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The Opposite of Certainty: Fear, Faith, and Life in Between by Janine Urbaniak Reid

The Opposite of Certainty: Fear, Faith, and Life in Between

Janine Urbaniak Reid was certain about a few things. She loved her husband and three children. She wanted to provide a healthy and safe home for her family. She was committed to being a good mother, maybe even a perfect mother. “I believed in God. I just didn’t always trust him alone with my kids,” she writes.

All of these ideals came crashing down when their youngest child, Mason, developed a slight tremor in his hand at the age of 8. It eventually led to a brain tumor diagnosis. Everything that Reid thought she could plan for and control was now out of control. Their family would never be that kind of ‘normal’ again.

Reid chronicles the struggles of pouring all her energies into advocating for treatment and care for their child. She unfolds the strain on her marriage, the needs of two older siblings and the necessary support of extended family and the presence of well-meaning, but not always appreciated, friends.  

Well-known author Anne Lamott is a friend of and attends church with Reid and her family. Lamott wrote the foreword and was the one who encouraged Reid to share this story as a memoir. Reid in turn credits Lamott with being the kind of friend to whom she could express her doubts and anger.

Reid’s journey of faith is woven throughout the telling. “I don’t know” becomes a profound spiritual answer. In turn, Reid finds a knowing that is oddly comforting. “Perhaps there is Someone who has all the power, and maybe it’s not me.” 

“I know less about God than I did before,” reflects Reid. “But I believe more.”

Reading Reid’s memoir is a sobering walk with one mother who shares her deepest fears and hopes with humor and grace. (Thomas Nelson)

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