A Kind of Book Review? Dancing With My Father

So much for my plans to post that book review I told you about yesterday.

That’s pretty much become a recurring theme in my life lately: “So much for my plans.”

Can I just lay my cards on the table? I might as well because the only card games I can really play are Uno, Old Maid, and Go Fish, so let me just show you my hand. Honest as I know how to be, I need to tell you that my life is not much like anything I thought it would be when I used to dream about my future. The big lesson of my 40s so far has been that life is hard.

Just to be clear, when I say life is hard, I don’t mean I’m bummed because Kohl’s doesn’t have any shoes my size in their clearance sale. I’m talking calculus hard.  Like uncertainties about the future. And more people who have had their lives turned upside down by stupid cancer. How about life-long relationships (plural) that without a miracle will never be restored? How about stuff that’s not fit to blog because it’s just way too painful and way too personal?

Yep, life is hard.  Please know I’m not trying to drum up sympathy, I’m truly not.  The fact of life is that it’s not just hard in my neighborhood. Everyone reading these words has a “hurt” story.  Everyone’s family is five minutes away from being on The Jerry Springer Show. That sounds funny but sadly, I really believe it to be truth. It may not be in your immediate family, but I’m guessing you wouldn’t have to get too far removed to find a story that would curl the hair of the members of your Sunday School class. (Don’t feel like you need to share your Springer story in the comments. My flat iron already has a full-time job.)

The cold fact is that if you aren’t hurting now, you will be. Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble but to not let that trouble trouble us because He has overcome this world. So He saw that all of this was coming. And He told us we can get through it because He’s already done it. He knows what it’s like to be us and He knows what it’s like when life is hard.  And knowing what we were going to be facing, he told us to be joyful. Not in a Pollyanna-“Isn’t life wonderful?!”-rainbows and lollipops kind of way…but in a down-deep to your core knowledge that life may not be okay, but your heart and soul is more than okay. It’s an understanding that this world is broken and none of us will make it without a Savior. It’s a secure hope that one day He will make all things new and we’ll live the life we were meant to live in eternity with Him forever and with the ones we love who know Him. Until that promised day, I intend to laugh myself silly every single chance I get even on days when I have to look really hard to find something that’s funny. I will love with all my heart even though my heart might get bruised or even broken because my relationships with my God and with other people are what make living here worth the effort. I will pay close attention to the details that make up an almost spring day because I know that as beautiful as some days can be, they’re only a poor copy of the home that is being created for me even now.

The book I’m supposed to be reviewing in this post didn’t surprise me with any super revelations or blow my mind with anything new, but Dancing with My Father by Sally Clarkson did remind me that in this life, some days more than others, I have to choose joy. It doesn’t just happen automatically. The book is full of personal stories from the author’s life and each chapter ends with questions that you could discuss with a book club or small group or use for your own devotional time for further exploration.

WaterBrook Multnomah graciously gave me a copy of Dancing with My Father to review and also sent me a copy of Mother-Daughter Duet by Cheri Fuller and Ali Plum. This book is about “getting to the relationship you want with your adult daughter.” My daughter is six years old and my mother and I have a strong, healthy relationship so this book didn’t have much for me. I will gladly pass it on to one of you to either keep for yourself or pass on to someone you think may want to read it. Your comment will serve as your entry and I’ll use a random number selector to choose a winner.

This may be the strangest book review I’ve ever done. I think I’m trying to find my writing rhythm again. I have lots of thoughts in my head that want to get out and I feel like they’re pushing and shoving and not coming out in a very orderly fashion. My apologies. I’d like to promise you that tomorrow will be different, but I think I’d better not make any more promises this week just in case “the plans change” as they are wont to do. But I do promise you this: If you leave a comment that says “My life is hard right now,” I will pray for you. Because I know what that feels like. But even better, I will tell my Father who knows exactly what that feels like and He can actually do something about your hard life. He may not make life easier, but He’ll get you through the next breath you need to take. I know He will because He’s doing it for me.

Life is hard. God is good.

P.S. I truly enjoyed reading about your favorite time of day. Such sweet minutes you described! And I imagined each one of them and was a little more cognizant of the parts of my day that are so very precious to me….as are you.

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4 Comments

Filed under Books, Review

4 responses to “A Kind of Book Review? Dancing With My Father

  1. We each have our very own “wilderness experience”.The Lord, once again, has me in my very own “wilderness”…alone in a new city with baggage to literally unpack. I’m learning to turn to Him…back home I turned to everyone else. Why am I sharing this? No clue. But you are so right…life is hard, God is good…
    My new motto is…”moving forward instead of being stuck in place”. Growth is painful, but growth is so good. Praying for you, too.

  2. Betty Boop

    To Mimi,
    I have a friend who’s husband is in the military and I like a phrase she uses…….”I’ve learned to grow where I am planted.” Cool!

  3. Kay

    Just this morning in our Bible study we were talking about going through “wilderness experiences” as Mimi mentioned. I actually asked my ladies (about 30) how many had been through such a time and of course they all raised their hands. We all have. Life is hard. Then I got really intimate and in their business and asked how many were living in the wilderness right now. More than half raised their hands. We committed to pray for each other and we left knowing that we weren’t out wandering around in the desert all by ourselves. Yes, God is certainly there guiding us through it, but others are on the journey with us. Something about sweating it out together just makes it all a little easier…

  4. And so, really…what do we have to lose by eating the occasional box…er…piece of chocolate?

    Love you, Whimz. I know our Father has the broadest of shoulders to lean on, but fortunately, He has also fashioned me–and mine are quite broad for a woman. Perfect size for bearing things with friends. Any.time.

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