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Stumbling Toward Faith by Renee Altson

February 3rd, 2005 · No Comments

Renee Altson is one of my favorite bloggers for the way she lays her soul out transparent for all to see. I admire her for her continued wrestling with faith and pursuit of God despite the intense pain in her life. Rape, betrayal, abuse, anger and sorrow all play a part in her story, described both in her book Stumbling Toward Faith: My Longing To Heal From The Evil That God Allowed and in her blog, ianua. Often after reading one of her posts, I find myself overwhelmed with my own emotions, unable to do anything for a while.

Reading her book ( website) is a different experience from her blog. A book is bound. It is set and fixed. While Renee’s blog changes with her, chronicling her feelings or recent activities, a book is static. The blog provides a glimpse into what is happening in her soul from day to day. The book provides a bigger picture, how Renee is beginning to make sense of her life from where she is. I admire Renee for her bravery and her beauty: thank you for sharing who you are.

I’d recommend Stumbling Towards Faith for anyone who has wondered where God is in the midst of atrocities, anyone who has wrestled with faith in the face of evil, anyone who has been disappointed or hurt by organized religion, anyone who longs for healing and hope.

Favorite quotes:

i resist because the god i am seeking, the god i am slowly finding does not live in that christian bubble, he does not dwell among the petty scripture quotations and the “be thankful” in everythings” and the pat answers that bring nothing but guilt and shame and confusion, rather he lives in every “why?” i ask, in every moment i am afraid, in every part of my heart that dares to be honest with him, in every part that even dares to question his very existence. page 98

in the darkness of much of my life, there have appeared many tiny sparks of light. in the midst of being infected by poisonous people, there have always been people with good hearts trying to guide me, people who saw enough in me to acknowledge that there was pain, people who encouraged me to push forward in spite of it, although much of my relationship with christianity has been negative, and although many people joined together to dismiss much of who i was and what was going on in my life, there also have been people who were willing to separate out from the others and treat me with kindness. in my angriest, most despairing moments i know i forget about them, but they are there, and they are a part of why i am still pursuing god in any fashing, why i am still able to say that i want to believe.

as i reflect on my journey, i see that the offerings each of them gave me were only understood to the depth that i was able to accept them. page 102

i am finding myself engulfed in a love that simply will not let me go. i am discovering that the grace and the hope that i have wanted so desperately, that i have ached for, is beginning to emerge in little things i never noticed. sometimes it takes a big thing to smack me upside the head – a magnification of a lot of little things – “look here, dork, ” it says, “i’ll give you a lot of detail so you can see how much of it you’re missing. then, when you’re feeling despair, you can look for the little things and see them as magnificient.” page 154

isn’t it something that these stories matter? that my story and his story and your story intertwine and met, and that god makes something lovely and beautiful and meaningful out of our wretched, halting words? p 173

Tags: books

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