Today I am part of the blog tour for WTF, God? : Understanding God in the Midst of Transition by Michelle N. Onuorah which is being hosted by Itsy Bitsy Book Bits. I will be sharing my review.
Crossroads are an inevitable part of life. But how do you navigate them when your life is not your own?
At 22-years-old, Michelle Onuorah was a bestselling author, former runway model, and recent college graduate with the world at her fingertips…Or so she thought.
In a matter of weeks which turned into months…and eventually most of her twenties, the God of the universe systematically revealed that He was also the God of her life – and she was not. With breathtaking candor, razor sharp humor, and bold vulnerability, Michelle shares the ten key lessons she’s learned about God, life and understanding both in the midst of ceaseless transitions.
In her words, “This book is for those of you who believed with all your heart that you would end up in one place and somehow, despite following God – or maybe even because of it – ended up on a completely different path. This is for those of you who, though you love God, sometimes wonder who He even is. This is for those of you who choose to believe He’s still good.”
This book is for you.
WTF, God?: Understanding God in the Midst of Transition
Author: Michelle N. Onuorah
Published: January 13, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 17-20, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Imagine you have your life planned out the way YOU want, but God has other plans for you and it is a 180 from the reality you had in mind. This is what happened with Michelle N. Onuorah’s life in the 5 years from when she graduated college. And it started with 4 words: “We’re letting you go”.
WTF, God is Onuorah’s memoir of her unexpected life that God had planned all along. Yes, the title means just what you think it means. Imagine your frustrations with life take hold of you so much that you have to yell out “WTF, God!?!?!?” Yes, there is some foul language in this memoir, but it is not extreme as you may think it is going to be.
Onuorah is candid about her life history, struggles, and her addictions despite her fears of admitting them to us, the reader. As I was reading it felt as if she was talking directly to me. I know a little of her history as I have read all of her previous works and enjoyed them, and even have communicated via email with her, but now I feel I know her more personally. WTF, God is a short memoir just over 100 pages and can be read very quickly. In the first 90 minutes of reading it I was over halfway done with it!
Despite the roller coaster that life may bring us, Onuorah shows us through sharing about her life that God knows what he is doing and to have faith in Him. Despite the title possibly turning you off of the book, please pick up WTF, God. You won’t regret it!
WTF, God is recommended.
Michelle N. Onuorah is the bestselling author of Type N, Taking Names, Remember Me, Jane and Atlas Died. WTF, God? is her debut non-fiction release. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Michelle grew up with a love of storytelling. At the tender age of thirteen, she wrote her first book, Double Identity, and self-published it the next year. For three years, she ran an independent magazine, MNO, and served as the main writer and editor-in-chief. Her writing has appeared in Vestiges Literary Magazine, Avalon Literary Review, and Medium.com among others.
A graduate of Biola University, Michelle is putting her film degree to use by producing a new teaching series under her company, MNO Media, LLC. The series, Life in His Light, is designed to help Christians who struggle with depression overcome it.
She’s My Dad: A Father’s Transition and a Son’s Redemption
Author: Jonathan S. Williams (With Paula Stone Williams)
Published: November 8, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 10-17, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Jonathan S. Williams was three months into pastoring a new, evangelical church plant when his father confessed a secret: he was transgender. His father, Paul, a prominent evangelical pastor, soon became Paula, and Jonathan’s life and ministry went into a tailspin. Feeling betrayed by his mentor and confidante and scared that his church would lose funding and support if Paula’s secret was exposed, Jonathan sunk into depression and alcoholism.
She’s My Dad explores Jonathan’s long and winding journey toward reconciliation, forgiveness, and acceptance of his father as well as his church’s journey to become one of the few fully LGBTQ-inclusive, evangelical churches in America. Jonathan and Paula offer insight and encouragement for those with transgender family members, empathizing with the feelings of loss and trauma and understanding that even being LGBTQ-affirming doesn’t mean the transition of a family member will be easy. Jonathan writes of his family’s continuing evolution, the meaning of remaining loyal to one’s father even when she is no longer a man, the ongoing theological evolution surrounding transgender rights and advocacy in the church, and the unflinching self-scrutiny of a pastor who lost his God only to find God again in his father’s transition.
These are the words that no one expects to hear from a loved one, let alone from a parent to an adult child: “I am transgender”.
She’s my Dad is the memoir of Jonathan S. Williams, whose father Paul ‘came out’ and confessed that secret to his family. She’s my Dad is Jonathan’s story of his shock, dealing with or the lack thereof the situation, and eventual acceptance of Paul becoming Paula. A confession such as this would be a shock in the first place, but what made Paul’s more complicated was both Jonathan and Paul’s occupation: evangelical pastors. Jonathan had also just started a new church plant a few months before Paul’s confession.
When we read transgender stories, we don’t tend to receive a family member’s perspective, just the one undergoing the transition. But it is not just the trans person that goes through transition: it is the whole family as they all have to go through countless changes. Jonathan and Paul’s story is compounded because of their occupations as they have to deal with many more consequences of this confession so Paula can be her true self. Every transition story will be different and important.
Most of the memoir discussed the church. For me, this seemed to drag on for a too long and I found myself skimming over the church mentions. Williams may have been trying to show how much Paula’s transition would affect everyone involved, but so much of it seemed like he was repeating himself. Williams had a very difficult time accepting his father becoming Paula and lamented to an extreme which included drinking. Unlike what many believe, pastors are human and are not perfect.
I did like that we got to also hear from Paula in some chapters in sections called “Paula Responds”. This way we get both sides of the story.
All a person who is undergoing transition wants is acceptance from themselves, their family, and even the church. Hopefully the church can be accepting to those who are transgender: They are people just like us. Think about it: If an evangelical pastor can eventually accept his father for who she actually is, maybe we all can.
She’s my Dad is recommended. I received a copy from Westminster John Knox Press via NetGalley. Thank you for my copy![Top]
Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff
Author and Narrator: Chip Gaines
Published: October 17, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 11-13, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of 4 in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.
In Capital Gaines, we walk alongside him as he relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.
Capital Gaines is the perfect book for anyone looking to succeed not only in business but more importantly in life.
I previously listened to The Magnolia Story which was narrated by both Chip and Joanna Gaines. (My review is here). Capital Gaines is a bit of a ‘rehash’ of it but solely from Chip’s perspective. I must say I have only ever seen Fixer Upper once when my car was getting serviced, so I don’t really know much of their story other than what I read in Magnolia Story.
Chip is the better narrator of the couple, so I enjoyed listening to his narration. Chip’s writing is more juvenile than Joanna’s and it seems like he writes the way he talks. He comes off on the impulsive side. Several times he talks about the cover of the book and how it came to be. Honestly, I did not care about it and the cover is not that great of a picture. But he is proud of it, so go for it Chip. The book comes off a bit scattered, and maybe that’s how Chip is himself.
I did like how he talks about his faith in God. I am curious about their show, though it is off the air now. I may try to find a couple of episodes to watch and ‘get to know’ the Gaines’.
I would say Capital Gaines would be for fans of the show Fixer Upper.[Top]