Thursday, September 15, 2016

What I am reading: A MILE WIDE

Hatmaker’s new book, AMile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith, is a new take on the old saying “An inch deep and a mile wide” and a fresh look at Jesus’ parable of the soils.  He says, “We can’t out dream God.  His desire is that we would each live our greatest story.  A story that only He could author.” His words reminded me that even while living a life I clearly know that God is authoring, I need to allow time and space to remember what it actually means to be a disciple.  I need to allow time and space outside of church services, Bible studies and meetings with church “insiders” to spend time with the people Jesus pursues. 

You will NOT regret buying this book! 
For the past ten years I have been serving as a missionary in Zimbabwe providing psychosocial support to precious orphans and vulnerable children and the amazing people who care for them.  During that time I have gotten married, started the process of adopting a (now) 12 year old and had a baby.  We have worked with countless churches and Christians from many denominations.  We have seen miracles and we have held babies as they have died or wept with parents as they morn the most horrific losses. 

During these 10 years my heart has burst with joy and disbelief that we get to be a part of a life like this and my heart has broken at the injustices we have witnessed.  During all of this, I have tried to balance the life I have had as a privileged American with my experiences in Zimbabwe.  My friendship with the Hatmakers (in my mind--through their books, sermons and blog posts) has made that formidable task a bit less daunting.  

I received an I received an Advanced Readers Copy of Brandon’s book, AMile Wide, in exchange for my honest review.  In the most authentic way, my heart has felt rejuvenated as Brandon clearly articulated biblical truths that I have been wrestling with in my daily life.  I am so grateful for the words he put on each and every page.  A couple of months before I was given this book, my husband and I fell to our knees, wanting to give up, to live a more “normal” life. 

I read Brandon’s words, “To truly present ourselves to God is to give a blanket commitment.  It means we choose his ways over our ways before the dilemma even begins.” We might adopt this to be our family motto for 2016 as we walk through unprecedented food shortages, banks refusing to allow cash withdraws in a cash based society and the increased violent crime rates as people become more desperate by the day.  I needed to be reminded the meaning of the commitment I have made in times that are harder than I signed up for.

Brandon’s new book is a must read for anyone who has grown weary in their busy life or for anyone longing for a deeper sense of community.  I highlighted something on EVERY. SINGLE. PAGE.  I am not even kidding.  It’s just that good.  There is no crazy revelation, just the reminder of who God is, who we are and why we need each other. 


Things are even more difficult in this place we are living today than they were when I started reading this book and yet somehow these words I have read encourage me to keep going, to find my identity in Christ and to share these things I am struggling with in the trusted relationships in our community.  This is the joy of being in Zimbabwe for me: that although I am an outsider in every imaginable way, when I choose to be vulnerable in my relationships here—about my struggles, my fears and my failures; all the differences fall away and deep, authentic relationship is formed.  Thank you Brandon for reminding me why our family is here and why these relationships are so valuable. 

You will not regret buying this book.  Honestly, buy one and read it.  Wrestle with it. Highlight it. Dog ear the pages. This is a book to be lived.  And then buy a copy for a friend that needs these words too, because they are for all of us.  No matter where we are in our faith journey.  No matter what time of soil we are today, there is something for us in these pages!