What happens when we find our spiritual journey marked by pain and suffering? When life is difficult, how does Christ lead us forward to the peace he promises?
Those questions form the premise of Two Steps Forward, the new book by Sharon Garlough Brown, and the sequel to the book Sensible Shoes that I recommended last year.
In her new book, Browns invites us to enter back into the lives of four unique women who met in a spiritual disciplines class. Each woman’s story shows God’s grace as he calls them to a deeper relationship despite the circumstances around them.
- Charissa is a perfectionist graduate student working on her Ph.D. in literature.
- Hannah, a pastor on a forced sabbatical, wrestles with how to separate her professional and spiritual life.
- Mara is in a difficult marriage, trapped by feelings of rejection and fear.
- Meg, who has been stymied by grief and loss, is headed to England in an effort to reconnect with her college-age daughter.
Two Steps Forward has launched a new category of Christian fiction called “spiritual formation fiction.” There are some wonderful nonfiction books on the spiritual disciplines (Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster or The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg) but fiction is a wonderful accompaniment to enhance our understanding of the spiritual disciplines. The beauty of Sharon’s work is that the fictional characters become mirrors where we can see ourselves in their stories and experience what is means to practice spiritual disciplines. As we are drawn into the beautifully written story, we identify with the triumphs, and the failures, of the characters. As we identify with them, we can allow the Holy Spirit to gently guide us on our spiritual journeys as well.
I had the priviledge to read the manuscript for Two Steps Forward and I hope that you are as anxious as I was to jump back in the lives of these four courageous women.
As an encouragement to add this book to your reading list, following is a 40% off coupon for preorders. At the IVP Press webiste, enter the coupon code below. There is a $5 shipping fee but you will have it as soon as it is available.