Redemption Is a Part of Our Story {Book Club}

Loved the pictures from last week and the gardens and flowers around you!

Magic, magic, magic. I got a bit sick of it at the end and the great love of science to solve everything. But for the time she was writing in, those were current issues.

Still, I absolutely love The Secret Garden for the hope it leaves me with at the end. Almost everyone has experienced some form of redemption. Mary, Colin, Mr. Craven, Ben, even the garden herself. They have found ways to move towards each other and towards who they were meant to be before sin and brokenness moved them away from themselves.

“It was the strangest thing he had ever heard, Archibald Craven thought, as it was poured forth in headlong boy fashion. Mystery and Magic and wild creatures, the weird midnight meeting – the coming of the spring – the passion of insulted pride which had dragged the young Rajah to his feed to defy old Ben Weatherstaff to his face. The odd companionship, the play acting, the great secret so carefully kept. The listener laughed until tears came into his eyes and sometimes tears came into his eyes when he was not laughing. The Athlete, the Lecturer, the Scientific Discoverer was a laughable, loveable, healthy young human thing.”

What a great description of who Colin really was, not how he was seen and treated for the first ten years of his life!

I’m glad various age groups were represented as being capable of change – kids, middle aged adults, and an older adult. Even the hope that creation too, can experience redemption and hope!

Have you had a “Dickon” in your life, someone who invested in you and cheered you on? Which changes were a bit of a stretch for you? Which were the most believable? What did you think of the ways Christianity were portrayed? How is magic viewed where you live?

And since this is our last time talking about The Secret Garden, any final comments you’d like to make about the book? I’ve really enjoyed reading this book with you.

See you in the comments!


 P. S. So glad to have read and digested another book with you! Our next book in Behind the Beautiful Forever (about the modern day slums of Mumbai) and we will have it read by the end of July. We’re going to do the book club a little differently next month since it’s summer =).

July 8th — intro to the book and back ground info

July 15th — short quotation or thought

July 22nd — short quotation or thought

July 29th —  we’ll have the main discussion at the end of the month.



Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 

Photo Credit: Paulo Otávio via Compfight cc


  1. Denise June 24, 2014

    Actually the use of the term magic, turned me off when I orginally read this book to my children.  It felt like the author used magic instead of God. Yet today I do see God’s magic in our world as I see nature grow and change. But the “magic” of everyone changing was a joint effort. If Mary didn’t confront Colin he may have stayed in his bed forever. If Dicken and Mary didn’t do the hard work at the garden it would not have been beautiful. If the Dad hadn’t listened to Dicken’s mom he may not have come back. It is important to note, people are an important pieces in the magic of change. God has His part, but we often have to do our part too. We both have a responsibility. I am not talking about self reliant pull yourself up by your boot straps here.  Sometimes our piece is just accepting truth, sometimes it is greater. Colin had to realize he didn’t have a lump on his back. He need to accept that truth to move on.  We need to work with God and often God works with those around us. Nothing  is more spectacular then seeing people freed up to live their life as God intended. There was a lot of freedom for everyone at the end of this book!

    1. Amy Young June 26, 2014

      Denise, love how you teased out the joint effort of redemption — that God is the author, but he allows (and more than allows, almost waits for) our involvement. I think that’s part of why I enjoy this book so much, because of the ways they seem to each reach for others.

    2. laura July 15, 2014

      YES!!  Redemption in community. Love that you pointed this out.

      Sometimes the community is just us and God, sometimes others are to play a role in our redemption and sometimes we are to play a role in the redemption of others.  I was reminded of this last point this spring as I was reading (over and over again) how Moses struggled when God asked/told him to be part of the nation’s redemption.

  2. Brittany June 25, 2014

    I agree that I was tired of all the “magic”.  But at one point, I think it was when the children were talking to Mrs. Sowerby about it, that when people don’t know Who to give the praise for the miracles they are beholding, what other explanation is there than magic?  And though, I agree with Denise that we have “our part” to play, I fully believe that even if we don’t, God is sovereign and will complete “His part” and ours!  Mary got to play a role in God’s redemption of Colin and the Craven family.  Yet, had she been unwilling (not looking into the curious cries or even refusing to befriend Colin) God could have still worked out His redemption plan.

    That’s something that I am having to come to terms with over and over again in the field.  God does not need me.  He was working in Romania before my little family moved here, and He will continue His work with our without us.  The only role that I have is obedience.  If I choose to disobey, it’s not the people of Romania who will miss out.  God will work His “Magic” with or without me.  But what a privilege and joy it is to take part in what He is doing!  Such pressure that is removed from my soul.  I cannot and should not “save” Romania.  The only one who can is Jesus and as an all-sufficient God, He does not need me.  He can do it with out me!  Such freedom in that!  Oh, but what a pleasure to be allowed to work for Him and bring people into His presence!  My obedience benefits me rather than filling a need for Him.

    I feel like reading this book was like watching God unfold his redemption in real life.  I get very emotionally connected in books and I see them as reality.

    I do feel sad (as was mentioned one of the other weeks) that Mary doesn’t get restoration in her own family.  But what a friend she has in Dickon and I imagine she spends much time with his family.  Also, I expect that she is a very important part of the Craven family now and will feel quite at home.

    1. Amy Young June 26, 2014

      Brittany, as always, I enjoy your thoughts 🙂 — not that I’d ever, ever want parents to die (what a great lead in to my question, right?!), but it seems Mary’s parents were quite absorbed in themselves — as you said, I see the ways in which she found a home with Colin and Dr. Craven (and they with her). I wonder if she would have been able to enjoy this type of belonging if she’d of stayed in India. Thoughts :)?

  3. Brittany June 27, 2014

    I think you are right.  Her parents didn’t seem much involved with her nor even seem to want her.  But was her family in India so very different from Colin’s family?  Both children seemed unwanted and bothersome.  I wonder if Mary had stayed in India (had her parents not died), would God have worked out redemption in her family?  I agree that God uses even the most tragic of circumstances (Mary losing both of her parents at the same time) to bring about His good purposes.  But I also have seen that it doesn’t always take something drastic or tragic to bring about an amazing redemptive work.  In this book, He certainly made beauty from ashes in horrible, tragic lives.  It seems like it’s easiest to SEE God’s work when there are such stark, obvious transformations.  But I don’t think it’s any more significant than when redemption occurs in less dramatic ways.  (Sorry if this is a novel, you really got me thinking!)  I think about my own testimony–God’s redemptive work in my own heart.  Before Jesus, I was a “good girl”.  After Jesus, there’s not much change on the outside.  Though I know the change in my heart, it’s not really obvious or dramatic.  And I’ve sometimes felt like my redemption story is lame and insignificant because of that.  Oh, but Jesus rescued me just as much as He’s rescued all of His children!  The lack of dramatics doesn’t make the story any less significant than someone who has been rescued under tragic, horrible circumstances. So…relating back to The Secret Garden…I think God could have worked just as beautifully to redeem both families, if He wanted to, without Mary losing her parents and moving in with the Cravens.

    1. Amy Young June 30, 2014

      Brittany, I understand the pull for a more dramatic story 🙂 … but on the upside, those of us with less dramatic stories may have slightly less carnage on the outside to deal with (i.e. amends to make). As you said, even without a “dramatic” story, there is an equal need for a Savior! Whether dramatic or not, the need is the same!!! The older I get, actually the more I’m drawn to stories like yours. So, you go girl!

  4. laura July 15, 2014

    I loved how redemption happened for so many of them by doing things the ‘wrong’ way. By not accepting the way things have always been done to mean that you should never try a new way.  Mary didn’t heed the instructions to stay away from the garden or the cries in the night and instead searched for them… it was in finding them and tending to them that she found her redemption.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.