BOOK REVIEW: Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet (Sara Hagerty)


I was given an awesome opportunity through Family Christian to review the book Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty.  I can’t wait to share with you, my readers, how this book has touched me.

In Regards to the Author: Sara Hagerty

When it comes to books of this nature, where personal story is coupled with spiritual truths, I really long for books that make me feel as if I am sitting down with a new friend.  Or, that this person has been invited to a small group or women’s brunch to speak directly to a few of us.  It is an more intimate encounter than at a large conference.  Sara Hagerty fits that bill.  From the first words, she gives the reader a sense of safety, comfort and familiarity.  Sara manages to get right to the point in an honest way.  It isn’t coarse or bold, but she doesn’t beat around the bush.  She doesn’t start with a story that belong to someone else, but her own personal journey.  She is open, honest, vulnerable and real.  The words she uses, are the ones that roll through our own thoughts and prayer journals, our conversations with friends, or when we are having words with God. 

In Regards to the Book:  Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

Life is full of bitter things, experiences that leave a bitter taste in our mouth… or that shape our personalities from loving and warm to bitter and cold.  We live in a fallen world, and just because we are Christians, it doesn’t mean we are exempt from the troubles of this world.  We will experience disappointment, we will experience shame and guilt, we make mistakes, we will experience hurt, and we will get mad at God when we don’t understand WHY this happens to us.

Sara Hagerty shares with us her personal story of how she experienced the questions, disappointments, and challenges of life…. and through the bitterness, she was able to find the sweet. Amongst the difficulties life threw at her, there were moments of hope, joy, love, miracles, and healing.



Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, by Sarah Hagerty



Matthew 13:  That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

About 3 years ago, a lovely woman gave me a cutting off of a tree growing in her yard.  I had every intention of planting it, but I didn’t know much about it.  I needed more information.  How much water does it need?  How much sun?  How fast does it grow?  How tall will it get?  Are the roots shallow or deep?  So, until I could get around to doing this research… I stuffed it into a little holding pot with a bit of soil.  Really just enough soil to allow it to root.  And there it sat.

It never died.  But it never grew.  Three stubby pieces in a Y shape with two sad little leaves.  It just sat there, doing nothing.  It was just, simply, existing.

Do you ever feel that way?  Like you are just sitting there in life, doing nothing?  You are not suffering, but you are not living to your potential.  You just are existing from day to day.

About a year ago, I was at a friend’s house.  She had a gorgeous tree growing out of a large clay pot.  I was admiring it, when I recognized the trunk and the branches.  It looked just like the plant I had stuffed in a pot on my patio and forgotten.  I asked her what it was, and she informed me it was a plumeria.  She described the flowers and the fragrance to me.  I finally had some motivation to get mine into at least a decent pot.

I purchased everything I needed for a temporary home.  A large plastic pot, filled with soil, lots of room to grow.  I decided that the cheap plastic pot was a safe & inexpensive choice; since I didn’t even know if this scraggly little stick was actually going to survive after being abandoned for so long.

To my surprise, it began to grow.  The picture on the left was taken just TWO WEEKS after it was put in it’s new home.    The picture on the right was take ELEVEN WEEKS later.

Stunning difference, I know.  I have yet to get my first bloom, but I can already tell that the plant has great potential.  I also know that this pot will not be it’s forever home.  It will need a greater place to grow and bloom.  One day, when I have just the right spot picked out, I plant her in the ground.  Her final home.

Occasionally we may find ourselves just sitting complacent.  Not going backwards or forwards.  Just sitting.  Waiting.  Existing.  Perhaps life has plucked you from where you once where, planted you in a small pot, a holding cell to keep you just barely holding on.   Or maybe, you put yourself in that place.  You may feel as if the world has abandoned you, forgotten you.  God, however, is a loving & caring father, who has not forgotten you.  He will take you from that poor soil, confined space and set you free to grow and flower with His glory.  He will take you out of stagnant waters and fill you with the living waters.  He will prune away the dead branches so that the new growth can flourish.

When I grabbed that sad Y shaped plant, pulling it out of that small little pot… the roots clung to it’s home.  It took a bit of effort to get it out of there, even though the soil was shallow.  There are times when God tries to move us from that place we are stuck, from our complacency, and we will struggle to hold on.  It is surprising we would do such a thing, holding on to something we know isn’t right but has become comfortable.  It happens every day.  In fact, we can often notice that response in others before we see it in our own reflection.  It’s so easy to cling to the known versus risk moving out into the unknown.  That is where faith comes in.  When we truly believe in God’s promises, delivered to us in His word, we can trust that God’s plans are always better than anything we could imagine on our own.  When those little roots yielded, I was able to deliver that little tree to a better place than it could have ever managed on it’s own.  It lacked the ability to do so.  In our moments where we are paralyzed with fear or depression, where our comfort in our situation feels safer than the risk of moving:  God moves us.

God has the ability to take us further than we could ever go on our own.  To do more, than we could ever do with our own devices.  When we yield, God can move us right into the very spot He has prepared for us.  There may be some transitional periods, where God places us in a temporary solution, as God moves all the pieces into place.  Ultimately though, we can trust that each move God makes IS GOOD.

We just have to let our roots loosen from that poor soil.