Wednesday, July 13, 2016

All But Normal: Life on Victory Road

Growing up, Shawn Thornton’s life was anything but normal–but then, so was his mother. After awakening from a coma following a car crash, Beverly Thornton’s once sweet and gentle disposition had been replaced by violent mood swings, profanity-laced tirades, and uncontrollable fits of rage.
Inside the Thornton house, floors and countertops were piled high with dirty laundry and garbage because Bev was unable to move well enough to clean. Dinners were a Russian roulette of half-cooked meat, spoiled milk, and foods well past their expiration dates. A moment of frustration might prompt her to hurl a knife at Shawn, his brother, Troy, or their dad or to vehemently cuss them out, only to shower them with love and affection moments later as though nothing had happened. On several occasions, Bev even tried to jump out of the car on the highway while Shawn and his brother struggled to keep her inside.
Yet this same woman was also a devoted Bible reader, Sunday school teacher, and friend to the elderly, poor, and marginalized wherever she went. How the same woman could be a saint one minute and a nightmare the next was a constant source of frustration for the family.
Then one day, after decades of embarrassing outbursts, a surprise discovery finally helps the Thornton family come to grips with Bev’s mysterious condition and brings Shawn to a startling realization that changes the course of his life forever.
My Impressions
As a Social Worker I often deal with clients who come into the office with traumas from their childhood that have continued to manifested itself into adulthood. I greatly appreciated the open, direct and encompassing view of the trauma that Shawn suffered, but also of Gods redemptive power and the willingness of Shawn to be used by God through all his trials. I am not really a big fan of memoirs, but I am glad I elected to read this one and be reminded again of how God has a plan for each of us and all we need to do is listen and act. What really captured my attention was the title of this book. We each define “normal” in a different context. We all wear masks, are labeled by society, but normal invites unease, because it says we have to conform to be fixed, given up parts of our selves.  We live in a broken and fallen world and sadly there are too many children who grow up surrounded by all kids of trauma and trials to walk through from the moment they are born. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us that will allow us to thrive in the midst of the brokenness. I found Paston Shawn’s memoir to be highly encouraging, thought provoking and uplifting.

·         Promo/Main Site:              
·        “AllThingsNew”Blog:                   
·         Radio:
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·        VideosofPastorShawnPreaching:
·         Hi-res author photo: Shawn Thornton
·         Hi-res book cover image: All But Normal
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale publishing in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
SHAWN THORNTON serves as senior pastor of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California. He is also the Bible-teaching voice heard daily across America on the half-hour radio program All Things New. Shawn has the honor of serving on the board of directors of Awana Clubs International and on the board of directors of the Joni & Friends Foundation. He blogs regularly at PastorShawn. com. Shawn and his wife, Lesli, have three young adult children-Jon, Katie, and Megan.
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