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Publisher: Mai Tai’s Book Shack (2016)
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Imagine a crisp autumn afternoon, taking a walk with a favorite companion on a country lane. You share stories about life’s ups and downs; you both laugh and cry. When you get to your destination, you give each other a goodbye hug and part separate ways with a smile, feeling a sense of strength in your friendship.

Meandering through the pages of Gretchen Walker’s, The Silver Lining Encounters with Angels, is like a walk down this country lane, leaving us with warmth and hope.

Admittedly, Walker’s book is a tough read – a story rife with abuse, her parent’s divorce at a young age, a suicide attempt, battling Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other health concerns, and a near-death experience. It’s a lot to handle, for both the author and reader, but Walker makes the story accessible and down to earth with her conversational tone. Flipping through the pages is like a fireside chat.

In one early and instrumental memory, Walker recalls how she was introduced to God. In 1989, her friend Christi said, “speaking to Jesus was just like talking to your best friend.” Accepting Christi’s advice, Walker became convinced that certain people in her life were placed there by God as “silver linings.” “God provides the crutches,” Walker says in her memoir.

And so it went in Walker’s life, assigning silver linings to people who helped during dark days, including her loving husband Chip. The memoir is engaging and heartfelt, a recommended read for anyone wishing optimism and hope amid adversity.

Not only do we learn that Walker survived incredibly tough times, but also she thrived, earning a college degree, having children, and living a full life, later without vision due to MS.

A theme of revelation is what led her to write and share her story. She says: “By allowing myself to become fully exposed, I’m confident that not only will I continue on my journey of healing, but that it will offer hope, peace, and perhaps even direction to others. That makes sharing my story fully worth [it].” Today, she maintains a website displaying her art and ways she helps others through a life coaching business.

While Walker’s book takes us on an emotional rollercoaster, even to the edge of despair, she holds our hand with thoughtfulness and humor. She avoids lecturing and being preachy by staying in her own story, ultimately showing how her deep faith has healed her during life’s challenges.