In order for me to be with a great woman, I was gonna have to learn to be a great man first.
Rory Feek’s book This Life I Live is, simply put, a love story. But it is not only his love story with his wife Joey but also his love story with God. Before reading this book, I didn’t know much about Joey and Rory. I had seen a few episodes of Can You Duet?, and articles had crossed my Facebook page during Joey’s battle with cancer. That was all I knew when I picked up the book. However, knowing the end made each chapter more impacting as the story developed.
The conversational style of the writing made it feel like I was sitting across from Rory, laughing and crying with him. Each chapter can stand alone and is easy to read even though he tackles very difficult topics throughout the book. He doesn’t shy away from discussing his past mistakes and how they have made him the man he is. He bravely embraces topics of raising his older daughters alone, watching his wife battle cancer, and facing raising their daughter alone, as well. He confronts the issues of salvation, tithing, family, sex, repentance, and the list goes on. And he takes responsibility for the choices he made, never laying blame at someone else’s feet. He is gracious to those around him who have made mistakes, and often reminds the reader that we are all doing the best we can with what we have.
I am me because of me. No one else. My decisions brought me here, good or bad.
To look at him today, I never would have guessed at Rory’s childhood and the choices he made in his past. Rory’s story of redemption is powerful! It is a good reminder that, no matter what I’ve done or who I’ve been, I am never so lost that God can’t save me. His experiences with repentance, confession, and forgiveness brought me to tears.
Yes, I have been forgiven greatly. Many times over. And so I must forgive greatly and trust that God has a greater plan in store than the one that I can see.
The characters in Rory’s life made an impact on me, as well. From his difficult relationship with his parents to his lovable Uncle Goombah to the woman who changed his life forever, the people who invested in him helped bring him to where he is today, both personally and professionally.
My wife understood that there are things you cannot put a price on, and there’s a huge difference between time wasted and time spent.
Rory’s descriptions of Joey are loving and tender. He describes her in terms of her grace, dignity, passion, and love. I so wish I had followed their story more closely while she was on this earth! As the tears blurred the words on the final pages, I thought about how Joey felt as a new mother, knowing that her daughter would grow up without her mother and that Rory would have to raise another daughter alone. As I struggled through those emotions, I was reminded of Rory’s words:
We must turn the page and trust that the story He is telling is bigger than that one page or that one chapter.