***Forgot to update you HERE that we did have a winner last Friday! Sandi got her copy of To Make a Life and a copy of "Image of God" (EP) this week and reports that she is very pleased with both. :) Thanks for playing. Come again!***
Step with me into a world where I get really excited about the books I've been reading
and convince you to add them to your must-read list. :)
I picked this up at Portland's infamous Powell's City of Books (a place I could call home - the bookstore) and read the whole thing before we got to Seattle. I've already shared my copy with an aspiring young writer. It's just ... so true and packed with great bits of insight for all people, really, but especially artists.
"If we're free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it."
Maybe next year, I'll just read to them. :)
My friend Vaneetha never, ever fails me when it comes to good books on my birthday. This sister knows me, and we share a hunger for provocative, soul-widening, faith-driven writing. I'm only a couple of chapters in, but Mark Buchanan has already taken my breath away with not only the ideas he presents, but the artful way in which he presents them.
"We want Him to be comfortable rather than comforting...peaceable, to keep His peace...rather than peacemaking and peace giving. And instead of being our hiding place, we would prefer that God be our ace in the hole. And if that doesn't work, we'd prefer to hide from Him."
"There are men and women--you know a few--who live in the holy wild, the place far beyond the borderland, where God is God, not safe, but good."
"We long for hearsay about God, but do not ourselves want to hear God say anything."
LOVE the way he uses language. And let me warn you...the man pulls no punches.
And last, but certainly not least...this gem of a book, the first published by Daniel Walser: to make a life.
Don't let the simplicity of the book jacket fool you. This book is complex and gut-wrenching and gorgeous in its raw but poetic telling of the story of infertility, dashed hope, baffled faith, and inexplicable loss lived out by Walser & his wife Julia.
"In the months that followed, two equally potent forces perpetually framed my thoughts: fear and guilt. Fear for a barren future and my wife's dreams forever deferred. Guilt that it would be my fault, my defect, my hammer pounding the nail into the coffin lid...And I did not pray...When the solidity of your God is dependent on the gifts he gives you, the moment you do not get what you want, he is weakened, neutralized, lesser. Why then ask of him?...It seemed far more logical to shake off the betrayal from Santa and go get those gifts myself."
He articulates with precision the rarely heard perspective of a man grieving the loss of his unborn child.
"I begged God to raise her from the dead. Crazy? I didn't think so. I pleaded with the Almighty. My heart nearly dislodged with the force of yearning behind each appeal. I became a desperate, dime-store lawyer stating my case before what I hoped would be a fair and righteous judge."
But for me personally, the real treasure in his writing is less the narrative of what happened and much more the insider story of grief that follows. How we who stand outside often unintentionally fail those inside the "burning house," how God does not, how we can help by being willing to enter into the flames rather than trying to simply extinguish them.
(Daniel is a master of powerful metaphor, and the burning house image is probably my favorite page of the book for the way it spoke to me personally.)
Daniel quite vulnerably brings us into the space where he wrestled with God in hope and heartache, resentment and anger, so we can also see what might possibly come from all those ashes.
This story is for all of us: those who have hoped and been disappointed, those who mourn, and those who want to understand how to enter the mourning of others.
WIN A COPY OF TO MAKE A LIFE & YOUR CHOICE OF ONE OF MY ALBUMS
I hardly ever think to do giveaways (I know, bad blogger), but that's what we're doing here today. So let's make it fun, shall we?
Leave a comment here with a favorite lyric from one of my songs, and I will enter your name in the drawing for a copy of To Make a Life (which is available for Kindle or paperback at Daniel's website AND at Amazon, by the way, in case you don't win it here).
Will draw & announce the winner Friday afternoon.
"And may the odds be EVER in your favor!"