Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things


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Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things by Sara Hagerty

Sara Hagerty masterfully draws from her own story of spiritual and physical barrenness to birth in readers a new longing for God. With exquisite storytelling and reflection, Hagerty guides readers to a tender place that God is holding just for them—a place where he shapes the bitterness of lost expectations into deep, new places of knowing Him.

In the age of fingertip access to answers and a limitless supply of ambitions, where do we find the God who was birthed in dirt and straw? Sara Hagerty found him when life stopped working for her. She found him when she was a young adult mired in spiritual busyness and when she was a new bride with doubts about whether her fledgling marriage would survive. She found him alone in the night as she cradled her longing for babies who did not come. She found him as she kissed the faces of children on another continent who had lived years without a mommy’s touch.

In Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Hagerty masterfully draws from the narrative of her life to craft a mosaic of a God who leans into broken stories. Here readers see a God who is present in every changing circumstance. Most significantly, they see a God who is present in every unchanging circumstance as well

Whatever lost expectations readers are facing—in family, career, singleness, or marriage—Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet will bring them closer to a God who longs for them to know him more. What does it look like to know God’s nearness when life breaks? What does it mean to receive his life when earthly life remains barren? How can God turn the bitterness of unmet desire into new flavors of joy?

With exquisite storytelling and reflection, Hagerty brings readers back to hope, back to healing, back to a place that God is holding for them alone—a place where the unseen is more real than what the eye can perceive. A place where every bitter thing is sweet.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310339946
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sara is a wife to Nate and a mother of six whose arms stretched wide across the expanse between the United States and Africa. After almost a decade of Christian life she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. God met her and moved her when life stopped working for her. And out of the overflow of this perplexity, came her writing, both on her blog (sarahagerty.net) and in her books – Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet and Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to be Noticed.

Table of Contents

Foreword 13

1 The Question Unearthed 17

2 Moments of Yes 27

3 Not My Typical Prayer 39

4 Looking Long 51

5 I Barely Know You 63

6 Whispers in the Dark 75

7 The Real Miracle 89

8 The Place Where Asking Begins 99

9 Let Us Run Together 117

10 Hold All of Me 125

11 New Names 139

12 The Glorious Mundane 149

13 I See You 157

14 The One Who Remembers 167

15 Is Jesus Beautiful? 179

Epilogue: What I Would Say to Her (Written Months After This Book Was Complete) 191

Acknowledgments 197

Scripture References 201

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Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
After reading the first chapter of this book I was hesitant to continue. Not that it wasn't good, in fact it was very well written and quite touching. It just didn't seem to pertain to my life. In that first chapter Sara opens up with her heart-wrenching story of infertility. As a woman I feel sorrow for her plight, but I've never struggled with that area so I almost gave the book a pass. Yes this book is about Sara's battle with infertility, but it contains so much more. If you've ever had an unmet expectation you'll be able to relate to this book. If you've ever had a dream that you found dashed you'll relate to this book. This book is really about being a woman in this fallen world. We all have hopes and dreams and ambitions that sometimes materialize but often don't. We've all tasted the bitterness of rejection. Whether it is from a friend or foe it doesn't seem to matter, it all tastes awful! But what if you could find a way to turn that bitter taste into something deliciously sweet? Sara takes you on a journey through her life experiences that shows you the secret of doing just that. The key to it all is to find a longing so desperate of God's desire that even the bitterest of circumstances seem sweet because God Himself is in it. After reading the whole thing I now know why so many people are recommending it. It is a beautiful story of the redemption of God in a seemingly ruined life. I think you'll come away from it uplifted and encouraged. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
SalinaG More than 1 year ago
As a book reviewer for Harper Collins, I get to pick the books I review, so I always look for books most apealing to me and my readers. Today’s book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty, was a great choice. Although I found the book description interesting, I had no idea it contained the author’s experiences with infertility, and how God was able to “shape the bitterness of loss into a new place of hope” for her.  Some questions this book asks are “What does it look like to know God’s nearness when your world stops working?, What does it mean to receive His life when earthly life remains barren?, and How can God turn the bitterness of unmet desire into new flavors of joy?” All three of these are questions I had to ask myself when I went through my own season of barrenness. As I read through this book I developed a strong connection with the author. She had experienced many of the same feelings I had over the years. The misunderstandings, the pain and confusion. All the times I questioned why God didn’t heal me, and learning to come to the point where I also had to answer, “If you never have a family, will you still love Me?” (pg 81) This book is a wonderful testament to God’s love and grace. We all face disappointment, pain, and hardships; it’s a part of life. What we have to decide is how we are going to react. Sara Hagerty spent the first half of her life believing she was unworthy of God’s love. She believed her life to be one disappointment after the other, and when things went wrong, why should she expect it to be different? (pg 85) As she delved more deeply into His presence, she discovered that her pain was the best way to get to know Him more. Her pain was a way to see how limitless His love really was for her. Filled with personal stories, including her father’s illness, learning to trust her husband with the most intimate parts of her heart, and her journey on the path to adopting four children, this book touched parts of my soul unlike any book I’ve read in a while. If your life is feeling a bit stale, or you want to re-kindle the love affair with your Savior, I highly recommend this book. Please let me know if you do read it and what you think about it.  “God never intends for us to ask, Who are You in this pain? only once. He wants us to make a habit out of coming near. Because His response to our pain will be safe.” pg 146
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sara Hagerty allows us to enter her world during some of her darkest hours. She authentically shares moments of her life that many people try to keep hidden. She discusses many facets of her life where she desperately searches to find the depth of God’s goodness and His love for her. She sought God out during times of struggle in her marriage, when barrenness plagued her, during a difficult adoption process and dealing with the deep scars of her adopted children. She often found herself questioning not the goodness of God but was He good to her. Through time and much prayer she was finally able to grasp the depth of God’s love for her and how He used the bitter things in her life to bring out the beauty in her. She appropriately titled the book after Proverbs 27:7. The title of this book captured my attention as it made me reflect upon the challenging times in my own life. Was I able to find the goodness of God during these times? When hard times hit am I searching for His goodness or trying desperately to find an answer to ease the pain? I must confess I often find myself wanting answers. My mind convinces me that an answer will lead to peace when my heart knows otherwise. As I dove into this book I could not put it down. Although Sara is a complete stranger her story drew me in. Our stories do not mirror one another’ however; they do have similarities. I appreciate Sara openly sharing her life struggles to help others. I have also purchased this book for a friend as I know it will encourage her. * Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What if our identity was not based on what was yet to come and still lacking but in a man, a God man who already sees us as whole and complete? Sara Hagerty spent her growing years searching for the love of this God man who sometimes seems so far away. But what if knowing who He is and who we are in Him was as simple as spending time at His feet? Every Bitter Thing is Sweet is a book for everyone. From the woman waiting with an empty to womb to the parent who seems to go at warp speed to any person who has ever wondered about the goodness of God. In an honest and raw format, Sara bears her pain in light of His glory. God sees you and longs for you to know Him. Your heart longs to connect afresh with God. Sara calls us to adore Him. He is near. Our broken stories... our hunger invites Him in. He is delighted in us.  Every Bitter Thing is Sweet will remind you who you are in Christ and how He is working in and through your pain to draw you to Himself. Are you hungry for change? Let Sara's words invite you into a journey you will soon not forget. I read this book in one sitting, hungry for each word as I turned the page. With additional scriptures and key insights, you will return to this book over and over again. -sarah j
Lisa_L_Floyd More than 1 year ago
Recently Bethany House Publishers sent me the book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty to review.  This book is about Sara Hagerty’s journey to find God in all circumstances of life, with an emphasis on “barrenness”.   The inside of the dust jacket give an explanation of this book that led me to think it was going to provide some sort of profound insight into Sara’s life that I might take away to use in mine.  Two of the paragraphs read:  “Whatever lost expectations you are facing – in family, career, singleness, or marriage – Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet will bring you closer to a God who longs for you to know Him more.” “Going beyond the narrative to offer timeless insight, Hagerty brings you back to hope, back to healing, back to a place that God is holding for you alone – a place where the unseen is more real than what the eye can perceive.  A place where every bitter thing is sweet.” I was hopeful for that insight or revelation she would share from her own life that would help me in mine.  And while I hate to say it, I was disappointed.  I tried.  I really did.  But this book was easy to put down, and while I tried to find hope and joy in the words, they came across as more pedantic than relatable.   I did read it completely.  I was hoping that somehow my hope would be revealed at the end.  There was a happy ending in the author’s fertility, so it has that going for it.  The author was truthful in her struggles, and in the fact that she turned to God for help amidst them.  It was nice to have a list of scripture “for your continued pursuit” as she penned. But overall, the book’s overtone felt rather disconnected and her descriptions rather vague.  I found myself drudgingly finishing it.  While it turned out not to be my style of preferred reading, that sort of style may be appealing to others.  I much prefer a book that gives me interesting stories I can feel a part of, and situations from which I can learn, shared in a different format.   This book gets a “thumbs down” from me.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My review is simply my testimony: this book has changed how I see God and how I see life. It has challenged me to love, to forgive, to stay hungry and to adore God. It gave me permission to ask the questions that hide in the depths and raise them up to a God who loves to answer: Yes, I am good to YOU. Formed from deep places of pain and not-knowing, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet humbly invites you to partake in the journey to find more of God. It is Sara's beautiful, personal story of hunger and desperation to find the God who will meet us in the mess and lead us in divine adventure. I highly recommend this book; buy a copy for you and one for a friend.
AnneMcCainBrown More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and could not put it down. Sara is so honest and real.  Although I couldn't relate to her particular struggle, I can relate to life not working as I thought it would, and wondering in the ache what God is doing. My favorite part of the book, though, was the window it gives into how Sara and Nate parent their children. What a wonderful example they are. I loved hearing the practicals of what they have done in different situations.  I highly recommend this book!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who has struggled with loss expectations and shattered dreams, I felt like Sara was inside my head as she shared the deep pain and hurt her infertility has brought into her life. It was encouraging and reassuring to read some of her thoughts as some of them are the same thoughts I've struggled with. This book is truly one of the best books I've read on longings that have yet to be met. It's helped me look at my pain in a different light and helped me to see how God has used and is continuing to use it to invite me in closer to Him. Sara's transparency and pure honesty in sharing her story and telling how God continues to shape her is a gift. This book is for anyone who has tasted the bitterness of life and is searching to find some sweetness. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for anyone who has ever experienced disappointment, loss, or delay (which is just about everyone!) Sara's words mirrored my own thoughts to the point that I found myself in tears because I realized someone else understood exactly where I had been. My view of God as Father has largely been shaped by the revelation she has personally shared both through her blogs and now her book. I cannot say enough about how Sara's obedience and her written words have impacted my life. Reading her story in Every Bitter Thing is Sweet will cause you to approach your relationship with the Father in a brand new way, one that is life-giving and full of freedom. 
M_Kretz More than 1 year ago
Sharing stories is something that draws people together; we often reflect on our own story as it applies to others as we use our own experiences to develop a deeper understanding of our own beliefs. Sara authentically pours out her heart as she shares her story, leaving no facet unturned as she speaks of a God who purposefully uses life to bring us to places where, knowing Him deeper, can be the only true conclusion one can draw. God’s faithfulness is beautifully displayed in Sara’s desire to see the negative situations in life as launching points for deeper understanding of a God who never leaves us. Reading this book, no one can walk away and feel that, in the most difficult situations in life, you are alone.  The things that hurt the most, the things that our hearts don’t readily understand, are moments for a God of love to use for moments of sweet surrender in His presence. Sara’s story can be our own story, hungry for more than this world has to offer. Perspective change offers great opportunity to be filled with a God who longs to be known by His children because He knows each one personally. God made us to worship and in life’s cloudy moments, when worship seems like the last thing to do, hungry and crying out to Him is when God shows up in more marvelous ways than we could ever imagine. Thank you, Sara, for authentically and unashamedly sharing your story; your story is His story and through you, God will be glorified through shaping others’ stories as well. 
ElizHatton More than 1 year ago
Every Bitter Thing is Sweet is an honest and raw account of finding the goodness of God in life's disappointments. Through struggles in marriage, infertility, adoption and finance, Sara accounts her journey to discover God's deep desire to meet us in everything we experience in life. This book has left me hungry for more of God in my life. It has encouraged me that my struggles are purposed. What a wonderful reminder that life’s deepest hurts are not wasted. He SEES them and longs to give us joy as we discover Him in the hardest times in our lives. Please pick up this book if you are struggling right now. If you are hungry for more and can’t put your finger on what it is that you are craving. You will find answers as Sara humbly shares the story of her life with you. ~Elizabeth
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had time permitted, I could have read this whole book in one sitting. It's one of those books that draws you in, and stays in your thoughts long after you put it down. This book has riches in it that I will be carrying with me for decades to come. 
Schlemmer More than 1 year ago
If you have ever felt like you are stuck in the “waiting room”, or invisible to the God who sees—Sara’s book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet will give you perspective, encouragement and insight through a real life story—her story— as she shares her “yes” to the Lord when the night was long. I was so encouraged by this book and HIGHLY recommend it! 
KDRiselli More than 1 year ago
This is a book for all of us. For Christians, for those who left the church, and for those wondering whether church and faith are really true. This is a message that transcends where you are on the question of God, because Sara Hagerty offers an authentic glimpse into what a life of faith and a deep belief in God truly means: it isn't always pretty, it isn't pain-free, but it is always satisfying.  In an era when we can have the answers we want nearly instantly, at our fingertips, we too often shy away from the bigger questions that lie beneath our restlessness and discontent. It's uncomfortable to realize we are lonely with hundreds of (Facebook) friends... or hurting deep inside even as we smile broadly for a camera… And we do ourselves a disservice by ignoring the discomfort that would ultimately save us. Sara wrestles candidly with life, echoing the questions many of us secretly ask. Her story is refreshing because it invites each of us to lean into the deep questions, to peel back the facade and allow the God who created us to offer a new perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet is for everyone. How does one meet Him through pain? How does one still believe his goodness when everything is crumbling? To the hungry soul He truly does make every bitter thing in our life, sweet and Sara's story is a testimony of that. The simple habit Sara brings to light called Adoration is a beautiful tool to write His word on your heart. This book was so encouraging causes you to see His hand in every moment. 
NicoleRice More than 1 year ago
Every Bitter Thing is Sweet is a treasure.  Sara Hagerty made me hungry to know God more deeply.  She beautifully decribes the journey to knowing God more fully by allowing him greater access to our hearts.  Sara’s honest stories of God meeting her in the dark places revealed constant God’s invitation to her in pain.  She identifies a lens change that allows us to see gold in the struggle and the mundane.  Whether your pain is similar to Sara’s or not, you will find truth that can be applied to your story.  This book is a new favorite of mine.  I believe it will become one of yours too.
VLD1 More than 1 year ago
At age 15 when I first caught a glimpse of the God of the Bible, I began to fall in love with Him. I was certain then that I would always be fascinated in discovering this beautiful God! Looking back now, over a decade later, I have learned that the process of life has a certain way of wearing and tearing one down from that initial love-struckness. I've done my best in clinging to stunning God that I first encountered over 10 years ago, but throughout the journey I have honestly struggled. Sara's book has been one of the most encouraging and impactful books that I have ever read on remembering the goodness of God's beautiful heart in every season of my life. Her own vulnerability creates a unique invitation to the reader to follow suite, and realize that all of life--especially the difficulties--is an invitation to personally draw near to our God in a perpetual discovering of His beautiful heart for us. To the man and to the woman that loves God, and longs to only grow more in love throughout the progression of life: this book is a must-read.
WahooReader More than 1 year ago
Countless Gems!  There are countless gems to be found within the pages of this engaging and insightful book.  Although the storyline follows events in the author’s life (including young marriage and its challenges, losing a parent, struggles with infertility, and adoption), the real story is how God continued to answer a question this mature Christian didn’t even know was lingering in her heart:  is God really good to me?  The beauty of the story lies in seeing God’s “yes” in her hardest times of pain and waiting, and in her most miraculous times of joy – and being encouraged to consider how we may find the same answers in the pain and joy of our own lives.  As she discovers the practice of adoration as a key to her own transformation, I found myself drawn to incorporating this practice into my own life to develop a deeper and more personal understanding of God’s character.  Last, but certainly not least, her family’s story of adopting and raising four children from Africa reveals the beauty of being invited to participate in God’s redemption in the world and our own hearts.  This story will captivate you while you are reading it, and continue to engage your heart and mind once you are finished.
katieking More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story of our breathtaking God fills the pages of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. With every chapter, Sara draws the reader nearer to the heart of God. The central question, “Is He good—to me?” is explored through various trials and answered with an unequivocal “yes.” While marriage struggles, infertility, and adoption comprise the main events of this book, the profound meaning that Sara draws out of these events will resonate with a wide audience. Anyone who is drowning in a performance-driven life, longing for the fulfillment of deferred dreams, or seeking an authentic relationship with God will find themselves in this story and will be led to a deeper understanding of God in the process. I know I will return to this book time and again as I continue pursuing Him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago