The Lifegiving Home is a practical and inspiring collection, arranged month-by-month, of ideas which will help you to “creat[e] a place of belonging and becoming” for yourself, your family, your friends, and others with whom you share your home.
Sally Clarkson is so amazing in this book, and her other books, about helping women solidify their ideals and work toward establishing an atmosphere of safety and love where people can learn, grow, create, and build strong relationships. I am always encouraged after reading or listening to Sally (check out her “At Home With Sally” podcast; it’s great, too!).
This is not a book for everyone. However, if you love reading birth stories, have a large family or are curious about large families and their beliefs and practices, or are an “older” (mid-thirties and up) woman who is interested in having (or continuing to have) babies, then you will probably enjoy this book. The book is written from a religious standpoint, as is obvious from the subtitle: “Ten Ordinary Women Surrender to the Creator and Embrace Life.”
Each chapter in this book is written by a different woman who holds the conviction that God is sovereign over family size. For the most part, the women eschew all forms of birth control and have large families. Each woman shares about her family, including her and her husband’s reasons for allowing God to plan their family size, birth stories, and challenges and blessings that have come their way. Then, at the end of each chapter, each woman gives her answers for the same set of survey questions that was given to all of the book’s contributors.
I appreciate that the survey questions do not shy away from hard ethical issues, such as the increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects that older mothers face. I was encouraged by the strong faith and wisdom of each of the women in this book. The tone of the book is not preachy or prescriptive; it’s more “this is why we do what we do and how it has worked out for us.”
The last two chapters of the book are full of practical advice about optimal nutrition for fertility and help for preventing and correcting physical challenges that some women experience during and after pregnancy.
As someone who “grew up” in church and accepted Christ as my Savior at a young age, it is especially interesting and powerful for me to hear the stories of how and why people from non-religious backgrounds decide to completely overhaul their lives in order to follow Christ. In her late 30’s, Rosaria Butterfield (then Champagne) made just such a costly choice. She renounced her life as (in her words) “a radical lesbian feminist professor” to become a Christian, and in so doing, she lost nearly everything that had ever mattered to her.
I was moved by Rosaria’s humility and courage, both in her initial decision for Christ and in the way she shares her story. Her love for and commitment to the Bible is evident. I appreciated her perspective on hospitality (hospitality is a major theme in this book), as that is an area I want to grow in.
Rosaria has also written a follow-up book entitled Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ, which I am planning to read soon.
I am marking The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert off as “a book by a Presbyterian” for the #VTReadingChallenge.
Posted in 2016 #VTReadingChallenge, Book Review
Tagged #VTReadingChallenge, book review, Christianity, conversion, gay, homosexuality, hospitality, lesbian, memoir, Presbyterian
To Jennifer Fulwiler, the concept of God was ridiculous…until it wasn’t. In this memoir of her conversion from atheism to Catholicism, Jennifer details how discovering the inaccuracies and inadequacies of her assumptions about the meaning of life nudged her into openness to belief in God. She also shares how God drew her, personally, to himself, by making his loving influence in her life so obvious that she could no longer resist or deny it.
I found this book to be very thoughtful and encouraging, and I recommend it. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it needed better copy editing; there were a lot of distracting punctuation errors.
I am marking this off as “A book about joy or happiness” for the #VTReadingChallenge. (After all, the subtitle is “How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It.”)