Saturday, May 31, 2014

Book Review: Leaping the Wall

I'm always hesitant to read books by individuals I know personally. I want so desperately to write a glowing review, but feel the necessity of being honest, as well. I never want my honesty to wound the feelings of a friend. Plus, I've had the experience of reading a book by a friend whose writing really could have used a bit more editing before being placed before prospective readers. As I said in a past blog post, I worry that my own writing suffers from the same inability to see weaknesses which plagued his writing. How can I critically review a friend's writing when my own writing bears the need for scrutiny and criticism?

Thus, I tend to avoid reading books by friends. Tragic, I know. But somehow, when this book by my friend Julie Kloster was offered, I saved it to my Kindle for PC files and then let it sit there for quite a while (as I am wont to do). This morning, I spent a small chunk of my day, quickly reading through Leaping the Wall: Practical Ways to Empower Faith During Difficult Times. Even though I am not in the midst of crisis, I found her words to be helpful and inspiring.

This is a book for those "struggling to cling to Jesus in desperate times." Julie begins with open humility, stating that "my sorrows compared to yours may be like gentle rain compared to a hurricane." She goes on to offer words of encouragement parsed with examples from her life and the lives of other Christians who have struggled with the less-than-perfect times when our faith is tested and tried.

Her own story is full of examples of situations requiring faith, storms to weather: the birth of a seriously premature baby, breast cancer, poor health, and eye surgeries. I appreciated the outlines of the history behind three classic hymns: one of my father's favorites, "The Love of God," "Amazing Grace," and "When Peace Like a River." She offers up hope from the brokenness of life.

The writing itself was lovely and the book is so well-written that it is a quick and easy read. Here is an example of her beautifully crafted words:

"The Potter was recreating a masterpiece out of the unsalvageable.... Each piece of brokenness reflected a before unseen characteristic of the beautiful light within. God was working glory and good out of disaster."

If you are looking for words of comfort in the midst of struggle, this would be an excellent book to choose. Each chapter closes with a song to explore, a Bible passage, a memory verse, a reflective question, and a prayer. It could easily be used as a devotional, reading one chapter per day. Whatever your place of struggle, you will find comfort and encouragement in the words of this book.

No comments: