Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
The Gift of Hard Things
Finding Grace in Unexpected Places
By Mark Yaconelli
"Mark Yaconelli is a masterful storyteller and soul companion who invites us to meet the sacred in the ordinary with laughter and tears. The Gift of Hard Things is a book full of pathos, vulnerability and silence that broke me open, named my longings and called me into tender embrace. It is exactly the kind of earthy, unpretentious and practical spiritual guidance we need."
—Mark Scandrette, founding director, ReImagine, author of Free
"I am undone. Maybe it's because Mark Yaconelli is the best storyteller of his generation, or because these pages are so achingly honest, or because somehow this guy just has my number—but whatever the reason, this book made me 'softer, more open, more human.' The Gift of Hard Things is a book of dazzling grace, a slice of holy ground, as life-giving as water in the desert. Take your shoes off and drink up."
—Kenda Dean, professor of youth, church and culture, Princeton Theological Seminary, author of Almost Christian
"Mark Yaconelli gently and persistently refutes the all-too-common Western myth that comfort and affluence are synonymous with God's blessing. He also dispels the corrupt religious teaching that seeking out suffering makes us more faithful or that 'everything happens for a reason.' Rather, he invites us compassionately but persistently to step into struggle as it comes, open to the beautiful possibility that God will meet us even there. The Gift of Hard Things is an important guide into the valley of shadow, where we can trust that we are not alone and that there is beauty even in the times when we struggle most to realize it."
—Christian Piatt, host, Homebrewed CultureCast, author of PostChristian
"Mark knows how to tell stories and share ideas that pull at the soul. He writes about faith in a way that makes perfect, comforting sense while taking us to often uncomfortable new places. This constantly surprising, intricately constructed book is a gift to anyone who has ever sat and wondered at the profoundly, heartbreakingly, tragically beautiful nature of life and asked: How on earth do I make sense of it all? Mark might not have all the answers, but he makes a fine traveling companion as we wrestle with the biggest questions of all."
—Martin Saunders, contributing editor, Christianity Today, author of The Beautiful Disciplines
"One thing is for sure: there are no cheap and easy answers to why our experiences can be maddeningly painful and deeply disappointing and feel like we are wrestling with darkness. However, Mark Yaconelli's book will help you to feel safe to ask why. Through a powerful use of stories he helps us to see beyond comfortable answers to find that Jesus is on the same road as us, and so we too, like him, can move forward."
—Russ Parker, author of Free to Fail and Healing Wounded History
"To my thinking, Mark Yaconelli is one of this country's most important and articulate spiritual teachers.Anyone seeking knowledge and union with God will be informed, edified, nourished and utterly charmed by The Gift of Hard Things. I savored every story and was nurtured by the expression and depth. It is a book absolutely after my own heart."
—Anne Lamott, author of Traveling Mercies and Small Victories