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Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places

InterVarsity Press / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

Grace---it's hard to see, but sometimes even more difficult to receive. Weaving truth from Scripture, quotes from other writers, and experiences gathered along her journey, Barkat shares her own powerful story and reveals the unexpected ways and places she's discovered grace, love, and freedom from shame. An uplifting read for broken spirits.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 180
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830834958
ISBN-13: 9780830834952
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Grace. Sometimes it's hard to see. And even harder to receive. When you're hurt or angry or confused or doubtful, grace can seem as hard to grasp as sky. But actually, it's as real and solid as stones: tangible, weighty, something to hold on to, a way through streams of pain, shame, abuse. In these pages L.L. Barkat shares her own painful, powerful story with us. Weaving in truth from Scripture, words from other writers and stories of people who've come alongside her in her journey, she shows us the unexpected ways and places she's discovered grace: grace that has helped her open her heart to love, discover a way past fear, find freedom from shame. Her story will help you find the rock of God's grace in the midst of your own broken, hard places. And his grace will give you a new story to tell.

Author Bio

L.L. Barkat is a speaker and writer for WTW Ministry in New York. She is a former magazine designer, art director, editorial consultant and ad copywriter. Barkat also manages Social Issues Reading Clubs for persons who want to be informed about social issues and ways they can benefit the world community. is her first InterVarsity Press book.

Editorial Reviews

"[O]ne of the best books I've read in a while. . . . This glorious book is thoughtful without being laborious, literate without being self-conscious. [Barkat] has a great eye for details, and a luminous style that revels in God's presence in the day-to-day."
" Stone Crossings walks the reader through the foggy landscapes of life, arriving at subtle moments of true grace. Barkat's courageous, unblinking honesty is a gift, a gift offered in gentle, delicate, literary prose."
"You are holding an invitation to a table set for two--you and L. L. Barkat. At this table, near a river in my mind's imagination, she will tell you her story of faith. You may not even notice the river, for the storytelling will lift you into a life of faith that will not lead you to gaze at her but to enjoy the same life of faith. The only writer I know quite like Barkat is Eugene Peterson. That probably tells you all you need to know."
"With a storyteller's charm and a Bible teacher's grit, L. L. Barkat weaves memoir, humor and spiritual insight together into a satisfying read. She challenges us to open our eyes anew to the amazing graces God lavishes upon us every day, in ordinary and surprising ways."
"L.L. Barkat tells a painful story of abuse and loss. But it is not her story but God's story that takes center stage in this remarkable book. The beautiful and intelligent writing will pull you in, but the deep and uncommon insights will keep you reading. Here is a book full of the wisdom which can only come when real life meets God's grace through God's Word. It is a book meant to be read slowly."

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Author/Artist Review

Author: L.L. Barkat
Located in: USA
Submitted: February 11, 2008

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I live in an urban area, but I was born and bred in the shadows of the countryside. Deep inside, I long for a life near fields and creeks. I think this longing quietly runs through Stone Crossings, even though it's not the focus of the book.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  One morning, somewhere between a leg lift and a pushup, Stone Crossings entered my mind in fledgling form. I realized I wanted to write this book as a love letter of sorts, to my broken family, to other broken families, to people who struggle to understand how to grow in their life of faith despite all the “stuff” that distracts or weighs them down. It would ultimately be a book on spiritual formation, but not the here-are-five-formulas type. Instead, Stone Crossings would follow my faith journey from its inception in a troubled childhood to its maturity in my adulthood, entwine it with God’s stories and weave everything together with images of stones. In this way, it would invite others to taste and recognize the graces in their own faith journeys, encouraging them in their own spiritual formation.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  We face hard things in life—the wounds of our dysfunctional pasts, failures in our present relationships, doubts that we are growing into the spiritual people we want to be. In the face of these things, we often hide. But grace calls us into the open. “Where have you been, where are you now, where do you want to be?” And there, in the light, we can be freed. I hope that Stone Crossings will be a call of grace for others, ultimately bringing growth and freedom.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  Stone Crossings has been a healer and a teacher. Through it, love found me and offered me a long-needed respite from the burdens of a dysfunctional life. By dysfunctional I partly mean that my mom has been married three times, my dad five, and as a result I have eighteen siblings—real, steps, halves, etc.! Let me tell you a quick story to express the healing I’ve experienced through writing about all this with a pen of grace. One Sunday morning, when I’d nearly completed Stone Crossings, I was standing in church. We were singing “It Is Well with My Soul.” There’s this line that goes, “My sin, not in part but the whole, has been nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.” My throat closed. My eyes filled up. This image came into my mind, of me stooping before Jesus with a big rock on my back, the burden of years of sin—family sin, my sin. And Jesus taking that rock and lifting my chin, urging me to stand and bear grace in exchange. A light burden. I believe it was the experience of writing Stone Crossings that was the catalyst for this vision. A vision of me as a grace-bearer. It’s not that I’ve completely changed as a result, but this vision of me as a grace-bearer feels like a turning point.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  Can I say that God is my favorite author? It's true. The Bible is an amazing book, full of adventure, beauty, joys and sorrows. Second to that I've been impressed by the depth of writers like Thomas Merton and Wendell Berry. And I'm inspired by the unique and powerful voices of authors like Walter Wangerin and Annie Dillard.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  Once, somebody asked me which chapters of Stone Crossings impacted me the most. I had to say that all the chapters impacted me strongly and uniquely. When I’d sit down to write, I’d always pray first, “Tell me what you want to say to me and the world.” And I was always overwhelmed by the ensuing tender communications of truth and grace. But two chapters in particular made me weep during the writing process—“Sugar Face,” which is frank about my early hatred for and disillusionment with my father, and “Olive Press,” which poignantly retells the story of Gethsemane as if Jesus were facing a verdict of stoning under shari’a law. The “Olive Press” chapter reminds me that as much as I’ve been hurt by the brokenness of my family, I’ve also hurt others and Jesus through my own angers. As such, I’m overwhelmed that Jesus’ response to me is not retaliation, but pure love.

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