Ridiculously Hopeful: A Story of Bold Faith and Hope During a Crisis by Maleah Stephens
Book reviewers are real people too. Let me explain.
I was in the middle of a personal crisis. Here at BookTrib, we have the luxury of access to so many books, so many different voices that might resonate with readers looking for something to grab on to and connect with in times of strife. Different experiences. Different perspectives. Different insights. Different messages.
I needed such a voice and thought I could do a lot worse than picking up a book with the most optimistic title you’ll ever find — Ridiculously Hopeful (Westbow Press). That’s exactly what I needed and what I wanted to feel.
It is an emotional story of what happened to author Maleah Stephens surrounding the birth and life of her young child, Townes. There was plenty of pain, anxiety and uncertainty, but through her courage and faith was able to break through the chaos and provide us with this “love letter”-type message.
While the book is full of lessons for people in stress and agony, it also is a riveting story.
Maleah could tell from the body language of her doctor that something was wrong. “Some moments in our lives stand still as solitary moments like the grandfather clock ticking noon; you can’t hear past the noise from the swaying pendulum.”
What she heard was her yet-to-be-born baby had a congenital heart defect and was going to need a heart transplant soon after his birth. “We will now learn to hold our peace in an uncertain future,” said her husband Scott. Prayer began to mold their path and they felt the love from the Lord — and they encourage readers to look at their own stories in the same light.
The baby is born but can’t go home for a quite a while. He is connected to intricate medical equipment while the parents await an organ donor for a new heart. The author, a marathon runner in her own right, understands she is in for a long journey that will test her mental and physical toughness.
It is necessary for the book to describe the medical technology needed to keep little Townes alive. But this is a work foremost steeped in faith. In fact, the first thing mentioned about the author in her bio is that she is a follower of Jesus. Quotes and anecdotes from the Scriptures color this tale, lending proof that the author felt she and her family were not alone in their circumstances. “We use prayer as our daily weapon.”
“In uncertain times,” Stephens writes, “when the world looks bleak and dark, we stand confident that the light is brighter, and we wait in full expectation to witness what the Lord started on our behalf.”
In the case of her boy Townes, the author notes that human nature tends to incline toward the tangible, the things we can grab, “and see our own senses become activated and feel alive.” These seem easier to understand. But faith, she says, “requires us to operate in the unseen. Faith pushes us. It challenges us to remain focused on things hoped for, an outcome not yet realized.”
So much of the Stephens family journey was filled with uncertainty, and they had to rely on the professional teams in place and, of course, their faith. There were many bumps and difficult decisions to navigate and medical procedures to contemplate.
Ridiculously Hopeful, says Stephens, challenges the world’s way, which often breeds fear and anxiety. She suggests a better approach: holding fast to hope and a confident expectation of good found in Jesus Christ during a period of uncertainty. The book provides practical applications you can apply to transform your outlook and strengthen your relationship with Jesus amidst any difficult situation in your life.
“While our stories differ, my prayer is that you walk away from our time together with a renewed sense of hope and confident expectation of good in your future.”
I did, indeed.
Maleah Stephens is a follower of Jesus, wife, mother, dog mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. A student of numbers and finance, she is a financial advisor by trade. She is a book enthusiast, a reader of all genres and an author by happenstance. Maleah currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Scott; their son, Townes; and their dogs, Luna and Leo. Visit her online at www.RidiculouslyHopeful.com.
Publish Date: December 27, 2022
Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction
Author: Maleah Stephens
Page Count: 232 pages
Publisher: Westbow Press