Spiritual biographies can be compelling reading. But fictional treatment of the spiritual journeys of four women? What kind of book would that be? And why would I read it?
I had heard such good things about Sensible Shoes. And I DO find it helpful to hear others reflect on their deepening walk with Jesus and how that relationship changes lives. The author, Sharon Garlough Brown, has an M.Div. from Princeton, and is a pastor and spiritual director with the Evangelical Covenant Church. She knows her stuff, and writes well.
The four women of this novel meet at a spiritual retreat, and as they begin to learn about the disciplines, and practice them, and as they deepen their relationships with Jesus and with each other, the author weaves in their back stories and shows how thinking, attitudes, and behaviors begin to change.
I was blessed by the spiritual exercises the retreat director taught them, and blessed even more by the stories of how these exercises brought change to hearts, marriages, vocations, and healing to long-standing brokenness. I have experienced a little bit of the "healing of memories" and how Jesus can heal what has long been broken and painful. I've also experienced how Jesus works through the tragedies and defeats of our lives. Maybe that's why I find this book so sweet to read. I understood these journeys, and I shared them.
Yes, I might say that the book has moments that are too pat and neat. Yet, on the whole, I found it authentic and powerful. At the very least a reminder of what can happen when we genuinely practice our decision to have the mind of Christ.