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I’ll be honest. When I was approached to write a review of Rory Feek’s newly released autobiographical book This Life I Live, I had no idea who he was. As I learned a little more the story became vaguely familiar – country music songwriter, married to a country music singer, grammy award, baby with down syndrome, and cancer were random phrases and words I remembered hearing. I was somewhat hesitant about the content. I could only imagine what type of escapades an award-winning country music singer/songwriter would tell about his life, but the more I learned about his story the more excited I felt when the book finally arrived on my doorstep.
Rory Feek, also known for many years as Rory Lee, began blogging in 2014 to document his family’s life. With short chapters written like journal entries by topic rather than a timeline, the book mimics the feeling of his blog. Little did he know as he started writing that his blog would become invaluable after the events of the last 3 years.
More than half the book delved into Rory’s difficult child and early adulthood before ever meeting his wife Joey. I felt impressed with his transparent authenticity. While he didn’t give the gory details I was concerned about, he was very frank regarding the choices he made and how they affected him.
His journey was one of discovery. At his lowest point, he realized the direction his life was headed and decided he wanted something different and knew that included God. Looking back he see’s how that one choice – to follow God – led him eventually to Joey. She was raised in a strong Christian home that focused on faith and doing God’s will. When their two worlds merged it became very clear that God had prepared them for each other.
I particularly loved the garden theme that was woven throughout the book. Gardening, growth and life cycles applied to both their temporal and spiritual lives.
“Joey sees life like a garden…It’s how she looks at life, how she sees the world and makes sense of it. Like all things, simply. Life is a cycle to her. A garden. God plants us somewhere. Then He gives us a spring filled with new life that is lush and green. Then a summer and an autumn and, ultimately, a winter…when the world seems to slow down and the life that was new in the spring comes to an end. I like that way of looking at this journey we’re all on. It helps me to put things in perspective.” (7)
Just as Joey loved to nurture and take care of her garden and her family, God also plants us where he can love and nurture us as we grow.
Labeled as a love story, I felt that this was so much more. It is a story of choices, faith, growth, resilience, and love. It’s about a man and a woman that faced many of the same challenges we see in our own lives, and how they chose to learn from them. I found it inspiring and well worth my time – I hope you do too!
Will you allow life to teach you or defeat you?
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