I like to read. A lot.
Much of the time I read novels. Nicholas Sparks. Karen Kingsbury. Angela Hunt. Dee Henderson. Charles Martin. Beverly Lewis. These are just a few of my favorite authors.
I am one of those people who gets absorbed in novels and have been known to cry or get angry about what is happening in a book as if the characters were real.
Last January I hit a dry spell. I couldn’t read. I tried. Over and over. I started one book that would typically take me a couple of days to finish and it took me 6 months.
Finally, in October, the dry spell was over. I could read again. I was devouring books again. I even spent a couple of days on my couch just reading. I can’t remember the last time I did that.
And then it happened. I finished The Nativity Story by Angela Hunt and I couldn’t start another novel.
I’m not sure why. I had one picked out and sitting by my bed, but I couldn’t pick it up.
Instead, I was drawn to a book in a genre that is quickly becoming my favorite: memoirs.
The one calling my name was Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir by Susan Isaacs. I bought the book over a year ago and it had just been sitting on my shelf. So I started reading it. And I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in just a couple of days. (And since I pretty much only have time to read before bed, and even that is limited some days, that’s pretty amazing.) In her story, she takes God to counseling, or rather, she takes her image of God to counseling. There is something about the way she writes that just struck a chord with me. The sarcasm, snark, and humor perfectly woven with the real questions, hardships, and struggles that she faced spoke to me. So much so, that when I finished it, I posted this on Facebook:
Just finished “Angry Conversations with God” by Susan Isaacs. Loved it. The subtitle is “A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir” and it is just that. It is real. It is tough. It deals with the fact that life sucks. It really spoke to me. Read it. If you have ever questioned God or life or your place in it. Read it.
And I meant it. I still do.
After I finished it, I went to pick up the novel that I had picked out (it was still sitting next to my bed) and again I couldn’t.
Instead I was reminded of a book that I had waiting for me in the Kindle App on my iPad. Love Does by Bob Goff. Guess what. Another memoir.
I have been working on it for the last couple of days. I can’t put it down. I keep finding gems that speak to me. Things like:
Jesus told the people He was with that it’s not enough to just look like you love God. He said we’d know the extent of our love for God by how well we loved people.
I once heard somebody say that God had closed a door on an opportunity they had hoped for. But I’ve always wondered if, when we want to do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him. Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down. Or perhaps just sit outside of it long enough until somebody tells us we can come in.
I don’t know why I am being drawn to these books. But I think it might be part of the process of coming out of this time of depression and anxiety that has been plaguing me. I think there may be things that I need to learn and I can’t learn them through novels right now. (I have learned much from novels, as well, over the years, but maybe that’s not what I need at this point.) Maybe I can only learn them through other people’s real stories. Through their struggles. Through their pain. Through their redemption. Through their enlightening.
So I guess I’ll keep reading what my heart and mind seem to be looking for – whatever form that takes.
What are you reading these days? How do the books you read affect you?