Lisa Harper has a gift of evoking both laughter and deep thought from the reader in her book Stumbling into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman. My first reaction to the attractive, cute cover with the little girl dressed up in pink was that this book was going to be as fluffy as the skirt the little girl was wearing.
Each chapter begins with a peek into an episode in the life of Lisa Harper, almost as if I could read her thoughts as she experienced something that I could relate to in my own life – stories of a something embarrassing, humiliating, or stressful, or how she reacted in dealing with different types of people. Her gift of story-telling her experiences caused me to giggle as well as contemplate my own perceptions. Then she followed her tale with a passage from the Gospels relating to the life of Jesus. She effectively builds the bridge between the Bible and her own modern life. At the end of each chapter, she provides a prayer, questions for personal reflection or group discussion, and a prompt for your own journal entry.
I was pleasantly surprised that this book, even with its poignant and witty life stories, was not fluffy after all. Her ability to tie the lesson from the Gospels to her everyday life inspired me to look harder at my own daily stories and to open my eyes as to how God’s Words apply.
Some things that I want to remember in this book that really struck a chord in my heart:
· During times of extreme stress, we should focus on inhaling God’s peace and exhaling anxiety. I plan to practice this for an upcoming job interview and every time I begin to feel anxiety over an upcoming trip across the border.
· “The congregation is the hermeneutic of the Gospel” (Lesslie Newbigin). Our understanding of who Jesus is develops through the lens of community. Lisa Harper says that God positions people around us as amazing carriers of His grace. I am seeing how the people in my life can develop my understanding of the depth of God’s love and grace, strengthening my grasp on the multi-faceted aspects of His character.
· “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do” (Anne Lamott). Lisa Harper’s story of her day around irritating and annoying people triggers laughter because we can all relate! She goes on to say that she is glad that Jesus isn’t irritated by the people who irritate us. If we choose to focus on the whole of other people’s stories as opposed to one irritating chapter, we can become less and less critical of others.
I give this book five stars out of five! To comply with regulations by the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255, I am disclosing that BookSneeze® provided me a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.