Shades of Light by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

If you enjoyed Garlough’s Sensible Shoes series, you’ll love this book also.  It centers around Wren Crawford, a young woman suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks.  She lives in Kingsbury, about ten years after the events of Sensible Shoes.  You will once again meet Hannah, Mara, and Charissa and get some updates on their lives.  You will also learn the back story of their spiritual director, Katherine, who turns out to be Wren’s Aunt Kit.

If you or a loved one has suffered from mental illness, you will be able to emphasize with Wren and her family.  This is another story about surrendering to God — surrendering when life spirals out of control, or when we feel helpless to change the suffering and anguish experienced by someone else’s pain. How do we come alongside, yet still establish boundaries?  It’s also about unanswered questions and how to go forward in our lives when difficult circumstances lack closure.

Wren’s story is interwoven with excerpts from the letters, art and life of the artist, Vincent Van Gogh, as well as the biblical concept of Jesus as “the man of sorrows.”  It introduces the spiritual practice of visio divina –inviting God to speak to our heart as we contemplate an image.

I was disappointed that this book did not include any specific spiritual exercises or a study guide at the end.  There is a list of recommended resources with organizations that can help with mental illness as well as books on suicide, grief, the art of Vincent van Gogh and spiritual formation.

VERDICT:  5 STARS.  This book spoke to me on so may levels.  I highly recommend it.

If you haven’t read the other books by Sharon Garlough Brown see these reviews:

Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

Two Steps Forward by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

A Book about Surrender

An Extra Mile by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

 

 

 

An Extra Mile by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

This is the fourth book in the Sensible Shoes series by Sharon Garlough Brown.  If you’ve read any of the others, this one will not be disappointing.  It continues the spiritual journey of friends Hannah, Mara and Charissa, after the death of Meg. Meg’s daughter, Becca, returns home and is added to the mix  Each character continues to grow in her understanding of God’s call in her life. The overarching theme woven throughout is resurrection — as we die physically, or simply to certain life experiences, we continue to find growth and rebirth through God’s grace.  Put on your sensible shoes and walk with these women on this stretch of their spiritual journey!

Throughout the book, readers are invited to engage with material used by the characters for meditation and prayer during their small group meetings. There are additional suggestions in the closing Companion Guide for Prayer.  I have found these very helpful for use in my own personal devotional and journaling time.

As with the other three volumes, this would be an excellent resource for a book club or small group study.  I would recommend reading them in order.  Follow the links below to learn about the first three:

Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

Two Steps Forward by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

A Book about Surrender

 

A Book about Surrender

Barefoot, by Sharon Garlough Brown is the third in her Sensible Shoes series.  The subtitle is:  A Story of Surrendering to God.  In this book,  readers follow the same four women already introduced as they navigate a variety of losses.

It’s a story about death, but not only physical death.  Relationships also die, jobs end, children grow up.  Even wonderful new experiences such as getting married or having a baby, involve loss.  We may lose some privacy or independence.  We may have to revise the image we have of ourselves.  We need to make compromises.  We find we must die to the person we were before.  It’s important for each of us to name and grieve our losses as we practice discerning and surrendering to God’s will for our life.

Every reader will find some situation with which they can identify, if not right now, then in the past.  The characters illustrate the struggle involved in spiritual growth, as they face and deal with the same sinful tendencies again and again in different ways.  Progress is often slow, but easier with friends who understand, pray and share the journey.

Sprinkled throughout the book are spiritual exercises which include a bible reading, questions for personal reflection and for group reflection.  I have been using them for journaling, but the book would also be well-suited to read and study with a book club or study group.

VERDICT:  5 STARS.  This series just gets better and better!  Try to read them in order if you can — here are the first two:

Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

Two Steps Forward by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review