With this new radio gig on Real Life Network , I apparently get review copies of books. This means that I actually get to say the words “I have to read this book for work”…. Que choir of angels singing. I can’t express just how happy this makes me. I love to read, I always have. Now I have the perfect excuse for having 20 stacks of books all over the house. I’m happy to say that the first book that I got in the mail to review was Lisa Hendey‘s book The Grace of Yes. This book is part memoir and part life lessons on how to say Yes to God in practical ways as Catholics in 2014. When I first saw the title I knew that I had to read this book. I have been really struggling lately with how exactly to be open to God’s will as a wife and mother in this time in history. Sometimes it really seems like it would be so much easier for an angel to tell me that I’m giving birth to God than to have to deal with online friendships, debates, kids who are influenced by a culture that tells them everything I’m trying to teach them is a fairy tale and a marriage where we have both been married before, have kids from those marriages and both grew up in broken homes. It’s a lot to take on while trying to be holy.
Lisa does such a great job of making the point that it is hard to live life as a faithful Catholic without whining or making it seem impossible. Throughout that book she balances the struggles and the Grace of saying yes to God even in the midst of them in a way that I haven’t really seen many writers be able to do.
The questions at the end of each chapter are really great journaling tools. I have meant to get back into journaling for a long time now and this gives me a great way to do that. Also, the questions are deep questions that help me to look at myself, my spiritual life and my life as mom and wife. Looking at myself is always helpful for me to make good confessions and to not be so hard on myself.
I have been in therapy and a 12 step program for the last 10 months to work on my codependency issues and this book really helped me to see where my recovery fits into my faith. That recovering from my urge to control those around me is a way of saying Yes to God because I have to let those in my life live their own life. They have that right, given to them by God. Especially when it comes to my oldest son who is grown and doesn’t live at home anymore.
Lisa writes, “Moments of letting go are often as heart-wrenchingly challenging as our babies’ first bad falls or their first broken hearts. Most of us moms and dads can recall a times when we knew every hair on our children’s heads, the way a curl of their lips meant an ensuing burst of emotions, or just what spot to tickle to melt them into a bundle of giggles. Now my sons are both geographically distant and emotionally their own men. Today, my yes a s a mom means avoiding the urge to cyber-stalk, to make their decisions for them, or to wish them back into the nest. These struggles of parenthood call me to say yes to the grace of love and generatvity.”
BAM! That’s exactly what I needed to read when it comes to living my life with an adult child.
Every part of this book spoke to me about something that I have laid at the feet of Jesus because I need help with it, which is awesome because I’m not good at listening so I need to read it for it to sink in. Chapter 3 is about the Grace of Creativity and how creativity can bring people to God. I have had so much guilt hanging over me about reading and writing for a living. It’s rooted in being raised to think that if you are not doing back-breaking work, whether it be out of or in the home, that you weren’t “earning” your way. Reading, writing or the arts are not work for a certain generation in my family. Lisa really opened my eyes to the fact that I’m not crazy in thinking that God gave me these gifts for His purpose, which means that I need to get to work instead of wallowing in a lie that it’s not real work. She also gives some great advice on how to get that work done.
Lisa talks about forgiveness in the chapter on the Grace of Humility. I never thought of the connection between forgiving others and humility. This subject is really in my face now because there is a lot of things that I have failed to forgive a few people for. I’m pretty sure that is partly why I have felt so spiritually attacked lately. Forgiving is not easy for me, but the fact is, forgiving others is an act of mercy, which all of us receive every time we go to confession. None of us deserves it either.
Lisa and I come from two different directions completely, I admire the fact that she has always been Catholic and has never really left the faith. She knew God loved her from the start and still she and I have the same struggles at this point in our life with Jesus. . At the end of this book, I felt a renewed energy and confidence that I am called to do God’s work and that I now have a little more of an idea of how to say Yes to that work. It is a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is trying to figure out how exactly they can say Yes to God as well.
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