God Is Light, Darkness Is Lies

Join Andy as he continues his series through 1 John looking at 1 John 1:5-6.

The Great Sustainer

Colossians 1:16-17, “16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold...

The Strength of Meekness

I came across a manual given to college students on how to assimilate into the North American culture in the United States. Among the suggestions were the following: Never ask an American a direct question about their religion, age, money, salary, weight, or dress...

Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund

The heart of God is at the center of the gospel message. His affections towards His people is not a great mystery that needs to be discovered but has been revealed in the person and work of Jesus. God’s heart towards His people is seen throughout Scripture. The Lord...

The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness

On today’s Warriors of Grace show continuing season two, Dave discusses the righteousness of God and the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth and the Word of God, and what union with Christ is and how it relates to spiritual warfare. What you’ll hear in...

Raised With Christ: Your Easter Story

Colossians 3:1-3, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with...
Human, Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah Charlotte Williams, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace
Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah Charlotte Williams

Posted On December 5, 2018

There’s a book popping up on lots of “Best of 2018” lists called Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) by Kate Bowler. I had the privilege of hearing Kate Bowler, professor at Duke Divinity School, tell her story at the Festival of Faith and Writing this spring. Basically, her story is this: after devoting her academic research to explaining the “prosperity gospel” phenomenon and unpacking with compassion the allure of the promises made in prosperity-centered churches, Bowler got diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. Just after dismantling the false promises of the prosperity gospel, she found herself maybe wanting the prosperity gospel to be true. Shouldn’t there be a method that could make God cure you? She details this experience in her memoir with honesty and humor. It’s a charming book (albeit with some salty language) that explores the conflict that occurs when our idealistic principles are tested by the pain of real life.

Like Bowler, Sarah Williams is a professor and a Christian when she receives one of the most frightening diagnoses: her already beloved but unborn daughter will not survive out of the womb. She recognizes that her principles are on trial. But this is not a cold ethical dilemma. This is a warm child living in her womb. Immediately, Williams recognizes that her “principles… were simply not enough to gives us the capacity to go on. They stopped short, leaving a great chasm of pain.”

Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian tells the story of principles played out in real life. It is one thing to know what ought to be done in such a situation. It is another thing entirely to live it.

Williams lives out her principles, yes, but she does so because she is compelled by love. And it is a lovely tragedy to witness. Her family surrounds her with love, loving the baby through the way they care for Sarah during the “summer of Cerian” as they anticipate the baby’s stillbirth. Her most intimate support network includes her husband, her mother, her daughters, and her friend Janet whose concurrent pregnancy means that “Janet chose to grieve with me. Later I would have to choose to celebrate with her. Both choices were costly.”

This is a story about weakness and willingness. Williams’ retelling of the events of these poignant months offers insight into the human cost of bioethical decisions. Throughout her retelling of this story, Williams makes some subtle but important distinctions about her choice. When one doctor asks if she is deciding not to terminate on “strong religious grounds,” Williams clarifies that she does have strong religious beliefs, but they aren’t the reason she made this decision. “Cerian is not a strong religious principle or a rule that compels me to make a hard and fast ethical decisions. She is a beautiful person who is teaching me to love the vulnerable, treasure the unlovely, and face fear with dignity and hope.”

Reading this is bearing witness to what it means to be pro-life. What we are willing to do for the least of these is the ultimate display of our faith, but it comes at a cost. Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian is a beautiful exploration of love bearing all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). Williams’ thoughtful retelling makes this a powerful book.

Related Posts

Human, Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah Charlotte Williams, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

The Great Sustainer

Colossians 1:16-17, “16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold...

Human, Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah Charlotte Williams, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

The Strength of Meekness

I came across a manual given to college students on how to assimilate into the North American culture in the United States. Among the suggestions were the following: Never ask an American a direct question about their religion, age, money, salary, weight, or dress...

Human, Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah Charlotte Williams, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness

On today’s Warriors of Grace show continuing season two, Dave discusses the righteousness of God and the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth and the Word of God, and what union with Christ is and how it relates to spiritual warfare. What you’ll hear in...

Human, Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah Charlotte Williams, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Raised With Christ: Your Easter Story

Colossians 3:1-3, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weekly Roundup of Links 12/3/2018-12/8/2018 - Servants of Grace - […] Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah Charlotte Williams reviewed by Laura Lundgren https://servantsofgrace.org/perfectly-human-nine-months-with-cerian-by-sarah-charlotte-williams/ […]
  2. Dave and Laura's Top Books for 2018 and Vision for Servants of Grace in 2019 - […] Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah Williams. Read Laura’s review here. […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share24
Tweet12
Reddit
Pin
Share