Grace in Progress

Prayers for the Beautifully Broken

Christian - Living
78 Pages
Reviewed on 02/03/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Award-winning author, Jennifer “JC” Beichner lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Jennifer was born and raised in the Los Angeles area and prior to moving to Arizona in 2002, she worked in law enforcement as a Police Services Officer and also served in the U.S. Army Reserves. Jennifer has dedicated her life to service, giving her talents over in ministry to women, seniors and teens as a volunteer high school youth minister. Jennifer also serves as a Board Member for the charity M.A.D. (Making a Difference) Girls Inc., sings in the church choir and occasionally teaches “Prayer in Motion” classes. In addition to her volunteerism, and colorful background, Jennifer is going to school, working on a novel, edits for other writers and teaches group fitness classes at her local gym. In 2013, Jennifer was named “Woman of the Year” by the Phoenix Diocese Council of Catholic Women, an honor she firmly believes is a testament to how God works through our brokenness to reveal His love, mercy and grace to others. Jennifer was awarded the Silver Medal for Best Book of Christian Devotion/Study in the 2017 Readers" Favorite International Book Awards.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Carla Trueheart for Readers' Favorite

Grace in Progress is a gorgeous book containing a personal reflection and a handbook of prayers. Included in the book is the complete story of author J.C. Beichner’s struggles and trauma in her early childhood and adolescence, all of which led her to the church and a religious calling of sorts. This beautiful and heart-wrenching introduction is followed up by a series of short prayers that touch on issues of love and trust through God, finding courage and strength in difficult times, and praying to Jesus when feeling as though you are broken. The book is short but contains everything that a person might need to feel comfortable after dealing with difficult times in life, and wanting to make connections to God and Jesus through prayer.

Grace in Progress first pulled me in as a reader with gripping storytelling, an honest voice, and prayers that seemed fitting for the theme of the book. Author J.C. Beichner does not sugarcoat her experiences as a child and a teenager, and while some of the events were difficult to read about, they were crucial to the story and the trajectory of her life, landing her where she is now. I truly enjoyed reading all the prayers for the broken, but I especially liked the Cast Out My Fear prayer and the Broken prayer. These prayers speak about love and being patient, and I think we could all use a few quiet moments to read this silently or aloud and reflect on our own lives. A beautiful book of prayers that is recommended!

Jack Magnus

Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken is a non-fiction Christian Living/Prayer Guide for Catholics written by J.C. Beichner. The author came from a broken home; her parents divorced when she was only 4 years old. Her father did live close to the family, which allowed them to at least continue feeling like a complete family, and living with her grandparents helped a great deal until her grandmother suffered a series of strokes, moved into a nursing home and then passed away. Her father followed four years after, dying suddenly and unexpectedly. It seemed more than her mom, brother and she could bear, but then her grandfather died as well. Her mom had to work full-time to support them, and she and her brother became latch-key kids, all the while wondering why things had to be so hard. Life continued with its challenges, especially her struggle in coping with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of nineteen, but everything suddenly got better when she met her husband, David. While Beichner was baptized Lutheran, she had never really belonged to a church. David was born a Catholic, and when they moved to Arizona, they both began attending a Catholic church in Scottsdale. Soon thereafter, she completed the year-long Initiation Process and became a Catholic. She ministers to women, seniors and teens and is a volunteer high school youth minister as well. Her prayers are devotional in spirit and address many of the doubts, tensions and fears most people feel at some point in their lives.

J.C. Beichner's non-fiction Christian Living/Prayer Guide for Catholics, Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken, is an inspirational look at faith and God's grace as seen through the author's own life. The author explains how we’re all broken and unworthy, but God sees past that and through to one’s innate Godliness. I was moved by the story of her childhood and the pain caused by the losses of her family members, and how those struggles affected her outlook on life. Her story is frank and compelling, and the prayers she includes in her book are heartfelt and beautifully written. I especially liked her prayer, A Heart for Advent, which helps quiet the noise and external distractions of the season while returning the mind to the real message of the Advent. Her final prayer, God's Prayer for You, is a personal prayer directed to the individual praying, written as if it were from God, which ties together many of the themes of the preceding prayers in a profoundly motivational way. Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken is highly recommended.

Romuald Dzemo

Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken by J.C. Beichner is an uplifting, inspirational book that will resonate with many hearts, a book that will help anyone with an open heart to rediscover the face of a merciful God. Starting with her story, the author shares her journey of faith and, in her own words, allows readers to reach out in faith to a God who loves us unconditionally.

J.C. Beichner has had to deal with negative self-talk, and experience loss at the tender age of ten when her father died. The worst thing was the choice to have an abortion which plunged her into the darkness of despair. She writes: "The day that I encountered the girl at work that told me where I could go to have an abortion, I went out into the mall on my break to use the payphone. I called my boyfriend at his barracks and I told him what I was going to do. I didn’t ask him what we should do—I told him." After the abortion, came the darkness. "I knew that it would forever change who I was. I knew I was no longer white as snow, the new me, the despicable me, had done something unspeakable. I had stained who God had created me to be. I tried to tell myself it was OK, but it wasn’t okay. I had killed my baby."

But does God really abandon us when we feel helpless, despicable, and steeped in the darkness of our greed? The passage from her brokenness to a living faith is the inspirational token of this slim and beautiful book and it is from her darkness that the author found the words of prayer to reconnect with God. In this book, readers will find powerful prayers that reaffirm their faith in difficult moments, help them rediscover the peace that has been shattered by the perils of this life, the courage to hold on, and the trust that God is there, loving us in our vulnerable fragility.

Written in clear and simple English, this book reads like a heart-to-heart conversation with someone who has fallen and stood up to share her experience. The author combines her Christian faith with a personal experience of God to create a work that is so inspiring. The prayers are beautiful and they provide a space where readers will certainly encounter the grace of a faithful God. Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken is a gift to be received in faith and generously passed on.

Vernita Naylor

When you hear the word 'grace,' how does that word resonate with you? According to Christian belief, grace is the free and unmerited favor of God. In Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken, J.C. Beichner takes you on a personal journey of living life by grace. In Grace in Progress, you will not only read about some of the challenges that J.C. Beichner experienced, but read over fifteen personal short letters that were the catalyst of muddling through the valley. Regardless of our choices, or decisions that we make that can go against the will of God, know that it is His love that strengthens us and helps to carry us through. You will find in Grace in Progress that God is faithful in His word and is willing to comfort, restore and love us through our mess. Even when we feel or believe that we are unworthy of God’s grace and mercy, it is through His relationship with us that He shows us otherwise.

Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken by J.C. Beichner shows how expressing a personal, intimate connection with God is crucial to our well-being because it helps us to maintain balance in a lost world. In our hurts, loss and disappointments, such as J.C. Beichner continually experienced, we all have a place of solitude which we can run to for meditation, prayers, enjoying His presence, and to get answers for our present state of being. I loved this about Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken by J.C. Beichner because it offered nuggets of truth that we all can use during these times.

Mamta Madhavan

Grace in Progress: Prayers for the Beautifully Broken by J.C. Beichner is an uplifting book that takes readers through the author’s personal journey which reveals her story, her experience of Christ at work in her life, and devotion to the community that supported her. The author’s words and experiences will encourage readers to trust God more and embrace the depth of God’s love in the ordinary moments of life. Readers will get to see their story of grace begin once they read the book and discover where they need Christ the most in their life. The author’s personal experiences, the incidents, and the stories she has shared show how the healing power of Jesus has worked through the broken pieces of her heart by letting God in.

The book reiterates the author’s faith in the Lord. It is a story of redemption, transformation, and self discovery that will motivate and inspire readers to believe in Jesus and surrender their past, present, and future to him. The author’s conversations and prayers to the Lord are simple and can be incorporated by anyone into their lives and prayer habits. The words in the book are soothing and they bring a sense of peace and calm while reading. For all those readers who lack trust and faith in Jesus, reading this book will see a remarkable change in their approach towards prayers, praying, and their belief in God. They will feel the Lord’s presence everywhere and at any time, and this will give them the confidence to accomplish anything with the help of God.