Sensible Shoes – A Book Review

Last week I finished a book that so moved me and affected the way I relate to God, that I just had to share it.

Our blog is primarily for parents, but sometimes we need to take a hiatus from talking about raising the kids and speak directly to the people who are doing the raising. This book is for all the moms, grandmas, sisters, friends, old women, middle-aged women and young women who read our blog. Could men read this book? I guess so. But make no mistake, this is a girls’ book!

Let me first say, I don’t read a whole lot of fiction. Maybe I should change that, but there are two main reasons I don’t.

#1 – I am a researcher and a learner at heart, and I have SO MANY non-fiction books waiting for me to read that it almost feels irresponsible to read a fiction book.

#2 – When I do get my hands on a good fiction book, I lose all self-control and end up reading the thing from cover to cover in one sitting, ignoring my kids and letting them eat cookies for dinner, allowing my house to fall apart around me, looking like we’ve been robbed, and ignoring all the cries of my business to-do list.

Besides, at this season in my life, I don’t have many free days on my calendar that would allow me to take an entire one to read a good fiction book, so I usually stick with non-fiction.

But something about Sensible Shoes caught my attention, and I had to pursue it. I heard the author being interviewed on Moody Radio, and although I don’t remember what she said that was so compelling, I do remember that I had to pull over to order it from Amazon, right then and there (what did we ever do before Smart Phones?).

Two days later the book arrived in my mailbox, and I began reading it. It’s the story of four very different women who all end up begrudgingly attending a women’s  study at a Christian Retreat Center. Their stories were compelling enough to suck me in pretty early on. The only trouble I had was remembering who was who, but the back cover has a handy summary of each woman that I could flip to when I wasn’t sure. By about page 50, they were real enough to me that I didn’t have to consult the cover anymore.

The author, Sharon Garlough Brown, did a beautiful job of developing characters that you can’t help but love (and sometimes dislike). The raw honesty of her portrayal makes it easy to relate to them. These are four very real people, struggling in very different ways, which are sometimes unnoticeable to the outside world, but as we read their thoughts, we can’t help but find things that resonate.

For the story alone, this is a good read. It’s a page turner. I found myself caring deeply about the people, and I felt compelled to find out what was going to happen to them.

But, unlike any fiction book I’ve ever read before, it’s also a guidebook to very personal spiritual journey for the reader. As you read about the sacred journey these four characters are taking, you can’t help but be challenged to go deeper into the heart of God yourself. The women’s group in the story meets at a Christian Retreat Center twice a month for three months, and at each session, they learn a new spiritual discipline designed to bring them into a greater intimacy with God.

As I read about their journey, I was also learning how to apply each discipline to my own life. So many times throughout the book, I had to put it down and get alone with God and His word.

If you’ve ever wanted to journal but didn’t know how or where to start, Sensible Shoes will help!

I’m now going back through it, reading the things I underlined and figuring out how to incorporate some of these new spiritual disciplines into my life and into my relationship with God.

Come back throughout this week. I’m going to review a different book each day. Until then, head over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Sensible Shoes!

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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