A Life of Lovely – Book Review

A Life of Lovely

 

It is hard for anyone to find the lovely in the ugliness that can sometimes surround us.  The author, Annie Downs, does a wonderful job of helping young, and older, women navigate the sometimes disappointing journey of life with humor and perseverance.

 

The author takes the reader through all aspects of modern life using humor and scripture to help ease the reader into finding the “lovely” where it does not appear to exist.

 

I like the upbeat style and humor that makes the book an enjoyable read; I give it 4 out of 5 stars and found her words a fun way to look forward to finding my “lovely.”

 

 

Purchase this book at this link: https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/a-life-of-lovely-P005802325

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Informal Spiritual Direction

In my experience, spiritual direction often occurs informally.  For many years my friend, Nancy, has been a spiritual companion.  Nancy and I were college roommates.  When we first met, she was a firm Christian and I was claiming to be an atheist!  Actually, I think this was a way of daring God to show up in my life, which He did.  Over the years Nancy and I have remained friends and grown in faith together.  We don’t get together in person very often, so we correspond by letter and email.  Nancy is someone to whom I can pour out my heart and know she will listen without judging.  Sometimes she asks hard questions I don’t really want to think about or answer.  Although we have never “decided” to become spiritual guides to one another, the spiritual dimension of life is always an important part of our “conversations.”  We discuss family and congregational life, important transitions, insights from our study, our prayer life and struggles and more, always from the perspective of discerning God’s presence and will for our lives.  We also pray for one another.  I did an earlier post about every Christian needing a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy in their lives …Nancy has been my Barnabas, walking alongside, encouraging and sharing.  I hope I have been a Barnabas friend to her as well.

Nancy was the person who sponsored me on my Via de Cristo weekend, certainly one of the milestones in my faith journey.  Via de Cristo encourages participants to form “reunion groups” and when this is done properly, these groups also become a form of  spiritual direction.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post about mutual spiritual direction in my reunion group…

 

Remembering My Via De Cristo Weekend

As I write this post, a Women’s Lutheran Via de Cristo weekend is beginning.  The retreat starts on Thursday evening and ends on Sunday afternoon.  When you think “retreat” you may imagine lots of free time, reading the Bible and praying alone, maybe communing with nature.  Via de Cristo is not like that!  It is a weekend jam-packed with singing, fellowship, worship, talks by laypeople and clergy on spiritual topics, discussion and (what Lutherans love best of all) plenty of coffee and good food.

The weekend is designed for Christians who want to grow in their faith, and the amazing thing is, everyone experiences it differently.  For many it is a real mountaintop high;  for some a time to cast off burdens; others experience the love and presence of Christ in a special way;  still others find it a time of refreshment and renewal.  On a weekend, you will meet Christ where you are, and receive something special that He has planned just for you.

When I went on my weekend, over 25 years ago, I didn’t hear anything new or startling–but it put all the pieces together for me.  Suddenly I could see my faith journey as a whole and it has been a big help in keeping my focus in the right place.  On my weekend, I made friends, found a way to go closer to the Christian friends I already had at church, and learned to see myself as a leader in the Christian community.  It changed my life.  Not in a lightening flash, but gradually, over time, as the message of the weekend was absorbed and incorporated in my daily life (hmmm…reminds me of the leaven in the bread thought).

So readers, this weekend, please pray for the ladies on retreat, and consider going on a Via de Crist weekend yourself (by the way, you don’t have to be a Lutheran to do this and there are weekends for men as well).  If you would like to learn more, contact the Lutheran ladies for more information, we will be happy to help.

For those authors and readers who have made a weekend, I hope you will post and comment.  And remember, God loves you and so do I!