Thursday, February 28, 2019

Becoming Mrs. Lewis * Book Club & Giveaway #2


Welcome back to our second Becoming Mrs. Lewis Book Club!  If you missed our first conversation, not to worry!  Simply click here to catch up.  And if you haven't gotten a copy of the book, you can grab your Kindle edition right there for $12.99 and jump right in immediately.

Yay!

I'm happy to gently open this week's dialogue with yet another stirring video presented by author Patti Callahan ...

watch video on YouTube

*

Quotes to spark our conversation ...
'The service felt both familiar and cleansing, a ritual that hadn't changed in hundreds of years, a sanctity.  When the lights were shut off for the homily, only candlelight and torches and twilight saturated the sanctuary.  When the Eucharist was over I was the last to linger, alone in a pew with thoughts that would not settle.  Eventually I rose to return home and collapse into bed, the grief as heavy as concrete.

I wept for all the loss I had never acknowledged, all the pain I'd held in reserve: my marriage, my dreams, my career, and my health.  To acknowledge their demise meant to mourn them, and I hadn't been ready.'
{Joy, chapter 22, page 160}

*

'God was with me, and always had been.  He was in the earth and the wind, in the ringing and the silence, in the pain and the glory of my life.

Those bells rang for a full five minutes, but an eternity in my soul.  The scabs of my ego fell off in large chunks of acceptance: Bill doesn't love me.'
{Joy, chapter 22, page 161}

*

'You tolerate what you must when it becomes your reality.'
{Jack, chapter 24, page 177}

*

''If you're looking for a religion to make you happy, it wouldn't be Christianity,' Jack said with a laugh.  'A bottle of port might do that, but Christianity is rightfully not here to make us comfortable or happy.'
{Jack, chapter 26, page 191}

*

'Sometimes I felt as if my anguished prayers of uncertainty were received into the hands of great Love, and other times I sensed that they hit the ceiling and landed flat in my lap, dusty, withered, and useless.  I started to see that faith was something akin to understanding that it didn't matter so much how I felt but was closer to what I believed.'
{Joy, chapter 29, page 206}




What passages grabbed you somewhere deep this week?  Do tell ... 

and thanks for keeping our interaction warm and gracious!


If you write a post on Becoming Mrs. Lewis,

please feel free to share that link in your comment.

Every person who leaves a comment {limit 2 per post!} on the four Book Club posts will be eligible for a $25 Amazon gift card.  {U.S. only and please be sure your comment links to a way to contact you.}  The winner will be announced a few days after our final session in March. 



36 comments:

  1. Last week I referred to a nonfiction bio of Joy Lewis, and you had asked me to share more details. True to form, I am just now getting to that, but the book I read, written by Don W. King, focuses of Joy's literary contribution to the world, with a special emphasis on her poetry. She was a determined artist in her own right, and it would have been interesting to see what her writing developed into if she had been able to collaborate more fully with "Jack" over a longer life. It is widely acknowledged that she had a significant influence on Lewis's late writings, particularly Till We Have Faces.
    I'll share a link to my review of the book here in case anyone wants to explore further: https://michelemorin.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/joy-davidman-lewis-author/

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    1. Michele ... thanks so much for sharing this bio info and for the link over to your review. Readers have shown interest in discerning fact from the historical fiction and are also wanting to read more on Joy's life now that their interest has been sparked by the book.

      And yes, it does make one wonder what Joy's work might have looked like, Jack's, too, if they had had a longer season of collaboration. For sure, they had an 'iron sharpens iron' impact on each other in all the ways that matter most.

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    2. DEAR READERS!

      Don't miss Michele's superb {as always!} review of Joy's biography. The link is above at the end of her comment ... absolute must reading!

      ;-}

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  2. These video clips are really excellent and add to the book. Not sure how you found these or if you knew about them from the outset, but they are marvelous.

    Page 160...as I read this part in the book where Joy first starts to get in touch with and mourn, experiencing grief for her losses, I am reminded that this often happens to many of us in the midst of loss. For as common as loss and grief are to living, we are still woefully ignorant about it. We fail to recognize it will always be a part of this life and often we fail to recognize how valuable mourning is to our souls and relationship with ourself, others, and God. Sometimes I think it is because a loss happens in the midst of so much else, so many details that needed to be handled. In such cases, there can be seemingly little time to get in touch with grief beyond the shock of it. That happened in my own life in 1995 when my dad became ill and died 5 weeks later and my mother dealt with health issues and died exactly 3 months to the day of my dad's death. These combined with my shift to guardianship of a brother 4 years younger who had physical, mental, and emotional handicaps didn't give me the luxury of mourning the losses for some time.

    Page 161...I started that mourning process by journaling and writing many of the raw feelings including disappointments with how other did or did not minister to or respond in this great time of need for me. With adult children living hundreds of miles away, I needed the care, support, and help of those in my circle and church and I discovered what I already knew to be true - few know how to "be" with someone in such a time or circumstance. How much I wish we could understand that needs go beyond casseroles and reminders of God being with and for us or scriptures meant to comfort before hearing where we are.

    Page 177....what a thought-provoking profound truth! So often our reality shields us from things we have no knowledge we will need to face and "tolerate." I think it not only happens with war as for Jack in this section of the chapter, but it happens later with Joy's illness and it happens for us in big and small ways. Sometimes it happens in routine ways when adult children live hundreds of miles away or when evidences of our age impacts what we can and cannot do that once was commonplace for us.

    Page 191...so often new believers suffer from the illusion that life will be easier for them beyond salvation and become disillusioned when it's not that way. Our challenge is then to dig deeply into the truth of God's Word and see how incredibly stabilizing it can be for us in the midst of the inevitable storms. Being a believer is being exposed to the truth of our condition as well as the condition of the world and to know we are not in Eden and heaven is not yet.

    Page 206...how precious it is when we reach the awareness that prayer is a rich conversational intimate relationship with the Lord and it isn't about how He responds or if He responds as we would prefer or think we need. A careful reading from Genesis to Revelation will reveal our God is one of relationship and He has gone to great lengths to try to assure we can have one with Him despite His holiness and our depravity. It reveals how shallow our love as compared to His.

    I have finished the book, but as I did so I slowed each paragraph and sentence savoring it as one would the deliciousness of the very finest chocolate as it melts in your mouth. I didn't want to stop tasting it.

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    1. Dear Pam ... I could sit forever with your keen observations, your wise words, your powerful, personal conclusions.

      The depth of your contribution to our conversation today reminds me again why I consider you a mentor from afar. I only wish we could sit together, face to face for I always gain much from your heart.

      Bless you for pouring into my life along the way ... and into this dialogue, too.

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    2. Sweet friend, Thank you for your kind and gracious words. It is my hope that one day we will have that conversation face-to-face.

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    3. Oh yes, me, too ...

      Bless you, Pam.

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  3. I'm especially drawn to Jack's declaration of what Christianity isn't - something that necessarily makes us happy. We delude ourselves when we sugarcoat the message of the cross, and I believe too many churches today do just that. The commandments given to us by Jesus are by no means easy to follow, but are achievable when we seek His help and guidance. Loving my enemy, for example, does NOT make me happy. Yet, in the long run, it can bring inner peace and joy. That's exactly what Jesus wants for us - His peace, which passes all understanding, and joy that we belong to Him and are loved immeasurably by God.
    Blessings, Linda!

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    1. Dear Martha - thank you for pointing out where so many of us are lacking in our faithwalk, wanting life to be easy, painless, and void of any challenges that make us uncomfortable.

      No wonder our witness is so often weak, our stories of victory hard to come by.

      I'm very moved by your thoughts this evening. Thank you for going there, friend. I'm guessing I'm not the only one who'll be challenged to go yet deeper in our walk with Christ.

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  4. Joy reminds me very much of the woman at the well - looking for love in all the wrong places, as the saying goes. Loved these quotes. Especially Joy's that "Faith was something akin to understanding that it didn't matter so much how I felt but was closer to what I believed." I mentioned the "messiness" of her life last time, and it continues to be even after she comes to faith: yet there is a steady upward trajectory to her growth.

    I'm also enjoying seeing Jack as a regular person. Once again, it's hard to know how much of his characterization is the author's imagination, but as much as she read of them, her observations have to be based on her study.

    I enjoyed the look at Oxford in the video.

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    1. Oh yes, Barbara, the woman at the well. The sometimes raw messiness of our lives as we navigate the Christian faith is not at all unusual. Christ continues to love us and lead us even as we go three steps forward, two steps back.

      Talk about amazing grace!

      Like you said, there's 'a steady upward trajectory to her growth.' And I'm guessing that many readers here will see the same truth as they look in the mirror.

      I'm so grateful to be in the company of so many fellow sojourners ...

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  5. I'm enjoying the book and even more so now that I am about halfway through it. The development of Jack and Joy's friendship has drawn me in as well as the description of all the places they walked and visited.

    I am always intrigued to hear how others describe their faith journey so reading the last quote about prayer and faith hit home with me. These words especially ----> I started to see that faith was something akin to understanding that it didn't matter so much how I felt but was closer to what I believed.'

    Thanks for hosting the book club.

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    1. I love that you said this, Mary -->'I am always intrigued to hear how others describe their faith journey.'

      I couldn't agree with you more. Maybe that's one of the things I appreciate most about discussions like this. And why I love my role as a pastoral counselor. It's true joy to see another soul grow in the grace and knowledge of her Lord and Savior and become all God's created her to be. To see the Redeemer redeem all her hurt and pain and woundedness.

      And to cheer her on as she, in turn, becomes a wounded healer.

      Yes, yes. Praise God!

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  6. One brief comment--has this story romanticized sin?

    Blessings, My Friend!

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    1. Or perhaps shown how Christ meets us right where we are ... and grows our faltering faith, heals our wounded hearts, redeems our painful mistakes and sinful choices ...

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    2. Romanticized sin? Good question and as I think about it, I don’t see sin winning here or being enjoyable or romantic. I think, for me, had they jumped into a blatant full-on sexual, living together thing, I might have seen things differently. I know it was only Jack that used restraint so I admire him for that and how Joy respected his emotional, physical reluctance but oh how complicated relationships can be. I may keep thinking on this one cause it seems to be the upsetting factor for Christians with this story.

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    3. When listening to the video, Carol, it occurred to me she was romanticizing sin. This was definitely an emotional affair. When we give any intimate thing to anyone other than our spouse, we have entered an emotional affair. From the perspective of one who has lived through this, the author is not revealing the ripple effects of this relationship. There is only a hint of the talk that was going on. Lewis was known as a Believer and yet they were existing in every way except sexual as a married couple. The scriptures clearly require us to be faithful to one another as believers. When the line was crossed, the power of Lewis's writing became diminished and clouded by the gossip about the relationship. Also we have not even begun to touch on the two boys. Their father was still their father--they were half him. What did all this do to them. What about the divided loyalty between Lewis and their biological father. This is a DEEP subject and reading a tragic love story does not begin to reveal all that is held in this story. The author's interview and the book itself seems to dwell on their deep love for each other and skirt around God's Word. I do think Jack was absolutely ignorant of what an emotional affair was and thinking as long as they were not sexually intimate there was no harm in their friendship. Wrong.

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    4. Carol, as ever, you've said it oh so well --> 'I don’t see sin winning here or being enjoyable or romantic.'

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  7. Pg 160. What freeing thing it is to recognize loss. It can be kept hidden as our denial system says “do not go there.” I first recognized loss when I accepted the fact that I would never have a father who could be a dad. In alcoholism, all chances of normalcy and right expectations are not reality which brings one to the next profound statement this book held.....

    Pg 177 “you tolerate what you must when it becomes YOUR reality.” That jumped out at me when I read this book because its truth was my experience.

    I really like the real life struggles in this book that are brought to the surface. How we fail to sort through our stuff cause there is no one to do it with.

    Love these videos. Wish I had them when our book club met about this book.

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    1. Praise God that He gives us everything we need for life and godliness ... and that includes breaking free from the chains of denial and grieving all the myriad of losses that have come our way.

      And you, my dear faithful friend have taught me well ...

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  8. Enjoying the quotes and comment from background as a non-reader of the book presently! Fascinating though! And the video too!

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    1. Absolutely, Lynn! I've always maintained that the discussions around here are much finer than the posts themselves ...

      ;-)

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  9. The quotes you bring forth really bring forth reflection, Linda. From them and the discussions, it sounds like Joy was a deeply troubled soul with a lot of pain and losses in her life. The quote about her weeping for the losses she had never acknowledged before grabs me the most. I don't know quite how to word it, but it seems that often among Christians, we are instructed to accept some losses and move on, being grateful for what God still gives us. To shove the losses under the rug and have faith. But it's so important to mourn and grieve over each and every one in order to heal and be more able to help others. I'm still chewing on this one... Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, hi! As I read your heartfelt words, Psalm 56:8 came to mind - 'You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.'

      And yes, Jesus wept.

      Our sorrows are real and they matter to the One who loves us best.

      Shoving the losses under the rug only leaves a burden that will cause us greater heartache later.

      You hit the nail on the head with these wise words -->'it's so important to mourn and grieve over each and every one in order to heal and be more able to help others.'

      Amen, sister ...

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  10. "With the yellow leaves and the happiness of this afternoon, I long even more for such a place," he said. "Isn't that odd? That we can be happy here and yet want to go ... there?" (p. 160) I wonder, do I long for heaven? Or am I content here with my loving husband, children, grandchildren and friends? I long for a place of peace, without pain, sickness and suffering. But is that the same as longing to be with Jesus for eternity? If I am being honest, I think I am comfortable with the known. I have begun to read Heaven by Randy Alcorn and that is changing my perspective by helping me see what God has prepared for each of us! Perhaps I need to follow Jack's lead and spend more time in silence with nature. "I pray and allow nature to bring me to silence." "The beauty that brings us to peace and whispers that there's something more."(p. 204)

    Thank you, Roomie, for giving us a place to slow down and reflect on things that matter!

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    1. A dear friend read Heaven to her husband as he slowly made his way into eternity. I can think of no sweeter way to go Home to Jesus.

      And this, Stace, right here --> 'I long for a place of peace, without pain, sickness and suffering. But is that the same as longing to be with Jesus for eternity?'

      Your question has given me cause for pause this evening, friend. Long overdue.

      I'm so very glad you're here.

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  11. The line "You tolerate what you must when it becomes your reality" keeps playing in my mind. I find that true when things happen that you weren't prepared for. Cancer, death, loss of a job, rejection by a child have all happened - most of the time without warning. Acceptance doesn't just come automatically. It takes time, sometimes years, maybe never, to be able to accept certain things have happened in our lives. "Tolerate" is the perfect word when things are out of your control and you are searching for understanding and acceptance.

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    1. Marilyn, you're so right. Nothing can prepare us for these huge losses. And yes, they usually come without warning.

      I'm always leery of people that have a 1 - 2 - 3 formula for getting through tough stuff. The only thing we're promised is that God will never leave us or forsake us.

      May His peace weave its calming threads into your search for understanding and acceptance.

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  12. I actually just got this book, I've been looking forward to reading it!! - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Oh cool, Gingi! Can't wait to hear what you think...

      ;-)

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  13. This was a great quote "You tolerate what you must when it becomes your reality" we were talking about something similar just the other day. Sounds like a great book. hanks for sharing

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

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    1. Yep, that's hitting home for others, too, Hena ...

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  14. Linda,
    I am enjoying the video and the quotes. Thanks so much. Hard to pick but this one hit me: 'You tolerate what you must when it becomes your reality.' It also means trusting God for the new reality, which means believing in His goodness and sovereignty, which goes with Joy's last quote. Blessings to you :-)

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    1. Oh this is profound and wise, Dolly, your encouragement to trust God 'for the new reality.'

      What might we have missed along the way because we became hostage to the former things ...

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  15. Hello Linda, sorry that I am just getting here to comment! Thank you again for hosting this lovely online book club, it is delightful to discuss and hear other's thoughts on this book. I enjoyed the video as well.

    {Jack, chapter 26, page 191} I have to disagree with this comment, although I do understand that he is referring to physical mortal happiness when he makes this statement. It is true that we experience great loss through the course of our lives because of the sacrifice involved being a Christ follower. Yet, there is a supreme supernatural joy that does come and live in our hearts, in spite of our circumstances. A bottle of port can't change our circumstance, except maybe make it worse, but the joy of the Lord can come in the darkest hour of suffering, and transform one's perspective. One cannot separate joy and suffering, for it seems they walk a tightrope together through life. I have never been in a trial so deep or great that I did not find the joy of the Lord there to sustain me and change my perspective, much more than a bottle of alcohol could do.

    {Joy, chapter 29, page 206} Many times it does seem that prayers are not ever heard by the Lord, and other times the answer comes so quickly that we know they were heard. It is wonderful though, when we discover that our faith can grow and stay intact when God chooses to answer our prayers differently than how we prayed for it to happen. He may answer with a yes, but with a completely different outcome than we anticipated. I see that later in the book when Joy realizes that God did indeed answer her prayer to become Mrs. Lewis, but most certainly not in the avenue in which it came, bittersweetly painful. I do believe we walk by faith and not by sight, because if we knew what lay before us, no doubt we would shudder and refuse to walk that path. But the Lord is merciful to give us enough of what we need, manna if you will, at the exact moment in time that we need it, and it is better, for our own good, that we don't know what the future holds, and that we continue to walk in faith with Him, not knowing what the future holds, but knowing that His love and care will sustain us to whatever we come to.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to interact and for excellent quotes to ponder! Blessings and hugs :)

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    1. Marilyn, hi! You're never late around here!

      And yes, I absolutely agree with you about the bottle of port {and any other bottle for that matter!}, for sure.

      And this, right here -->'the Lord is merciful to give us enough of what we need, manna if you will, at the exact moment in time that we need it, and it is better, for our own good, that we don't know what the future holds, and that we continue to walk in faith with Him, not knowing what the future holds, but knowing that His love and care will sustain us to whatever we come to.'

      What a beautiful statement of faith, what encouraging words for when we're unsure of what's coming next. His love, His care, His faithfulness sustain and bless.

      Praise His name!

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