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Author Ira Wagler, born into an Amish family and community, relates his early life in his first book, Growing Up Amish. In this follow-up, Wagler chronicles “the long hard road” of breaking away from his roots, experiencing the shunning of his family and community, then finding his way back to them, forever altered, yet confident of God’s grace and love for him.

Wagler learned early on that in hard times when he didn’t know what to do, he needed to keep on walking. And that’s what he did—achieving a college diploma and then becoming a lawyer (both firsts in his Amish community), experiencing the failure of his marriage and the betrayal of a friend, admitting his love for whiskey was destroying him, and reaching out to his parents as best he could under the circumstances.

Poignant and raw, Wagler’s memoir lays bare his own frailties and shattering failures and, while maintaining deep respect for his parents and community, shows their failings and faults, too—all of them, including himself, broken in the sight of God and in desperate need of his grace.

Particularly moving is Wagler’s testimony of God’s providential leading: “And looking back over the long and lonely slabs of years that made up my journey to where I am today, I stand amazed at how many times it happened. How many times I despaired because of the hard road that stretched before me as far as the eye could see. How many times I felt lost, how many times I strayed far afield and could not find the way. And then, when it seemed like there was no door to open, here came a stranger or a friend, stepping from the shifting shadows. Here. This is the way. The right road. Walk this path. It has happened over and over. I don’t know why I even get surprised anymore. But I do, because my faith is weak. Still. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Hauntingly sad, yet determinedly hopeful because of the transforming power of the gospel, Broken Roads offers much to ponder no matter the actual or metaphorical roads readers have traveled. (FaithWords)

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