Have you ever felt like you’ve lost faith in God? I feel like people don’t think this happens to “good” Christians. Or to people in ministry. It’s this weird thing though. For me, personally, I never stopped believing in God – never lost that part of my faith at least. But there have definitely been seasons where I knew the truth, accepted the truth, but that truth wasn’t connecting with my heart. Gasp. Like, God, I know you are who you say you are, and I’ve seen it over and over again, so why do I feel this way? Indivisible, the story of an army chaplain and the war he brings home, might be a story we can wrestle with.
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It’s hard for folks in leadership, you guys.
Because everyone goes through those seasons where they struggle or they wrestle or they just feel disconnected. But when you’re a pastor or a worship leader or even a Sunday school teacher, you feel like you have to keep it going for everyone else. And there’s some value in that…not necessarily “fake it till you make it,” but acting in obedience based on what you know to be true even if you don’t feel like it. For me, serving my Mpact Girls during tough seasons was part of how God pulled me out of the pits. But so many leaders end up isolated as they struggle in faith because they don’t have anyone to go to battle with. Always on duty. Gotta have it (mostly) together, not perfect, but we have to set the example, right? I’ve been there. Eventually, it tears you apart inside. Because here’s the thing: there was never meant to be any separation between our faith and the really messy stuff in our lives. Quite the opposite.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Because here’s the thing: there was never meant to be any separation between our faith and the really messy stuff in our lives. via @RealWorldBible” quote=”Because here’s the thing: there was never meant to be any separation between our faith and the really messy stuff in our lives.”]
Indivisible is the true story of an Army chaplain who steps into one of the messiest places to serve. He spends his first deployment helping men and women pick up the pieces of broken lives just off the battlefield, but comes home to have his own life and faith fall apart. The destruction of war, the death of a friend, the distance created by trying to protect his family from the things he saw…he seems to have lost faith in God and in his own calling. This book is a novelization of the Indivisible movie coming out October 26.
I was drawn to this story because I’m from a military town, and I’ve prayed about becoming a chaplain someday myself. I really wanted to step inside the life of a family as they come alongside our men, women, and families in the armed forces. Admittedly, I was a little suspicious of a novelization of a movie…sometimes that doesn’t work out so well.
On Writing Book Reviews
Before I go further, I want to say I had a hard time writing this review. I’m reminded of a show I watched recently about a newsroom, and how the reporters struggled with the tension between telling a story that could put lives and jobs at risk, but that voters needed to hear…between a desire to protect and a duty to hold accountable. I’m being a little dramatic. There is nothing so heavy about writing a book review. And yet I feel the tension between honoring a writer and especially the family who shared their story to bless others and following through on my commitment to writing an honest review so you can make your own decision about whether to buy a book. So I decided to walk you through some of my personal encounter with this book before I carry out that duty.
My Experience with Indivisible
I’ve been trying something new lately as I read. It started out with all these book reviews (and yes, there will be some non-book-review content soon. My book addiction may have caused me to overcommit!). I was reading so many that I needed to be able to remember what stood out so that I could go back and write a review later. So I put together a collection of journal questions, and I’ve been journaling about some of the books I read. I don’t do all of the questions – I just start with what sticks out to me and write until I don’t feel like writing (less often) or until God takes me and the book on a tangent somewhere and we have a great “real world Bible study” conversation right there in my composition book. I wanted to share with you some of the things I wrote while reading this book…at least, the ones I can share without spoilers!
Who are the characters in this story? Are there good guys or bad guys?
Even though there are technically bad guys in this story – terrorists setting off IEDs in Iraq – we don’t get to meet them. (That’s a little disappointing, but I guess it’s a different story. I like to get to know the bad guy. Because, a la Ender’s Game, when you know them, you start to love them even though you hate what they do. I would say you start to see them as God sees them. But that’s another blog post.) The real antagonist is Satan, and we don’t see him directly, only his handiwork. The “bad guy” in the story is the physical and spiritual destruction caused by war. Also, one character at the beginning and another near the end act like bad guys out of their grief and depression.
Who in this story is most like you or someone you know?
I think Darren is a lot like me, keeping his grief and his battles to himself until his life is falling apart. I have so been there. Even though I hadn’t “lost my faith in God,” (I didn’t quit believing in him or abandon him), I had lost faith in God, in his ability to fix me…or even forgive me. Like Darren, I need to put God in charge of my life – even if I don’t like what happens – and I also need to allow relationships that know the real me and give me space to process and heal and be healthy.
What I loved about Indivisible
God used this story to remind me why he has called me into ministry and reconnect me with some of the people he has called me to serve. I love the journey of the characters, especially one friend. I love being reminded of how God meets us in the middle of our mess, and how he can use anyone. God burdened my heart to pray for close friends whose lives have been forever changed by war.
What I didn’t love about Indivisible
I have to be honest…I think this story is great and it needs to be told. But I didn’t love the way the book was written. The things I liked came through because the story itself is based on the Turner family’s real-life experiences. But…you know how some Christian films don’t have the greatest acting or the best production? (I’m not talking budget, but the quality of work). It drives me nuts. In the film industry, and in any other…if we are doing everything for God’s glory and to please him, shouldn’t we be doing the very best work out there? That same disappointed feeling you get when you watch one of those movies and they don’t quite pull it off? That’s what I got reading this book. With all those great reasons to connect with this story…it was hard to connect with. The most heartfelt moments fell flat, and that was a tragedy. I can’t describe it any other way. That’s really not what I wanted to have to say about this book.
This story needs to be told. I’m so thankful for our men and women who serve – and the families who come alongside them. So I’m going to see the movie. Eventually – I want to be debt free, so I may have to wait until the library has it! I really hope the movie does a better job with the telling.
Indivisible is on tour with Celebrate Lit
To celebrate his tour, Travis is giving away a grand prize that includes the Indivisible novel along with a devotional!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d627/indivisible-celebration-tour-giveaway
Carpe Diem, October 4
The Becca Files, October 4
A Baker’s Perspective, October 5
Robin is Bookish, October 5
The Power of Words, October 6
Christian Bookaholic, October 6
Splashes of Joy, October 7
Mary Hake, October 7
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 8
Inklings and notions, October 8
God’s Little Bookworm, October 9
Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
A Reader’s Brain, October 10
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 10
Book by Book, October 10
Just the Write Escape, October 11
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 11
Real World Bible Study, October 12
All-of-a-kind Mom, October 12
Bibliophile Reviews, October 13
Pause for Tales, October 13
For The Love of Books, October 14
Texas Book-aholic, October 14
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 15
Cafinated Reads, October 15
All 4 and About Books, October 15
Spoken from the Heart, October 16
Janices book reviews, October 16
Maureen’s Musings, October 17
A Diva’s Heart, October 17
Bigreadersite, October 17
About the Book
Author: Travis Thrasher
Genre: General fiction, drama
Release Date: October 23, 2018
A novelization of the film Indivisible, this is a story of love and marriage and finding each other all over again.
When Darren deploys to Iraq during the surge of 2007, he leaves behind his loving and supportive wife, Heather, and their three small children. Their marriage is the envy of the base, both believing strongly in the calling to serve in the military. Darren knows he’s there to support the troops in their darkest moments as their chaplain, but what he doesn’t realize is that he will face his own dark moments, which will have lasting effects on his marriage.
Meanwhile, Heather is creating a community among the other wives and families left behind. She rallies support back home, realizing the dangers the men and women serving overseas are facing, but she also begins to notice a change in Darren during their brief conversations. When he returns, he is no longer the man who left-the man Heather married. His greatest fear is letting her down, but instead of opening up to her, he shuts her out. Their marriage was so strong before. But how can they get back to where they were . . . or find a new way forward?
Indivisible is a story of sacrifice, marriage, and faith that will leave audiences full of hope even amid their most challenging times.
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Author
Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books and worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. He has written fiction in a variety of genres, from love stories and supernatural thrillers to young adult series. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes and pastors. He’s also co-written memoirs and self-help books. His novelizations include Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Upcoming releases in 2018 include The Black Auxiliary about the lives of the other 17 American black athletes who competed with Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Travis lives with his wife and three daughters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
More about Indivisible
This book is based on a true story, so we’d love for readers and moviegoers to meet the real Darren and Heather Turner:
Darren and Heather Turner both grew up in Georgia, and met in 1999 when Darren was working in campus ministry at the University of Georgia. (Darren is still a Bulldog at heart.) Heather was working as a recruiter for an organization that sends English teachers overseas, and Darren had just returned from a year teaching English in Mongolia when they met. Married that same year, they served another six years together in campus ministry and added three children to their family.
Through the husband of a friend of Heather’s, Darren learned that opportunities existed for service as a military chaplain. In 2006, Darren completed seminary, was commissioned in the Army, and deployed almost immediately. Their family’s experiences from this timeframe are the basis of the new movie INDIVISIBLE. Darren, who is on active duty, and Heather are passionate about serving military families, marriage counseling, and leading marriage retreats. The Turners currently live in North Carolina with their children Elie, Samuel, and Meribeth.