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

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,907 ratings  ·  262 reviews
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. 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
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 30th 2004 by Zondervan (first published 1995)
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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 ·  1,907 ratings  ·  262 reviews

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Nov 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grief
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
Christina Claypool
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Today, is the 35th anniversary of a great loss in my life, so it seems fitting I finished this book today. After all, there's something about the anniversary of loss, that can trigger memories and surprisingly, even intense grief after decades have passed. Truthfully, it has taken me a couple years to read Gerald Sittser's book, "A Grace Disguised." I picked it up two years ago after losing a beloved, young relative. At that time, I was in too much pain myself to read about the grief that ...more
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has been THE MOST helpful book I have ever read in processing the loss of our son. The author gives the most raw and honest account of his pain but also the most hopeful tone and the insights have been mind blowing. I can't imagine how difficult it was for him to write this. My copy is now heavily underlined and I've found myself sharing the content with anyone who will listen. There's no "God had a reason" or "His ways are higher than ours." He talks of hope without diminishing the ...more
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Kathleen Moulton
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Few of us are ready when tragedy strikes. It's almost like we think we're immune to it. But God doesn't think the way we do. He redeems everything. We don't know that until we are faced with something that needs redeeming.

As the title of this book suggests, we really don't know what grace is until we need it. And it, along with all of other God's treasures, are disguised from us ... but revealed at the right time.
Becky Avella
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was one of many rereads of A Grace Disguised as I'm preparing for a speaking event. I will always treasure this book. It is one of my favorite resources for healing after loss. It's been eleven years since I first read it, but this book continues to comfort and grow me.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I love that this book was written during the middle of Sittser's journey, not when he was through it. He even admitted in the introduction that the book was meaningful but not cathartic.

What a great book for those who have experienced a tragic loss, or even—like me—those wanting to understand. I've never experienced anything like this, but this book has helped me grow in compassion, and in understanding how to be a good neighbor to one experiencing such great loss.

I heard in it his honest
Jason Kanz
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Suffering and loss are inevitable, but I don’t know if I understood that when I was younger. My wife’s breast cancer and the trials of adoption have pressed suffering upon me in ways that I have never felt before. Shortly after Heather was diagnosed with cancer, I tried to find books of comfort, writings to help explain what was going on in my life. The Psalms took on a new richness for me, but other books varied.

In the last few years, I haven’t read many books dealing with suffering or loss,
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The accident remains now, as it always has been, a horrible experience that did great damage to us and to so many others. It was and will remain a very bad chapter. But the whole of my life is becoming what appears to be a very good book.

The above quote is the last section of his last paragraph of his book. For anybody who has lost a loved one I highly recommend reading this book.

Later my sister, Diane, told me that the quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: death
My husband was killed 899 days ago. The whole sorted ordeal has been an intensely devastating life altering experience for me. There is never a day where I'm not heavily burdened with grief and I continually fight depression. I have felt completely lost without my soulmate.

I don't know how this book came to me, but I suspect through God and my sweet angels, my son and my husband. I know it was providence at its sweetest, sent here to preform a rescue.

I took well over a year to read this
Kim DeGiulio Goecke
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I almost never finish nonfiction. After a devastating loss, I found myself drawn to any book that deals with grief and layers it with Jesus. Not a “how to” book by any means; it helps you remember you are not alone in your pain and Jesus is with you.
Shanti Mathew
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is THE best book on grief. I've read it quite a few times. It is extremely honest about the struggle that a person of deep faith has when tragedy strikes.
Joanne Heim
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book offering a new perspective on loss. Helpful and wise. Dr. Sittser was one of my professors in college.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for anyone facing significant loss or grief, or accompanying anyone facing these realities. In all actuality, this includes everyone because suffering, loss, and death touches us all. Jerry Stittser helped me acknowledge how my own pain and grief can be a conduit of grace if I stop holding my despair instead of handing it over to God who doesn’t cause suffering but can transform it into love and goodness in mysterious ways. I have a feeling I will be rereading this book throughout my ...more
Joshua Kinney
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that touches your soul and moves you to tears, to your knees, and back to tears. So thankful for Dr. Sittser’s life and voice.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Anne Rowley
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book is subtitled "how the soul grows through loss" but practically nothing is mentioned about that, which was the sole reason I read it. Well written, and achingly sad without enough hope to offset it, I couldn't recommend this one.
Robin Quinn
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great book for anyone who has suffered a loss.
Nov 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for those who have experienced loss. I marked it up like my Bible.
Anna Packard
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Cynthia Egbert
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
I have not experienced anything like Jerry Sittser has experienced but I have carried others through a number of tragedies and I love the insight he offers here. It is so perfect. While no two people grieve the same, there is guidance in the words he offers here. Of course, the fact that he quotes Donne, Frankl, and Hugo and his wife had a thing for Bach drew me right in!

Some quotes:

"Writing this book has turned out to be meaningful but not cathartic. It has not exacerbated the trauma, nor has
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was heavy...
Perhaps it was because I have a very close friend walking through terminal cancer with his dad that makes this book land on me differently, but I did find myself at points in tears over Sittser's raw exploration of his experience of loss and tragedy. I think I was pretty melancholy, and even saddened throughout reading this book - however, not in a desperate or hopeless sort of way - but perhaps more pensively so...

This book is well-written and very reflective - as only a
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you want to see the light do not chase the sun in the west. Head east into the darkness and catch the sunrise. This was in the book A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry L. Sittser. His family was hit by a drunk driver when he was a young married man. His wife, mother and one daughter were killed. He and three children survived. He was left being a single dad raising three children. This was devastating to him and the children. He went into deep depression and despair. ...more
Jeff Bobin
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grief
This is the incredible story of a man that lost his wife, daughter and mother in an accident while he was driving and they were hit by a drunk driver. I can't imagine the pain.

As a pastor I often say that I spend most of my time with people at the best of times and the worst of times. One thing I have learned it that we should never tell someone we know how they feel or what they are going through because each experience is different. As much as I want to feel the pain I am aware most of the
Carolyn Scheidies
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is not an easy book to read, especially if you are already overwhelmed by grief. However, it is a book of truth and redemption and well worth the effort. I could only take it chapter by chapter, one a day. This is not simply the story of how the author survived the loss of his mother, wife and young daughter in one horrible car accident. My daughter sent it to me. I lost my younger brother unexpectedly this year. I know loss and the pain of that loss. This book reached a very deep, hidden ...more
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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.” 78 likes
“The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.” 13 likes
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