Irene Garcia's inspirational memoir, co-written with Lissa Halls Johnson, releases February 1st with an account of foster parenting, faith and trust that began so differently the narrative reads like two stories in one. It's also a compelling tale of teen pregnancy, early marriage, abuse, addiction and a DUI arrest as well.
A normal reaction after ten years of alcohol-fueled abuse would be divorce, an action Irene seriously considered when her husband was sentenced to five days in jail for drunk driving. Even though she didn't want a divorce she no longer believed in his promise to change. Was change even possible after all these years.
Although not likely, Domingo's time in jail with time think was life-changing. The first day he was filled with self-pity. The second day he blamed the police. The third day he blamed his brother, uncle and family. The fourth day he realized alcohol and beer helped him forget "horrible childhood" memories. By the fifth day he knew he only had himself to blame. Even worse was realizing he treated his sons like his father had treated him.
Domingo's prayer-fueled remorse gave him the courage to call Irene and say: "I'm a new man...and will never drink again. If you leave now, you'll have only had my worst years..." instead of my best years. "...will you forgive me?"
Irene no longer trusted or loved her teenage sweetheart yet felt she had to agree. She too had changed since meeting weekly with the friend who led her to say yes to a "personal relationship" with Christ. Reading the Bible, trusting and turning to Him in prayer gave her a closeness she'd never experienced growing up Catholic.
In the years to come Irene would call this time their "honeymoon years," when the "unthinkable happened" and she fell in love with Domingo all over again as God healed their marriage and Domingo's relationships with his sons. In time they wanted more children but Irene's ectopic pregnancy made that impossible. Then they considered adoption and foster parenting, however, this is only one piece of their amazing story.
The rest of the Garcia's story is a genuine, heart-warming account of God's intervention not only in the lives of Irene, Domingo and their sons, but in the lives of thirty-two children, many of them special needs kids the Garcia's would foster or raise in the next thirty-two years. A story Meredith J. Graham writes about in Chico News.
Many children's accounts, the lives they lived before the Garcia's welcomed them into their home, aren't easy to read and all stories don't have happy endings. Yet their inspiring accounts shine with extraordinary examples of faith, trust and love that reveals God uses ordinary broken people when they surrender and submit to God. Just ask the Garcia's.
For a preview of Irene and Domingo's encouraging book: YouTube interview.
'Rich in love: When God rescues messy people' by Irene Garcia & Lissa Halls Johnson, David C. Cook—releases February 1, 2014, 272 Pages, 978-1434706881, $14.99
Midwest Book Reviews Jan 2014 "Gail's Bookshelf"
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