We Grieve For Us -- Part 2

We Grieve for Us (part 2)

Two weeks ago today, I began a process which began unexpectedly and which will take weeks, if not months, to fully accomplish. I began to grieve. I grieve for a friend who departed this world and who I now know better than I ever did in this life.

And while I have been intermittently weeping, talking on the phone with other mourners, and endeavoring to heal from the immense sadness clinging to me, I have learned a string of very valuable lessons. Some may have been tempted to ask a futile question by now; something to the effect of, “why?” Why did God allow this to happen? Well, I’d like to ask another question: Why should He not have? When I look around and seriously evaluate all that has happened in the last two weeks as a direct result of Adam’s untimely exit from this life, some wonderful truths have begun to emerge. Perhaps, for such a time as this, Adam’s death produced some lessons that we needed to learn and didn’t even realize it. So, while I will continue to battle through the inevitable emotions that come with grief, I have also been given an incredible gift: life lessons that have impacted me more deeply than at any other time in my life.
Here’s some of what I’ve learned.

Life is short
A preacher I’ve known all my life has often said that, “The old will die and the young may die.” The truth in this has been made abundantly clear of late. You REALLY might not wake up tomorrow morning. You REALLY might end up in a fatal car wreck tomorrow. You REALLY might have inoperable cancer right now and not even know it. You REALLY could die at any moment. These assertions might tempt one to live a paranoid kind of life, or even a foolhardy kind of life – one that just doesn’t care. But I would say that Adam’s way of life was testimony to the healthy way of living life. He DID know that life is short. He DID know that any day could be his last. And he likewise lived with gusto. He could live abundantly because he feared the God of heaven. And in doing so, he really could have “no guilt in life, no fear in death.” Don’t you want to live that way?

Right Priorities = Care-free Living
When you don’t fear death, when you live in expectation of being with God in heaven, you too can live like Adam. Adam, as many of us would find out after the fact, was very in tune with what was going on around him. And even more than that, he lived humbly. When I say that Adam lived humbly, I’m not referring to his often sparse living conditions (though, that certainly *was* true). Adam was actively doing all kinds of good and impacting people all over the place simply because he wasn’t letting his right hand know what his left hand was doing. In turn, then, Adam managed to not really care what people thought of him because he cared more for what God thought of him. Wouldn’t you rather worry about what just One Person thinks of you?




Compassion literally hurts.
In its rawest form, compassion means to suffer together with someone. Scripture tells of Jesus feeling such an emotion on several occasions, but I never really knew what it felt like. Needless to say, I know now. It hurts. It hurts so much that you can’t help but feel the need to make it better. Even if you can’t make it better, you still want to do SOMETHING that will help. In realizing what compassion *really* feels like, I learned a beautiful lesson: doing something to relieve the suffering of another human being also helps you. The pain you both feel is lessened when you do something. It’s good to feel compassion. Feeling compassion usually leads to someone making a difference in the life of someone else. Don’t you want to make a difference?

Be the kind of person who doesn’t forget to remember.
I heard at Adam’s memorial service that one of his goals had been to notice people. This probably wasn’t earth shattering to anyone, but to me…it was huge. How often had I been caught up in my fear of being forgotten or left alone? Such thoughts have crossed my mind far more than I care to admit. And there from the grave, Adam spoke. Without judgment or bias, he was simply telling us that it’s wonderful to notice people, maybe even putting yourself in their shoes: What were they thinking and feeling and how could you draw them into the inner sanctum of your own life? I was reminded of how selfish my thought processes had been, how I had been feeling sorry for myself, how pathetic it is to whine about how no one remembers that you exist, and how *I* needed to change right now. I resolved to be the person who remembers. I resolved right then to not forget, and even to reach out to those on the fringes. I need them just as much as they need me. Don’t you want to be the kind of person who doesn’t forget to remember?

Sometimes, fear is just a reminder that we do not trust or love enough.
So, I learned that I have trust issues. Big time. I don’t trust God enough. I don’t trust my family enough. I just don’t trust other people enough.
And then I read this: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18, 19
Then I learned something else: love overcomes fear. And I have begun to love more deeply and intensely than I originally thought possible.
I love God for bringing me through one of the worst, most painful experiences I’ve yet endured. I love my family for stalwartly crying, mourning, and grieving with me. And I love the many others who have shared in my sadness – either through hugs, notes of encouragement, phone calls, financial help to attend the memorial, and a host of other things. Don’t you want to be free from fear and free to love abundantly?

The incredible good that comes from a life well lived.
I believe that Adam’s family would be the first to tell you that an abundance of good things have been done for them. The list of what’s been done FOR them would probably take up the rest of this post. But I want to take a few moments to tell you about something that happened to me because of Adam’s good reputation.
When memorial arrangements were being made, most of us who wanted to come had about 48 hours to make a decision. I wanted to go. Actually, strike that. I NEEDED to go. Feeling so isolated from everyone was by far the worst part of the grieving process. But making that happen financially was going to be difficult at best. And then completely out of the blue, two individuals approached me (independently of each other, mind you) and said, “Hey! We’d like to help you go to Adam’s memorial! Here’s some money.” I was floored. One of those individuals didn’t even know Adam. He’d only been hearing about him from others who did know him and as that particular individual put it, “I have been completely blown away.” I was too. So, without much thought to the rest of it, I bought some plane tickets, sent some text messages to let the appropriate people know I was coming, and proceeded to get rid of my shift at work.
It all worked out and I got there just fine. I cried, hugged, sang, and healed. And it was wonderful. And then that night I got the shock of my life. Someone (I don’t know who and probably never will from what I hear…) talked to my host family and decided to pay for all the rest of my travel expenses. I wept. I wept that some nameless, faceless, wonderful person should show me such kindness. I didn’t deserve it, and I surely wasn’t going to ask for it. And yet…there I was, holding a wad of cash, afraid to count it and shaking with emotion. And all because a good man had died.
I said all that to say this: don’t under estimate what good can come from your life. Don’t under estimate the influence you might have, because someday, you might be that person who showed me such generosity. You might even be the person writing a blog post in the hopes that others will be moved to do great things.

During the last two weeks, I have often thought about (and even said aloud) the words of Job after everything he had was lost, destroyed, or killed. Even after loosing ALL of his children he still said: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
I used to say those words with a sense of loss and even a tinge of bitterness.

But now I can say with contentment, joy, and thankfulness, “The Lord gave. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

We Grieve For Us -- Part 1

It's been a while since I felt the need to write on here, but recent events have lured me out of "retirement."

NOTE AND DISCLAIMER: I wrote the majority of this while traveling to Adam Smelser’s Memorial service. Writing these thoughts helped me deal in part with the emotions I was feeling at the time, and am even now contending with. I’m choosing to share this in a public forum because I understand that there may be others who have been grieving in a similar fashion, but might be unsure of how to express it. But these are still just my emotions. I might be crazy, but I hope it’s helpful to someone out there. But I also hope that you understand something else: this is not the end. I intend to follow this up with a part two.

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Words seem entirely insufficient right now. I intermittently want to curl up in my bed and hide from the world, and I also want to be completely surrounded by all those who know and love Adam. All I want to do is sit in a quite place and just be held in someone's arms as I weep. As my mother recently pointed out, if both intense sorrow and abiding joy could co-exist in the same emotion, they have certainly both come together in Adam’s death.

The flood of emotions has likewise been an intense, complex jumble.
Sadness: because I have no pictures, not many memories, and no claim on him as a close friend. I have nothing tangible to hold and remember; nothing save a few small writings in a yearbook of sorts. I feel a hole which I had never recognized before.
Guilt: for feeling such sadness for a person I didn’t know particularly well. And as I’m finding out, I didn’t really know him at all. Details of the kind of person he really was behind the mask of such silliness have been astounding to learn. I feel guilty for the pain I feel when others are feeling it much more acutely than I am. Shouldn’t I be stronger and more stoic than that? I feel guilty for feeling like I’ve been left behind, for feeling like everyone leaves me at one point or another – either by death, relocation, or simply by drifting apart. People forget me, and that hurts sometimes. And though Adam didn’t truly leave, he has just gone ahead and is probably up there right now saying, “Hurry up and get here, you crazy criminals!!!!”
Compassion (i.e. to suffer together with): I feel compassion for his family – what sorrow, what pain they must be feeling. Even I, in a small way, am feeling the crushing weight of it. I feel compassion for his close friends – what can I do or say to bring them comfort and peace when I can hardly make sense of my own grief and pain? Hugging is the only answer to that. Where words fail, hugging succeeds. It’s the only thing that communicates every emotion that I feel. I have never truly known what it is to "suffer together" with someone until now. It's no wonder that Jesus wept.
I ache for them.
I ache for me.
I want all of us to be together so much that it hurts.
Fear: Everything about this past week has brought to light all the things that I am most afraid of.
And even so, I feel happiness and joy. I am happy that Adam is with the Lord. He will feel no more sorrow, temptation, fear, hunger, pain, or rejection. He has lived for a week in eternity because he first lived faithfully for his Lord. He obtained the reward we all hope to achieve. He gained life indeed. If there was ever a person who lived out the words from In Christ Alone, it was Adam: “No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.” And so, we do not mourn as those who have no hope, for we have it in abundance.

Yet, I *do* mourn.
I mourn for myself – for the laughs I will not laugh because he was being ridiculous, for the encouragement I will not receive from his earthly shell, for the times I will not shake my head because Adam was just being himself.

I’ve learned this week that when the Lord calls one of His home, we aren’t grieving for the person who died.
We grieve for us.
  • marmee
    Amen, sweetie. Let it hurt ... and thanks for sharing it here. Many are feeling these complex emotions regarding Adam. Love to you.
    by marmee at 12/01/13 10:16AM
  • snoopy
    Yes. So much yes
    by snoopy at 12/01/13 12:06PM

The Buddy System

You see, I have this problem. It usually hits around October and stays till around January. I don't know why these particular months are such a hard stretch to get through, but year after year, I confront...The Slump.

I lack motivation to do important things.

My regular, knowledge-building reading falls by the wayside.

I have no urge to read my Bible.

Prayer is difficult at best.

And why is this? I really don't know.

I was talking to a friend and brother in Christ just recently and he point blank asked me *how* I overcome this slumpy, hazy, mindset that usually seems to flood my brain this time of year. When he asked me, I had no answer to give him. I didn't really know what to do about it for myself, much less anybody else. But I did have an idea.
I have had a working theory about how to fix this problem in my life, a plan I'd wanted to put into action, but I've never had the guts to try it out...until now.
The solution to my problem was actually pretty simple. But like many things in my life, my own pride concerning this had thus far prevented me from actually making any strides toward overcoming my lack of motivation.

I have always needed/wanted a Bible reading buddy -- someone who I could regularly sit down with (or call as the case may be) and just read. I wanted to read with someone just for the sake of reading and thinking, not necessarily for the sake of study. I already was studying for various Bible classes I was involved with, so dissecting every word/sentence/paragraph of a particular section of scripture was not the goal here.
But overcoming the challenge of my daily Bible reading schedule (which, mind you, has been staring me in the face with a very neglectful glint in its "eyes"...) was and continues to be a struggle. So like any frustrated, good-intentioned person, I finally got mad enough with the situation (read: myself) to do something about it.

So I found a friend -- a very dearly loved, non-judgmental, well-studied, enthusiastic-toward-Bible-reading-in-general kind of friend -- who was interested in trying out my little idea: read through a book of the Bible (Ezekiel, just in case you were wondering) just for the sake of reading it. And, wow. God's word is always amazing and full of things to learn from, but picking this particular book might have been providential. Reading *aloud* through Ezekiel is eye opening to say the least. It opened my eyes toward my own sin, toward how God views ALL sin, and how broken hearted He is when we sin.

If you've ever struggled to to *really* be conscious about God's will for you (::raises hand::), Ezekiel just might cure you.
After more than three hours of reading Ezekiel's God-given words, I found myself...changed...and humbled in so many ways.

I saw myself in the willful nation that God so greatly loved. I found that I too possessed the tendency to stray from the God Who loves my soul more than I love my *own* soul at times. I saw in myself that same propensity for seeking what is comfortable and "trustworthy" rather than what pleases God. I saw in myself all the things that I like to run from and hide behind, all of which God sees right through.

But I also saw hope; hope for the future and hope that I can get Home to the One Who loves my soul. I saw such great love amid the grief of sin. I saw a God Who wants to care for each and every soul like a shepherd tends his sheep.

And then it finally hit me, after forty eight chapters of Him saying it over and over again.
He showed it to Ezekiel (and vicariously us) in visions of His throne room, in graphic descriptions of what sin looks like, and in laments over how far Israel had strayed. So many different pictures, yet always the same message.

Everything happened so that we would KNOW that He is the Lord.

A message so subtle.
So huge.
So magnificent.
So ridiculously true.
And it took forty eight chapters for me to truly see it.

He is the Lord.

He wants us to choose life.

He wants us to start now.

It really is that simple.

So, what can you do to crawl out of that hazy, slump of a whole? My advice: find a buddy. Find someone (or several someones) to help you see with clarity what beautiful, life-changing messages are waiting to be discovered in God's word. You won't regret it. I surely don't.

After all, "Two are better than one...For if either of them falls, the other will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to life him up." Ecclesiastes 4:9,10

True words.
Take advantage of the buddy system.
Reach out.
Pull up your brother.
Pull up your sister.
Serve God together.
It's part of God's plan for you!
  • marmee
    Excellent, excellent message!!! Thanks so much for sharing this ... and keep reading!!!!!!!!!
    by marmee at 11/19/12 1:58PM
  • cyber_space_cadet
    Thank you so much for sharing this, Heidi. Very, very encouraging.

    Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 is one of mine and Andrew's absolute favorite passages. It's probably one of our top five most commonly referenced passages of Scripture just in everyday conversations. The first time I really, really gave it serious consideration was when Andrew was writing a letter to his best buddy back in PA. He'd suffered a tremendous blow and Andrew was encouraging Christian to allow him to help lift him back up. It was a beautiful letter and it was the first time I can recall consciously having this passage hit me between the eyes. The significance of this concept is...tremendous. Your experience just further serves to solidify that fact in my mind.
    by cyber_space_cadet at 11/19/12 3:38PM
  • zsha_zsha
    I LOVE you!! :) What a great post!!
    by zsha_zsha at 11/19/12 5:02PM
  • rundrummerrun
    This. This is excellent. And I thank God for it! :) We should catch up muy pronto!
    by rundrummerrun at 11/19/12 11:18PM
  • sallyanne
    Excellent!
    by sallyanne at 11/20/12 5:01PM
  • flute92
    Thank you so much for sharing Heidi... I really needed this! :)
    by flute92 at 11/22/12 4:39PM
  • lori_in_pa
    I thank God for you, Heidi. That is all.
    by lori_in_pa at 11/23/12 6:10PM
  • crazy_mama
    I LOVE this! Good for you Heidi!
    by crazy_mama at 11/24/12 12:24AM

Change of Heart?

POLL QUESTION:

How do you (or I or anyone really) change your heart? How do you change how you think and convert that mind set into action?

Think about it.

Answers should be geared toward practical application.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Heidi
  • tabycat
    I've been thinking about this a lot and I'm not really sure I have a good answer. I don't think we ever completely, once and for all, change our heart. It must be something we strive to do on a daily basis by reading scripture, praying that we will have the right heart, and then putting these good/godly thoughts into action.

    James 4:7-10
    7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
    by tabycat at 08/17/12 12:58PM
  • bestill
    I have had changes of heart over the years. For me, it was weighing what I was being taught and what I was reading and applying that to what my beliefs and actions were. Once convicted, I changed my behavior to match my new understanding. Sometimes I would "slip" and act out of habit. But, with vigilance, the new behavior became easier.
    by bestill at 08/17/12 3:51PM
  • kendrad
    ^^That's a good answer. Maybe this is stating the obvious, but I have to learn the difference first--the difference between Truth and what I had been practicing. But Irlene's right. A heart for God will change behavior based on conviction.
    by kendrad at 08/17/12 4:20PM
  • nickkrumrei
    How many Psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one but the lightbulb has to really WANT to be changed. We must be motivated to change, positive negative or punative we only seem to really change with the motivation of pain, and there is a scripture for that. (think think think, don't know if I can come up with that one right now) Then implimentation, if you can practice for one month, you can place it into habit, not a bad place to start. However the question is change your heart... With prayer and hard work parable of the sower here, we can cultivate for His glory.
    by nickkrumrei at 08/21/12 7:15AM
  • tweedledee
    We will take you on as a stowaway next year! Seriously! You would love it! They would love you! I love you!
    by tweedledee at 08/30/12 9:36PM
  • tweedledee
    WAHOOO!!! I'll try to remember!!! Yay!
    by tweedledee at 08/31/12 4:20PM
  • snoopy
    *cough**blush* umm... yeah.. I do
    AND I LOVE IT!!!
    by snoopy at 09/08/12 11:09PM
  • leahhallnoats
    Heidi, I'm in the process of clearing out my blogs and I don't get on here much anymore, but I just wanted to tell you that you are a breath of fresh air. That is all. Hope you're doing extremely well! (and I have no doubt that you are)
    by leahhallnoats at 09/20/12 11:12AM
  • zsha_zsha
    oh ok! Thanks! Sorry! Hehe!
    by zsha_zsha at 09/24/12 5:27PM
  • brownie
    my response to your comment on alyssa blog: why is being defined as the "girl who laughs" a bad thing? I thinks its an adorable personality trait. it's what makes you stand out in a beautiful way. Of course, there's much more difficult emotions that you must deal with, but wouldn't you much rather be seen as a struggling person overcoming difficulties through laughter than seen as someone who doesn't laugh? Your laughter is your gift. Don't hide it or be frustrated by it. It makes you even more beautiful!
    by brownie at 10/09/12 7:08PM

The Best of Book.ology -- An Autumn Reading List

It's coming. I can feel it. The mornings are feeling rather crisp in my northern habitat. God's warning signs are making even the squirrels get busy. And pumpkin products are sounding rather appealing. Fall.

Autumn time just makes you want to curl up under a blanket in your living room, sipping a warm cup of coffee (or tea, if you like), and read a book. But when those cool days really come in full force, and you need a good book to read, what should you pick up? Well, that's a good question.
So, here are 10 picks to get you going and jump start the cool days ahead. Some of these you've seen before, but there are a few new ones thrown in. In no particular order....

1. Up a Road Slowly – Irene Hunt
This is without a doubt one of my most favorite works of fiction…of all time. Vivid, honest, and heart-warming, Hunt tells a story that will touch and change you. The heroine’s struggle to let go of the things she loves (for their own good) is a universal issue that affects every young woman at some point. Up a Road Slowly shows us how beautiful life can be if we’d only stop trying to control things and just let them happen. This is an enduring classic that has not only become comfort food for my heart, but also sparked my interest in writing in the first place. Worth re-reading.

2. Crazy Love – Francis Chan
Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of jumping on religious band wagons. A lot of the time, books written in the “religious world” are full of miss applications and error. But this first book by Francis Chan is different than the rest, I think. I had been perusing the book piles of a friend just recently, and noticed this book among my friend’s collection. I mentioned to my friend that I’d been wanting to read it because I’d heard so many good things about it and that I’d *almost* even bought a copy not long before (at full price no less…something I never do). My friend promptly pulled the book out of the pile and said, “Here, you can *have* it.” I was uber curious to know what would cause such a self-less action…and therefore, what must be inside the cover of this book that my friend felt compelled and willing to just give it to me. So I started reading. And reading. And reading. And just, wow. I was impressed by Chan’s thoughtful and correct application of scripture and, even more than that, his hard hitting challenge to love God more radically than our comfortable, church-going selves often do. I was humbled through his reminder of what kind of God I serve, ashamed of how often I fall short, encouraged that improvement is always possible, and awestruck by God’s grace through the Blood of His Son. Every day that I read a portion of this book, I always left with the realization that I have so much growing yet to do (but then, don’t we all?). Considering the subject matter, this is a very easy read and well worth your time. I flew through this one uncommonly fast, as will you if you choose to pick it up. Life changing.

3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
I have to admit it. I’ve always been intimidated by the Bronte prose: dark and foreboding, rich language, intricate story lines, quintessential Gothic love stories; all good reasons to be included in the “classic literature” genre, but making for some challenging reading. I finally pushed through my fears and read it this past year. My first enitional reaction was: “wow.” Though this woman is fictional, her stature is what most women feel like during their lives: small, plain, and insignificant. Her character is what we wish we were: strong, unyielding (to wrong, that is), and willing to walk away from it all if it meant that she would sin against God. Truly, I felt drawn to this little woman whose determination was as unexpected as her situation, and whose ability to love was deeper than the wounds she suffered. Exceptionally gorgeous and expressive.

4. A Year Down Yonder – Richard Peck
This second offering in Peck’s two book series is without a doubt one of the most hilariously funny books I’ve ever read. I would often find myself laughing out loud while reading through this delightful story. Set during the Great Depression, we follow Mary Ellen as she spends a year in downstate IL living with her grandma Dowdel. Their escapades will leave you in stitches!! A very heart warming and easy read book you’ll enjoy for years to come.

5. The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
There’s no denying it: money is a touchy subject with a lot of people. No one likes to admit how they’ve been misusing their money and no one likes to share just how rich or in debt they actually are. In Dave’s hard hitting and honest book, he challenges us to take our money seriously and tell it what to do rather that it telling *us* what to do. Drawing from scripture, your grandmother’s advice that you always hated to hear, and his own personal experiences, he gives us a road map to financial freedom. His advice is practical and his writing style is down to earth. Even if you’ve felt like a failure in the past, he shows us how some sacrifice and good work ethic can transform feelings of hopelessness and get you debt free for good!! Covering everything from budgeting to investing in Roth IRA accounts, Dave’s handy book will leave you feeling prepared to attack your debt and “live like no one else so later you can live like no one else!” A must read.

6. The Sherwood Ring – Elizabeth Marie Pope
History and an element of fantasy are blended together seamlessly in this delightful offering! Set in the time of the Revolutionary War, this book quickly worked its way into my heart through its captivating story line…or, should I say, story lines. The reader follows two story lines: one set in the modern day the other set in 1778. Historical fiction has never been so enjoyable. A page turner you won’t be able to put down!

7. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
If there were such a thing as a required reading list for Christians (outside of the Bible, of course), this book would DEFINITELY be on that list. And if it were also possible to get into the mind of The Enemy and know his battle plan, Lewis has done that very thing with this imaginative and well-written expose. Christians everywhere need to read this book and be aware of how the devil may work…even through something so simple as a distraction from what’s important or as dangerous as a shadow of a doubt. Scary, eye-opening, and crucial.

8. Going Solo – Roald Dahl
Dahl, known mostly for his interesting children’s stories (such as James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and others), changes gears a bit with this amazing biography of his time as a pilot during World War II. While reading this, my emotions ran through the whole spectrum: genuine concern, utter shock and surprise, amusement, bewilderment, and even nail-biting anticipation. I learned some things, too. For example: the Swahili word “simba” means “lion.” I’m beginning to wonder if the creators of The Lion King used this as a source book. J I also credit this book with giving me my first war dream, complete with whizzing bullets, diving planes, dead bodies, and myself carrying small children across a war torn air field. No joke. It was intense. All in all, this was a very entertaining read. Just a warning, however, you will probably want to read this with some White Out in hand. I remember there being a few language issues, but nothing that couldn’t be remedied. I still really like this book.

9. Invitation to a Spiritual Revolution – Paul Earnhart
Having been intrigued by it’s title and impressed by it’s author, I finally decided that it was time to peruse this relatively small book by a dearly beloved servant of Christ. Earnhart’s verse by verse dissection of the Sermon on the Mount has become a staple in my library of religious literature, and for good reason. Using keen observation to the context and verbiage of Matthew’s account of the Sermon, Earnhart draws out the deeper meanings that we often over look and the thought processes that would have been present in most Pharisaical minds at the time. A stunning, revealing look at how far our culture has taken us from desiring to truly and deeply serve the God of Heaven with all our heart. Imperative.

10. Persuasion – Jane Austen
And since no legitimate reading list would be complete without a Jane Austen book, I suggest this one. Most Jane fans would probably say that Pride and Prejudice is the best of them all (though, it, too, is one of my all time favorites…), but Persuasion has been given a special place in my heart. If you’ve read this before, then you will know exactly what I mean when I say that this book is about growing up, repentance, and the incredible gift of second chances. So beautiful is this prose, it even merited underlining certain parts of the text…in pen. Also contained within its pages: the best proposal letter ever written. I loved this letter so much that I underlined the whole thing. This, my friends, is the very definition of classic literature. Relatable AND enjoyable!

I welcome your comments and other reading suggestions! Have a great day!
  • marmee
    Thanks for sharing! I'm going to try to get a few of those that interest me from our library. ;) Happy reading to you! Our fall days weather probably won't start here in Texas until November sometime, but that's okay. The heat keeps me inside ... and reading, too!
    by marmee at 08/15/12 1:49PM
  • horselover13
    I definitely love Persusion. While I would have to say that yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Jane Austen (at least of those I've read), Persuasion does have a certain something to it that has driven me to read it several times. :)
    by horselover13 at 08/15/12 2:29PM
  • desi
    Thanks for this list! I will definitely be using it! I wanted to ask if you have read the Mark of the Lion series, and highly recommend it if you have not read it :)
    by desi at 08/15/12 4:45PM
  • kattath
    Persuasion is my ALL TIME FAVORITE!!!!!!!!!!
    by kattath at 08/15/12 5:31PM
  • raifhaus
    I've just heard about Irene Hunt recently - still haven't read any, but would like to. Had not yet heard of this one that you mention. And hey - we now have a Kindle. A really helpful thing when there's no English language library!
    by raifhaus at 08/16/12 12:46PM