On My Bookshelf: Ragged Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

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During different points of my life, I’ve looked to other people to make or break my happiness.  It took a long time for me to realize that I can’t change the way people act, but I can determine how–or if–I will react.  The fallout of other people’s choices is inevitable sometimes but it doesn’t have to be a trap for me.  Who hasn’t had to pick up the slack when someone else dropped their end of the bargain?   In her book Ragged Hope, Cynthia Ruchti uses some very common scenarios to illustrate the way other people’s choices can affect each of us.  When I received this book to review, I could immediately relate to several of the situations mentioned.   For example, the first chapter tells the tale of an older couple who have become the unexpecting parents of their grandchildren.  Did Ruchti know my mother-in-law or something, because this situation is frighteningly similar to hers.  Another story we’ve heard is the child who grew up with a verbally abusive father.  I’ve taught over a thousand students in my career and many of them don’t know how to respond to a kind voice because they so rarely hear one.    There’s the scenario where a friend can’t attend the weekly church luncheon because times are tough and she can’t contribute to the potluck.  How should her friends help her without causing her unnecessary shame?    Ragged Hope tells the story of the light at the end of those dark tunnels.

There are several parts of this book that I really liked.  Each chapter is very short, around 10 pages, and easy to read.  Each chapter ends with relevant scripture.  Also, there’s a paragraph that explains how to handle it if you know someone in that situation.  Too often I see the problem but don’t know how to respond.  Ragged Hope gives advice for those daily moments of uncertainty.  Most importantly, Ragged Hope clearly defines the best solution. By turning to God, we can have that hope that all things will be made new.  We can’t change the choices other people make, but we can determine how we survive the fallout.


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  1. Dede, I found myself wanting to underline parts of your review. You’ve given me new food for thought. Thank you so much for taking the time to read Ragged Hope and tell others about the book.

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