kids in their twentiers now & I have to say that the years between about 17 to 25 have been the most difficult. So many major life decisions are going on and even though we think we’ve done everything in our power to give them a foundation, we just don’t know how they will react to circumstances. It’s certainly a time when you have to lean into the Lord & know that our own relationship with Him is what really matters, regardless of what else is happening. I applaud this woman for sharing her heart & I know that it’s not the end of the story!

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    1. Carol, I would agree, although for us, I think the furnace heated up in the mid-teens and has cooled off a bit younger. (Of course our oldest is only 24, so . . .)
      It’s so easy to let that all important relationship with God slip when we’re stressing out over our kids — and also to neglect our marriages. Staying close to truth is the only way to protect our hearts.
      Thanks for reading and for taking time to comment.

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  5. Wow, that sounds like a heart-wrenching story. Whenever I start to think I am faced with some difficult challenges, I hear about someone else’s that seems unbearable. And yet we all survive and for the most part thrive. Thanks for sharing this book review on #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

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  6. Michele,
    Wow….what a trial and a testimony! I recently began an endeavor to read the Bible through in a year. I’ve done this before, but as we know the scripture is alive and always has new nuances to share. How important it is to be in His Word because we never know when something like what happened to Carol will knock on our door and we will need to dig deep into His truth for sustenance. Thanks for sharing…
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  7. I cannot even imagine that phone call or how life would unfold after. As a mother it makes my heart constrict and wish my babies will never grow up. The world is a hard and twisting place.

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    1. One outcome of this biography is that I have shared the story with my boys along with cautionary words about choosing a life partner and knowing ahead of time what you are signing on for — all the complexities and angst that two people bring into a marriage can make for some hard times down the road.

      We’re so in the midst of that transitional season, and it’s very good for my prayer life.

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  8. I’ve heard of Carol’s story but not read any of her books yet.

    It is true you can always find someone going through tougher times than you are! Yet people like Carol show us we can still have a vibrant faith in the worst of trials.

    Again, you add to my reading list, Michele!

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    1. I heard her story quite a few year ago when my kids were younger, and it has really stayed with me. I’m thankful that God is continuing to work through her. I’m sure her path is not an easy one, and it’s certainly not the one she would have chosen, but her faithfulness is an inspiration.

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  9. I am amazed by that though have not read the book. God really does turn things for good. And I’m hearing laying down your Isaac a lot lately too. Maybe a lot of us need to let go of something on the altar, God provided the Lamb/

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  10. This is where the faith meets the road, isn’t it? Is God still real, still there when life goes against what we believe a good Christian life filled with blessings from a Good God cease? Blame and regret will invade loudly, friends and family will stay away, and you’re left, left alone with the God you claim to trust. Powerful, isn’t it?

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  11. I have a friend who loves to go to the workshops that Carol Kent offers. I really only know about Carol through that friend and had no idea that her son was convicted of murder. What a hard reality to live with–both for her son and for Carol. I’m sure she has incredible insights into how to persevere in the Lord. I’ll check this out, Michele. Thanks for always resourcing us!

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    1. I’m amazed at how many readers have heard Carol speak or read her other books. I’m clearly the newbie on the topic of Carol Kent, but was so glad to read her inspiring response to heartache.

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  12. I can’t even fathom how horrible that would be! When Sarah went through her tough time, she got arrested for shoplifting–and that was bad enough! I am so glad that others willingly share their stories of how they cling to God on the darkest of days. I like your new look!

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    1. Yes, we learn so much from watching the examples of others and hearing about the way they leaned on Truth.
      And thanks! I really needed a new look! Just a simple change of the side bar, but I’m really to “chicken” to do too much fiddling around. 🙂

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  13. My all time favorite book is “Practicing His Presence” by Frank Laubach. It’s obvious that this devotional will be a wonderful companion. If we don’t have the knowledge of Him – really, it just sets everything in it’s proper perspective. Thanks for sharing. It’s wonderful to see something bearing fruit from such deep pain.

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  14. Michele, I’ve heard Carol tell her story and how God is using her son in prison. This is one of those where we can only say, God’s ways are higher than ours and not lean on our understanding.

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  15. What a challenging story this is, Michele. It does sound like a very important book, and what a brave woman Carol is to share this story. Thank you for sharing this book with us at the Hearth and Soul Link Party.

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    1. Brave is a good descriptive handle for this story. Our tendency when the wheels come off some area of family life is to hide the wound. Carol is allowing God to use her story for the building up of others in the Body.

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  16. What an awesome review. I had never heard of Carol Kent, but I have added her to my wish list. So often I listen for the voice and think I hear nothing but when I climb out of the valleys to the mountaintops of my life, the ebbs and flows that all christians must experience, I realize it was His voice and His light that lead the way. Thank you for this review. Thank you for sharing with The Blogging Grandmothers. I have shared on social media.

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