The losses in our lives are both big and small, and cover a range of experiences. We leave home. We experience physical illness and disabilities. We struggle with vocation and finances. We may long for a spouse or child. We lose people we love to addiction or illness and death.
All of these losses can build into questions and doubts about faith. We may experience depression or other mental health struggles. Where is God in the midst of our losses?
In this book spiritual director Beth Slevcove shares stories from her own life about losses and struggles. Along the way, she offers distinctive spiritual practices that can guide us back to God and, in the end, to ourselves.
"The beautifully fashioned sentences throughout Broken Hallelujahs summon deep contemplation and provoke a wrestling with the realities of our mysterious lives. What is truly refreshing about Broken Hallelujahs is the absence of sentimentalism. With a timely cadence, this book moved me to tears—tears of grief, loss and lament, but also tears of joyfulness and gratitude. Beth's willingness to be vulnerable and to call a thing what it is gave me permission to sink into the profound truth that Jesus Christ shows us it is truly human to sometimes cry out, 'My God, why have you forsaken me?' Broken Hallelujahs ministered to my soul like a balm of Gilead. I love this book and hope you will take care of your soul by reading this astonishing story."
"This book provides a needed resource for anyone struggling to stay connected with God in the midst of faith-shaking turmoil and loss. Beth's courageous vulnerability encourages her readers to equal honesty, while the spiritual practices that close each chapter offer a means of experiencing God without denying the human emotions that accompany loss. It is a book I will read and reread, and one that I will share with others. For who has not experienced the grief and loss that are part of every life?"
"I don't normally think of grief and beauty cozying up with one another. But that's the indelible impression this gorgeous book imprinted on my heart and mind. Slevcove—with sometimes startling vulnerability and relentless authenticity—opens up her journey into and through grief, shining a light on something far, far better than simple platitudes or greeting card perk pills. This book reveals truth. And it's the best kind of truth, messy and heart-wrenching and full of the potency of new life."
"Those who find themselves in the dark and disorienting cavern of loss will sense a true and faithful companion in Beth Allen Slevcove. She has spent a great deal of time in the dark and has not only survived but has learned to discern the subtle grays and cracks of light to guide her forward. She has tended her grief well and her life's journey has given her a deep 'heart of wisdom' that some people gain but few articulate so poignantly."
"In Broken Hallelujahs, Beth Slevcove tells a brave, unsentimental and surprisingly redemptive story. She explores the way grief can both shatter and transform our hearts and offers spiritual practices that help readers authentically express and grieve their own wounds and disappointments. It's a beautiful, honest book."
"Broken Hallelujahs is a book to keep nearby when sorrow intrudes and you need a friend to help. Beth Slevcove has walked the way of grief and tells the stories of a traveling companion who knows the way. Through her experience and expert reflective questions, Slevcove nudges the reader to step out in faith, honor the loss and trust that God is near the brokenhearted."
"This book is a wonderful collection of real life stories, down-to-earth exercises and the needed encouragement to feel, express and engage with grief in unedited and honest ways. Beth, drawing from her own experiences, provides practical wisdom for those journeying through their own grief and those who are invited to companion with others through grief."
"Beth Slevcove has provided us with the quintessential primer on learning how to 'grieve the big and small losses of life.' No one would ask for any of these losses to come their way. Yet, in all the losses that Beth has experienced, she has and continues to be attentive to holding all before God, offering her own deep response to the pain again, and again, and again. Throughout the book we are provided with the privilege and opportunity to do the same. And you know what? Over time, we may discover that the broken hallelujahs in our own lives are the very things that take us deeper into the unbroken hallelujah. O may it be so! Thank you, Beth."
"All of us have experienced loss in some way, but too often we don't take the time to grieve that loss, and most of us, myself included, don't even know how to begin to process the loss so we can move toward healing. Beth's new book Broken Hallelujahs is a beautiful reflection on loss and love and finding God again after God's silence. Through her stories and the exercises and practices included at the end of each chapter, Beth gives us the tools we need to process our grief and help us connect to God and actually move on toward healing."
"In Broken Hallelujahs Beth Allen Slevcove gives us a beautifully written, deeply personal account of her experience of loss—its pain and its potential. As I read it, I began to see some of my own experience of loss through the lens she provided. Reading her story is a hopeful encounter, one I would wish for anyone struggling with loss. And at some point, that will be all of us."
"Not just another good grief book but a helpful journey through grief from happy hallelujahs to broken hallelujahs, and in the midst of multiple losses, finally to the hopeful hallelujah of faith and endurance."
"My Sunday School faith prepared me to approach life with an expectation of happily ever after. But at some point it became clear that life really is broken. If we are not prepared for this—and few of us are—it can lead to disillusionment and loss of faith. In this beautiful book, Beth Slevcove invites us to accompany her on her own journey of loss and tragedy. I often cried along as I recognized many elements in common with my own experience. I was challenged by her determination to find God in the midst of it without turning away from reality. In the end, her ability to still say hallelujah through the tears and in the midst of the mess is deeply inspiring. This is a charming, sometimes poetic book with profound insights, and it is also a book that I will return to again and again, since each chapter ends with prayer practices and exercises for seeking and occasionally wrestling with God."
"Loss and grief, if confronted alone, can leave us feeling abandoned and despairing. But when given the perspective of a wise, experienced—and above all—tender guide, it can lead to wellspring of a deeper life. Writing in prose that bends toward poetry, Beth Slevcove is precisely such a guide. Using her own losses and her own life to lead us to the truths that lie amidst our own life fragments, Beth asks and attends to the hardest questions of life and faith with candor, courage, vulnerability and a wit that will make you sigh deeply and smile amidst your tears. This is a simply splendid book."
"Beth's personal story joined with her theological reflections becomes a paradigm for those on the path of spiritual maturity. This book is simply eloquent, profoundly wise, inspiring and practical. It is a truly fresh perspective on the reality of grieving our losses as we progress through our lives."
"Beth Slevcove chronicles her story of disappointment and grief and invites us to see the hidden beauty of the dark and lonely places in our own lives. With the gentleness of a spiritual director, she offers earthy and practical wisdom for navigating life's inevitable difficulties. This book makes me hungry to discover paths through pain and loss that are more honest, creative and God-conscious."
"Beth is a singularly unique person. When you meet her, it's clear there is no box to put her in— she's equal parts theologian, mystic, surfer chick and earth mother. In Broken Hallelujahs, Beth invites us along as she explores her personal losses and her learnings about God in the process, offering spiritual practices that can help us do the same."
Part I: What?s Been Lost?
1. Remembering Eden
Prayer Practice: Childhood Reflections
2. Longing for Home
Prayer Practice: Images of Home
3. Love and Disillusionment
Prayer Practice: Opening Clinched Fists
4. Losing my Strength
Prayer Practice: Take a Bath
5. Longing for a Child
Prayer Practice: Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday
6. Losing My Brother
Prayer Practice: Breath Prayer
7. Losing my Religion
Prayer Practice: Writing a Lament
8. Falling into Depression
Prayer Practice: Prayer Postures
Part II: Listening to our Losses
9. Minimizing our Wounds
Prayer Practice: Holding the Tension
10. Acknowledging Our Losses
Prayer Practice: Imaginative Prayer
11. Overcoming Obstacles to Grieving
Prayer Practice: The Prayer of the Tantruming Child
12. Revealing Our Perspectives
Prayer Practice: Prayer of Examen
13. Fear of Falling
Prayer Practice: The Stations of the Cross
14. Grieve as We Can, Not as We Can't
Prayer Practice: Evening Prayer with Jimma
15. Listening to the Shepherd
Prayer Practice: Discerning the Voices
Part III: Inviting Hope
16. Discoveries in the Dark
Prayer Practice: Centering Prayer
17. Letting the Light in Through Nature and Beauty
Prayer Practice: Nature Walk
Prayer Practice: Make or Break Something
19. Feeding Jesus Doughnuts
Prayer Practice: Praying with the Least of These
20. Sacred Symbols
Prayer Practice: Create a Space of Remembrance
21. Ritual and Healing
Prayer Practice: Healing Rituals
22. Getting Up Again
Prayer Practice: Shaking
23. Letting Go
Prayer Practice: The Parting
24. Traveling Companions
Prayer Practice: Intentional Conversations
25. Learning to Float
Prayer Practice: Doing What We Love
26. Coming Home to Our Broken Hallelujahs
About the Author