Friday, June 19, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God, by Jep and Jessica Robertson

If you're a fan of Duck Dynasty, then you know Jep, the youngest Robertson son, and his wife Jessica. In The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God, Jep and Jessica bare their hearts and souls, showing a depth and complexity in their relationship that may not come through on the popular TV show.  Both of them had struggles of different kinds before--and after--they got together.  By telling their stories, they give encouragement to people who have struggled (and I think that includes all of us!).

Jess and Jep tell their stories separately, alternating between overlapping chapters.  They never met until they were out of high school, but when they did, it was love at first sight.  Jep went home and told his roommate that he had just met his future wife!  They were both in need of stability and healing.  Jessica had recently divorced her husband of less than a year.  Jep was coming out of a brief period of drug abuse and rebellion.  Eventually they found each other and, as they write, "a girl from town met a boy from the woods.  And you know what?  They lived happily ever after."

Like the whole Robertson clan, Jep and Jessica are, unsurprisingly, down to earth and honest.  They have learned to deal honestly with each other and figured out how to move on in their mistakes and weaknesses.  They will admit that while they haven't always dealt with their issues the right way in the moment, they have come around to rely on their commitment to each other, and, most importantly, their shared commitment to God.  "We finally put God at the center of our marriage, and He not only restored our love for each other, but he made that love deeper and stronger than ever."  Good words for any married couple, no matter what stage of life they are in!

One thing to note about The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God.  Don't expect too much.  They do write openly and honestly about their struggles, and they do provide encouragement for couples.  However, you won't find here great wisdom, nor will you find exceptional stories or character.  I don't say that to slight them, but the fact is the only reason their story is worth telling is that they are on a popular TV show.  And that's OK.  It's just a reminder of the power of TV.

I know and have met couples who stories are much more dramatic, compelling, and inspiring, but who are unknown people in the pews or the neighborhood.  Their stories will never get in print.  I'm happy for Jep and Jessica that they are in a position to share inspiration with others, but I am reminded to look around my circles and see the good, the bad, and the grace of God in the lives of others I bump into every day.

Fans of Duck Dynasty will definitely want to read The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God.  If you don't know the family through the show, you will definitely get to know them through the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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