Three books, all very different from each other. I’ll start with the devotional I’ve been reading for the past several months, Grace through the Ages. Not only is this written by my former counseling supervisor and colleague, Bill Smith, whom I respect and have learned from immensely, but in his typical way, he seamlessly connects Scripture (all of it, Old and New Testament) to my day-to-day heart struggles, doubts, fears, and hopes. Every day that I pick this book up to read a one page devotional thought, I am met with a glimpse into God’s heart for me: his desire to be in relationship with his people and the great lengths to which he goes to bridge the gap of my sin and folly. Here are a few nuggets for you to savor.
Suffering burns away self-deception by making us aware of what we turn to apart from Jesus to make our lives work.
He [God] made you in his image and when you properly fill your role, you will talk to others about how to live in his world, in the same way he’s spoken about it to you.
The same grace that embraces me also calls me to share my life with people who are dramatically different from me and to live with them in small groups of people that look remarkably like that first one 2000 years ago.
Second is Susan Cain’s book, Quiet. I’ve mentioned it on here previously, and it’s a dense book that will take some time to peruse. I was drawn to read it because I find myself both longing for quiet in a way I haven’t before (probably something to do with the constant noise involved in staying at home with twin toddlers), and I also find myself drawn to introversion as a way of re-energizing rather than big groups of people. I’m a mix of both, to be sure, but I am increasingly embracing my “inner nerd” whose ideal day would be spent in a quiet coffee shop reading a few really good books, and then writing about it. Thanks for providing me with an audience.
The final book in my stack is along the lines of funny-parenting-real-memoir, Carry On, Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery. She is telling her story, and telling it in a brave, vulnerable way that invites me to do the same. And in a way that all of us can relate to. She begins by talking about what began this journey for her: opening up about her less-than-ideal past (that included addictions and jail) to a fellow mom while at a playdate on a playground. Now how’s that for inspiration to have different sorts of conversations the next time you gather with a friend? From her intro – an invitation to all of us –
The more I opened my heart to the folks in my circles, the more convinced I became that life is equal parts brutal and beautiful. And/Both. Life is brutiful. Like stars in a dark sky. Sharing life’s brutiful is what makes us feel less alone and afraid. The truth can’t be stuffed down with food or booze or exercise or work or cutting or shopping for long. Hiding from the truth causes its own unique pain, and it’s lonely pain. Life is hard — not because we’re doing it wrong, just because it’s hard. It’s okay to talk, write, paint, or cry about that. It helps.