Sensible Shoes [a review]

sensible-shoesIt is very seldom that a work of fiction can so deftly blend together spiritual enrichment and practice with a compelling plot line. This is such a book. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up. It was a recommendation from a friend whom I trust implicitly. The subtitle reads: a story about the Spiritual journey. I would go one step further, I think that it is a bit of a spiritual journey on its own.

As many of you know, I'm deeply interested in contemplative spiritual practice. I'm trying to make more space for God in my life, and I've always gravitated to exercises and disciplines which might help me make that space, and then, which would help me fill it with Him.

This book follows four women, all very different, as they participate in a spiritual retreat over the course of several weeks. As they walk through practices, I found myself wanting to stop and pray through them as well (they are explained in "handouts" at the ends of some of the chapters). I don't often cry when reading, but I wept as I read this book. God used it in my life to awaken a desire for the movement of the Holy Spirit, for the healing of hurts long since past, for rest and fullness.

I saw myself in all of the women at one point or another. Their struggles and pasts are different from mine, but there was a certain amount of universality in them as well. I plan to return to this book and I have a feeling that I might gravitate more to a certain character at different times of life, and in different circumstances.

This book made me hungry. It made me hungry for more of God. I became eager to drink deeply of what He has for me, and I was offered some tools in seeking Him.

This is not a normal or expected piece of Christian fiction.

If you're looking to come close to God, hoping for some small steps you can take, praying through the past (or living with the past long buried), this book might take your hand and draw you in.

In case you're wondering, although the four main characters are women, this is not a "women's book". I think that a man would be able to read it and find much of significance here.

This is not a beach read, not a fantasy or a romance, but I found myself turning the pages, stopping over words and phrases, drinking them in, vowing to return, not wanting it to end.