Select Page

refined by fire cover

I suspected, when asking Mary Potter Kenyon for a review copy of Refined by Fire, that it would be a hard book to put down. Once I opened the book, my suspicions proved to be absolutely true. The book was nearly impossible to put down for two riveting reasons.

Refined by Fire: Two Reasons It’s Hard to Put Down

First, the author tells a heartbreaking story of loss. In the span of a few years, Kenyon lost her mother Irma and then her husband David. Just as she discovered writing as a way to regain her emotional footing, her young grandson Jacob died of cancer.

Second, she makes the story more compelling by being transparent. She lays her journey of grief before the reader, refusing to hide her emotional pain, her tears, her anger, her loneliness, and her doubts. We see grief take its toll on her relationships and especially on her youngest daughter, Abigail, who was just 8 when her father died.

Refined by Fire: Snapshots of Grief

Though overwhelmed by grief and shedding tears every morning for years, Kenyon somehow writes her way through her grief. Throughout the book, excerpts from her blog and daily journals are featured:

Grief at Ten and a Half Weeks
The First Holiday
Grief at Twenty Weeks
Grief at Five Months

Each entry is a word picture, a snapshot of grief frozen in time. Between those entries, the reader sees grief melt and morph and reform as Kenyon questions God and hears him answer in sweet and unexpected ways. Though devastated by her losses, she begins to see God at work in her life. Her heart is still broken at the end of the book, but thanks to her determination to cling to God, she is also stronger and more capable than before.

Refined by Fire: A Grief Handbook

Kenyon’s Refined by Fire is essentially “grief handbook” for those dealing with loss, something Kenyon wished for as she grieved. It is also a useful tool and resource for pastors, grief support group leaders, hospice workers, funeral home directors, and anyone working with people dealing with grief.

Refined by Fire Give Away

I have a copy of Refined by Fire to give away. To enter the drawing, leave a comment in the box below between now and midnight on November 1, 2014. To increase your chances of winning, sign up for the Gravel Road’s RSS feed at the top, right side of this page and leave another comment saying you did so by midnight on November 1, 2014.

MPKheadshot (2)Mary Potter Kenyon graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in Psychology and is the Director of the Winthrop Public Library. She wrote several of the devotions included in the NIV Hope in the Mourning Bible released by Zondervan in 2013. Mary writes a weekly couponing column for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald and conducts writing and couponing workshops for women’s groups, libraries, and community colleges. Mary is also the author of Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession and Chemo­Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage.