Book review “Dancing with my Father”
I know, another book by Sally Clarkson, I do read other books and this is the last of hers that I had to read. When she wrote near the beginning of Dancing with my Father about the message she was to share, that she felt like it was her life message, her magnum opus of sorts, I was eager to get through it. God has spoken to me so many times as I’ve poured over her books. This was after all, the year I had asked God to be the year of joy. I longed to cultivate the ability to find and choose joy despite circumstances and struggles.
But when I started this book, with the subtitle being ‘How God leads us into a life of grace and joy’, I was utterly unable to hear the message. After weeks of opening and closing it and not absorbing any of the words, I put it away. For 4 months. The book had been given to me days after my husband’s father died. Just 21 days into my “Year of Joy”, we faced the greatest tragedy of our lives.
A part of the journey towards joy is sorrow. (page 57)
I waited for ‘joy to come in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5) but it did not come. The weeping lasted so much longer than a night, a week or a month. To have life end so abruptly and tragically makes life stand still. Life stood still for months. I questioned so much of what I had believed about who God was. I asked the hardest questions I’ve ever asked. I wondered if my faith, my God was really enough to stand on. Four small ones watched me go through the motions, feed and care for everyone in our home, try to trudge forward when my heart literally felt broken in pieces. So many ‘what if…’ and ‘why’ questions.
I am convinced that the God who sees every hidden moment considers these to be faith offerings of our heart. That even in the midst of our suffering, he sees some of the greatest works of our lives: our belief, our assurance of things hoped for, our conviction of those things we cannot see. (page 156)
In the quiet places, where mostly I just sat and wept with no words to even offer, in His tender mercy God breathed and the life of our family seemed to start again. Time was no longer on hold. Our lens for looking at life was altered. Our capacity and willingness to love grew. It was during this time that I picked up “Dancing with my Father” and tried again. It seemed to perfectly sync with where my heart was and so many times reading it I found my head nodding and my pen writing notes in the margin.
By focusing on the transcendence of God, his power, presence and character, I put the problems of life in their proper place…My responsibilities have not changed, but my relationship to my responsibilities has. They are not mine to hold, they are His. (pages 172 & 177)
There are many other quotes I could share that spoke to me and I could tell you that the book rivaled my favorite book of hers, The Mission of Motherhood. But really, I would just encourage anyone to read it and see which of many rich truths you can draw from it.