Author: Leighann Marquiss
Book link here
Source: Bought a copy, she signed it on the spot
In the summer of 2008, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Henry and Leighann Marquiss are given news that will change their lives forever. The life of their youngest child hangs in the balance with a very slim chance at survival. Torn by grief and disappointment, they struggle to come to grips with their son’s fatal diagnosis. With his tiny heart beating precariously outside of his body, Henry and Leighann strive to fight for his life while balancing the needs and emotions of their two young daughters. This is the heart-rending story of how one family comes together to live life fully in the face of adversity.
Recently we have had two guest speakers at church. The first was Emily Colson of Dancing with Max and the second, Leighann Marquiss of Showing Heart. Both are worth looking into.
I found Leighann Marquiss's use of linguistics to be fascinating. She really was passionate about what she was sharing and made it very emotional and action-filled. I picked up that a lot of her verbs were -ing verbs in order to show how everything has evolved and also continues to develop. I am going to condense her message from my notes but she said things like this:
I remember being in this strange state, when the nurses told me. I would later learn this is called going into shock. I wasnt hearing anything that my husband or the nurses were saying. My son, who I was told I would never hold, diagnosed with a disease with a 0% chance of survival. One that affects only 1 in 8 million. I was begging God for hope in this situation. I had been telling him 'My childhood best friend died at age 14 of leukemia. My sisters best friend died at age 14 of bone cancer. I am not ready for my own kid to die as well' ....only to be overwhelmed by the grace of God. God sent someone to clean my kitchen when I wanted to see my baby because he saw the tears splashing on my cheeks. He fed my family when I asked if he would because he was itching to help me. He was there all along and he was not giving up.
It was really intense. She focused a lot on hope in hard times and I wrote down lots of good religious ideas like:
- God knows exactly what this fees like, and he has my back.
- Obedience is not for the faint of heart.
I later learned that she was an English major, which makes sense because linguistics, remember?
In contrast I felt a bit disappointed when I opened up the book. It wasnt that it was poorly edited, or felt fake or anything, but there was a lot less planning that went into the book and it was a lot less complex than it could have been.
Was I blown away? No.
Yet as I continued reading, I realized that she told her story from a very raw place, that she wasnt so much writing for readers but for her own healing and sanity. Her story she drew from old emails and journal entries and when you read it you realize that it was much too overwhelming than to sit for hours at a time and craft a perfect book.
This is why when the book ends fairly abruptly, I cant say that it holds back the quality of the book. Sure it seems a little awkward and certainly I wish there was more, but as a reader I also have to consider everything that is going on.
And in that light, it is a fantastic story. I definitely cried as I read this book and there were times I was stunned by her commentary on her own story. There are times when you will question the book- why was this passage included? why did she write that chapter that way?- but when you consider the message as a whole, its worth rereading.
I can give it a 4, and strongly recommend you pick up a copy. Links are at the top if you would like to order online.
About the author:
Leighann Marquiss is an author, blogger, and speaker who uses her experiences to help others find hope. She and her husband have four young children, including a son with a severe heart defect, and live in Pittsburgh, PA. She's the author of Showing Heart: The True Story of How One Boy Defied the Odds, Looking Toward the Cross: A 40-day Easter Journey for Families, and You Are Not Alone: An Insider's Guide to Facing Prenatal Diagnosis. She can be found regularly at www.leighannmarquiss.com