Victim of Grace: When God's Goodness Prevails

( 9 )

Overview

Robin Jones Gunn reveals poignant truths from her life as well as from the lives of women in the Bible as she flips the notion that we are at the mercy of circumstances. She asks, what if God has dreams for you? What if he is accomplishing those dreams in the midst of shattered hopes?

When life doesn’t go as expected, it’s easy to feel like a victim. We look at the events that have gone wrong and view our lives as impaired. What if we could see our future as God sees it? Would ...

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Overview

Robin Jones Gunn reveals poignant truths from her life as well as from the lives of women in the Bible as she flips the notion that we are at the mercy of circumstances. She asks, what if God has dreams for you? What if he is accomplishing those dreams in the midst of shattered hopes?

When life doesn’t go as expected, it’s easy to feel like a victim. We look at the events that have gone wrong and view our lives as impaired. What if we could see our future as God sees it? Would our view radically change if we understood we are indeed victims rather than of happenstance?

God, the Relentless Lover, has vigorously sought you. He has instilled dreams in your heart that are grander than you can imagine. But the route to their fulfillment often is through a path you wouldn't seek.
What if God wants to take the hopes that tug at your heart and enliven them? Are you ready to live inside the mysterious joy of being a victim of grace?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Choosing to look at adversity as the outcome of God's grace instead of as the end of a dream, the bestselling author Gunn (Sisterchicks series) gives a new definition to the term "victim." Personal stories, mixed with biblical stories of women who undergo loss and challenge, help to create a big picture. First chapters serve more as an introduction to the author and the concept. Lessons come into sharper focus later when Gunn gives helpful advice gleaned from personal experiences like the death of her father, temptation in her marriage, and forgiveness of those who have betrayed her. What if we aren't victims of circumstance, but victims of grace? she suggests. That shift in perspective asks readers to ponder whether God might actually be accomplishing his greatest purpose for our lives in the midst of disappointment instead of dashing dreams. Gunn has a gift for shedding new light on biblical passages as well. Discussion questions in the back of the book offer opportunities for further insight. Agent: Janet Grant, Books & Such Literary Agency (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310324799
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 470,825
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Over the past 25 years Robin has written 82 books with almost 4.5 million copies sold worldwide. To her great delight, Robin’s books are doing exactly what she always hoped to do – they are traveling around the world and telling people about God’s love. She is doing the same. Over the past ten years Robin has been invited to speak at events around the US and Canada as well as in South America, Africa, Europe and Australia. Robin and her husband have two grown children and have been married for 35 years. They live in Hawaii where she continues to write and speak.
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Read an Excerpt

Victim of Grace

When God's Love Prevails


By Robin Jones Gunn

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2013Robin's Nest Productions, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-32479-9


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

FREE FALL TO FULL CIRCLE


The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.

—Psalm 138:8 ESV


On a quiet summer afternoon, I handed my friend Steph a glass of iced tea and offered a sympathetic smile before taking a seat beside her on the white wicker patio chair. A rousing Maui trade wind skimmed over us and rustled the outstretched limbs of our backyard plumeria tree. A single flower on the highest branch surrendered to the tug of the unseen breeze. Nudged by another breath, the flower fluttered to the ground with airy elegance.

"Waiting is the hardest part," Steph said. "It's been eleven days and still no word. I'm stuck. I don't know if we should plan a move back to the mainland or if I should start buying school supplies since classes here start next week."

I didn't know what to tell her. I'd been in similar situations more than once in my life and I felt her frustration. No winning words of encouragement came to me.

"It's beginning to feel like a test," she said. "As if God wants to see if I completely trust him no matter what. I wish he would tell me the answer but ..."

I finished the sentence for her with a line that was familiar to both of us. "But the teacher is always silent during the test."

"Exactly."

I released the thin pineapple wedge that balanced on the side of my glass and watched it float between the ice cubes. "I'm really sorry you're going through this, Steph."

"Thanks. I guess that's why I came over. I needed the 'tea and sympathy.' "

I smiled and noticed another plumeria flower being tugged from the tree by invisible fingers that sent it into a free fall. The fragrant offering landed softly on the grass. Later that afternoon, I would collect the scattered beauties and string them together to make a unique gift, a homemade lei to welcome someone special who was arriving on the island at sunset.

"You're in a free fall, aren't you?" I suggested.

"Is that what it is? I was thinking it feels more like I'm a victim."

"A victim?"

"Yes. A victim of all the uncomfortable circumstances going on. I have no control over what's happening. Everyone else seems to be making the decisions about our future." She leaned back and gave a sigh. "I know God is in control. But I still feel like a victim."

We sat together in silence for a moment. I leaned closer. "May I tell you a story? A true story?"

Steph knows me well, so my question made her grin. "It's what you do," she said. "Yes. Please. Tell me a story."

"Two days after our son's thirteenth birthday, I walked into a building in downtown Portland in broad daylight. I was taken into a back room where all my clothes were removed. A man wearing a mask knocked me out. While I was unconscious, another masked man thrust a knife into my abdomen. Twice."

Steph's jaw went slack.

"When I finally came to, I was in a hospital bed with dozens of sutures holding my midriff together. I had done nothing to deserve what happened to me."

"I never heard this before! I can't believe it. Why would anyone do that to you?"

I tried to keep my expression steady as I gave her the bigger picture of the traumatic experience. "The building I walked into was a hospital. Providence Medical Center, to be exact. The man who rendered me unconscious was an anesthesiologist."

"What?"

"The masked man with the knife was a surgeon. He removed several diseased masses and repaired my bile duct. I have a nine-inch scar right here." I traced a diagonal line across my torso. "And another six-inch scar here."

Steph narrowed her eyes. She looked like she might throw something at me. "Why didn't you just say you had your gallbladder removed?"

I laughed. "Because the experience sounds so different when you don't know the final outcome ahead of time. That's what you're going through right now; lots of painful steps without knowing the final punch line. When I only told you the painful facts of my experience, it seemed as though I were a victim of an act of violence."

"It certainly did. But, obviously, the big picture is that the surgery was for your good. You're still alive."

"Yes, I am." I drew my shoulders back and smiled. "I'm still here, twenty years later. So, I guess you could say that it's true: I was a victim. I was a victim of grace."

Steph put her glass of plantation tea on the end table. Our voices lowered as we talked about the mysterious ways of God, his timing, and the challenge of seeing more than just the circumstances in our life experiences. We reminded each other of times in our lives when God accomplished his purposes in us and through us even though we couldn't see the big picture and didn't understand the difficult things we were going through.

As Steph stood to leave, she said, "I wish more people would tell the uncomfortable parts of their story instead of just the punch line. We need to know we're not alone in the process, especially when it's painful."

We walked together to her car, gave each other a hug, and I returned to the backyard where I went about gathering plumerias, selecting just the right ones for the lei. I thought of how the lovely flowers had ended up on the grass after their free fall. All that beauty scattered at my feet, ready to be collected. Before me were dozens of delicate, uncomplaining victims of the unseen hand that had plucked them from the tree.

As I strung the flowers on the long lei needle, Steph's earlier comment about how we need to know we're not alone echoed in my thoughts. She had said she wished more people would tell the uncomfortable parts of their stories. We need to see the big picture and not just the punch line.

It occurred to me that that was what God did when he recorded the true tales of many of the women in the Bible. He didn't airbrush their lives or make excuses for their choices. He showed them as they were. Real. Human. Flawed. And also deeply loved by the one who fashioned them by hand and knew them by heart. Their stories are scattered throughout Scripture, ready to be gathered up. I wondered how many of them could see the big picture when they were in the midst of their own difficult experience.

The scent of afternoon rain breezed my way. I could smell the rain before I could see the misty drops. As I watched, the fluid grace gently covered, nourished, cleansed, and restored everything within view.

My thoughts ran to a deep place. I considered how there is nothing I can do, nothing to make the rain fall or the wind blow. Unprovoked by any act on my part, God gives me breath. He opens his hand and gives and gives and gives. I don't control his faithfulness. I don't initiate his mercy. I can do nothing to earn his kindness. I don't deserve his gifts.

The truth is, I am powerless to stop his love for me.

I did nothing to activate his goodness toward me. I am incapable of deflecting the endless showers of blessings that come from his storehouses and rain over my life. It's all grace. Grace upon grace. God's extravagant grace.

Indeed, I am a victim of grace.

And so are you.

Returning to the fresh flowers cradled in my lap, I finished stringing the lei and tied the two ends together. I thought about how God gifted me to tell stories. In recent years I've been invited to speak around the world, and at each event, I'm asked to tell stories. I have stood before thousands and told true stories of how God manifests his unmerited favor in the lives of ordinary women.

Drawing in the fragrance of the lei in my hands, I wondered what it would look like if I gathered up my free
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn. Copyright © 2013 by Robin's Nest Productions, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

1. Free Fall to Full Circle................     11     

2. The Dream That Would not Go Away........     17     

3. Everything Is Redeemable................     29     

4. A Blessing Inside the obedience.........     47     

5. Making Peace with the Mysteries.........     65     

6. A Banner Word....................     85     

7. The Day My Daddy Winked at Me...........     105     

8. Pure Grace in Every Season..............     125     

9. Dare to Dream Again....................     139     

10. Hi. God Likes You a Lot!...............     159     

11. Going Home....................     177     


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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    VICTIM OF GRACE by Robin Jones Gunn

    In "Victim of Grace" Robin Jones Gunn candidly opens up her heart as she deftly interweaves the experiences of her life with scenes from binlical characters to tell a most compelling tale of God's amazing grace and goodness. When we are caught up in the dire and distressing circumstances of life, we are actually victims of God's grace and not victims of life's stormy vicissitudes. Robin's well-crafted stories unlock hidden places in our hearts and renews our souls in a fresh new way as she vividly portrays the dark valleys she has stumbled through to come out victoriously on the mountaintops of life. God's extravagant kindness and love is not limited to the Bible. He wants to anoint us as victims of grace. Here is the profound wisdom and amazing insight of a godly woman who walks intimately with her Lord. In a book that is clearly God-haunted, her unflinching and hopeful life story is filled with poignant heartache and rare beauty, honestly recounted on the pages of her life. It makes us want to "know Jesus more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow him more nearly, day by day." In every moment of each new day, Robin experiences the love of God fall afresh upon her in the most unexpected ways. His love flows in extraordinary abundance and she is totally powerless to stop Him. Even in the worst of situations, His goodness prevails. God is a relentless Lover and she is a victim of grace. "It's all grace. Grace upon grace. God's extravagant grace." God's ways are mysterious, his timing is not ours, and He accomplishes His glorious plans in our lives, even when our circumstances are far from perfect, and in spite of the difficult situations in our lives. We are not alone, even when it is painful. God is with us and He walks with us through our pain. Robin explains that when God recorded the lives of people in the Bible, He didn't airbrush them and make them surreal. He showed them exactly as they were - real, flawed and human. God loved them deeply. He fashioned them by His own hand and knew each one of them by heart. As the afternoon rain fell in misty drops, Robin watched the fluid grace gently cover, nourish, cleanse and restore everything in sight. Her thoughts ran deep. God gives and gives and gives. His generosity is unending and endless. God bestows His unmerited grace and favour upon ordinary people. Robin gathered her free-fall stories and strung them together, like pearls on a string, alongside stories of women in the Bible. Eventually it came full circle. God's goodness prevails, even when we cannot see the end of the story. We must trust in the greatness of God. "His Will is good and acceptable and perfect." © Miriam Jacob

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 11, 2013

    This book is so incredibly uplifting and makes you feel joyous f

    This book is so incredibly uplifting and makes you feel joyous for the journey that you're on. It may not be the journey you thought you'd have (when is it ever?) but we can find joy through the grace that God shows us.

    Robin is so open and honest and shares from her heart. I love a book like this because it makes it easier for me to relate to and it also makes it easier to read. It is like sitting down with your best friend and having her share her life with you and then show you how the Lord has worked everything out for good.

    Be sure and have your tissues handy because, if you are like me, you're going to be shedding quite a few tears at some points of this book. It just touched my heart so much!

    This book will bless you so much. It's a book of hope and points totally to the grace of God. It's a must read and one you'll go back to time and again. I highly recommend it!

    *This book was provided me to me for my honest review by the BookSneeze Program

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    And I thought I enjoyed Robin's books after reading the Christy

    And I thought I enjoyed Robin's books after reading the Christy Miller Collection, The Sierra Jensen Collection and Christy And Todd The College Years! This book was fantastic! I'm usually not very fond of non-fiction books, but this is one that I'm glad to have on my shelves. I wish more people would write about how God got them through the storms of life instead of just getting to the "punch line". What an encouragement! I know that when trialing times come, this is one of the books that I will be re-visiting. I love the amount of scripture used in the making of this book. So many authors write things about God without showing where they got the idea in the first place, but not Robin! She has scripture to back up everything that she says.


    I'm extremely grateful for Robin's candidness in sharing her own troubles and trials throughout her life and how God pulled her through them. It seemed that with every personal story that she shared, she had a story of a biblical woman to go with it. I'll never think of some of the women of the Bible the same way. She gives such an insight into what they were going through and what these great women of the Bible could have been feeling in their own rough situations.


    This book also showed me just how blessed I really am. I read the term "Victim Of Grace" in one of Robin's novels a while back, and that phrase has come to mind often over the past couple of years. Whenever I feel like the "victim", I can remember that I am not a victim of my circumstances, but I AM a victim of grace. God's perfect, loving and unconditional grace. It's all about your outlook.


    I would definitely encourage anyone to read this book, especially teenage girls. Robin Jones Gunn has a way of wording things in a way that draws in a young reader. But even if you aren't a teenage girl, I guarantee that this book could encourage you if you just gave it a shot.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2013

    This book was a gift from Zondervan through the Booksneeze progr

    This book was a gift from Zondervan through the Booksneeze program for my review.

    I wish I could get a review book that I like. It seems rare, and "Victim of Grace" is no exception.
    It was "okay" at best, nothing profound or worth repeating. 
    "Victim" sends a negative message. Isn't grace a great, positive thing?
    Secondly, there are so many poorly emphasized Bible stories I felt that those not familiar with the Bible
    would be left wondering "So who is this Mordecai dude she's talking about?"

    Thirdly, Robin has this over enthusiastic, superficial attitude to her writing that reminds me a cheerleader.
    I have no problem with extroverted, enthusiastic people. But it is far too obvious and far too silly for my liking. 

    Another thing I disliked about Robin's writing in this book was the fact it was all in hindsight.
    She kept emphasizing the need to "look back" at the worst circumstances you've faced and then praise God for His grace.
    This is the overlying theme in all of the book. Yes, hindsight is 20/20 but you need to remember Christianity isn't about looking back.

    I didn't like this book. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Robin Jones Gunn Does It Again And Than Some

    Robin Jones Gunn is a very talented author, I have read many of her books most of them being her YA books, and I loved each one of them. Therefore, this book was definitely very different from what I have read by her in the past. Victim of Grace is a very personal story of Robin’s life and her journey with the Lord. There is a lot of scripture and stories from the Bible, which relate to stories from her personal life. There is a study guide at the back of the book that would be wonderful for a bible study group at your church. Zondervan Publishing provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for my review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn Ever feel like everything is

    Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn
    Ever feel like everything is going against you? Ever feel like maybe there is a purpose for that? Robin Jones Gunn makes this point admirably. Telling many stories from her own life and growth from a beginning writer to a bestseller, she weaves in God’s purpose and life lessons throughout.
    I absolutely loved this book. Since I am a writer myself, I could relate to and learn from a lot of what Robin went through in her career. Her dream as a young adult did not transpire the way she thought she wanted it to, but God directed her on the path He wanted and she was so blessed by that. I experience challenging times myself and often wonder what the purpose is for them. I found her examples very inspiring and faith building as she tells with transparency about her own struggles and how she handled them with faith and relying on God and other believers. God states in His Word “I will never leave you or forsake you” and Robin pours out refreshing proof of this.
    The part that most touched my heart was the story of her father’s last days and her connection with him. I recently lost my own father and had similar experiences. It’s always difficult to lose a loved one, but so heartwarming to think of them walking around with Jesus!
    This is a great book and I look forward to reading others by Robin Jones Gunn.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Posted May 7, 2013

    Recently, I was given an opportunity to review a book by my favo

    Recently, I was given an opportunity to review a book by my favorite author, Robin Jones Gunn. In her latest book "Victim of Grace", she talks about different times in her life where she has experienced some major "grace." I would have never known how the Christy Miller series began or how Robin has gone through some medical junk. I never realized the series of events that have led her to this places as a wonderful author. I can appreciate her authenticity and her willingness to share her heart. This book is brilliant and allows you to experience the goodness of God in Robins life. It allows you to reflect on your own journey to find his grace.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted September 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted April 23, 2014

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