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Products / Bittersweet


Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
Shauna Niequist
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“The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. “It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy. “This is what I’ve come to believe about change: it’s good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that it’s incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God’s hand, which is where you wanted to be all long, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be. “I’ve learned the hard way that change is one of God’s greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we’ve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I’ve learned that it’s not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God’s graciousness, not life’s cruelty.” Niequist, a keen observer of life with a lyrical voice, writes with the characteristic warmth and honesty of a dear friend: always engaging, sometimes challenging, but always with a kind heart. You will find Bittersweet savory reading, indeed. “This is the work I’m doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you, and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you, and grow.”

About the Author

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine and Savor. She is married to Aaron, and they have two wild and silly and darling boys, Henry and Mac. They live outside Chicago, where Aaron leads The Practice and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Shauna also writes for the Storyline Blog, and for IF:Table, she is a member of the Relevant podcast, and a guest teacher at her church. Shauna’s three great loves are her family, dinner parties, and books, and she believes that vulnerable storytelling, hard laughter, and cold pizza for breakfast can cure almost anything.


“Bittersweet is so delicious I wanted to douse it in butter and syrup and eat the whole thing. I fell into a deep and genuine depression when I read the last word and there was no more. Be kind and please treat yourself to this book. It is lovely and hilarious and poignant in all the best ways that make me so deliriously happy as a reader.” – Jen Hatmaker, Author

“Exquisite, exquisite, exquisite … What Shauna does better than most I know is live at the intersection of sorrow and hope. She brings a fearlessness to her fears, meets Christ there, and shares with us the truth and grace from that adventure. My deepest hope right now is that she is working on her next book.” – Nancy Ortberg, Author

“Shauna Niequist is a gift. Her words should be savored and celebrated.” – Margaret Feinberg, Author

“For those of us whose lives have made some unexpected and unwelcome twists and turns, Bittersweet offers company. I love this book not only for the peeks into the ups and downs of Shauna’s life, but because she offers us hope and sweetness at every turn—even the sharpest, most bitter ones.” – Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira, Author

“If I had even half the wordsmithery skills of Shauna Niequist, I could write the endorsement my soul wishes to express. I’ll have to settle for a picture, hopefully worth a thousand of my inadequate words. So, picture this … me giving Bittersweet to my teenage daughters, who mean more to me than anyone, hoping Shauna’s influence will imprint their malleable hearts. That’s my most sincere endorsement.” – Lisa Whelchel, Author

“With true grit and grace, Shauna Niequist gives meaning to our own mundane and profound stories, stories of unsold houses, dear friends moving away, babies loved and lost—tales that shape us from the inside out. In every page, the bitter and the sweet converge, carrying truth, hope, and redemption.” – Lorilee Craker, Author

“Bittersweet is vulnerable and honest in a truly profound way. Shauna calls the reader to bravery and gives us permission to explore our own stories—both the beautiful and the gritty—having faith that in the end we will find ourselves closer to God and the way he created us to be. An enjoyable, inspiring, and compelling read!“ – Steve Carter, Pastor

“Somehow Shauna Niequist sees the world differently. She reveals prolific thoughts often trapped in menial everyday circumstances. Her authenticity is disarming and her observations are truly insightful. Bittersweet helped me process and reflect on all that is painful and beautiful in my life.” – Darren Whitehead, Pastor

“I must admit: I read this book because I like Shauna’s tweets and because I like her mom and dad. And now that I’ve read her book for all the wrong reasons, I must make a second admission: I really like this book. Way more than I expected. It’s the honest struggle of an honest Christian, wife, mom, sister, and daughter. This is Shauna’s second memoir, and I’m already standing in line for the third one!” – Scot McKnight, Professor

“In Bittersweet, Shauna Niequist writes of seeking buoyancy in rough waters. Her stories of friendship, family, and food remind us of what matters most. These reflections guide us to live more reflective lives—to review the past with one eye on our frailty and another on God’s redemptive mercy. With refreshing honesty Shauna reminds us that God can redeem all things.” – Jeff Manion, Senior Pastor

“Shauna Niequist writes with a voice that is lovely, honest, soulful, and lit with hope. Bittersweet is a companion for life.” – John Ortberg, Pastor and Author

“Shauna is a funny and courageous storyteller. In the midst of her stories about loss and transition, her warm and hopeful voice shines through. As an important voice in today’s culture, Shauna brings a fresh perspective to living out her faith. Readers of Bittersweet will feel like they’ve made a friend—they’ll feel understood, comforted, and challenged to grow.” – Brad Lomenick, Executive Director

“Bittersweet is so comforting and intimate. It is rare that a book draws you in so quickly and hooks you so deeply.” – Kendall Payne, Recording Artist

“Bittersweet represents an important theme resurfacing in the church today—public permission for honesty, brokenness, freedom, and healing. Shauna captures that spirit effortlessly and inspires her readers to do the same.” – Rebekah Lyons, Co-founder

  • Product Details
  • Page Count: 256
  • Format: Hardcover, Printed
  • ISBN: 9780310328162
  • Release: July 28, 2010