Wineskins Archive

December 8, 2013

Book Review: Megan’s Secrets (May 2012)

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By Matt Dabbs

There is really no way to feel qualified to even begin. How do you accurately and fairly review something so special, so seminal and so central to someone’s life as a book about their disabled daughter? This is holy ground and it that to be respected.

My first exposure to Megan’s Secrets was Mike Cope’s series of lessons that he did at the Pepperdine Lectures last year. Listening to Mike reflect on the life of his disabled daughter just about moved me to tears. I fought the tears off successfully the first time but that wouldn’t be the end of it. I knew I had to read this book. As most of you already know, Mike is an outstanding storyteller and is also skilled at making things relevant. Combine those two talents with the subject being his beloved daughter Megan and you have a very special book.

The stories in this book are touching … my wife, Missy, and I started reading this book together and we didn’t make it 20 pages before the tears started. Around page 20, Mike tells the story of Megan’s death. He tells how he sang over her the words to her favorite song, The Lord’s Army, and then how he recited “The Lord bless you and keep you…” over her. Now the Lord’s Army was especially appropriate because not only was it one of her favorite songs, it was also entirely appropriate to her limitations in life and the hope her family had for her in Christ. Like the song says, there are many things she just wouldn’t be able to do in life but that in her passing she was a full fledged member of the Lord’s army — what a wonderful blessing.

What was especially moving and emotional for Missy and me was reading how he said a blessing over her as she died. Missy and I have started saying blessings over Jonah (our three year old) at various times during the day. The one we use just about exclusively is “the Lord bless you and keep you.” As I read those words and looked at Missy I could see she had already been crying. She was looking over my shoulder as I read aloud and saw it coming before I got to it. This is just one of many examples from this book that will impact you for the better. This book will move you and help you understand life’s obstacles a little better.

What is also great about this book is that Mike does more than tell touching stories. Now, the book is driven by story and especially stories about his little girl. But what makes the whole book fit together is how Mike takes those stories and interweaves them with the story of scripture, the teachings of Jesus, and other biblical principles to teach the rest of us things that he could only learn through the experience and challenges the Cope family had raising Megan. Mike says Megan was his greatest teacher. Like a good student, Mike has packaged up those lessons he learned during those years and has shared them with whoever will listen through the pages of this book.

Here are a few lessons learned from sitting at the feet of the master teacher, Megan Cope:

  • The standards of this world are weak and don’t account for the power of God – By this world’s shallow standards, Megan didn’t measure up. Yet Mike reflects on just how talented, loving, and gifted this little girl was. She barely got out a complete sentence her entire life and yet she had more worthwhile things to teach others if they were willing to pay attention and by the sound of it, it was quite the challenge to not pay attention to Megan.
  • Living in the moment – She wasn’t consumed by a unhealthy obsession of worrying about tomorrow or even today.
  • Being different is not just alright, it is exceptional – The truth is in all our differences we are all very much the same. She had a way of bringing everyone back to the same level.
  • She knew how to love unconditionally and with “no strings attached” – She didn’t care if you could offer her any status upgrades or perks. She didn’t care who you knew or what you had achieved. She just saw you for you and loved what she saw. What a gift it would be to the world if more Christians, myself included, embodied that quality.
  • She showed tremendous strength out of what appeared to be weakness – The world has this whole power thing backwards and Megan’s life made that obvious. You see this part most clearly in chapter five (one of the most powerful chapters of the book) where Mike compares Megan’s attitude and Paul’s and comes to the realization that broken, bruised and chipped trumps a false sense of wholeness in a life that is not willing to be honest about its own brokenness.
  • And that is only the first half of the book. There is so much more that could be mentioned. If you have lost a child, this book is profoundly helpful. If you haven’t been through that, this book still has so much to teach. Just be ready to learn, grow and maybe even shed a few tears.

Thanks, Mike, for sharing her life with the rest of us. I look forward to meeting your greatest teacher in the kingdom of God. I am quite certain she will be saying a lot more than “I’m Megan” and have more songs in her repertoire than the Lord’s Army and Jesus Loves Me.

Thanks for writing such a touching and inspirational book.

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