BOOK REVIEW: RAW FAITH by Kasey Van Norman

Got faith? How about raw faith? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Call me a voracious reader. Sometimes I read two to three books a week; often I bounce around from book to book. While countless Christian books I read are hugely informative and often inspiring, strong in teaching and encouraging, too, many of them are written by authors who stay on the surface rather than diving deep below. Every once in a while, however, I run across an exception. Such is the case with Kasey Van Norman’s book Raw Faith: When God Picks a Fight, published by Tyndale House Publishers and scheduled for release in April 2014. If you’re ready and willing to take a dive down deep – deeper than you may have ever gone before or deeper than you’ve been in a while – be prepared to go on a raw, gritty, challenging, and, yes, phenomenally inspiring and life-transforming journey with Kasey.

Everything about this book is totally raw – a somewhat rare, and wonderfully refreshing, thought-provoking quality in a book in my experience. Raw, and real. Where so many books are sugar-coated with comfortable, easy, palatable, sweet-sounding, somewhat, if not entirely, surface kind of writing, Raw Faith is not. Not at all. Where the Bible calls us to offer our bodies (or lives) (Romans 12:1) to God as a living sacrifice, it is my belief that Kasey has done just that by extending an invitation to readers to dive down into the depths of her heart, her life, her story as God is glorified through her testimony.

She is so utterly transparent in the diary entries she intersperses with strong, solid, Bible teaching and hands-on encouragement for the readers’ faith journeys that she seems to hold absolutely nothing back. Countless people share about their experiences with cancer as she does, but there is something about her gut-wrenching honesty, her breathtaking integrity, her hold-nothing-back-no-matter-how-hard-it-is-to-hear approach to writing that this book is anything but the typical testimony book, teaching book, or testimony-and-teaching book. This is not to say that she does not do a marvelous job of intertwining personal testimony with excellent teaching – not to mention packing her book with numerous scriptures to back everything up. But it’s to say that she does this in a remarkably RAW, powerful, and God-glorifying way.

She is just simply utterly real. She does not pretend for a minute to have it all together as I feel so many of us are inclined to do when we put our hearts out there before the world – if we are willing to put our hearts out there at all, that is. She is willing to share about the tough places in her faith journey. She is real about her struggles, even to the point of sharing the stuff most people would probably rather keep behind closed doors. But Kasey refuses to hold anything back, it seems, because she seems to have an incredibly strong sense that her testimony is not for her and her loved ones alone. She sacrifices the privacy of her heart, it seems, because she knows innately that her story is for God’s glory. And rather than put on her makeup and look pretty for the camera, so to speak, or for the reader in this sense, she is wide open as far as her heart and life are concerned so that the reader will most probably be left with an indescribable challenge not found in many of the books I read.

When so often I read and finish a book enjoying the book, and even being taught and inspired, with a sense that all is well and all is right, this is not the case with Kasey’s book. And I truly give God praise for how He has used Kasey’s book Raw Faith to do something I pray more authors – myself included – will have the courage to do. The challenge? As I read the book, though a little less so toward the end where I felt there was more teaching and less testimony, I could not help but be challenged to look at my own life. Do I have raw faith? Am I willing to get down and dirty in examining where I stand in my faith in God? It’s one thing to say I believe in God. It’s one thing for me to preach, and to write for the Lord, and to have a ministry God has placed in my hands. But it’s an entirely different matter to look inside my heart with God shining His flashlight to see where I need to grow, and to change, and to progress in my faith walk. Kasey’s book challenges the reader to do just that. Just as Kasey has done with the Lord and with her readers, her book challenges the reader to go before the Lord and see exactly where her or she is in his or her faith journey.

As Kasey went through her indescribably phenomenal personal trial that she describes in her book, she realized where God was trying her faith. But she did not stop there. She did not collapse to the ground and give up. She sought the Lord, she sought His Word, and she allowed Him through her trial to test her, to refine her, to grow her, to transform her. How many of us in our trials do just that? And how many of us simply crash down to the ground and refuse to stand up again? As I walk through a particularly trying season in my own life, I can’t help but thank God that in His infinite wisdom He dropped this breathtakingly beautiful, tough, raw, and in-your-face book into my heart and life.

It is my hope that you, too, perhaps would open your heart, prepare yourself for a challenge, and pick up Raw Faith and see if God uses it in your life, also, to lead you forward in your walk with Him. And for those of you who may not yet know the Lord, I encourage you to consider picking it up also. No matter where you are in your faith walk, or whether you have not even begun, this is a read I believe, and hope, that will bless countless people as God has used it to bless, and challenge, me.

You can learn more about Kasey Van Norman, her heart, her life, her writing, and her ministry, including Still Creek Ranch (love horses and kids in need?), please visit

please note this review was done in exchange for a free digital copy of the book from the publisher. while the publisher does not in any way request a positive-only review, my heart as a lover of the Lord and as a fellow author is to choose to read and review books that are inspiring, uplifting, and create an opportunity to give an encouraging word! 

Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at

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