At Christmas I received the book, My Seventh Monsoon, as a gift. I was delighted and intrigued as I know the author, Naomi Reed, but had no idea she was even writing a book. I do not know her well but other members of my family do and that is why my parents sent me the book.
My Seventh Monsoon is autobiographical but it is much more than just the story of Naomi’s life so far. The book is full of insight into the way God works in people’s lives to bring about his purposes. It is also about living in two very different cultures: Australia and Nepal. Naomi has deftly woven the strands of her book together to create a memoir which inspires, teaches and captivates.
Naomi’s years in Nepal with her husband inspired the title. Nepal’s seasons, particularly the intense monsoon season, set her thinking about the seasons of her own life, which gave her the framework for her book. Starting back in her childhood she identifies sixteen seasons, and shares with us not only the events and memories of each season, but also the lasting impact that season had on her life. She stresses that she was not aware while experiencing each season that it was just that: a season, a section of her life, a time which would eventually end, leaving her in a new place.
Her early life in a family which hiked, camped, skied was not a life of luxury but a life of adventure and simplicity. Of course she could not know then how it was preparing her for seasons in Nepal, hiking for hours and living with little. Leaving Australia to work as physiotherapists in Nepal was a dramatic move for her and Darren, her husband. Living in a country where the language, food, geography and weather were nothing like she had ever experienced created great feelings of inadequacy for Naomi and brought her to a point of greater trust in the Lord who is adequate in all situations.
As Naomi spent years in Nepal and years back in Australia her son and her husband faced life threatening emergencies. There were seasons of waiting, seasons of relief and refreshment. God was providing and enabling throughout them all. It is hard to describe how easy it was to connect with this book. My life is not that similar to Naomi’s and yet I found her writing totally relevant to me. We do not all have the same lessons to learn but we all face challenges at different times in our lives. When growing through seasons of hardship and seasons of blessing it is worth remembering that there is a time for every purpose under heaven.
Additional Note: I found out this week that Naomi’s book was awarded second prize by the Australian Christian Literature Society in the 2008 Christian Book of the Year category. I was also thrilled to see that Simon Holt‘s book, God Next Door, was awarded first prize. Simon is a long time friend from our days in Glen Waverley.