I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Gems of Wisdom: The Treasure of Experience,” by Angela Breidenbach. This creative and well-written devotional book was honest and vulnerable, which helped me to feel as if I were getting to know the author personally. Breidenbach takes readers on a journey through 16 different “Gemstones” (gems of wisdom learned from difficult experiences). She shares Scripture pertaining to each Gemstone, thought-provoking questions, non-fiction stories from real-life people, and “Pirates” — fictionalized portraits, based on historical pirates, which symbolize negative attitudes and emotions.
The devotionals often portray hurtful and emotionally-draining moments Breidenbach experienced while caring for her schizophrenic mother as well as stories from others who have struggled with similar difficulties. Readers who serve as caregivers for their own loved ones will find the book especially meaningful and poignant. Likewise, those who are struggling with trauma from other life events will find a lot of truth to delve into and hold onto in “Gems of Wisdom.” The book ends with a helpful companion guide, which prompts readers to think deeply and journal about the concepts the author introduces.
Breidenbach ends each meditation with a section called “Putting It All Together,” in which she attempts to tie “all the loose ends together in each chapter so it’s easy to understand and easy to put into practice.”