From Depths We Rise by Sarah Rodriguez is a story where the author recounts her husband Joel’s battle with cancer, their struggle to conceive, his eventual death, and her attempts at IVF afterward.
Sarah was writing about incredibly emotional experiences but rather than allowing the reader to see her emotion, she told the reader that she was sad, angry, etc. As a reader I did not feel that I was able to experience the emotions with the author.
This book is about a man of faith named Joel and his baby girl Ellis; both of their names mean ‘Jehovah is God’. Joel’s hope was that as a result of every crisis, others would come to believe in Jehovah. It is also about Joel’s wife Sarah, mother to Ellis as well as their son Milo. Sarah and Joel Rodriguez believed that the Lord’s hand was on their family; they never imagined how many and how severe trials could be in their lives. Sarah is a young woman whose life after she married Joel Rodriguez became a roller-coaster ride, from despair to joy, from joy to mourning, from mourning to beauty. She could only have endured through close communion with her Savior and the support of family and close friends. This book may be appreciated by those who are going through severe trials as they may find encouragement. It can also be appreciated by those whose loved ones are going through trials as they may find a way to encourage them. The Lord showed Sarah how to see beauty each time she rose through the ashes of intense pain which speaks volumes for her choice of tenacious faith.
Sarah met the love of her life, Joel Rodriguez, in NYC in 2004, and they were married just over a year later. They were both Christians and had similar hopes as they grew their marriage. This included their desire for children; the natural step they saw toward that goal was to move to Sarah’s home state of Oklahoma. Pregnancy was not something easily obtained by the couple, however, and after various tests, surgery, and medications, they agreed to submit to in vitro fertilization. Before they could begin the IVF process they learned that Joel had cancer, a football-size tumor that engulfed one of his kidneys. Prior to his treatments and surgery, they began IVF procedures so she could have healthy embryos implanted at a better time.
Each step along the way, God was preparing them for the next crisis. They endured what many couldn’t by doing the next right thing, even when their cries were interspersed with screaming, weeping, and asking “why”. The author speaks from her heart with raw vulnerability and authenticity. She doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges in their lives, nor does she seek pity. She has determined to tell their story.
This very well-written story of the Rodriguez family will inspire and encourage readers, although one might keep a box of tissues nearby. I highly recommend ‘From Depths We Rise’ to readers and church libraries. Whatever one is going through, this book will ultimately bring hope in the God who brings us beauty from the ashes of our lives.
I received this book from Barbour Publishing, Inc. and Shiloh Run Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.