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When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances
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When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,631 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Carol and Gene Kent's son is in prison. When I Lay My Isaac Down tells their story and shares the transformational power principles they learned about forgiveness and faith.

Dealing with her anger, grief, and shame, Carol could have given up. Instead she tells a highly personal, heartbreaking, and uplifting story that will bolster your faith.
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 13th 2004 by NavPress
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,631 ratings  ·  186 reviews

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Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book through the eyes of a victim and wife:

(My ex-husband is serving a 40-year prison sentence for committing a heinous crime against one of our children. He has just completed his 6th year.)

Aside from the publicity and popularity in some Christian circles, Jason Kent's trial was fairly typical. His trial (and events leading up to the trial) were like hundreds of others' going on everyday all across the US.

I felt the entire book was essentially summed up in the prologue, which to me
Valerie Roberts
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm not really sure where to rank this book. On one hand, it's really good, but it's also really heartbreaking. It's part memoir, part diary, and part Bible study. This true story is about the author, who is a Christian public speaker, and her family as they deal with the aftermath when her only son, a successful naval officer, goes to jail for murder. I liked that the author never makes excuses for her son. She clearly states that what he did was wrong, yet she still yearns for grace and mercy ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a book! This was incredible! I read it on my Kindle, but I want to get a hard copy to keep. It tells the story of her Carol Kent's personal tragedy, told in parallel with the bible story of Abraham and Isaac. The story is both utterly heartbreaking and uplifting, and what you learn from the story of Abraham and Isaac is amazing.

Again, another very important book, written by a very amazing woman. Highly, highly recommended.
Catherine Noordenbos
Sep 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
I don't understand why so many people love this book. It was agonizingly repetitive in that all the author ever seems to do is weep. OK, I get it, she's experiencing a major traumatic event in her life, fine. But why is every other sentence about how much she's crying? I'm sure I would do my share of crying were I in her shoes, but at some point life must go on. I was expecting a story of grief and loss but I was also expecting to see mainly how she and her family have risen above circumstances ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Devastation after devastation" is how Carol Kent described the tragic event caused by her son Jason. Jason Kent, an outstanding Christian man headed to the Navy Seals, unexpectedly shot and killed his wife's ex-husband. Carol opens her heart through her writing to allow us to see the emotional and spiritual struggles following the murder.

What I originally thought would be a detailed telling of the events and trial actually became a page turner that engrossed me from the beginning. When I Lay My
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
A gifted communicator and speaker, Carol Kent's world crashed down around her when her son shot and killed his wife's ex. An only child, her son had an exemplary military career and an impeccable record. His trial and subsequent life sentence was a nightmare for a mother to live through. But live she did, thanks to her faith, strong marriage, and network of supportive friends. Carol came to see that for her, "normal" living would have to be redefined. She and her husband picked up the pieces of ...more
Cindy Nipper
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have listened to this book several times over the years and every time it touches me in a special way! Carol shares her own testimony of God's mercy in the midst of the terrible news that her one and only child committed first degree murder. Carol also includes testimony of other men and women who have suffered in their lives and how God has healed them!

"Pain is pain is pain!" Carol Kent It doesn't matter what is hurting you, God is the ONLY answer! Their is a purpose in your pain! God is usin
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Books seldom make me weep. This is a notable exception.

Pain is universal. The author has been through a massively traumatic event extending over a couple years and forever changing the course of her life, and helps us understand that our response - turning to God "even in this" gives hope both to us and to humanity watching our lives.

I'm thankful there is hope. Even when we serve a God we don't understand, His call to lay our Isaacs down (whatever they may be) is not for the outcome so much as
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inspirational
This was a very inspirational book for me. It caused me to examine the strength of my own faith and if I would be able to withstand such tragic circumstances as the author experienced. It also gave me a fresh perspective on how to better help others bear their burdens. I want to be a "stretcher-bearer" or even a "band-aid carrier". No matter what your trial may be, I think this book may help to lift you up.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, biography
This book was a huge perspective changer for me. She taught me so much on how to rely on Christ in the midst of such devastating circumstances. I had the opportunity to hear Carol speak at a conference my church hosted in 2018, but decided to wait to read the book until after it had been some time so the information wasn’t all on repeat from the conference. Great reminders to keep on fighting the good fight, not to mention the testimony her, her husband and her son Jason all have through the ent ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book combines the author's personal story of family tragedy with Scripture and encouragement to those who have suffered loss and grief of any type. I appreciated her honesty in the degree of her emotional suffering, and also in the surprising strength that God gave her - the strength to persevere and even to accept a new vision and purpose as God changed the course of their family and their lives. Highly recommended for ANY believer! The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that parts of ...more
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend recommended this book to me because I'm still struggling with some of the issues around the accident that killed my father last summer. While Kent's story is different than mine, the strugle is still the same. Something terrible happened to a loved one and we are caught up in a situation we never thought would happen to us.

The legal system was slow for her and is for us. Kent shares words of wisdom from friends and other sources. She shared her struggles, hopes and disappointments. Thro
Oct 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
How did they cope with knowing their son would spend the rest of his life in jail? This book tells you. First - they had family, and a multitude of friends and acquaintances because of her speakers ministry. We should all be so lucky when life hands us a curve ball. They had faith which was shaky at times, whose wouldn't be. But mostly, I think, they had each other. The book has questions at the end of each chapter which I thought were very good. They make you think, and hopefully realize no mat ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful book. Carol Kent uses the story of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac as the model for the sacrifices we must make in life - both those we choose and those we have no choice but to make. Her message is all the more poignant for being woven through the story of her own Isaac sacrifice: watching her only, beloved son convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, without parole. This book was incredibly encouraging and healing to me as I continue an "I ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me hope and peace beyond measure as I lay down the dreams I had for my son, whom I thought would be perfect in every way, but was instead born with Asperger's syndrome. I learned that there is still beauty, and hope and peace if I will only lay it down at the throne of Christ and trust God. A MUST read!!!!
Jul 14, 2012 added it
Shelves: favorites
Cry through this one every time.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
You can get any number of messages from reading Carol Kent's "When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances. For me, various lessons revealed themselves throughout. Carol's unimaginable circumstances - her son committing murder and the subsequent journey of hope and pain for her family and all those that loved them was, for me, first a reminder that Christians, are not exempt from pain. We are promised everything we need to walk through it but we are not promised to esc ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
You can get any number of messages from reading Carol Kent's "When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances. For me, various lessons revealed themselves throughout. Carol's unimaginable circumstances - her son committing murder and the subsequent journey of hope and pain for her family and all those that loved them was, for me, first a reminder that Christians, are not exempt from pain. We are promised everything we need to walk through it but we are not promised to esc ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the midst of horrifying circumstances, Carol Kent reminds readers to cling to God "even in this." With honesty and openness, she shares her testimony of the good, bad and ugly she experienced in the several years between when her son was arrested for murder to the end of his trial. Each chapter includes testimonies from others and study questions for deeper reflection. I recommend this book to anyone struggling with a trial, big or small. It encouraged me to continue keeping my eyes on Jesus, ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was hard to read a book that was so personal about such a hard topic. The Kent family had a tremendous amount of support, which was heartening,but not common for most struggling believers. I think the issue still boils down to accepting God's sovereignty and His right to "do what He will with His own." While I appreciate Carol's honesty, at times it seems there is too much self-pity in this book. I hope the future holds some joy for this troubled and talented family.
Anna Sprague

When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent is a story that focuses on Carol and Gene Kent’s abiding faith in unimaginable circumstances. Carol Kent’s purpose for writing this story is to inform the reader that even through the most difficult times, jubilance can come from tragedy. This novel is a retelling of Carol Kent and her family’s tragic journey. Carol and Gene’s one and only son, Jason, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a devoted Christian, has been convicted of first degree murder of

Sharon Peterson
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life changing!

I used this book and Carol’s story for a weekly Bible study for male and female from a mixture of young adult to elderly. It impacted us all greatly and helped all of us to see that there is a bigger purpose in our trials of this life. We have a hope because of Jesus! No matter what is happening around us we can still have joy in the midst of the storm.
Jan Swanson
This book will make you re-look at challenges in your life and those around you. The Kents are fortunate to have so many family and friends for support that most people do not have when going through devastating trials. The ministry that has come out of the Kent’s unthinkable circumstances puts into perspective why the Lord allowed this.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Writing-wise I think the author did a phenomenal job but some parts tends to be repetitive and emotionally-charged (well, duh). Good for her I’m a sucker for those kinda stuff. Heh. Might be difficult to read by those who know someone who has been murdered because this book is coming from a mother who hopes her convicted son will one day walk in freedom.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! There is something to be said for the parents of children (adults) incarcerated. Carol has written an excellent book to remind us the God is in control through the good bad and the ugly. Praise God for having people
That can write and encourage others in the same circumstances!
Marianne Pita-Esquer
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. It spoke directly to the heart and I found myself crying out loud in full ugly cry. The subject matter brought to memory the promises of God in my own personal walk with the Lord. I highly recommend this book by Carol Kent.
Sara Kranpitz
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing book. I saw the author speak at a Women of Faith conference and then read her book and i was not disappointed. The heartache of this woman, and her faith, simply stunning. A must read.
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was tough to read in several parts. It told the story of how one family took a tragic event and its circumstances and began a much needed ministry. As a mother and a grandmother, I can totally relate to the story teller.
Deb Stucky
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful story of redemption . When her only son is in prison for life and all your holidays will be spent visiting him in jail . She started a whole new circle of ministry to the families visiting their loved ones in prison too.
MaryJane Hunt
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great book to help anyone let go, and let God. Such an inspiration!
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Carol Kent is hilariously funny, biblically sound, and heartbreakingly transparent in person and in print. Founder and president of Speak Up for Hope (a prison ministry) and Speak Up Speaker Services (a speakers' bureau), Carol is the best-selling author of many books, including When I Lay My Isaac Down, A New Kind of Normal, Becoming a Woman of Influence, Speak Up with Confidence, Secret Longings ...more
“horrifically painful as it is, find meaning in our own Isaac” 0 likes
“identifying something precious to us (our Isaac)
• letting go of our control over the situation, event, or the person as an act of worship
• embracing God's love in the process of the release
• resting in the outcome, even if in this lifetime we are not allowed to understand the reason behind the need for the sacrifice and the pain involved”
More quotes…