Books for Everyday Life

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Books for Everyday Life
Reviews by Fiona Lloyd

He Will Be Enough by Katie Faris

My first choice this month is by author Katie Faris, who writes movingly about her experiences as the mother of children with life-limiting conditions in He Will Be Enough. Faris is honest about the emotional and spiritual rollercoaster this has taken her on. This is not a book full of neat answers, but rather seeks to offer comfort to those who suffer by pointing to Jesus. She writes in her introduction: ‘Perhaps you’re standing on the edge of your own trial, wondering how to get your footing as the world you know seems to sink on every side … If so, this book is for you.’

The book is divided into twenty short, easy-to-read chapters. In each, Faris briefly describes part of her own story and then uses this as a starting point for focusing on a particular aspect of God’s character. There are questions and suggested Scripture readings at the end of each chapter, along with a prayer to help the reader respond to God.

Joni Eareckson Tada – a woman who has known considerable suffering in her own life – encourages the reader in the foreword to ‘Consider He Will Be Enough as your reservoir of grace-filled help and hope’. This is a helpful book to dip into or to work through methodically and would make a great gift for someone who is struggling in the midst of demanding circumstances.

Grief Notes by Tony Horsfall

This is another book born out of a difficult life situation. Horsfall shares his journey through the first year of bereavement following the death of his wife, Evelyn, in July 2020. The book is mostly in diary form, which feels like a helpful format for charting the course of grief, as many of us who have experienced the death of a loved one will be able to identify with the sense of marking off significant dates in a new way.

I appreciated the way Horsfall was willing to be very honest about his emotions and the things he found particularly tricky (such as signing a grandchild’s birthday card with one name instead of two). This was in some ways hard to read, and yet there is a thread of hope running through the book that reminds us that, for the Christian believer, death is not the end.

Horsfall also takes time to share his thoughts and insights, including Bible passages that have proved comforting for him. This is done sensitively, and – as with my first recommendation – there are no pat answers, but to my mind this makes the writing more authentic. There is also a useful list of further reading at the end of the book. I would recommend this to anyone who is struggling with grief themselves, but also as a valuable resource for those involved in pastoral care.

Navigating a World of Grace by Graham Tomlin

This book is a gentle and beguiling exploration of the familiar (to many of us) words of the Nicene Creed. To recite this aloud takes only a couple of minutes, so at first glance it might seem quite ambitious to build a whole book around it. However, Bishop Graham Tomlin brings the truth behind these ancient words to life in a new way as he examines the background to, and component parts of, the Creed.

The subtitle of the book is ‘The Promise of Generous Orthodoxy’, and Tomlin sets out how generosity and orthodoxy are not (as we might suppose) polar opposites, but in fact complement and amplify each other. The book is split into two main sections. The first of these, ‘The Generosity of Orthodoxy’, looks at the origins of the Nicene Creed before turning to investigate the various statements made therein about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The second half of the book flips the title of the first to focus on ‘The Orthodoxy of Generosity’. Here, Tomlin considers how the truths expressed in the Creed affect the way we live, and there are some challenging points made here about the tendency of western society to cling onto our wealth and possessions rather than being openhanded towards those in need. The author reminds us that ‘Throughout the Nicene Creed … we have this pattern of divine generosity and self-giving’, and that this is something we should seek to emulate.

Throughout the book, Tomlin’s delight in the wonder of God’s plan, as expressed through the words of the Creed, jumps off the page. I heartily recommend this book as one to ponder on and savour.

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Products mentioned in or related to this blog post
Grief Notes: Walking through loss (Paperback)
Tony Horsfall
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He Will Be Enough (Hard Cover)
Katie Faris
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Navigating a World of Grace (Paperback)
Graham Tomlin
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