The Bones of Your Soul {Book Club}

As we near the end of another book, I bet you can relate to 20 Problems Only Book Lovers Understand.

Number 2 stood out to me :). Anyone else ever been in a funk over people who are not real? We should make our own list of Problems Only Overseas Book Lovers Understand!

A funny side story on the list . . . it was emailed to me and I replied to the sender how much I enjoyed the list and that would be sharing it today. I also included a work question. She replied, “Um, Aunt Amy I think you have me confused with your friend who has the same name. This is your niece.” Ha!

On to the last two invitations in Invitations From God by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun: The Invitation to Remember and The Invitation to the Most Excellent Way. I love the timing for both of these invitations as the Velvet Ashes community prepares for the retreat later this week. It is not too late to register. If you have been sitting on the fence, I’m here to nudge you to register. The theme was planned with you and this book in mind. Receive: An Invitation to God’s Presence.

God loves you.

So much.

He is anticipating spending time with you  during the retreat and is preparing a special word for you. He knows what you need. If this weekend does not work out for you, still register. Do it when you can.

The Invitation to Remember

By this point we might call it the invitation to join the Henri Nouwen fan club. Once again I marked a Henri Nouwen quote:

“One of the tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are and waste a lot of time and energy to prove what doesn’t need to be proved.”

Let that soak in.

What have you been trying to prove that doesn’t need proving?

What do you need to remember?

Adele hits it out of the ball park with her analogy for bones and memories. “Bones determine the structure of our body; memories determine the structure of our souls. Over time, both bone and memories grow. Suffer trauma, and bones can break or memories can skew. The mending for either may mean a painful resetting.”

Pop quiz from page 170. Do you remember how often “remember” appears in the Bible? (See how I made a brilliant annoying word play to drive home the point?)

“The word remember occurs nearly 450 times in the Old and New Testaments. The invitation to keep memory alive often comes straight from God.”

Four hundred and fifty.

Apparently God takes remembering seriously. I’ll ask again, what do you need to remember? Use the retreat to reinforce or correct the bones of your soul.

This is why remembering is vital to your well-being: “When we forget our sacred story, amnesia about who God is sets in. God is no longer crazy about us. We are no longer the apple of his eye. The Holy One is not with us and in us to rescue, heal, restore and save. We are on our own. Amnesia about God and his story means that our identity and the meaning of our muddle of experiences sits squarely on us and our unreliable memories. This is a vulnerable and precarious place to be, because how we remember determine so much of who we are and who we become.”

The Invitation to the Most Excellent Way

The practical charts at the beginning of each chapter are a tangible way to see that Adele is a Spiritual Director. For me, the invitation to love can almost become old hat. So I stopped and created space to consider the roadblocks and how to foster awareness.

  • Placing my needs and wants first
  • The use of people to get what I want and need giving up on people disappoint me I don’t live up to my expectations
  • Confusing excellence with the most excellent way

Ways to foster awareness:

  • Noticed when I do things to get rather than give, To be seeing rather than serve. To be seen rather than serve.
  • Notice for excellence matters more to me than the most excellent way.
  • Notice who I have a hard time loving. What is in the way? What it what it is to die to live as God does?
  • Consider asking your family, colleagues or friends, “What is your experience interacting with me?” Or “How if I’ve been loving or kind to you?”
  • Notice whom I neglect.

What did you think of her discussion of counterfeit love? I wish we had no idea what she was talking about, but we are all too familiar, aren’t we? Thankfully we are also know what true love tastes like. I think of that song from the 70s, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

May it be so.

What helps and hinders your ability to remember and to love? How is this season different from other seasons? Let’s talk in the comments . . .



P.S. Book winners from last week have been notified. Next week Kimberlee Conway Ireton will be with us and the week after that we will dive into Seeker.

May—Seeker (The Shiloh Series Book 2) by Helena Sorensen 

June—The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway 

JulyThe Scavenger’s Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters) by Kay Bratt

August—A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman 

September—The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life by Barnabas Piper 

1 Comment

  1. Raven April 25, 2017

    I had a nice long comment typed out and it disappeared! 🙁 I’ll try to “remember” everything I said! I like this, “Amnesia about God and his story means that our identity and the meaning of our muddle of experiences sit squarely on us and our unreliable memories. This is a vulnerable and precarious place to be, because how we remember determines so much of who we are and who we become.” She later reiterates how our future is influenced by the way we remember and “pain that isn’t transformed is transmitted.” She gives a nice perspective on remembering and the weight that it carries. Are we ready to look back? Can we be open and honest with ourselves and look at the no-so-spectacular side of our lives to allow God’s story to transform our story? I don’t think remembering is necessarily a one time thing either, so the circumstances can change. It’s a continual decision.

    The remember chapter had a lot to digest, and I’m still working on some of it.

    I also liked the C.S. Lewis quote she shared, “if you want to make sure of keep [your heart] intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable…” Our heart is going to change regardless, so are we going to take a chance that it might actually be worth it?

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