Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

Front Cover
Harper Collins, 2010 - Religion - 252 pages
22 Reviews

"The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. "It's the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy. "This is what I've come to believe about change: it's good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that it's incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God's hand, which is where you wanted to be all long, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be. "I've learned the hard way that change is one of God's greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we've become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I've learned that it's not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God's graciousness, not life's cruelty." Niequist, a keen observer of life with a lyrical voice, writes with the characteristic warmth and honesty of a dear friend: always engaging, sometimes challenging, but always with a kind heart. You will find Bittersweet savory reading, indeed. "This is the work I'm doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you, and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you, and grow."


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Stormydawnc - LibraryThing

While reading Shauna Niequist's first book, Cold Tangerines, I enjoyed myself but felt something was missing. The world seemed a bit TOO rosy. It's nice to say that a certain way of looking at life is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cstande - LibraryThing

I thought this book was very insightful. I found it easy to read while addressing some life events that tend to happen to everyone. It helps you appreciate the things that have happened to you, why they happened, and how to learn from them or just enjoy the moment. Read full review


the closer you get
what we ate and why it matters
on desperation and cold pizza
dont do
what we left in south bend
grace is new math
on crying in the bathroom
headlines and lullabies
eight for eight
a blessing for a bride
love song for fall
princessfree zone
your story must be told

gifts under the tree and otherwise
what might have been

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About the author (2010)

Shauna Niequist was born in Barrington, Illinois. She studied English and French literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is an author and a blogger. Her books include Bread and Wine, Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are, and Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living.

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