Well, it’s Easter Sunday, and it’s the first one I can remember that I haven’t attended church. I chose not to attend for several reasons, but one of them is that I’ve been struggling with my faith. It’s timely, then, that I began reading Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr a couple of days ago. This story is all about a girl, a pastor’s daughter, who is having doubts about her faith and God. I don’t know why I chose to read this book when I did, and I won’t claim that I’ve had some sort of spiritual awakening, but I will say that this book helped me to realize that I am not alone in my struggles. There are many people out there like me–people who grew up in the church and now question everything they’ve always accepted as truth. There are no easy answers to be found.
Everyone seems to think that a pastor’s kid has it all figured out. She doesn’t have “normal people” problems, her family is perfect, and she’s always sure that God is in control of her life. That may be what people think, but Sam knows what it’s really like. She knows that her dad, a local pastor, spends more time caring for his congregation’s problems than those of his own family. Sam knows that hiding the fact of her mother’s alcoholism is no longer possible. And she knows that she can’t talk to anybody about her problems or she’ll tarnish the reputation of the town’s beloved pastor. Why can’t her dad, someone chosen as a man of God, see that his own daughter is hurting? Why won’t he do anything to help her, but he’ll dash off at the drop of a hat to help anyone else in the church? Why?
Sam’s faith in everything she’s known is further shaken when a young girl from her church goes missing. If God is really in control, how could He allow something like this to happen? Where is this girl? Who took her? Is she still alive? The questions pile up, but there are no easy answers. Sam doesn’t know where to turn. Her mother is in rehab, her father talks to everyone but Sam (and is spending way too much time with the young, vibrant, youth group leader, Erin), and her friends don’t really act like themselves when they’re around the preacher’s kid. Sam longs to talk to someone who will understand everything she’s going through. She eventually finds someone to talk to, but he has his own problems. His sister is the girl that is missing.
Join Sam as she takes a journey that changes everything she knows about herself, her family, her friendships, and her faith. Will the missing girl be found? Will Sam find her way back to her faith? Can the hope she’s lost be found again? Read Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr to find out.
I won’t say that I loved this book, simply because it made me examine my own spiritual life. That’s not an easy thing to do. I will, however, say that I respect the message in this book–looking for peace in times of uncertainty and doubt. That peace may not always be easy to find, but we should always keep searching for it.
For more information on the works of author Sara Zarr, visit http://www.sarazarr.com/.