Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Surprised by Grace: A True Story of Relentless Love by Elizabeth Sherrill, © 2014

This book was originally published as All the Way to Heaven. A longtime writer for Guideposts®, 'Tib' Sherrill says in her introduction:
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT DISCOVERY––the discovery of a secret. It's the story of how heaven, which I used to think of as an imaginary realm-in-the-sky, has become more real to me than the ground beneath my feet. Real in the past, real for the future, and best of all, real right now. And this book is also an invitation. An invitation to us all to look back, to look ahead, and to look around, and keep being surprised at what we see.

Lord, we pray that
your grace may always
precede and follow us.
Book of Common Prayer

It's in sharing our thoughts and lives with one another that we discover most clearly who we are.
   --Surprised by Grace, 205
Tib Sherrill begins her story about how she met her husband, John, aboard ship on their way to Europe. They were married in Switzerland in 1947. Memories abound as she tells of adventures in interviewing for articles, helping her along in her spiritual journey and resting places.
You trace my journeys and my resting-places....
      You press upon me behind and before....
                         Psalm 139:2, 4 (BCP)
One story I dearly loved was about talking with a wife in a Communist country for almost an hour, while bringing a message from her husband to her. When Tib and her husband were returning to their car, he asked her how they had found so much to talk about ~ especially since it sounded like German, which Tib did not understand nor speak? Tib said they talked about her children and the near family to relate back to her husband. Mothers' hearts knit together especially by God.

God knows our hearts and what we need. While searching for a church just right for them, they had voiced that they wanted to seek Him and not have others talk to them. That is exactly what happened. A new minister began that Sunday too, and asked the people to greet each other. They all stood there, with no response. The very thing Tib had voiced to her husband. In a previous church, the first Sunday, she had been asked to sew an item, which she could not do, and was frightened off.

One thing I haven't mentioned? The Sherrills were not believers when they began their writing stopgap (temporary filler, "only for a while") with Guideposts Magazine many years ago. John was told by the editor, that it didn't worry him ~ "If there's anything to the faith this magazine proclaims, belief will come in its own time." (page 62)

Tib shares their lives and experiences, and their love of Europe. A travelogue along life and love, guided by the One who loves us best.
John and Elizabeth Sherrill
John and Elizabeth Sherrill, longtime contributors to Guideposts®
Picture Elizabeth ("Tib") Sherrill has published some 1500 articles and authored more than 30 books, with sales in excess of 50 million. Book titles, many co-written with her husband John, include The Hiding Place, The Cross and the SwitchbladeGod's SmugglerThey Speak with Other Tongues, and Return from Tomorrow.  For over sixty years, Elizabeth has been a writer and editor for Guideposts Magazine. The Sherrills have three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchild, and are occasionally at home in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Elizabeth’s own story with a new title and a brand new format! Guideposts Books released Surprised by Grace (original title, All the Way to Heaven) in March 2014 with additional material including “Conversation Starters” for use in small groups. When you order the book from you’ll also receive a bonus book of 101 devotionals by Elizabeth.

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for inviting me to review Surprised by Grace by Elizabeth Sherrill. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

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