“But I kept going, fueled by a mother’s dogged, foundational desire – mistaken though it was – to do the best by her children. Most of all, I wanted them to know that somehow it would all be okay, that God held us all. I wanted to project an attitude of hope and good things to come. They would be okay too, I prayed, if only they believed that.” ~ Lynne Spears
Lynne Spears, mother of Bryan, Jamie Lynn & Britney Spears, is not a parenting expert or saint, nor does she claim to be. Likewise, she’s not an opportunist trying to make a buck from her children’s pain and suffering in the blinding spotlight of fame either. Her intent in writing this book is to document her life for her children, not just as their mother, but as a woman, so that they may come to understand her at a deeper level.
Written in first person, Lynne earnestly conveys one simple fact throughout this book: she is a mother who loves her children dearly. In an ingenuous way Lynne reaches down deep to write about the very essence of what brings a woman to the brink of disaster with a smile on her face. It is with love, courage and faith that keeps every mother moving forward in her most desperate of times. She must go on, for there is no other choice.
Fifteen of the thirty chapters deal with Lynne as a child growing to become a wife while exploring relationships with her friends, family and husband. This is where she steals your heart! I connected with her on many personal levels having been married to an alcoholic myself. Some of the scenes she recants through the reality of addiction provided me with some amazing clarity.
Structurally, the book stays pretty much on course from beginning to end. There are a few random jumps in the timeline in the beginning, leaving it feeling a bit disorganized, but they are easy enough to follow. The other element worth noting is the gradual change in her voice over the course of the book. In the beginning the verse is scattered with Southern colloquialisms and a simple, casual flare. But ever so subtly it takes on a more sophisticated cadence. I believe what we witness is her personal transformation over the course of the book and this affects how she relates the story.
While I don’t necessarily agree with some of the decisions she made, I realize that she wouldn’t agree with all of mine either. However, I walk away from this book with several key points in mind:
- We never truly understand what is happening in someone else’s life.
- God has given us a great example of how he can make beauty out of ashes.
- Strong women come through hardship triumphantly bonded with God’s love, grace and healing power.
As a parent, reading this book reminds us of Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge lest you be judged.” Maybe it was before we had children, or toddlers, or teenagers, when we first uttered the words, “I would never…” or “My kids will never…” And our children taught us well and often to never say never. Yet we still provide our unsolicited opinion on how others fail miserably at whatever they do that is smoldering under the paparazzi’s bright white light.
In Through the Storm, Lynne Spears shows us how horrifying it is to be on the other side of the lens and the importance and strength of family. She reminds us that we all need to grant more grace to each other. She lets us steal a moment behind the curtain to enlighten and help us realize that there is always another side to the story. More often than not it is equally as stirring and insightful.