Over the years that I've been using different devotionals on a daily basis, I've come to realize that those that tend to work best for me, in connecting me not only to Scripture, but to how those words work into my life, are the ones that are ultimately personal. Lisa Harper writes from her heart and interjects awesome amounts of humor into the stories of how she's stumbled in grace and learned Godly lessons along the way. That particular way of writing makes it real for me and I loved this book.
Broken up into short chapters, perfect for a daily devotional, the readers are given an often humorous story of how Harper went astray at some point, did something embarrassing, etc. and how God led her back to him. Included in the chapter is a section from the Bible on how part of Jesus' journey helps work her to work through, and ultimately learn from, her own mistakes.
There's also discussion questions at the end of each chapter, great for group discussions or simply personal reflection, as I used them for. A prayer is also included and ideas for journal entries, if you're journaling.
This has been one of my favorite devotionals to use and I'll definitely be seeking out more books by Lisa Harper. I loved the funny parts, the serious parts, and the dedication to learning that she has seamlessly blended into the book. I learned a lot AND laughed a lot, while connecting with God.
Aw, but aren't we all spiritually clumsy? If we were honest with ourselves and others, we would admit that our lives are full of trips and fall_literally and figuratively. And, if we were to be authentic, we would understand what Lisa Harper's Stumbling Into Grace is all about - forgiveness in spite of flaws. Perhaps maybe if we spent more time acknowledging our own flaws it might be easier to forgive the imperfections of others. Lisa's book talks about how we sometimes get lost in our own chaos of emotions that we often forget to extend the very same grace we expect from others. One of the very best gifts that I ever received was from a dear friend in one of my darkest hours and it came in the package of nine little words "I don't want you to feel like an island." What words of comfort and grace. But just as grace is extended to us, Stumbling Into Grace explains, our grace must also be extended even when we think as I and Lisa have, "he could be so difficult that I wasn't sure grace was big enough to include him." God's grace is big enough!
What I found in Stumbling into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman, was a part-devotional, part-humorous story, all-honest book. Lisa Harper is open and down-to-earth in her descriptions of things she has encountered in everyday life while always coming back to Christ and how He is the center of everything.
There are Personal Reflection/Discussion Group questions at the end of each chapter and also a helpful prompt for writing your thoughts about the topic in a journal.
I appreciated how Lisa pointed out the context of the verses that she was using instead of pulling a verse out of the Bible here and there and running with it.
There were a couple of chapters that didn't really hit home with me, but that is to be expected, of course. The book needs to relate to all, not just to me!
This book was a pretty good devotional, which was made easier to read by Lisa Harper's unending humor and honesty.
1. The Title: Stumbling into Grace. Isn't that a great word picture! It is a wonderful title that I feel describes me extremely well! What about you?
2. The Subtitle: "Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman." This would fit all of us Christian Women, if we were as honest as Lisa Harper, true?!
3. The Picture on the Cover: The little girl makes me smile! She reminds me of my little girls. They twirling around in their very creative dress-up outfits fully confident in who they are and how much they are loved -- may we be more like that as we worship our Jesus!
...Anyway, I haven't even got to the inside of the book! It is split into three sections: Real Life, Real Gifts, and Real Growth...
4. The Humor: Lisa Harper uses humorous stories to break the ice and get the readers' heart open to listen, learn and grow. Like the title, the chapter titles are even humorous, including names like "The Very Real Problem with Pantyhose - Jesus and Binding Things" and "Getting Your Squeeze On - Jesus and the Gift of Touch"!
5. The Honesty: We got a glimpse of Lisa Harper's openness in the subtitle. This honest writing continues throughout the book.
6. Personal Refection/Group Discussion questions: These are very thought provoking, outside of the box questions that kept me thinking throughout the day. I plan to use this book in a group setting soon, and I look forward to the discussions that will occur.
7. Journal Entry: Lisa Harper encourages the reader to complete these sentences in your personal journal. An example is "So, I've been thinking about becoming absolutely devoted to and dependent on You, Jesus, and..." These could be used over and over as ideas to use in your journalling.
Lisa Harper is like a great friend with whom you are comfortable enough around to laugh often and cry hard because that's the openness in which she writes! I look forward to reading some of her others books.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.