review: Marla Cantrell
By Lysa TerKeurst | Nelson Books, 275 pages |$17
I have a small confession to make. I have a handful of Christian authors who write so deeply and beautifully I’d read anything they’ve written: Gwen Ford Faulkenberry, Ann Lamott, Lauren Winner, Barbara Brown Taylor. Other than that select group, I shy away from the Christian genre shelves in bookstores. It’s not because I don’t have faith—I have a good deal of faith—but often I find that those books don’t speak to me in any real way. I feared that might be true when I came across Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited. But I picked it up anyway, mostly because I liked the cover.
What a brilliant move that was. The book is about what to do when you feel left out, not good enough, brokenhearted, lonely. But it doesn’t only touch on events like being left off a guest list for a party, or being passed over for a promotion you know you deserved. It is much deeper than that.
Lysa—and this is what I love about her honest writing—takes us into her past when she made heart-wrenching decisions that could have undone her. Nothing about her life was easy then. To get through it, she turned to faith. And turning to faith meant that she studied furiously the scriptures that set her free.
While reading Uninvited, I was also struggling with a hard situation that I couldn’t figure out. There is a chapter in the book called “Moving Through the Desperate In Between.” In it, she uses Psalm 91, and then she crafts prayers based on each verse. One of the things she says in that chapter is, “Pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His.”
On days when I didn’t know how to take the next step, I’d read this chapter again and again. I’d highlighted the prayers she’d written, and I’d say them aloud. If you knew me, you’d know praying aloud is as uncomfortable as public speaking, but I did it anyway.
It took a few weeks, but that supernatural strength Lysa was touting finally kicked in. The situation I believed to be unsolvable, began to improve. I tried to find another way to explain how that happened, but the truth is, I’d done nothing to fix anything except pray.
It was a great lesson for me. I, like everyone I know, see this life as both extraordinarily exquisite and unbelievably difficult. But in those unbearable times, we are not alone even if it feels as if we are.
If you’re hurt, or lonely, if someone’s broken your heart, I recommend this book a hundred times over. It could bring you the strength you hope is still within, that you’re fighting so hard to find.