Monday, May 2, 2011

Somewhere More Holy

Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about the different rooms of our homes, reflecting back on memories, and how God was and is present in each room. Thankfully for readers, author Tony Woodlief took the time to do so and invites us into his home in Somewhere More Holy: Stories from a Bewildered Father, Stumbling Husband, Reluctant Handyman, and Prodigal Son (Zondervan, 2010). Through each chapter, Woodlief focuses on a different room in his home, and shares with us the ups and downs he and his family have experienced in each one. Much of his story revolves around the death of his 3 year old daughter to cancer and how it has greatly impacted him and played a role in his faith. His personal struggles with guilt, doubt, anger with God, a broken past, sinful behavior, and a marriage slowly falling apart are all revealed in heart-wrenching but honest ways.

Though Woodlief wanted to give up on God, his family, and even himself, the pages of his book reveal that God’s grace was at work in the midst of all the pain and brokenness even if he was completely blind to it at the time. His pain and struggles are not gone, and his attempts at figuring out how to live out these realities in front of his wife and 4 boys, all born after their sister passed away, makes this book that more approachable, especially to parents living with young children. Laughter and humor also ring true as he tells tales of his boys, including the water-strewn disasters (and bodily functions) that take place in the bathroom, their turning of the living room into a wrestling ring, and the joy that takes place when they all gather together on their parents’ bed, despite the sleep (and other activities) of their parents that are often interrupted.

These reflections, as he walks us from room to room, are a way for Woodlief to wrestle with issues related to raising his children in a way that points them to Christ and brings glory to God and about being a loving and faithful husband. More than that, he helps us all understand that we might not understand God, or fully grasp His love and grace and we may even feel like we don’t deserve it, yet there it is for the taking. Accepting this, as Woodlief has, will help us realize we can make our homes somewhere more holy, as the title suggests.

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