Marriott Cole, an Oregon educator whose tragic life experiences are spelled out in her book’s subtitle, just might be a hero or even a saint.
She has survived more than her share of harrowing events. Her teenaged mother gave birth to her after being raped by three athletes, and put her up for adoption. Her loving husband was killed before he was 50, shot by a troubled neighbor. And one of her adult sons hung himself.
But although Cole has endured such horrific news, the good news of Jesus has helped her experience forgiveness and extend love and grace to those who have hurt her along the way, including her mother. And she tells her inspiring tale with an assured touch that is clear, warm and inviting. “I pray that my stories will in some tangible way help you with your situation and in your walk with the Lord,” she writes in the preface.
Cole tells a powerful story and tells it well. One can see how and why she has clung to biblical promises such as Romans 8:28 (“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”).
But as Cole documents various stages of her life (“My Childhood,” “Growing Out of Christian Science,” “My First Teaching Job,” “My Cholesteotoma,” etc.), she forgets to help readers apply her life lessons to their own problems. Readers learn much about how Cole transcended her trials, but gain little to help them confront their own challenges.
Depending on what readers are looking for, this is either an important issue or a quibble. Those interested in stories of the redemption that comes from perseverance and faith will find poignancy and inspiration in Cole’s simply told memoir. Those hoping for “tangible” help in their own lives, as Cole aimed to provide, may miss the deeper impact the author prayed for.
Also available as an ebook.