Elm Hill Books (2020)
Reviewed by Ashley Hooker for Reader Views (12/2021)
In “Char’s Gift” Steve Harryman has put together a work that readers will need tissues for. His wife Charlene is the main character in this story and Steve’s life. She has a strong faith in God and even when she is down, strives to lift up her husband.
Steve and Charlene, known as Char, met in 1979. They were young people working at the same restaurant; she was a waitress and Steve was the new busser. Steve and Char became best friends with no desire for love. It was only after a decade that they both realized their true feelings for one another.
After they married, they became house parents and began writing articles for various magazines. They were the couple that enjoyed working together. One Easter Sunday would forever change their lives. Char experienced a series of seizures that led to the diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor. She had surgery to remove the tumor and began radiation treatments. Char did exceptionally well.
After her ordeal, Steve and Char began sharing their story of hope with other cancer survivors. They knew the importance of having support and wanted to give back the blessings they had been given. Throughout Char’s life, she had mountaintops and valleys. Through them all, she showed unwavering faith. She endured all the setbacks and triumphs with grace and dignity.
I am not a cancer survivor. I have never had cancer, so I cannot fully understand what Steve and Char’s life was like. Even so, I felt so connected to Char. I found myself rooting for her to pull through each time she had a setback. I wanted her to succeed in everything she did. Char made me realize the kind of person and Christ follower I want to be. Throughout my own life, I have endured struggles. None that were life-threatening, but ones that led me down a path of deep depression and anxiety. Char is my encouragement. One of her favorite verses was Acts 20:35. This verse speaks of being more blessed to give than to receive. I only hope I can do the same in my lifetime.
Steve Harryman has brought light to struggles and joys of his life with Char. He certainly has shared her legacy in a powerful way. I would recommend this book to anyone who is facing trials, fighting cancer, or feels life has beaten them up. Thank you, Steve, for sharing Char with us. I know I will not forget her.