Just Keep Going
by Sarah H. Nielsen
For about a decade, Sarah H. Nielsen’s son Ted walked in dangerous ways. Years later, she found out he fell into drugs at the age of twelve and didn’t emerge from that shadow for nine years. Just Keep Going is a series of devotions Nielsen wrote based on her journals written during those dark days, addressed to mothers of troubled teens. Each devotion is two or three pages and concludes with a prayer of thanksgiving and a prayer of entreaty. Through the book, Nielsen reminds the reader that it is not her job to save her child; it’s Jesus’s job.
Though much of this book came about because of Nielsen’s struggles with her own child, we get far less biographical information than I would have expected. Nielsen keeps the focus on the reader and their relationships with their children and with Jesus. I came to appreciate that aspect of the book, though I had expected the process to be far more story-based.
Much of what Nielsen writes points to Jesus in beautiful ways. One of the main themes of the book reminds readers that it is not up to them to save their children. Jesus paid for them. It is up to him to soften their hearts. I greatly appreciated that emphasis.
On the other hand, there’s an equal emphasis on the free will of humans to choose God. I’m sure that flows from Nielsen’s background, but so often it means that she tortures herself over trying to get her son to choose Jesus rather than focusing on the means of grace that God uses to create faith.
There’s also a strong current of mysticism, where Nielsen talks about listening for God’s voice. To be sure, she is in the Bible a lot and displays a pretty good knowledge of Scripture, but she also mentions hearing God speak to her. This is a dangerous heresy that can lead a lot of people astray. I’m glad she’s got her Bible knowledge; she needs to depend on that.
Which means that this book has some beautiful gospel moments, but it also has some blatant false theology. I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep the book yet. For those who are struggling, there really could be some fantastic help and encouragement. On the other hand, because the false doctrine is so strong that I would be reticent to actually hand the book over.
Either way, you can make your own decisions here!