Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them – Reformation21 *(Updated)

The book Broken Pieces has just been released and, when Westminster Seminary Bookstore had a good sale on it online, I purchased it for the seminary library, believing it would be of use for pastors and counselors who deal with various types of mental illness including schizophrenia.

Little did I know the book’s value and power. I did recognize the importance of the subject, and I did note the author – Simonetta Carr, a Reformed wife , mother, and author of several children’s books for the series “Christian Biographies for Young Readers.” But I had no idea of her intense, personal struggle with this mental illness in her son.

And I am thankful for the fine way in which pastor William Boekestein has called attention to her story of grief and grace in this brief review posted on Reformation21 website recently. I quote a portion of it for you here. And for those who can identify with this aspect of our brokenness, you will find help and hope.

Broken Pieces is one of the most courageous books I have ever read. Simonetta told me, “It hurt me to write it because I was reliving every moment.” I couldn’t have written it. I would have been too scared. But I am so glad Simonetta did. And perhaps now I am a little more ready to follow her lead in sharing some of my grief with other receivers.

One of my wife’s grandmothers had schizophrenia. During the last years of her life she broke off communication with us because we told her how much we loved her house; she thought we were trying to take it. We saw her only one time in the months before her death. She told us not to come. But we showed up at her front door, unannounced, with our charming two-year-old extended toward the door; a peace-offering no grandma could resist. She buckled, and let us in one last time. Schizophrenia made grandma unpredictable. The family genuinely feared that she would leave her entire estate to her dog. More seriously, her children grew up in a home with their mother institutionalized for long stretches. I wish Eva’s husband, children, and grandchildren had been able to read Broken Pieces.

I’m glad I have now. It was a painful crash-course in sympathetic, and persistent love; lessons I know I need to learn for trials that I cannot foresee. More than that, it is a portrait of living faith in a Savior whose grace is tailor-made for this broken world.

Broken Pieces is also surprisingly hopeful. Simonetta didn’t gauge the eternal destiny of her schizophrenic son by placing everything she knew about him on two sides of a scale; one side positive, and the other negative. The tangibly negative experiences would have been too heavy. Instead, she saw her son as entirely in Christ; in life and in death, in body and soul, in clarity and confusion. And Jesus was more than enough to rescue a man who was so deeply broken. Our family saw that too. Grandma’s schizophrenia scared us and her. But God also helped us to hope. After I read her Isaiah 53–being Jewish, this is a text from the “Bible” she was raised with–she responded: “That’s talking about Jesus. I believe in him!” We didn’t expect that response. But why not? We possess a shared history of God’s redemption of desperately lost people. We have received God’s record of mending, the backstory we all need as we share each other’s burdens.

Source: Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them – Reformation21

Since this original post, I also received notice of an interview that “Redeemed Reader” did with the author. Find that at this link.