I've not read many memoirs but recently I got the The Artist's Daughter as a part of a blog tour promotion and I thought I'd give it a try. It's also the theme book for the next MOPS year theme so I knew I'd be reading it anyway.
Alexandra Kukenydall is on staff with MOPS International and I've heard her speak on the MOPS curriculum. At the MOPS convention last year I went to a breakout that she did on raising girls. That was all I knew about her before reading the book.
Her story instantly captured my attention as she described the first time she met her father in Barcelona at the age of 8. I thought of my own daughter, now at that same age and how much she loves her daddy and couldn't imagine her not knowing her own father. Through the book she struggles with the absence of her father and how it shaped the woman and mother she became.
One part that stood out to me was when she was a new mom and listening to a speaker at her MOPS group talk about childhood development. The speaker said that girls who don't have a father figure in their life likely go down two paths, promiscuous and seeking love or driven and trying to earn love by perfection. She identified with the latter of the two.
The book was filled with stories that exemplified how God was making her life into a beautiful story of his redemptive love. Even though her earthly father was mostly absent from her life, she grew to know her heavenly father. She deals with baggage along the way and finds that God has healed her wounds and yet used them to mold her.
There were parts where I was brought to tears as she recounted tragedies that happened around her and how she wrestled with God's sovereignty and plan. There were honest accounts about struggles in their marriage even though they both loved God and each other, and she shared her experience with post postpartum depression. She originally had finished the book right before her 4th daughter was born, but then had to go back and add another section as events in the 10 days after her birth brought closure to the story.
I'm already reading a fiction novel and I enjoy how an author weaves a story together. In this book I was able to see how God is writing true stories with our lives. She ascribes the beauty in her life to the Heavenly Artist and desires to be a willing canvas for his work. I enjoyed this book and it's encouraging me to live my life for Him and see my messes as an opportunity for him to make a masterpiece.
(I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. It is available May 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.)