July 9, 2014

Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Ann Lamott

When things break up and fences fall over, desperation and powerlessness slink in which turns out to be good. Humility and sweetness often arrive in your garden not long after.
-from Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Ann Lamott

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Anne Lamott's non-fiction Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith is not a dogmatic or religious book that's going to tell you how you have to live your life. It's much more graceful than that. Using anecdotes from her own life, Lamott explains where to find grace in places where you least expect it and how to give grace when you didn't know you had it in you to give. And as always, in true Anne Lamott fashion, the prose is beautiful enough to enjoy this book no matter the content (I'm just happy the content was helpful!).

When I first begun listening to this audio book I really needed some of God's grace. I felt like my spiritual spring was running dry and I needed Anne Lamott to tell me what to do to tap into the well of grace. The biggest thing that I learned through this book is that we don't always recognize grace when we're receiving it. One of my favorite examples in this book was Lamott's atypical mother who Lamott did not always get along with ("She had a black belt in co-dependence" -- oh, how I adore that line!!). But through spiritual intervention, Lamott was able to find the ways God used her stressful relationship to provide grace to both women.

Another powerful message in this book is that we must give grace as much as we wish to receive it. While there's no equation that you must give so much grace in order to receive a certain amount, God's plan goes much deeper than such superficial notions. When we give grace we receive it simply by the act of giving. I have learned this countless times with my prayer ministry, Knit Together by Love.  I find myself getting just as much (if not more) out of helping people as they get receiving a gift. Lamott's notion that we "must clean up our side of the street" is such a clear metaphor for doing our part to keep a clear conscience and give back to others.

Bottom Line: If you like no-nonsense, faith-based Christianity without all the doctrine and debate, this is a great book. If you're super traditional, I'll warn you that Lamott is a Christian feminist with a strong hate for George W. Bush. But her spirit is in the right place, her love for God is evident and her writing is beautiful-- so what is there not to love? 4/5 Hearts.

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