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Bittersweet
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way | Shauna Niequist
106 posts | 19 read | 13 to read
The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. Its the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy. This is what Ive come to believe about change: its good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that its incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of Gods hand, which is where you wanted to be all long, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be. Ive learned the hard way that change is one of Gods greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who weve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. Ive learned that its not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of Gods graciousness, not lifes cruelty. Niequist, a keen observer of life with a lyrical voice, writes with the characteristic warmth and honesty of a dear friend: always engaging, sometimes challenging, but always with a kind heart. You will find Bittersweet savory reading, indeed. This is the work Im doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you, and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you, and grow.
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blurb
Chelseabillups30
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A message that will always be true on this day and every other day of the year. 💜 #valentinesdayvibes

Madds 💖💖💖 9mo
CouronneDhiver Yes! Very true 👍🏽❤️ 9mo
62 likes2 comments
review
LazyLimaLife
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Pickpick

This is one of Niequist‘s earlier books. She wrote it after a season of bad things. Her humor is much more apparent in this book, rather than her others, I think. Her snarky sarcasm would make a brief appearance and I would laugh out loud. But in the end, she embraces the love and support of her friends and she grows in grace and understanding.

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LazyLimaLife
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I moved across the country and vastly underestimated what my life would be like without my home team. 😔

Nute Hopefully you are building a secondary home team. It might take some time, but it will happen. Enjoy making new friends and remember you have the support of your Litsy community. 1y
LazyLimaLife 😊 Thanks @Nute! I‘m getting there, but it‘s been rough! 1y
7 likes2 comments
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Cinfhen
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From what I‘m told this is a spiritual book, written by a Christian woman, but I believe her message is applicable to everyone..including this Jewish Mom, wife, sister, daughter😊

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow”.

#QuotayNov17 #Bittersweet

[DELETED] 3803335244 I totally agree with these words 🍓 2y
TrishB A good philosophy ❤ 2y
Cathythoughts Thankyou. I needed to hear this today 🙏🙏🙏 2y
See All 7 Comments
Cinfhen Glad it came at the right time~ sending you virtual {{hugs}} @Cathythoughts 🤗🤗🤗 2y
Cinfhen I agree @TrishB @ForeverNerdy but it takes a special person to follow these words!!! 2y
eanderson Love this! 💕 It‘s easy to forget when times get tough. (edited) 2y
emilyhaldi Always nice to be reminded ☺️ 2y
113 likes2 stack adds7 comments
blurb
sarahgreatlove
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1. Winter: Marissa Meyer.
2. The raven boys: Maggie Stiefvater
3. The blue castle: L.M. Montgomery
4. Bittersweet: Shauna Niequist
5. The lord of the rings: Tolkien
6. Look into my eyes, Ruby Redfort #1: Lauren Child

#playingfavorites

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LauraBeth
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Started this one today 🌸🌷🌻🍃

BooksForEmpathy Um this is an amazing photo. 3y
LauraBeth @BooksForEmpathy it's in Texas 😀 3y
azulaco I recognized the Texas wildflowers right away 😀 DC cherry blossoms are beautiful, but I sure miss the bluebonnets. 3y
CarolynM Just look at those colours! 3y
Cinfhen Gorgeous quote and so true! 3y
153 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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briski
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My nightstand and current reads! #aprilbookshowers

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briski
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Today for #marchintoreading. I've stretched out this #nonfiction read for a few weeks now, but I love reading it as a palate cleanser of sorts in between novels.

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Duffer
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"...it's not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What's hard, she said, is figuring out what you're willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about."

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Duffer
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Excited about FINALLY having time to sit down and read this book!

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MissKatie
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❤️

Duffer Just started this book the other day! 3y
DrewRomero Love this quote! 3y
37 likes1 stack add2 comments
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MissKatie
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"But there's something worse than the things people say. It's much worse, I think, when people say nothing."

LauraBeth So very true 3y
27 likes1 comment
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MissKatie
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Me neither, Shauna Niequist. 👌🏼

#biblioweekend

37 likes1 stack add
review
webhau1
Pickpick

I listened to this as an audiobook. I thought it was very good in this format, but I also thought it would be good to own as a hard copy to underline somethings to remember. The author does a great job of sharing her faith and the importance of relationships. When life is good be thankful and celebrate, when life is hard be thankful and grow. I will definitely read more by her and have passed on recommendations to others

review
intothehallofbooks
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Pickpick

Short essays on how life can be good but also painful, fun but also not fun at all. Bittersweet. Shauna shares how her life changed + threw her for a loop, bringing sadness + discomfort but also moments of great joy.

I've read & listened 3x in a 2-year period of huge transition: a giant move, a sick parent. I FEEL the words of this author. They comfort my soul. Every time I reread this, I feel a kindred spirit.

Audio narrated by the author ✔️✔️

LauraBeth I can't wait to read her new book! 3y
Peddler410 Her dad is senior pastor at my church. 3y
intothehallofbooks @Peddler410 She talks about her father being a pastor and about going to his church in her books!! THAT IS SO COOL. 😀😀 3y
37 likes4 stack adds4 comments
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Chelseabillups30

"The most bittersweet season of my life so far is still life, still beautiful, still sparkling with celebration. There is no one or the other, as desperately as I want that to be true. This season wasn‘t bittersweet, life itself is bittersweet. There‘s always life and death, always beauty and blood."

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Chelseabillups30

"We are children of a God who wants to tech us, shape us, and challenge us. But he‘s also the comforter, the wound-healer, the burden-carrier. And there are moments, when more than anything else, more than perspective and the promise of maturity and seasoning through pain, what we need is comfort."

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Chelseabillups30

"I knew that meaning was there, of course, but when I began, searching for it sometimes felt like trying to find a contact lens in a pool. Possible, but just barely."

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Chelseabillups30

"If you have been transformed by the grace of God, then you have within you all you need to write your manifesto, your poem, your song, your battle cry, and your love letter to a beautiful and broken world. Your story must be told."

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Chelseabillups30

"If we choose silence, if we allow the gospel to be told only Sundays, in sanctuaries, only by approved and educated professionals, that life-changing story will lose it‘s ability change lives."

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Chelseabillups30

"They cannot tell my story. Only I can tell my story. And only you can tell your story."

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Chelseabillups30

"Tell the stories of love, redemption, and forgiveness every time you experience them. Tell the stories of reconciliation, surprise, and new life everywhere you find them."

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Chelseabillups30

"The biggest, most beautiful story in the world deserves better than to be told by the same voices over and over again. I think it‘s time for each of us to do what we can to speak the extraordinary story of God into life in our own ways, whoever we are—not defined by degree, gender, race or format."

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Chelseabillups30

"There are two myths we tend to believe about our stories: the first is that they‘re about us; the second is that because they‘re about us, they don‘t matter. But they‘re not only about us, and they matter more than ever right now. When we, any of us who have been transformed by Christ, tell our own stories, we‘re telling the story of who God is."

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Chelseabillups30

"We‘re all trying to immerge new from the pain, beautiful after brokenness, to live, in fact that central image of Christianity: life after death."

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Chelseabillups30

"When we pay attention, when we grow, we become freer, more flexible, more faithful, more able to ask for help. We become less fearful, more able, and more comfortable with the idea of life as a beautiful mess."

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Chelseabillups30

"Sometimes in the moments of the most searing pain, we think we don‘t have a choice. But we do. It‘s in those moments that we make the most important choice: grow or give up. It‘s easy to want to give up under the weight of what we‘re carrying. It seems sometimes like the only possible choice. But there‘s always, always, always, another choice, and transformation is waiting for us just beyond that choice."

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Chelseabillups30

"The question is not, will my life be easy or will my heart break? But rather, when my heart breaks, will I choose to grow?"

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Chelseabillups30

"In the same way the tears are a gift and a sign of health, what I‘m coming to learn is that pain is, among other things, an opportunity to learn something about our bodies, a chance to listen to them and learn what they have to teach us. Pain is an opportunity to be comforted, something I often resist, greatly preferring immediate solutions or independence."

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Chelseabillups30

"It‘s human to struggle. It‘s human to nurse a broken heart, to wonder if the pain will ever let up, to howl through your tears every once in a while. And the best, most redeeming, exciting thing I can imagine, from the smashed-up, broken place I‘ve been, is that something beautiful could blossom out of the wreckage. That‘s the goal."

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Chelseabillups30

"Prayer is at the heart of transformation. God‘s will has a lot more to do with inviting us to become more than we previously have been than about getting us to one very specific destination. God‘s will, should we chose to engage in it, will generally feel like surgery, rooting out all the darkness and fear we‘ve come to live with."

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Chelseabillups30

"All you can ask for, in those seasons, are for sweet moments of reprieve in the company of people you love. You‘ll feel protected from it all by the goodness of friendship and life around the table, and for a few hours, that‘s the best thing I can imagine."

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Chelseabillups30

"The middle is the fog, the exhaustion, the loneliness, the daily battle against despair and the nagging fear that tomorrow will be just like today, only you‘ll be wearier and less able to defend yourself against it. The middle is the lonely place, when you can‘t find words to say how deeply empty you feel, when you try to connect but you feel like thick glass is separating you from the rest of the world, isolating and deadening everything."

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Chelseabillups30

"The end is beautiful. You are wiser, better, deeper. You know things you didn‘t previously know. You‘ve shed things you previously clung to. The end is revelation, resolution, a soft place to land."

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Chelseabillups30

"You can guess all you want, but you don‘t know. All you can do is keep walking."

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Chelseabillups30

"When you‘re in the middle, pretty much all you can ask for are little bits of flame to the light the darkness that feels interminable."

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Chelseabillups30

"This season will end, and something entirely new will follow it."

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Chelseabillups30

"Anything can happen in a year. Broken down, shattered things can be repaired in a year. Hope can grow in a year, after a few seasons of lying dormant."

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Chelseabillups30

"Anything can happen in a year. Broken down, shattered things can be repaired in a year. Hope can grow in a year, after a few seasons of lying dormant."

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Chelseabillups30

"That‘s how it is when you give yourself to something. It takes time, love and stirring, but at the end no one will mistake it for quick sauce."

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Chelseabillups30

"Great friendship does a lot of things in our lives, but one of the best things it does is tell the truth about ourselves when we need it most."

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Chelseabillups30

"The more I look, the more I find. I see the moments of heartbreak that led to honesty about myself I wouldn‘t have been able to get any other way."

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Chelseabillups30

"I believe in a very deep way that our past is what brings us to our future. When I pray for someone, I thank God for everyday of their life, for every moment, for every heartbreak, and each moment of happiness that has brought them to be this person at this time. I believe in mining through the darkest seasons of our lives and choosing to believe that we‘ll find something important every time."

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Chelseabillups30

"Get up. Create like you‘re training for a marathon, methodically, day by day. Learn your tricks, find a friend, and leave the dirty dishes in the sink for a while. This is your chance to become what you believe deep in your secret heart you might be. You are an artist, a guide, a prophet. You are a storyteller, a visionary, a Pied Piper himself. Do the work, learn the skills, and make art, because of what the act of creation will create in you."

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Chelseabillups30

"We create because we were made to create, having been made in the image of God, whose first role was Creator. He was and is a million different things, but in the beginning he was a creator. That means something for us, I think. We were made to be the things that He is: forgivers, redeemers, second-chance givers, truth-tellers, and hope-bringers. We were certainly, absolutely, made to be creators."

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Chelseabillups30

"It‘s so easy, when our own world seems a little dark and fragmented, to become increasingly self-focused, only able to see the frustration and pain of your own life."

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Chelseabillups30

"Turn off the news and continue to write our own stories and lullabies."

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Chelseabillups30

"That‘s the core of prayer: admitting that just maybe, there‘s something going on that we can‘t see. So, when I‘m afraid, I pray, asking for God‘s help, that I will be able to see something that I wasn‘t able to see before, or at least trust him to do the seeing."

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Chelseabillups30

I ask for help about things I don‘t understand.I ask for peace, grace, & the ability to see outside myself. I pray for the people who are at the mercy of these scary headlines: autoworkers by the thousands who are losing jobs,children whose parents are unable to provide for them.I pray for the people who can solve these problems: politicians both federal & local, pastors, & philanthropists.I pray for a way through.A light at the end of the tunnel.

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Chelseabillups30

"On the days when, after watching the news or opening a letter from the bank, I‘m tempted to lie down on the ground and let the anxiety I feel about our world flatten me like a steam roller, instead I do these things: I pray. I speak to God, sometimes out loud, often in the car, frequently in the shower."