Follow four reluctant strangers on retreat in this study on spiritual formation that reads like a novel! Pastor's wife Hannah is one step from burnout. Widowed Meg is mourning an empty nest. Mara is trapped in a difficult marriage. And Charissa---a hard-working graduate student---just wants to get things right. Will key spiritual practices help them find hope---together?
A 2013 Midwest Publishing Awards Show Honorable Mention Sharon Garlough Brown tells the moving story of four strangers as they embark together on a journey of spiritual formation: Hannah, a pastor who doesn't realize how exhausted she is. Meg, a widow and recent empty-nester who is haunted by her past. Mara, a woman who has experienced a lifetime of rejection and is now trying to navigate a difficult marriage. Charissa, a hard-working graduate student who wants to get things right. You're invited to join these four women as they reluctantly arrive at a retreat center and find themselves drawn out of their separate stories of isolation and struggle and into a collective journey of spiritual practice, mutual support and personal revelation. Along the way, readers will be taken into a new understanding of key spiritual practices and find tangible support for the deeper life with God. If you want to travel this journey with others, you will find a group study guide and book club resources at www.sensibleshoesclub.com.
Sharon Garlough Brown (MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary) is a pastor, spiritual director, retreat leader and author. Her book was named one of television personality Kathie Lee Gifford's "favorite things" in March 2013. She and her husband Jack have served congregations in Scotland, Oklahoma and England and they currently co-pastor Redeemer Covenant Church in Caledonia, Michigan.
"As a reader, I was captivated by this story and its characters. Once begun, it was hard to put down. As a long-time spiritual director and retreat leader, I found the stories of spiritual transformation to be true to what I have seen with my directees and on retreats. I have suggested it to many as a glimpse into the contemplative life and what it may have to offer them."
"Written with a compelling narrative that weaves their lives together, Sensible Shoes offers readers a new understanding of key spiritual practices and support for those who wish to travel deeper into life with God themselves."
"If you're a spiritually inclined person, I think you'll really love it. It's about four women, every one of them coming from a different place spiritually. But all of them in need of a fresh cup of mercy. . . . So it's terrific. I highly recommend it."
"Sharon Garlough Brown's book Sensible Shoes provides an accessible message about the power of spiritual practices in our lives. As a spiritual director, I highly recommended this book to anyone who is seeking a deeper connection with God."
"There are books that offer a can't-put-it-down reading experience and books that offer truths so resonant that I am compelled to stop reading and ponder awhile. Sensible Shoes is both. Its characters have become spiritual companions for my journey."
"A book of four spiritual journeys that we can all relate to. Filled with spiritual insight, truth, beauty and discoverynot to mention deft and beautiful prose. A story to open eyes, to comfort and remind us of the importance of relationship."
"Sharon Brown's story provides a way for readers to vicariously dip into deep spiritual practices through the realistic struggles and joys of four women. Through emotionally resonant characters, Sensible Shoes encourages us to communicate with God in new ways, broadening our spiritual journey one step at a time."
"I have been on retreats with [these characters] and I am one of them. Their neediness, arrogance, cluelessness, perfectionism, self-pity, codependence . . . are mine. By the end of the book I was grateful for author Sharon Garlough Brown's fresh eyes and voice. She not only gave me resharpened tools for my journey with Jesus but also reminded me that I need fellow pilgrims to love me and keep me honest along the way."
"Sharon Garlough Brown introduces us to four engaging women who are wrestling with their . . . view of God. Strap on your best traveling shoes--following their journey in Sensible Shoes is not for the faint of heart!"
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