A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss
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A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss

4.46 of 5 stars 4.46  ·  rating details  ·  643 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Loss came suddenly for Gerald Sittser. In an instant, a tragic car accident claimed three generations of his family: his mother, his wife, and his young daughter. While most of us will not experience such a catastrophic loss in our lifetime, all of us will taste it. And we can, if we choose, know as well the grace that transforms it. This book plumbs the depths of our sorr...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 30th 2004 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published June 1996)
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I was given this book to read over ago after my son died. A friend in my church loaned it to me, and for the longest time I wasn't able to read it. It's not that I didn't want to: I recognized quickly how I healed and learned through reading books about grief and hearing stories of how others have mourned. But reading about grief is exhausting: not only do you begin to wear and experience the grief of the author, you also are forced to revisit the grief that you carry. And so reading about grief...more
Apr 22, 2009 Kristin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kristin by: Encouragement Letter
Shelves: christian-living
This is a great soul care book.

Although his tragic story is about losing his wife, child and mother in a car accident and being left to raise three children alone, his focus is not on his story but on "What meaning can be gained from suffering, and how can we grow through suffering?" The things he learned can be applied to more than just loss due to death of a loved one. I found him to be very insightful and applicable.

Here are some quotes that have stood out to me:

"Die before you die. There i...more
Having lost our son Jason this past fall in a tragic and puzzling auto accident, we have been overwhelmed with love and concern for our family. We've had close friends and family support us and want to be closer, we've had neighbors who we don't even know bring over food and condolences, my faith and understanding of God's plan for us here on Earth has been strengthened. I still miss Jason tremendously and I always will, but the book "A Grace Disguised" has been an amazing book which has given m...more
I FINALLY finished this book. It took me a year and a half to finish it. It wasn't a long read, but it is emotionally draining. I would recommend this book to anyone who has suffered loss. Loss of job, spouse, marriage, health, children, etc. One of the great aspects of this book is that Sittser doesn't quantify loss on a great scale of suffering, so this book can be universally helpful to all.
Jerry Sittser was a professor at my college and I had the opportunity to take a few classes from him. I...more
Feb 24, 2014 Heiderworld is currently reading it
My 14 year old nephew committed suicide recently. Working through the grief and pain is like walking in quicksand. Watching family on this journey is excruciating. Hoping this book will will give some insight into dealing and living with grief.

An expanded edition of this classic book on grief and loss---with a new preface and epilogue. Loss came suddenly for Jerry Sittser. In an instant, a tragic car accident claimed three generations of his family: his mother, his wife, and his young daughter....more
This is a well-written, important book in the area of grief and loss ... Sittser has reflected on accommodating to experiences we will all (if we haven't already) face. I hope to use this as a the subject of a Lenten Study at some point. It will be interesting to hear the thoughts of our book club members when we come to discuss it.
Anna Packard
Great book. I highlighted a lot of the pages and quotes and passages I want to reflect on and re-visit time and time again. Best grief book I've picked up yet.
Robin Quinn
A great book for anyone who has suffered a loss.
Paul Dubuc
Gerald Sittser's book is among the best I have ever read for those who are struggling with a great loss in life. He speaks from terrible experience. He lost his wife, mother and a daughter in a single automobile accident. From is own experience of the pain and suffering that follows he draws out a meaningful perspective applicable to the universal experience of human suffering. Without diminishing the pain and evil that suffering inflicts and represents, Sittser helps us make sense of suffering...more
This was a book given to me by a friend at exactly the right time as I was going through the grieving process of some gigantic losses in my life. It definitely helped with viewing the losses in a different way and truly taking the steps to get past them. His tone and content is realistic and is firmly and faithfully planted in solid truths. It's not preachy, it does not condescend (none of this, "Well just buck up and think positive" nonsense), and can be beneficial for anyone going through trau...more
Jerry Sittser lost his mother, his wife and one of his children in a traffic accident in which the other driver was drunk and crossed the center line, slamming into the vehicle Sittser was driving. He was left to raise his three surviving children alone.
This book was written three years later. I like that Sittser doesn't pretend that everything is all right now. While writing this, he was still experiencing great pain and grappling with unanswerable questions. He does see, though, that God was a...more
Anna Tennent
If you ever suffer enduring (and seemingly senseless) emotional pain then I'd like to recommend this book to you with my whole heart. As someone who has suffered unimaginable loss and lived through unexpected tragedy Jerry Sitser has blessed us with lucid and clear thinking on grace in suffering. This is one of my 'go to' books, or rather it is before I give it away, which I often do and it is always gratefully received.
A hard but Excellent book about accepting what God puts into your life because you love and trust him, not because it is easy or what you want. He gets the right to tell this - extraordinarily hard losses that he admittedly was still working through during the writing of the book. Recommended by Louise - a very healing book for her.
Kim Degiulio
A very good friend gave me this book while I was dealing with my husband having just left us and this book gave me so much comfort. It showed me that though my loss is different, it is a loss nonetheless and everything I am/was going through was ok. I have already recommended this book to other friends I know could benefit from it.
So far I am impressed with this book. Jerry does a great job exposing himself and being transparent with regards to the loss of his wife, his mother and his daughter in one moment. He chooses to lead the reader through a very healthy way of processing grief biblically with the grace of God.
Jan Sheely
Sittser has written a book about the tragic loss of his wife, mother and young daughter in a car accident. His story written 3 years after the accident recounts his great pain, yet within his pain he finds God's grace. I have read other books on loss and grief in my training as a Stephen Minister, but his book reveals the depth of his reflections through his journey as a single father of three young children and the darkness that threatened to enfold him. As he said, in the darkness he found lig...more
Carolyn Sweet
Jerry Sittser experienced the unimaginable loss in a single accident of his mother, wife, and daughter. This book could be very helpful to anyone who has experienced deep loss and grief but perhaps to be read after some time as passed. I highly recommend it.
2/2013: Last week, I re-read this book before I gave it to a friend who recently lost her sister, and I ended up getting a lot out of it, myself. While the losses I've been through in the past few years haven't been "catastrophic," they still have affected my life. I appreciated the idea that with God's grace, we can choose how we respond to loss, allowing it to help us grow, rather than taking away from us.
9/2007: I liked this book, mostly because the man who wrote it was a Whitworth colleague...more
Kit Swindle
Though I haven't experienced the same type of grief the author had, this book was an amazing read. Loss is a unique event from person to person; the grief I have harbored in my heart was dormant. Through this book, I was able to realize that I was in need of grieving certain parts of my life.

My grandfather passed away shortly after I finished this book; I am purchasing a copy for my grandmother to have. I believe it is important for everyone, regardless of faith, to study this book, not for vali...more
Barbara L. Prats
This writing is a gift to those of us who have experienced tragedy. This dear man shared his journey, and I connected. I have re-read so many portions, and have given too many copies away when the need arose.
Oct 06, 2008 Jonathan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone who has experienced life on earth.
Recommended to Jonathan by: Many people, but my pastor gave it to me when I mentioned I want
Profound and personal. For anyone who has lost their identity, lost love, lost someone close, or had a friend suffer any of these losses--and isn't that part of our common humanity? Sittser's insights are right, prescient, and convicting. I am compelled to share this and have two people in mind; one is a Christ-follower and the other is not. I have to admit it is with a bit of superstition that I read the last few pages and finish this book (I have about 2 pages left) because then I feel I will...more
One of the better treatments of grief I know of (along with "A Grief Observed" and "Lament for a Son")
Catherine White
I read "A Grace Disguised" after the death of my son. The last ten years have been a series of multiple losses, of which this recent, is the second son our family have buried, so the authors experience was very relatable.

Gerald Sittser's personal story touched me deeply, but "A Grace Disguised" is far from a rigorous exploration of the subject of life and death.

For example the chapter on forgiveness failed to argue how the reader can find help or strength from God to forgive.

That feeling you...more
Beth Nordaune young
This was one of my favorite books I read and that helped me after I lost my husband.
Candace Lawrence
This is a powerful book about dealing with grief after the loss of a loved one. The author gives a painfully honest account of how he went from the darkness of overwhelming grief into the recognition of God's grace in this season of his life. I read this years ago when my first husband died suddenly in a motor vehicle accident and I have given this to friend's over the years as they faced the death of a loved one or even the loss of a marriage. I recently reread it prior to giving it to a woman...more
May 16, 2013 Laura added it
This is a very wise book. Sittser deals thoughtfully and warmly with the various aspects of grief he explores. Most interestingly, he explains how the vast feeling of sorrow he felt upon loss expanded his soul's capacity for all feeling, because he faced it rather than shrinking from it. Not having experienced the death of someone very close to me, I didn't personally empathize with his process and experience of grief; but I appreciate the gift of understanding the process better from a distance...more
Melissa Jill
SUCH a good book for people who are dealing with loss. Which is all of us at one point or another, right?

The author is someone you WANT to listen to if you're suffering, because he's writing from a place of very deep, personal loss having lost his wife, daughter and mother when their car was hit by a drunk driver.

I thought of various friends as well as myself during different points while reading this book. It was very well-written and poignant. I would recommend it to anyone dealing with loss...more
John Yarbrough
In the midst of death or divorce, God meets us tenderly. But, it is a loss and its painful and it requires adjusting. I found this book to be very helpful. I need to go back and re-read the highlights...that good.
Shanti Mathew
This is the most profound, honest, raw, and hopeful book I've ever read on loss and grief (and I have read it over and over). Gary Sittser puts word to emotions that I didn't know how to talk about. This man has chosen to share his story with us-- it's a precious gift.
Sally Wessely
I've read many books on grief in the past seven months. This one is one that every person who questions the unexpected, unexplained loss of a loved one must read. I especially recommend this for reading if someone has experienced tragedy associated with the unexpected loss. I found the book to be comforting, honest, helpful and reassuring. I understood in ways I wish I never had to know why the tragic loss of a loved one does in so many ways turn out to be a grace disguised.
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“Gifts of grace come to all of us. But we must be ready to see and willing to receive these gifts. It will require a kind of sacrifice, the sacrifice of believing that, however painful our losses, life can still be good — good in a different way then before, but nevertheless good. I will never recover from my loss and I will never got over missing the ones I lost. But I still cherish life. . . . I will always want the ones I lost back again. I long for them with all my soul. But I still celebrate the life I have found because they are gone. I have lost, but I have also gained. I lost the world I loved, but I gained a deeper awareness of grace. That grace has enabled me to clarify my purpose in life and rediscover the wonder of the present moment.” 43 likes
“I see now that my faith was becoming an ally rather than an enemy because I could vent anger freely, even toward God, without fearing retribution.” 6 likes
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