Christian readings and literature that have lifted your spirit.(14 Posts)
I have loads.
One author I love in particular is Amy Carmichael, a 19th century missionary to Africa. She had a fall and damaged her spine badly then was bedridden, yet wrote book after book of beautiful devotional writings. As someone with chronic illness, what she says resonates with me so much. She wrote this from a place of deep pain and seperation from the world:
'You were like a leafy bush, and many little things came for you to shelter. You were not great or important, but you could help those little things.
And it was the joy of your life to help them.
Now you can do nothing at all.
Some desolation - illness, monetary loss, or something you cannot talk about to anyone, a trouble no one seems to understand - has overwhelmed you. All your green leaves have gone.
Now you cannot shelter even the least little bird.
You are like a bush, with its bare twigs . No use to anyone.
That is what you think.
But look again at this bare bush. Look at the delicate tracery of its shadow lines on the snow. The sun is shining behind the bush and so every little twig is helping to make something that is very beautiful. Perhaps other eyes, that you do not see, are looking on it too, wondering what can be made of sun and snow and poor bare twigs....
The spring will come again, for after winter there is always spring.
......Now, in the midst of so much unhappiness, engulfing your heart in cold, let these words seep down - like figures of sunlight, like trickles of first-spring rains - to refresh your inmost soul. God will not fail you, who is the God of the sun and the snow.'
Love that. After winter there is always spring.
I really enjoy CS Lewis' writing although he was a man of the early 20th century and sometimes that shows. 'The Screwtape Letters' which are the letters between a junior and senior devil are a real delight.
Thanks for your post sunshinemum - I am turning 40 later this year and my youngest is off to school in September. I don't want to be "maundering lost youth"! I feel like a new and exciting chapter of my life could be starting - with God in it!! I just hope I can find those new doors and horizons opening around me. Encouraging words, so thank you.
Sorry I don't have much of my own to add, other than to say I have enjoyed all of Phillip Yancey's books and found them very encouraging.
Youth of yore eh? Who needs ASBO's when you've got bears .
Fiveex- that 's a good one, I'd forgotten the more uplifting parts of the bible- this is a favourite of mine:
2 Kings 2:23-24
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldhead!” they said. “Get out of here, baldhead!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.
I'm an Atheist, but I always find Matthew 25:31-46 The Sheep and the Goats helps me when I'm pissed off with human kind in general.
Or Terry Pratchet's Granny Aching character's version "Feed them as is hungry, clothe them as is naked, speak for them as has no voices."
I have lots that lift my spirit- none is christian though I'm afraid, so perhaps not the place to share.
I was going to suggest 'Mere Christianity' when I saw the opening of your post, but I see you've already got there
I also rate "Learning to Fall - the blessings of an imperfect life" by Philip Simmons. I picked it up when on retreat years ago, and ended up buying my own copy. It's written by someone with a degenerative disease, but it's not one of those "triumph over adversity" books, which can sometimes seem designed to trivialise other people's problems. He says in the introduction:
"at its deepest levels life is not a problem, but a mystery. The distinction, which I borrow from the philosopher Gabriel Marcel, is fundamental: problems are to be solved, true mysteries are not. Personally, I wish I could have learned this lesson more easily—without, perhaps, having to give up my tennis game. But each of us finds his or her own way to mystery. At one time or another, each of us confronts an experience so powerful, bewildering, joyous, or terrifying that all our efforts to see it as "a problem" are futile. Each of us is brought to the cliff’s edge. At such moments we can either back away in bitterness or confusion, or leap forward into mystery. And what does mystery ask of us? Only that we be in its presence, that we fully, consciously, hand ourselves over. That is all, and that is everything. We can participate in mystery only by letting go of solutions. This letting go is the first lesson of falling, and the hardest."
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