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The Most Beautiful Thing I've Seen: Opening Your Eyes to Wonder

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,605 ratings  ·  214 reviews
Lisa Gungor thought she knew her own story: small-town girl meets boy in college and they blissfully walk down the aisle into happily ever after. Their Christian faith was their lens and foundation for everything—their marriage, their music, their dreams for the future. But as their dreams began to come true, she began to wonder if her religion was really representative of ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Zondervan
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,605 ratings  ·  214 reviews

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Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Have a box of tissues ready—I cried on almost every page. The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen will pry open the most cynical heart. Lisa Gungor is honest in a way most of us are too afraid to be, and the result is a book that balms the wounds people carry if they’ve ever found themselves in the outside: outside of a church, outside of a friend group, outside of a family. It’s marvelous.
Taylor Cole
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Fluffy writing. Confusing chronology. Not well-crafted.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I will admit at the start I was a bit taken back by the artistic and even seemingly “out there” style of writing/storytelling, but once I got into it and saw how the book was constructed, I realized that it is actually an artistic masterpiece. I’m a pretty straightforward, direct kind of person, so for me to say that, it takes a lot.

I’ve been fascinated with the Gungors and their journey, particularly in regard to the unraveling of
(3.5) You’re most likely to pick this up if you know the band Gungor and enjoy their music, but I don’t think you have to be a fan to enjoy it. It is by no means a band tell-all full of road trips and touring shenanigans. In fact, the band hardly comes into it, and there are only a couple of moments in which Lisa pulls the curtain back on her songwriting process (I might have liked a few more). The big theme of this memoir is moving beyond the strictures of religion to find an all-encompassing s ...more
Crae Achacoso
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been having a hard time focusing on any reading material I have; I am currently in the middle of reading more than five books. None has captured me and made me commit to reading fully and eagerly until this one.

This book walks alongside my cynicism and holds its hand.

Do you know the disillusioning comfort of when your skin ends up touching the skin of someone you connect with? That's exactly what this book feels like.
Ash Parsons
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I hesitated to write a review for awhile because I respect and admire Lisa Gungor deeply. I also think, as a reader and writer, there is a difference between living a good story and writing one, so I write this for my fellow writers and readers who felt like they kept stubbing their toes on the words like I did.

I wanted to love this book so much, because I have such affection for Lisa. She's one of those kinds of people I'd love to have dinner with, and suspect she is one remarkable human being
Holly Smith
Aug 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not my cup of tea... Felt completely ungrounded, and scattered and reaching, but not finding. I didn't find the beauty others saw. ...more
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, netgalleyarc
I first learned of Lisa and Michael Gungor through a hit song of theirs (it was Beautiful Things sung during a Lenten service). The song gripped me, so I bought it and became a passholder to their One Wild Life project; I don't want to brag, but while I downloaded the first installment, I only realized now that I never followed up on the other downloads, only because they were bogged down in the mess that can be my inbox of unread messages. Lucky for me that I subscribe to music services that wi ...more
Mayzie Mayfield
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I can't put down. Lisa has written this book like she writes songs- lyrically, intimately, drawing you into each page. This book has pulled me in and not let me go, and I'm recommending it to everyone. Written almost as a letter to a mother, I deeply connect with the ebb and flow as Lisa describes her relationship with her own mom. As a person of faith, my Spirit, mind, and heart have been refreshed and reminded that the questioning is okay, that, to paraphrase Lisa, "if something ...more
Heather Bottoms
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book hit so close to home for me. Lisa Gungor’s experiences with church, sorting through messy doubts about her faith, her worries and fears about parenting, facing her own ugly personal failings. So much of this resonated with my own spiritual upheaval of recent years. And while this book recounts a lot of struggle, there is so much beauty to be found in the midst of it, which in the end, is the whole point. The prose is just stunningly beautiful. Gungor has a way of giving voice to the mo ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
"Suffering is what happens when we want what is in front of us to be different from what it is."
This is the story and faith journey of Lisa and Michael Gungor, popular Christian recording artists. And their struggles with the birth of their daughter Lucie, born with Down Syndrome. They married at a young age and set out into life, expecting one story and find themselves in another,

In many ways we can all relate to this story. I know when I set out on my own journey I expected a different story
David Libby
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been on a ride for the past few days. I have eagerly awaited the release of Lisa Gungor's new book for a few months now. Her blog post a few years ago about the birth of her daughter Lucie absolutely slayed me. It was thoughtful, reflective, and did not hide from the extreme emotions that she was feeling. As someone who spends his living walking people through the difficult parts of their lives, I wanted to know what Lisa had learned, and what she'd experienced since that blog post.

What I g
AJ Waters
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lisa keeps with the deep transparency and honesty that has made the work of "Gungor" so powerful for all these years. Digging into some of the hardest and best parts of her life to bring it all to light so she can learn and grow and help us to learn and grow right along with her.

This book reminded me how important it is to be me. How to radically accept my whole self just as I am am and to do that for others. It reminded me that strong relationships are based on on bringing that whole self to s
Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland
Lisa Gungor thought she knew her own story: small-town girl meets boy in college and they live happily ever after. Then her husband told her he no longer believed in God, a friend died, relationships and career unraveled. She lost a worldview and gave birth to a girl with two heart defects . . . leading Lisa to depression and despair. There, her perspective on everything changed. The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen is Lisa’s memoir on how doubt can spark deeper faith and how the hardest experienc ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
I have been a devoted Gungor fan for a very long time--I love their music and always will. I know the band has met with a lot of controversy over the years, and I wanted to read Lisa's account of their journey. I also wanted to meet her through her book, to meet the woman behind the incredible singing voice.

Hear me out, I know it's memoir, but I couldn't shake the feeling that the book is overtly self-centric, with Lisa glorifying her hard-won ability to "open her eyes to wonder" while the major
Andrew Sabonis-Chafee
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen is the most beautiful thing I’ve read. Lisa Gungor pours out her heart onto the page and I felt privileged to be offered a glimpse. She uses her own beautiful story to unpack the truths she’s learned along her painful, joyful, scary, song-filled, inspiring life. She reminds us that scary things can become your favorite things, that there is often the most beauty in the most painful, how beauty and wonder are everywhere.
You will laugh. You will feel utter joy. Y
Jennie Webb
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I personally did not really care for this book. I am a follower of Jesus, and as such, a Christian. Lisa grew up in a fundamentalist church and from what I can tell, is basically saying that Christians (those who believe the Bible) are all narrow minded, uncaring people. I don't see how anyone who is truly following Jesus could be that kind of a person. Jesus/God is LOVE. And no, I am not perfect, but I keep on learning and growing in Him.
She now prays to the Divine Mother because she could not
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
As someone who grew up an atheist and then found Papa G and then was unsure and then became a pastor but then was unsure again but was suspicious of the Church the whole time because... patriarchy, this book RULED. An easy read, simple and actually profound. Lisa Gungor bares her soul and I cried like a baby for most of it. I read it in two days and I was a total weirdo and sent her a message on instagram telling her how much this book meant to me. Ugh, be cool, Nora! Super duper recommend. The ...more
Jocelyn Taylor
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To say this book was beautiful is an understatement. I am undone. I have been a fan of Lisa Gungor and her husband, Michael, for quite some time. I have followed their story through their music and through Michael's podcast, The Liturgists. Hearing the story through Lisa's eyes, as well as her observations about life, the world, and the Divine, is nothing short of a holy experience. She tells her story in the same way she writes her song lyrics- beautifully poetic.

I listened to the audio book.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
What would it be like to lead a Grammy-winning Christian band and slowly lose your faith? And what would happen if - in the middle of that transition - you unexpectedly gave birth to a child with Down Syndrome?

The Most Beautiful Thing I've Seen is a spiritual memoir written by Lisa Gungor, who - along with her husband, Michael - lead the band Gungor. Their breakout single "Beautiful Things" is still sung in churches across the country. In an era of (let's be honest) terrible and repetitive Chris
Matt LeFevers
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I knew my emotions were going to be in trouble pretty much right away.

This book starts with almost a nested set of framing narratives - one a letter of sorts written to Lisa Gungor's mom, an attempt to bridge the increasing gulf between their worldviews, and one a hospital story about the birth of Lisa's second daughter, which the reader is dropped into in medias res but gets more details about as the book unfolds. As both a fairly new dad and a leader in a progressive church (with all the hosti
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
The Most Beautiful Thing I've Seen is a memoir by Lisa Gungor of Grammy-nominated Gungor fame. The memoir details her life from a small town-upbringing, to marriage, to church-planting, to the birth of her first, then second daughter born with Down syndrome and serious heart complications and her corresponding journey of doubt, loss of, and rebirth of faith. Lisa Gungor tells her story with simple power and astonishing wisdom with her love for the Divine and compassion for the world illuminating ...more
Cristi Jernigan
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lisa is such a captivating story teller. She had me hooked from the very first page. In The Most Beautiful Thing I've Seen, she tells several of the stories who have made her into the woman she is today. Stories of giving birth to a daughter who has Down's Syndrome, struggles of family relationships, shifting faith and her relationship with herself. Reading this book has inspired me to begin to take a fresh look at how I viewed my own story and my own relationship with myself. Meeting Lisa in pe ...more
Mayda O'Brien
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely beautiful! Makes you think, makes you thankful, makes you want to be present.

Lisa lets you in on her journey of life, from the start as a young girl to having her own children. She talks about moments in life where what she once knew was challenged in the most authentic way. The tagline of this book is "open your eyes to wonder" and it does exactly that. It takes you on a journey that feels familiar. This book is for anyone really, but if you are someone who has ever que
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook (less than 6 hours).
I appreciate the honesty here. I thought it was also well read by Lisa where you got a sense of the emotion or silliness etc. in the stories.
I admired the theme in the book: of the dot, line, circle / perspectives. (I thought we might get some nerd talk about Flatland).
I liked her reflections on how we value (or struggle to value) people. I think it is very easy for us to "assign value" based on things like intelligence or looks or money, and st
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw a video of her talking about her life and the book on buzzfeed, which led me to the book. I had never heard of her before.

It was interesting to read the story of someone with a very different background and make up of identity to me. It was interesting to read the story of her on-going growing up including her spiritual on-going process, which seems to be moving into Vedanta.

She comes from a devout Christian family, and married a fellow devout Christian, the son of a pastor. It was an inte
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
“‘She’ is not shame. ‘She’ is beautiful woman with beautiful body, capable of cosmic realities.”

Lisa’s book did not disappoint. From her honest storytelling to beautifully crafted words - reading this book felt like peering into Lisa’s heart, process, and journey. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, broken into only two sessions because her journey pulled me along. Reading this book felt like sitting down with Lisa over a warm cup of coffee, hearing her doubts and her faith and her life, all covered
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I remember when the Gungors were attacked by all kinds of religious people for their beliefs. As a long-time fan, I remember thinking "I wonder what really happened?" I continued to follow the Gungor's story and I am so thankful to have been able to read this book from Lisa herself. This is a thought-provoking, deep read that is also a fast-read. I wanted to read more and more! This is great for people who feel "on the fringes" or misunderstood in this polarized world. Thanks for writing, Lisa! ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was water to my soul. I lost count of how many times I circled a paragraph or underlined a passage and scribbled "it me" in the margin. Lisa has put into words so many of the struggles related to faith and doubt and growth that I haven't been able to find language for. Her journey is beautiful and her words are life-giving. She also references Harry Potter AND Star Wars so, I mean, win-win. ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The Most Beautiful Thing reminded me that the most thing we need to be comfortable with is who God created to be, which is in His image and likeness. I need to be accepting of my flaws and be reminded that His love is powerful. When I am my authentic self, I can be real and be my whole and complete self through Christ. I enjoyed this book, and think it is worth a read.
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Lisa Gungor has been scribbling down songs since she was seven years old. A maker at heart, Lisa studied art in college, and in 2005 she began recording and traveling with the band that eventually turned into the two-time Grammy-nominated musical collective with her husband known as Gungor. Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her husband Michael and their two beautiful girls, Amelie and Lucie. She writ ...more

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