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The Opposite of Certainty: Fear, Faith, and Life in Between

The Opposite of Certainty: Fear, Faith, and Life in Between


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“Brilliant, rich...breathtakingly honest and sometimes very funny.”

—Anne Lamott

“I loved this book.”

­—Glennon Doyle

“Extraordinary.” —Caroline Leavitt

“Observant and warm...the finest company.”—Kelly Corrigan

“A beautiful sucker punch, like life.“

—Ron Fournier

“Subtle, powerful, and hypnotic...”

— Martin Cruz Smith

What happens when we can no longer pretend that the ground underfoot is bedrock and the sky above predictable?

All Janine Urbaniak Reid ever wanted was for everyone she loved to be okay so she might relax and maybe be happy. Her life strategy was simple: do everything right. This included trying to be the perfect mother to her three kids so they would never experience the kind of pain she pretended not to feel growing up. What she didn’t expect was the chaos of an out-of-control life that begins when her young son’s hand begins to shake.

The Opposite of Certainty is the story of Janine’s reluctant journey beyond easy answers and platitudes. She searches for a source of strength bigger than her circumstances, only to have her circumstances become even thornier with her own crisis. Drawn deeply and against her will into herself, and into the eternal questions we all ask, she discovers hidden reserves of strength, humor, and a no-matter-what faith that looks nothing like she thought it would.

Beautifully written and deeply hopeful, Janine shows us how we can come through impossible times transformed and yet more ourselves than we’ve ever allowed ourselves to be.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785230595
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 05/12/2020
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Janine Urbaniak Reid was born in Chicago and grew up in California. Before she began raising a family and then writing full-time, she was vice president of a San Francisco public relations firm.

Janine has been published in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle and is widely syndicated. Hoping to bring humanity into the healthcare discussion by sharing her experience as a mother of a son with a brain tumor, she penned a piece for the Post that went viral. She has been interviewed on national news networks and continues her work as a spokeswoman for healthcare justice.

Janine writes about her imperfect life, what connects us, and addresses the question of what it means to love fiercely in a sometimes dangerous and always uncertain world.

Janine is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego and lives in Northern California with her family and a motley assortment of pets. She attends St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City: all are welcome.

For more information, please visit JanineUrbaniakReid.com.

Table of Contents

Foreword Anne Lamott ix

An Invitation xi

Nine Years Later xiii

1 Tremors 1

2 Chocolate Eggs and Women in Barbie Doll Blouses 5

3 What's Wrong with This Picture? 13

4 On My Knees 19

5 Boze Grozi 23

6 Inside Out 31

7 When the Walls Come Down 39

8 As the Reflex Takes Over 45

9 Quiet, Clear Yes 51

10 The Unseen Reptile 57

11 Awkward Prayer 65

12 A New Solar System 73

13 Magic Rice 81

14 Reality TV 89

15 Dust into Clay 95

16 Purgatory 101

17 Floods and Mudslides 107

18 Precarious 113

19 Jackson Pollock Faith 119

20 Not Lost 127

21 The Next Right Thing 137

22 Take Off 145

23 Until Tomorrow 151

24 Under Water 163

25 Evidence 169

26 It's Not About the Haircut 177

27 The Weight of Air 183

28 Don't Stop Believing 191

29 Mortals Like Us 199

30 The Other Track 207

31 Urban Legends 215

32 Bread 225

33 Expect 231

34 One-and-a-Half-Pound Prayer 239

35 One of the Guys 247

36 The Charm of Hummingbirds 257

37 Just Dance 265

Acknowledgments 271

About the Author 273

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