- Sonya Leigh Anderson
Updated: Aug 30, 2019
God often speaks to me through books, which has been the case this week. I’m nearly always reading several at once, and currently my collection includes an author I spent a week with at a camp in the Rockies several years ago; an author who wrote two centuries ago; and two women bloggers – one whose earthly journey ended in battle with cancer, and one who is young and living and beautifully wise.
Where to start? Murray I think. Andrew Murray has long been one of my favorite “dead authors” (1828 – 1917). His Covenants and Blessings was my go-to book during the formative years of my own covenant writing. This month I’ve been reading his Full Life in Christ, and it’s just what I’ve needed. Yesterday morning standing around the kitchen counter eating breakfast with Luke and Kyle, I made sort of a vow to take Murray’s word to heart for a holy experiment for the duration of my life. Two quotes to illustrate:
The lesson must be relearned: Christ, in the fullest sense of the word will be the life of those who dare to trust Him for it. Those who cannot trust with a full trust, cannot love with a full love.
Make this your surrender: conscious of being utterly unable to do anything in your own strength, offer yourself to your Lord to work “in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Amen and amen.
Sharon Hodde Miller says similar things in her Free of Me. This author, young and wise beyond her family season, writes with maturity I thoroughly admire. I see the pictures on her website of a pregnant belly and two little boys, and I won’t deny it, comparing my own adulting tribe, I wonder how one so young could know so much. And then I remember how I was in this same season when I was in God’s seminary and He was my teacher – and my heart is knit to this sister in Christ. And I’ll just say this – if you are a woman you should read this book!
Earlier this week I found myself in the wrong turn lane driving toward home, and decided on a whim to take a detour to the library. Not that I needed another book, but I’d just finished a brutal memoir, and I was looking for a bit of pleasure reading. Which does not at all explain how I ended up with Kara Tippettts’ And It Was Beautiful – a collection of blog posts written by this woman as she was dying of cancer. And it truly is a beautiful book. I am compelled by this author, along with the others, to live for what matters, with simple love and honest trust and an eternal perspective.
The last book in my stack (although I’ll admit there might be a few others tucked here and there) is Ken Gire’s Windows of the Soul. We met this author at Wind River Ranch the summer Grant was ten years old and he first climbed Half Dome with his dad. Ken was deep and thoughtful, the perfect kind of mellow for a mountain retreat, and each evening we’d circle up in Adirondack chairs and wooden rockers, cozy by the massive indoor fireplace, singing worship songs until the little ones fell asleep in Daddy’s arms, and then Ken would show us movie clips and we’d chat for a while about the meaning of things. Ken uses illustrations from art and story and nature to make spiritual connections.
Recently I’ve been rereading Gire’s book with my friend, Angie. And I must admit when she chose it from an assortment of books I’d brought with me to Caribou, I was secretly hoping to read something else – perhaps Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, a book recommended at a Writer’s Guild I’d attended the night before. But like it often happens, God must have whispered his own choice in Angie’s ear, and He’s been using Ken’s “windows” of vocation and story to affirm my own call in my current season.
We read to know we’re not alone. This quote from C.S. Lewis is one I’ve long considered hanging in my library, and this week it’s been more than true. Through the words of each author I’ve found something to describe my own soul’s journey, and through them I’ve heard the voice God.