Reconnect with What Matters Most 

by Tracy McCarter Thursday, December 03, 2009
In the blink of an eye, life can change forever. Hopes and dreams of what we’ve envisioned our lives would be can disappear in a moment. Tragedy and heartache can instantly pierce the veil that once separated the world we knew and the one we could never have imagined. In his new book, Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred: Reconnecting with What Matters Most After Loss and Adversity, author Gilbert Ahrens recounts his own personal story of conflict, struggle, and suffering in an intimate letter to his young daughter. His story offers strength, suggestions, and encouragement to others who find themselves on the solitary journey of loss that—sooner or later—is the one thing that we all have in common.

On a beautifully clear, crisp autumn evening in 2002, while traveling outside Denver, Colorado, Gil’s car was hit head-on by a drunk driver traveling 95 miles per hour. Gil, his wife Kim, sister Margot, and three-week-old daughter Olivia had been going 60 miles per hour. The driver of the other car was only 18, and the passenger in his car was killed instantly. Gil’s family survived but just barely. Among many other serious injuries, the worst was that his wife, Kim, suffered a broken neck that paralyzed her—sentencing her to a wheelchair. Their baby daughter, however, emerged miraculously unscathed.

In a split second, the lives of this seemingly ordinary family were upended, disrupted, and derailed—just as they were beginning to learn the ropes of parenting a newborn. They were instantly transported to a new world of “survival”, which then over time transcended to the less dramatic but still unknown world of “coping.” But, in the wake of devastation and anguish is where recovery and, ultimately, redemption are found. In Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred, Gil explores and embraces the process of struggle, brokenness, and healing in a way that is honest, heartfelt, and yet at times, reassuringly humorous.

“Suffering has no purpose unless it draws us closer to God, which I think is why He allows it and created it in the first place,” writes Gil. “It is very difficult to connect with God when we feel able, strong, and self-reliant. But it is often only in our weakness, need, and insufficiency that we allow ourselves to be open enough to let God in.”

In Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred, Gil tenderly encourages readers with an eternal truth he has learned through personal trial and affliction: When there is hardship, it is for a reason. “Any valuable tool or piece of equipment needs to be tested and pushed to its limits in the laboratory before it can be ready for service in the field. God is not testing us to see if we are worthy; He is preparing us for something greater than we can imagine. The key to everything—to surviving, coping with loss, adapting to changed realities, and managing to get by—is Faith, Hope, and Love; that is how we find and reconnect with joy.”

Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred by Gilbert Ahrens
Positano Press/October 2009
ISBN: 978-0984289516/224 pages/softcover/$14.95 ISBN: 978-0984289509/224 pages/hardcover/$24.95
www.gilahrens.com

0    submitted by Tracy McCarter
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