When I began to read A Friend in the Storm, I was captivated by the powerful poetry inside the delicate little hardbound book. The book itself is small, fabric bound and beautifully foil stamped.
96 pages, a pattern of quotations, scriptures and poetry all combine to support and sustain someone facing pain in this world.
The author, Cheryl Ricker, was inspired to write this particular book by a friend whom she lost to cancer. You can see that story, here.
I sat down to read this little book while I was saddened by the fact that one of my siblings is going through a very tough time right now. I was really frustrated and questioning God about many things–you know, kind of the “Why do these things happen??” Anyway, as I read the poems, I actually felt some of my stress and anxiety melt away. There is a healing found in God’s word (scriptures are included in this book), and I was also drawn into Cheryl’s poetry…little by little, my mind refocused on the goodness of God, yes, in the midst of the storm.
As I understand it, Cheryl’s intent is to attempt to capture a bit of Christ’s voice and love for us in her poetry–to help heal the hurting with sentiments taken often directly from God’s word. The book is not just a collection of haphazard fuzzy notes, either–it has a definite progression, with attention paid to understanding the course of grief…and of working through suffering.
If you are going through a difficult time, I think this book would be a treasure for you. It is also a good book to give to others–especially when you are at a loss for words and just want to empathize with another.
I thought Cheryl gave a fascinating interview, so I have included some portions in this blog post.
How would you describe your book?
“A Friend in the Storm is a personal conversation between God and a hurting person. It’s a healing treasury of quotes, Scripture and poetry that leads to lasting hope. It covers forty-five hope-related topics and takes readers on a healing journey through the stages of grief before it crescendos with the splendor of Heaven.”
What is the basic message of your book and what do you want readers to grasp?
I want readers to know that God hasn’t forgotten them. He feels what they feel. He’s holding them. He’s not going to waste their pain. He’s crazy about them. It’s illustrated in the poem,
You’re forever on My mind
And in your presence I rejoice;
Singing out your name with angels,
All your sweetness fills My voice.
Keeping loved ones in My keeping,
I embrace a constant calm.
Whole and holy, I will hold you,
ever-after in My palm
What makes you angry?
It bothers me how easily we forget who our enemy is. The Bible says “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12)
Christianity would look a whole lot more appealing if, instead of fighting each other, we fought on our knees for each other.
What are the five stages of grief and how does A Friend in the Storm touch on these?
According to the Kubler-Ross model, there’s denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
The poems in A Friend in the Storm touch on all of these through the reader’s point of view. Acceptance takes on a new meaning when readers have an opportunity to accept Christ or trust Him deeper.
How is A Friend in the Storm different than other gift books with quotes, Scriptures and poetry?
Most gift books with quotes, Scripture and poetry are written by multiple authors with multiple styles and points of view, so they don’t have the same continuity and flow. Because A Friend in the Storm is written by a single voice, it flows like a story. It’s not just a mish mash of broken thoughts and ideas. There’s a logical progression.
Cheryl Ricker has a degree in creative writing and has written columns and articles for various magazines and newspapers. She’s been writing poetry all her life and her poems have won awards in fine arts and literary magazines. Cheryl lives with her husband and two sons in Rochester, Minnesota
Please check out Cheryl’s amazing website for more information. www.cherylricker.com
You can buy the book, here
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Cheryl is running a fun KINDLE giveaway during the blog tour. Check out the giveaway by clicking below:
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Thanks to LitFuse for providing me with a copy for my review. I have given my unbiased opinion.