Too Good Not to Include

Book Review by Delmer R. Guynes, EDD for “Mom, God’s Got This” by Karen F. Norton, published by Tate Publishing, LLC 2016

Jamie Renee Norton was born on December 31, 1975, to Karen and Gene Norton.  She became a teacher of English in a Northern Asia University in July 2000.  She died of cancer and related causes on Saturday morning, November 17, 2012.  The author of this book is Jamie’s mother.

This is a story of intense dedication and personal investment by an extraordinary young woman.  Jamie dedicated herself to the students of a university deep in the hinterland of Northern Asia, and she paid joyfully the cost of that dedication with her life.  Her legacy lives on in the lives of multiplied young men and women who are destined to change the very nature of Northern Asia.

Karen traces the early life of Jamie from childhood through university and graduate studies.  “Mom, God’s Got This details her extraordinary qualities within the mix of some very human and personal struggles including spiritual ones.  Above all, the book reveals Jamie’s deep sense of a divine call to a place and people that would challenge her faith and her ability to survive physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Some of the early chapters reveal Jamie’s personal challenges regarding marriage and the prospect of remaining single to fulfill her call.  The author carefully probes this major factor as Jamie endeavors to maintain her equilibrium and keep her focus clear.

Jamie’s first years at her chosen university are beautifully portrayed in chapters ten through thirteen.  Chapter sixteen is the highlight of those years as it includes the remarkable testimonies of students whose lives were impacted by Jamie; it is a must- read.  Jamie’s own summary of her personal life is clearly articulated in chapter eighteen.  Dr. L, the chairperson for the linguistics track now identified as TESOL by Jamie’s alma mater, attributes the success of that program to Jamie.  That tribute can be found in chapter twenty-eight.  Finally, chapter twenty-nine is a moving review from a close personal friend.

Much of the remainder of the book deals with her troublesome marriage, her children, family, and finally her illness and death.  It is a story of unbearable pain and personal loss.  Her mother, very carefully from volumes of journals and lovingly kept notes throughout their lifetimes, brings into focus very intimate details of a story almost too painful to read.  However, until the very final moments of her life, Jamie reveals her unselfish love for the country of her calling and for her family.  The intensity of her passionate and selfless love never diminishes.

In its entirety, this beautifully written volume reveals a life that against overwhelming circumstances persevered to the very end to bless those to whom she was called and those whose lives she touched.

This is not an easy book to read and digest.  It is filled with excitement and joyous experiences.  Yet the pain of emotional stress and physical illness, while seeking to remain focused on true spiritual values and goals, seem humanly overwhelming—but for the grace of God.

My interest in this brief review is not to call attention primarily to human frailties and suffering.  It is rather to underscore the triumph of a life dedicated to divine will and purpose.  Eternity will reveal a harvest of glorious consequences that has resulted from the investment of this one solitary life who without malice or ill will offered herself on God’s altar.