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Book Review: God Boy Ocean - a true story of beauty from ashes by Nathan Gernetzky

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

This beautiful, honest book has been chosen as the Women of Reverence Book of the Month for August 2020.

We all need to know we are not alone. This is why God Boy Ocean is the story of a young man who tries to make sense of the suffering and tragedy he has experienced in his life. Nathan writes with authenticity and humor about real life moments that have shaped him and his faith. God Boy Ocean is a collection of episodes that explore a variety of relatable, heart-wrenching stories from across Nathan’s life; through his early years, wild and death defying surfing adventures and the crippling trauma of loss. This memoir-style book is layered with compelling stories, biblical characters and timeless truth. God Boy Oceantakes the reader to the point of Nathan’s greatest hardship - his wife’s cancer and death. As a father of four and a pastor of a church, Nathan struggles to make sense of this life-altering tragedy. Out of deep brokenness comes his transformation. The journey explores the beautiful wonder of finding meaning in suffering and deep heartache. We learn through the stories of life that God can bring out incredible beauty from the ashes of our loses, failures and disappointment. In his journey Nathan’s faith is renewed, love rekindled and hope restored. We learn that God always has a ‘Plan-A’ for our lives and will bring that plan about as we surrender to him and embrace each moment of our journey. Out of the ashes God brings a beautiful woman into Nathan and the children’s lives.God Boy Oceanis a raw and honest journey of understanding the work of God’s grace in our lives. Nathan reminds us we can all be trophies of grace and inspires each reader to find their own story and share it with others. We are never alone.

Reviewed by:

Melissa Burger

In a sentence tell us about yourself:

Follower of Christ, Wife, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Reader 😊, Runner, Hiker, Karate student, part-time Unisa student and therapist.

What drew you to read this book?

The title I think and I am a sucker for anything that claims to bring beauty from ashes.

What impact did this book make on your life?

It made me realise yet again why we aways need to be kinder than necessary – literally EVERYBODY is fighting some kind of battle. Nathan was so young and actually had a beautiful life planned and being lived when total heartbreak turned it upside down. He fought hard with himself, with God and with life at times and turned the ashes of that life and those dreams into something deep and strong and beautiful that gives thanks to the Father that never leaves us, even when we are not sure if he is even there anymore. The book is also beautifully set up – almost a kind of 3D reading experience in that there is the story, but also drawings and paintings that fit with the title or theme of a chapter and then a soundtrack of music that also fits in with each theme or chapter – it makes for a different and beautiful reading experience.

In a paragraph what is the main point of the book?

Beauty from ashes. Nathan’s story is such a real fight within him and around him and sometimes with God too, but he returns again and again through it all to understanding how much we are loved and carried and held by our Father. Nathan says in the foreword that he simply wanted to give this story to his children to know but I think we can all take much learning from his story too. Although it is not a self-help kind of book, in reading what Nathan held onto to survive some days and some times, we too can maybe get from times of ashes to beauty again.

Who would benefit from reading this book?

Someone in ashes needing to believe or be reminded that there can be beauty again most definitely but also anyone who just wants to read Nathan’s story. He also writes beautiful prayers in each chapter that were a blesssing for me to read and pray out loud too and that are prayers for all manner of issues.

Star rating:

5/5 but the music and beautiful paintings/ drawings actually make it a 7/5!

All comments are reviewers own.

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