Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book Review Tuesday

I have a stack on books on the night stand just waiting for me to finish one, so that I can start the next.  Most, I have to read the front flap to tell you what it was about.  Some books, however, have the ability to jump on top of the pile, insisting that they be next.  If I hadn't been so close to finishing the one I was on, I would have laid it down and began reading the one that was yelling, read me! read me! "Same Kind of Different As Me" is one of those, "I can't be put down, I will make you laugh and then you will cry to the point that you can't see the page, in public no less, books".  

Two words, READ IT! 
Another word, if you haven't read it and you are going to, don't go any farther, I will give too much away.  O.K.

So, this is where I should leave the story, but no, I have more to say than that.
Help me Lord, to write from your heart, help me Lord to make sense of so many things that are  running into each other (thoughts and emotions) in my mind.  Help me Lord to begin and to finish.

I guess the first thing that stands out is, I would never have the courage to reach out like Miss Debbie did.  Never.  Though I should, I would rather turn my eyes away.  I want to love the ones I love.  I want God to help the ones who matter to me, and that in turns helps me, so really all I want is God to help me.  Awful.  Pitiful.  Filthy Rags. 


Second, I found hope when she didn't want to die, now there I go ruining it for all of you.  Anyway, as a Christian I have struggled with not wanting to die, wanting to stay here, and wondering if that was ungodly of me.  I mean, aren't we suppose to want to go to heaven?  I find myself very happy right here.  I love my life and it scares me, thinking I may not be heaven bound, because of the love I have for my life right here right now.  Food for thought, no, food for prayerful soul searching.  

This isn't going exactly as I had hoped it would.  Ouch!

My twins were born during my 25th year and my struggle in raising them was giving up my selfish thinking.  I wanted "my life" back.  I never really thought about living for others, I thought only of how others would benefit me.  Little children could care less that you have, want, or need anything.  They need you and you are there for them.  End of story.  

Best story God ever wrote into my life.  My oldest daughter was easy.  Raising her was a piece of cake, and she made me look good doing it, too.  Do you know what I mean?  Some babies just make you look good as a parent.  I was told one time and I have claimed these words as my own ever since,  "It's not really parenting until the kids out number you".  Now that the kids out numbered me, God had my attention and began changing my heart.

Through this story, Debbie Hall shows us what one person can do.  One person who completely gives herself over to God.  Isn't that what Jesus ask of us.  He doesn't want parts, he wants all.  And then go without fear.  A friend of mine says that the bible mentions "do not fear" 365 times, one for everyday.

I want to highlight some of the things that struck me in this book.  No way the whole of it, but they said something to me. . .  

"With our new spiritual eyes, . . .,we set about saving them from eternal damnation with all the subtlety of rookie linebackers.  Looking back now, I mourn the mutual wounds inflicted in verbal battles with the "unsaved."  In fact, I have chosen to delete that particular term from my vocabulary as I have learned that even with my $500 European-designer bifocals, I cannot see into a person's heart to know his spiritual condition.  All I can do is tell the jagged tale of my own spiritual journey and declare that my life has been the better for having followed Christ."  Ron Hall. 

"I was hoping you'd go with me," she said, smiling and tilting her head in a way so irresistible I sometimes thought she should register it for a patent.  Ron Hall about his wife Deborah.

That night she dreamed about the mission again-and this time, about a man.  "It was like that verse in Ecclesiastes," she told me the next morning over breakfast.  "A wise man who changes the city,  I saw him."  Deborah Hall

"That's him," Deborah said again, eyes sparkling.  "I think you should try to make friends with him."  Me!" My eyes widened in disbelief.  "Did you not notice that the man you want me to make friends with just threatened to kill twenty people?"  She laid her hand on my shoulder and tilted her head with a smile.  "I really think God's laid it on my heart that you need to reach out to him."  "Sorry," I said, trying hard to ignore the head tilt, "but I wasn't at that meeting where you heard from God."  Ron Hall.
"God has blessed me that someone would come to me that was concerned about me and not interested in whatever bad places I had come from." Denver Moore.

"If you looking for a real friend, then I'll be one forever."  Denver Moore.

We hadn't seen Denver since the cancer diagnosis, and I was concerned he might be feeling he'd been caught and released.  I asked Chef Jim if he'd seen Denver that day.  "He's probably sleeping," he said.  Sleeping!" I blurted.  Lazy,  I thought.  Jim raised an eyebrow.  "You don't know?"  "Know what?"  "Well, when Denver heard about Miss Debbie, he told me she had a lot of friends that would be praying for her all day.  But he figured she needed someone to pray all night, and he would be the one to do it."  So he goes outside at midnight, sits down next to the Dumpster, and prays for miss Debbie and your family . . . til sunup." 

I think that one gets me the most.  To think of a prayer warrior sitting by a dumpster praying for an angel all night, sets me straight in this crooked world.

The type of people we walk by and turn our heads away from or think we just can't help.  "They deserve it! or They chose it."   This rational settles in but at the edges of my mind God tugs at my heart for the ones he sees as his own.  He knows. . . everything about our hearts, about the what makes us cry and why.  He knows what we don't know about how we ended up where we did.  I stood on a hilltop and looked out over this ranch and  wondered, "how did I end up here?"  Nothing I ever did brought me here.  This is a gift of God, but I do not want it to be my reward.  I want my reward to be in heaven, but that means that I must lay down my life for the not so lovely and use this gift as a means to help others.   

As I re-read this paragraph tears stung the back of my eyes as the hatefulness of my words jump out.  Shows how our very best is filthy rags to the One who is holy.

One more thing, you can go to the web site www.samekindofdifferentasme.com and see the comments, and I'm thinking that everyone of them state this is a life changing book.  I knew when I laid it down today that I would never forget it, but as I write this I'm beginning to see, it changed me.  You can not go back to the way you were before picking this one up.  

Read with abandon.  Let God enter in and change the way you look at people.  Lord I pray that the eyes of my heart will be opened to the work you have for me to do.             


a cowgirl at heart said...

Oh, Jerriann, I read this book a few months ago, and I agree, it is life changing. I think I posted about it, but I can't remember. Anyway, mine is filled with places I either underlined, highlighted or dog-eared the pages because I wanted to go back and re-read them. That was an excellent post and I believe God honored your prayer about giving the words to speak and get it down on paper. Thanks, girl! It was awesome and makes me want to read the book again! In fact, I have secretly contemplated seeing if I can get away with reading it in my AP English class at school. What do you think?

Sherry said...

Jerriann I am going to the book store tomorrow. Thanks for sharing it sounds like a great book.

Dawn Jenkins said...

Well I would say this is a great post but I stopped where you told me too and missed 4/5ths of it.=( I am going TOMORROW to Wally World to get my own copy (sounds like one to buy and not just check-out)
good news on troop project...I have a girl donating 250 baggies full of wipes with the scripture 1 John 1:9 on the outside for the troops!!!

jerriann said...

Cowgirl at heart, I would love to hear what your students would say about this book and what they would do about it!

Sherry and Dawn, you girls made me giggle. So great to hear from you. Love you all. Thanks

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