In case you forgot, I love to read. Stacks of books seem to pile up all over the house — most of them half read. Other women buy shoes; I buy books. For 2012, I am purposing to be a bit more intentional about my reading plan. I hope to read 12 books and post a “Net Out” here on the blog using a format similar to Michael Hyatt’s.
Stumbling Into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman by Lisa Harper was a great way to kick off my 2012 Reading List. Why you ask? Well, because Lisa Harper’s life is as crazy as mine is! She proves she is not scared to laugh at herself. Partnered with Scriptural truths, her self-deprecating stories grab you until you are laughing so hard that you are crying.
The theme of this book is that God loves us right where we are – He loves our “messy selves.” His grace picks us up when we stumble – if we will let Him. He is our security when we fear, our Liberator who casts off the chains of legalism and bondage, and the Giver of good gifts. His gift of grace changes us so that we become less critical and more grateful and content as we depend on Him.
Here are some “take away” truths that captured my attention:
- Be Authentic: “God wants us to care about people more than we care about policies and appearance. He wants us to focus on living more than we focus on looking spiritual” (page 22).
- Cultivate a thankful heart: “I think intentional gratitude, especially for the small gifts that come wrapped in ordinary paper (or fur), is a necessary ingredient to living out an authentically joyful story. When we recognize that clean water, cold watermelon, red leaves in October, warm coats on cold days, and even a cat purring against one’s legs are small demonstrations of our Redeemer’s plan to bless mankind, it cements our hope and security. It anchors our prone-to-wander hearts to the truth of God’s sovereign goodness and grace and to the fact that, regardless of what we’re currently walking through, we can rest in His absolute affection” (page 54).
- Stay connected: “In other words, we formulate our understanding of who Jesus is largely through the lens of community. The people God positions around us can be amazing carriers of His grace” (page 108).
- Remember God is at work in the messiness of it all: “We can become more grateful by searching for God’s goodness and mercy in the oft-present ruins of everyday life” (page 178).
- Extend God’s grace (it’s the best gift ever!): “The older I get, the more convinced I am that admittedly flawed sinners are the most credible witnesses of Jesus, because people with scars can’t fake moral perfection. It’s glaringly apparent we can’t save ourselves. Wounded Christian warriors with scabby knees, bruised hearts, and even track marked arms, who sometimes stumble yet always grab onto the arm of His Spirit in order to stand up again and again, exemplify the redemptive power of divine grace. We prove how miraculous and restorative the love of God is” (p. 189).
This lovely book reminded me that it’s ok to be me — I am so thankful that I picked it up. If you need a little TLC and could use some encouragement to “keep on keeping on,” this is a great book. God’s grace is available and abundant. Hallelujah!
Up next will be The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, a book about praying bold prayers and seeing God move in miraculous ways. Want to read it with me? I will be posting about it on March 2nd.
I would love to hear about what you are reading. Feel free to share in the comment section below to be entered in a Giveaway — I will be giving away a copy of each of these 2 great books.
One additional entry can be earned for each of these:
- Follow @3dLessons4Life on Twitter. Leave a comment indicating that you did.
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- Grab the 3dLessons4Life button from the sidebar and add it to your blog. Leave a comment with a link to your blog so we can connect!
Just make sure to enter on or before February 17th to participate. Thanks for stopping by!
UPDATE: Elizabeth with Jenkins Jaunts and Julie Milam are the winners! Congratulations!!!