A few years ago, I was privileged to be part of a church that sponsored a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group. At the time, the CEO of the international organization was Elisa Morgan - the author of the current book. She, like many others, brought with her the unrecognized baggage of a dysfunctional family. Also, like many others, she came to faith believing all that baggage would dissolve as she lived a life of faith. The Beauty of Broken tells us what she learned about this truth as her children grew and how she learned it.
Some believers appear to live under the misguided assumption that if you apply the Biblical principles of parenting as defined by the church, children will miss all the major catastrophes seen in the lives of those who choose not to follow Christ - illegitimate children, drug abuse, runaways, etc. Sadly, as many can testify, one does not follow from the other. Families are composed of broken people; even God’s family is composed of broken people. When broken people come together, the result is a broken institution. This is Elisa Morgan’s story.
It is clear that the author intends on telling her story - yet in telling her story, she also must include parts of her children’s stories, her husband’s story, her marriage’s story, and her family’s story. A number of years ago, I heard of a helpful picture of a family system, where the family is pictured as a mobile hanging from the ceiling. As long as nothing touched or moved any piece of the mobile, it held steady by the thread by which it was attached to the ceiling. However, the minute one of the pieces which form the mobile is touched or moved, every other piece is also forced to take a new position to define a new stasis point for the mobile. Thus, though the author is telling her personal story, it is touched, defined, altered, by the stories of those closest to her.
Elisa’s story, as she suggests, is also my story. As I read The Beauty of Broken, I was amazed at how much of what Elisa Morgan described paralleled the life that my wife and I have experienced over the last 40 to 60 years, individually and corporately. My family worked through many of the issues addressed in this current book some 20 years ago; but as I read, I was reminded of how God used that season of our life (to uses Elisa Morgan’s term) to allow us to grow closer to Him and to each other. Though the specific were different, the time spent understanding how our family of origin impacted the family I chose to be part of saved our marriage. The review offered by Elisa Morgan made me aware of just how far my wife and I have come.
The issues covered by the book are not uncommon to families begun in the late 20th or early 21st centuries. Control, abuse, alcohol or drugs, premarital sex, children born out of wedlock were not unique to either Mrs. Morgan or to your family or to my family. Whether it be this set of issues or others, Christian families are broken and need to experience and demonstrate God’s grace in the midst of that brokenness. As we experience that grace individually, we will find that it also gets lived out in our families.
The book will be a welcome addition to the libraries of many different audiences - those who come from broken families, those counseling broken families or living in a broken family, and pastors - who, by their very nature, serve broken families.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.