Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stumbling Into Grace

A few months ago I signed up for a website called Book Sneeze. Here’s how it works:
1.       If you’re a blogger and enjoy reviewing books, sign up for a free account
2.       Choose a book from our available books and we’ll send you a copy for free
3.       Post a review of 200 words or more on your blog and a consumer website
4.       Login to Booksneeze, provide a link to your review, then request another book!
The first book I requested was Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper. If you have been to a Women of Faith Conference then you have heard of this wonderfully hilarious woman. I have been 4 or five years in a row and come home renewed and refreshed to tackle the daily challenges of being a woman every year. So of course I had to choose this book. And when you see the cover, you too will want this book (and maybe the little girl on the front!)

Well, it took some time before I was ready to read it because I was working on other Bible Studies with my church but once I started, I couldn’t stop! The book isn’t a work of fiction that you sit down and read in one day. It is more of a Bible study mixed with a study of your personal life in how it relates to the specific verses. So every morning when I arrived at work (I work in a funeral home that opens at 8:30 but I usually arrive early after dropping B off at school.) I sat down at my desk and read through one chapter. The next morning I would sit down with my journal and answer the questions at the end of each chapter. I love the way Lisa begins each chapter with “So, today I’ve been thinking about…” She begins to relate some story in her life that ranges from the tragic to the hilarious and takes you along for the ride. Next she relates a story from the Bible to the story she has told. The questions are preceeded by a prayer in a section labeled “Living in Light of His Story.” By taking you to your life and then connecting it to Jesus’ life, you will be lead to a new understanding of why things happen.
For example, Chapter 9 “Who’s Got Your Back?” is a very significant one for me. I actually read this chapter about a week before Michael died. When Lisa asked me to list the members of my “tribe,” that was easy but question #4 asked me to think about my relationships as a target just as Jesus had his relationships. God was his bull’s-eye with Peter, James, and John being the next ring, followed by the other disciples and the outer ring were friends he loved but didn’t spend much time with such as Lazarus. I had a difficult time with this question because I don’t hang out with friends. Sure we talk every once in a while. We might text a funny phrase or picture but mostly I’m a homebody. Now I understand my relationship to these people – they are my outer circle! So how have things changed in my target since Michael died? It has grown by leaps and bounds! I didn’t realize how many people loved us until Family Night at the Funeral Home. The place was packed! So many people I’m sure I didn’t speak to many of them. But then the next day, we arrived at the church and family was all over the place. I had expected that but when I walked into the sanctuary, I was awestruck but the number of people. It was literally standing room only! I don’t think even a school auditorium could have held them all! I remember just looking around and smiling at each and every face I could see hoping to engrave on my mind everyone that was there. I also wanted them to know that I was okay. I was going to get through this and that their love for me was truly appreciated! Looking back on that day, I know that my target is HUGE! There are so many people that just want to do things to make our lives easier. That’s what it’s all about.
So, today I’ve been thinking about Stumbling into Grace and I realize that the grace of God is overwhelming and all encompassing. He wants the best for us and his grace is pouring over us every day and every minute of our lives. I pray that each and every one of you reading this will be strengthened by my words. Please don’t cry for my loss but be strengthened by the grace of God as I am every day!