When we first come to a relationship in Christ as an adult, whether that's through maturing in faith or through a conversion, we are on fire. There is no lukewarm, mediocre feeling. There is fire. There is an urge to shout for joy, to do His work, to join the choir and sing His praises from the rooftops. And then, we settle in. We commit. We live the Christian life day in and day out. We know joy, but sometimes, we grow weary and the fire grows a little cooler. Life happens. We are asked to take turns we didn't know were there and climb hills that seem steeper than we even knew possible. Calm confidence evades us and though we are joyful deep-down, we're not exactly dancing a happy dance.
Because we are committed to a life in Christ, our hearts are restless. We want to rest in Him. We want to feel joyful. Still, our souls are hungry and our spirits are weary.
I've been there.
The first time I was there, I had four young children and a major case of burnout. As I battled back, I kept notes. I shared those notes in a talk at a conference. While shopping at the conference, a lady who had heard my talk introduced me to a book. More importantly, she introduced me to a mentor. I went home, read Educating the WholeHearted Child and was forever changed. That was the weekend I "met" Sally Clarkson.
Sally Clarkson is a woman of vision. A woman of conviction.
I inhaled everything she'd written or spoken (this was back in the day of "just books" and audio cassette tapes--no blogs or podcasts:-). The following year, I wanted to talk about whole books education at that same conference. I took a chance, sent Sally some things I'd written, and asked her if I could have a WholeHearted table for her when I spoke. Then I forgot all about it.
One February day (exactly 11 years ago), when I was bringing my fifth baby home from the hospital, the phone rang as we walked in the door. Mike juggled the infant seat, I went for the couch, and Michael headed for the phone. "Just tell whomever it is I'll call her back."
"Mom," he said, his hand over the receiver, "it's Sally Clarkson."
I took that call:-). Sally told me--briefly--about her time in Poland, her fondness for Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, and her vision for ministry.And then she told me to inhale deeply the sweetness of my baby. Over the years, we have kept in touch sporadically and she has continued to mentor me through her many books. Recently, the blogosphere has blessed us with connection. So, it was with great pleasure that I agreed to read an advance copy of her new book Dancing with my Father.
And once again, her timing was perfect. She found me in a low place and like the best of mentors, lifted me up and challenged me onward. She equipped me with wisdom and example and inspiration-- and just a little bit of a kick in the pants.
This is a book of vision; a book of the joy that comes with loving well. It's a breath of fresh air for weary travelers on the ministry road. Withcharacteristic grace and wisdom, Sally Clarkson acknowledges that even the most devoted Christian suffers discouragement, disappointment, and disillusionment. She meets us in our crashed idealism and burnout—but she doesn't leave us there. With God at her side, she leads us to the gentle peace and quiet trust of a mature Christian. Dancing with my Father will challenge you to think the thoughts, pray the prayers, and do the work that will bring you to a better understanding of the magnificent dance the Lord of Love has choreographed for you.
Can you hear the music? He wants to have this dance...