Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review~ Thin Places

I'm too tired to think, much less blog. But I did just finish an amazing book that everyone needs to read.

I love to read! Books are treasured friends. And to be honest, I fall in love with most every book I read. So I'm a Publishers dream reviewer! :o)

But then there is the rare gem. The book that captivates you from page 1 and leaves you better than it found you. It's a book that doesn't leave your heart once you've finished it's pages.

"Thin Places" is one of those books.

Mary Demuth is an author, speaker, wife and mom. Her parenting books are perfect for any first generation Christian parents trying to find God's way in this crazy world. But the majority of her books are novels. Artfully written, compelling novels. This book is different. It is her memoir. Her story, in her words.

And let me tell you.... this lady has a heck of a story to tell. Abused, neglected, and lost Mary reaches back into the thin places of her childhood to search for the fingerprints of a Holy God in the midst of a tragic series of events.

If you've ever suffered. If you've ever questioned why circumstances happened to you, you need to read this book! I promise you will find healing for your soul from a girl who has "been there"!

If you read it I'd love to hear your thoughts! I hope it is as powerful for you as it was for me!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Letter

We found an interesting question that we plan to use tomorrow morning as a fun conversation starter. It’s supposed to be lighthearted, but somewhat serious. The question is:

If you could travel back in time to when you were five years old to impart a single message to yourself that would enrich your life what would it be?

My short, fun answer would be: invest in Google. But I have a hard time with short and fun. I’m more of a “ponder till you find depth” kinda girl. So, my entire afternoon has been filled with thoughts. Permit me to write them down in letter form. Call it cheap therapy.

Dear 5 year old Keri,

Life is pretty good for you right now. You are deeply cherished by your family. Life is fun and carefree. But it won’t always be that way.

In about 10 years your family will disintegrate. It will be sudden, unexpected, and ugly. Instead of processing the destruction of your parent’s marriage, you will pretend that nothing happened. You’ll stuff your feelings, and put on a smile. This is the beginning of a habit that will stick with you into adulthood.

High school will pretty much suck. You’re dad’s drinking will get worse, your mom will be absent, and your brother will need you to take care of him. You’ll have to grow up really fast. And you will. You will step up and take care of the men in your life.

It’s not all bad though. While home life may be a mess, you do meet someone to help you. Jesus. You know all those questions you have about life and meaning? Well, Jesus is the answer. And when you finally meet Him... it will all make sense.

Another good thing happens in High School. You’ll meet someone and fall in love. Shortly after High School you will marry him. And you will be given ample opportunity to put those marriage vows to the test. There will be a lot of “worse” before there is a glimmer of “better”. You will push him away, afraid that he too will abandon you. Things will get really dark. So dark that you’ll want to give up. But don’t! Because one day you will find the light again. And something amazing will happen. You’ll discover a love that you never thought possible. A love that you’ve only read about in cheesy romance novels. One day you’ll quit pretending that you have a wonderful marriage, because you will actually have one.

You know all those things that you’re afraid of? Those things that keep you from sleeping at night? Most of them will never happen. Some will. You’ll lose your Noni to cancer. And you’ll miss her. You’ll miss her more than you can imagine. You’ll be broke. You’ll bounce checks. You’ll lose a job or two. You’ll be in a few car wrecks (your biggest fear at five). But you’ll survive it all. You’ll sit beside hospital beds of loved ones, stand beside graves, and wonder where God is. You’ll lose friends. You’ll be a crappy friend. But through it all, you will grow.

I wish I could tell you not to worry so much about what others think. You’ll waste a lot of time trying to make your parents proud. The truth is, for many years they’ll be too wrapped up in their own pain to even notice you. But they’ll come around. And they will one day tell you all the things you’re longing to hear. And those girls, the ones with flat tummies and perfect hair. Well, you’ll forget all about them. Those boys that look through you and the nights without dates, you’ll treasure those times. It’s the boys you’ll cling to to find your worth that you’ll regret.

Friends will be few and far between. The pattern you start in High School of keeping people at arm’s length will continue for many years. As a defense mechanism you’ll lock your heart up in a fortress, and you’ll push a lot of people away. But there will be a few who stick around. A few that will see through the pain enough to love you, in spite of you. Hold on to them. Trust them with your heart.

They’ll be good times too. You’ll get to be a momma. And it’s even better than you think it will be. You’ll get the “happily ever after”. Only it won’t look like what you think it will. It won’t be a perfect life. There will be no wealth, no picket fence, no elaborate vacations. But it will be a full life. Full of meaning, and joy, and love. Full of life. And it will be beautiful.

I’ve learned something recently about beauty. In the absence of the ugliness of life beauty is simply common. It is nothing to behold. It will not inspire you or take your breath away. But in the presence of lack, in the midst of the dark, ugly places in life... beauty is glorious. It is magical.
So I say to you, precious girl. Don’t hide your eyes from the darkness. Don’t try to avoid the things you fear. Because God will see you through and it will all be worth it one day.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Inspire Me

I’m an information junkie. Always have been. I love to read and do research. I follow countless blogs, subscribe to too many podcasts, read magazines while waiting in line, keep a dictionary and thesaurus next to the bed…. It’s official, I’m a nerd.

Case in point…

Lately I’ve been wrestling with “information” verses “inspiration”. In true nerdy fashion I grabbed the dictionary.

Information- knowledge gained through study, communication, research, instruction, etc.; factual data; to supply oneself with knowledge of a matter or subject

Inspiration- to produce or arouse a feeling, thought, etc.; to influence; to animate; to guide or control by divine influence; to prompt or instigate utterances, acts, etc. by influence; to give rise to, bring about, cause; to breathe into or upon

It’s a lot easier to get information than to get inspiration. To get information I need only open a book, click on Google, listen to a podcast. I can gain knowledge while busy, distracted, or tired. I don’t have to plan for it. I don’t have to put much effort into it.

Inspiration, on the other hand, is a lot harder to come by. You can’t just decide to be inspired. You have to pursue it. Make time for it. For me it usually involves turning off computers, turning on some great music, and searching out beauty. Inspiration comes in moments of solitude. It comes in places filled with wonder.

Information awakens my mind.

Inspiration awakens my soul.

I long to be inspired.