Monday, November 10, 2014

The Grace of Yes (Ave Maria Press)

I've had the pleasure of "working" for Lisa Hendey for the past year or two. I'm one of the dozens of people who contribute to her website CatholicMom.com, and though I rarely get a chance to speak with her or thank her for the opportunity to share my small voice on her website, I know she is a special woman. When she asked me to review her latest book, The Grace of Yes, I admit I had severe reservations. What if I hated it? What if I wasn't the target audience, and the book didn't speak to me? How could I tell a person I greatly admire and respect that her book was a dud? To my relief, the deeper I got in the book, the more I realized that I didn't have to worry about any of these questions!

In the simplest of terms, The Grace of Yes is Lisa Hendey's memoir. In addition to learning about various stages of her life, i.e., childhood, young adulthood, early marriage years, early years as a parent, and being an empty nester, we also learn some cool facts about her. Perhaps, the coolest fact of all is that she's distantly related to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux...in a word, that is awesome! However, to call this book merely a memoir would do disservice to the book. Drawing from her life experiences, Lisa pinpoints eight virtues every Christian needs to adopt in order to fully say "Yes!" to God and His will in our life. To my delight, these weren't your typical cliched virtues, like faith, hope, and love. That's not to discredit these tried and true virtues, but Lisa thinks outside of the box and introduces us to the following virtues:

  1. Belief
  2. Generativity
  3. Creativity
  4. Integrity
  5. Humility
  6. Vulnerability
  7. No
  8. Rebirth
Chapter Two: The Grace of Generativity spoke to me the loudest. Before opening this book, the word generativity is a word I might have seen once on one of the old school SATs where they still had analogies. As Lisa states, the word means, "a concern for people besides self and family that usually develops during middle age; especially a need to nurture and guide younger people and contribute to the next generation." At the ripe old age of 31, I like to think/believe that I am not middle-aged yet. However, when Lisa asks in the book to name three people you love that aren't family, I found myself struggling to find even one. Of course, I love my wife, my son, and the rest of our family. Even if they drive me crazy or I drive them crazy that love is there just because of who they are, not because of what they do for me. However, it made me sad to think that I couldn't even list one friend who I love with no qualifications or because of what that relationship provides me. That's what Lisa's words do. They make you question yourself, your journey with Christ, and how open you are to letting Him work in you.

At the end of every chapter are specific questions to ponder. They are worded gently like reflection questions, but as you read through them a few times to reflect on them, you realize they are a challenge to be better; a challenge to empty yourself of you, fill yourself with Jesus, and say "Yes!" to Him. After these questions, she closes with a prayer, which I always appreciate, as they help direct your thoughts back to God and acknowledge that you can do nothing without Him. You could argue that the primary audience for this book is women, and even if you wouldn't be completely wrong, you would greatly discount the book. Be you man or woman, young or old, you will find yourself relating to some aspect of Lisa's life. I highly recommend picking up two copies of this book, one for you and one to loan out, because you won't want to give up your copy.

DON'T FORGET Today is The Grace of Yes Day. I am participating by reviewing the book The Grace of Yes. If you are interested in participating, please click here for more information.

This book was provided to me for free by Lisa Hendey herself in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes.