Stumbling Into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman

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Overview

“Lisa’s fine grasp of Scripture and love for the Lord make her a trustworthy teacher, yet we learn from her own hard-earned lessons as well. She speaks and writes from a place of understanding, as she clings to God’s hand, giving us the privilege of stumbling into grace with her.”
—LIZ CURTIS HIGGS, best-selling author of Bad Girls of the Bible

“So, today I’ve been thinking about...things that bind us. The thought flitted around my mind and ...

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Stumbling Into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman

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Overview

“Lisa’s fine grasp of Scripture and love for the Lord make her a trustworthy teacher, yet we learn from her own hard-earned lessons as well. She speaks and writes from a place of understanding, as she clings to God’s hand, giving us the privilege of stumbling into grace with her.”
—LIZ CURTIS HIGGS, best-selling author of Bad Girls of the Bible

“So, today I’ve been thinking about...things that bind us. The thought flitted around my mind and then landed for a while, likely because I was wearing a pair of too-tight jeans.”

Women of Faith® speaker and author Lisa Harper relates from experience — life can be uncertain, sometimes even scary. But with a witty twinkle in her eye and a Bible in her hand, she describes what it’s like to find real security in the arms of a Savior who doesn’t just notice us but who moves heaven and earth on our behalf.

Part diary, part devotional, Stumbling Into Grace weaves hilarious and poignant stories from Lisa’s own life with intimate and transformational encounters from the life of Christ. Prayers, reflection questions, and journal prompts help women dig deep into biblical truths to better understand how our Redeemer’s compassion, affection, and constancy make every single moment of life not only more enjoyable but well worth living!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849946486
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/2/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 404,273
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Harper is a gifted communicator whose writing and speaking overflows with colorful, pop-culture references that connect the dots between the Bible era and modern life. For six years Lisa was the national women’s ministry director at Focus on the Family, followed by six years as the women’s ministry director at a large church. The author of nine books, with a Masters of Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, Lisa is a featured speaker with Women of Faith®.

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Read an Excerpt

stumbling into grace

Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman
By LISA HARPER

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Lisa Harper
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-4648-6


Chapter One

EWE SCARED?

Why is God doing this? Though it is blasphemous to think it, our whole being cries out that this is unfair of him, that our grief and pain are disproportionate to our sin, that we have been abandoned. —D. A. Carson

So, today I've been thinking about scary things.

It all started with a phone call from my doctor. Actually, I should probably back up a bit further in my story and explain that I was raised in a family where you pretty much had to slice an artery before going to the doctor. No missing school because of the sniffles for us, though coughing up blood might qualify for skipping homeroom. Much as parents lecture their unappreciative offspring with tales of hiking through snowdrifts and milking seventeen cows before eating breakfasts of gruel, I'm tempted to lecture some of my seemingly wimpy friends about the dangers of hypochondria, which is why I was really flustered by my response to this recent phone call from my dermatologist.

I wasn't initially alarmed when her number appeared on my cell phone screen, not that she'd ever called before. I mean, we don't play tennis or belong to the same book club or anything. Our interaction has been limited to her peering at suspicious moles and making soothing small talk while I perch awkwardly on a narrow steel table and try to keep a Kleenex-sized paper gown from exposing my other parts. But I was expecting a call from her office, because her nurse had informed me the previous week that they would call when they got the results of a biopsy she'd had done on a weird, bumpy "rash" that had been coming and going above my right ear for several years. I wasn't expecting Dr. Vincent's voice when I picked up. I assumed it was the receptionist or maybe some nurse who drew the short stick that day and had to make phone calls instead of doing cool stuff like stabbing people with syringes or freezing warts.

The moment I recognized the doctor's voice, I knew the "rash" wasn't the psoriasis my former dermatologist had diagnosed. (Frankly, that threw me off my game for a while, because he made me use prescription shampoo that caused me to smell like a mechanic. Plus, he performed a lot of liposuction in addition to mole gazing, and I was afraid every time he examined me he was going to suggest I get my cellulite sucked out.) And while Dr. Vincent spoke several reassuring sentences before saying the "C" word, all I heard was, "Waah, waah, waah, waah, waah, you have cancer!"

Then Dr. Vincent explained that, although they couldn't know the extent of the growth until it was surgically removed, it was the best kind of skin cancer to have and was more than likely contained. What I heard was, "There is a disgusting mass upside your head that's probably leaking poison into your brain right now!"

The doctor finally assured me that the surgical scar would be hidden underneath my hair. I heard, "You're going to look like the bride of Frankenstein and a mob of angry citizens carrying pitchforks and lanterns is going to chase you out of your village in the middle of the night."

Of course, I didn't utter any of those crazy concerns out loud to Dr. Vincent. I was completely rational and very polite throughout the phone call. But after we said goodbye, I pulled over into a Walgreens parking lot and began to cry. A few minutes later, I called one of my closest friends and broke the news. She told me not to worry and reminded me that she'd had two carcinomas removed from her chest and was doing fine now. Then she said she loved me but had to go because she was in the middle of fixing dinner. Since I've been such a stoic patient in the past and preferred to hole up alone with Sprite and saltines during flu bouts, I was surprised by my sudden need for compassion. I realized, with an embarrassed start, that I had wanted Kim to gasp and dissolve into empathetic sobs. I became acutely aware that I was scared.

The truth is, I've struggled with fear my whole life. I've only recently begun to pull it out from under the rug of denial. As a child, I was afraid my parents' divorce was at least partly my fault. Not too long after they split up, I became afraid of being permanently stained and unworthy after being sexually molested. I've been afraid of being abandoned by people who love me for as long as I can remember. I was afraid of disappointing my teachers in school, my professors in college, and my bosses at work. In my thirties, I began to be afraid of being single for the rest of my life. I really didn't want to end up as the weird lady in the neighborhood who lived in squalor with only cats for company.

I've also burned up way too much emotional energy being afraid of not being good enough, sweet enough, thin enough, or spiritual enough. And I've been especially anxious about being perceived as afraid, because I always assumed being afraid was a bad thing. However, I'm discovering that being afraid is simply a people thing. Middle age and an increased awareness of my own frailty have teamed up to convince me that fear is an inexorable part of the human condition.

For example, I was in group therapy with a guy last year who is an officer in the military. He's been part of an elite Special Forces unit for more than twenty years and has participated in combat in two wars on two different continents. He has numerous medals and commendations for bravery. And he looks the part of an American hero too. He has a square jaw, broad shoulders, and biceps that strain the seams of his shirts. Yet after a week of intense counseling, his steely veneer shattered and tears rolled down his cheeks as he confessed how scared he was of never measuring up to his dad's expectations.

Besides soldiers with father issues, I've met performers who get shaky knees and dry mouths just prior to going onstage, young moms who worry about whether or not they can truly bond with their babies, brilliant CEOs who battle swarms of internal butterflies at the thought of being downsized, and more than a few preachers terrified to admit their own sins. I don't think anyone is exempt from being at least momentarily frightened of something or someone. Whether based on an actual threat, such as a cancer diagnosis, or on some imaginary boogieman hiding in the basement, we all have fears. The good news is that we also have a Shepherd who is particularly tender with trembling sheep.

Jesus provides security during the scariest chapters of our stories.

Jesus and Scary Things Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:22–32 UPDATED NIV)

The Heart of His Story

I used to wonder why we had four different Gospel accounts in the Bible—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They all narrate the same basic timeline of Jesus' life and earthly ministry. So why didn't Matt, Marco, Johnny, and the Doc just meet at a local coffee shop with their laptops, brainstorm about what they had observed, and create a single literary masterpiece? Why four different versions of the same story?

Professors in seminary gave me multisyllabic academic answers to that question, but my all-time-favorite explanation came from an enthusiastic Vacation Bible School teacher we had when I was about ten or eleven years old. She told us to imagine four different people, standing on four different street corners, watching the same parade.

Then she said, "What do you think would happen if you got those four people together after the parade and asked them to describe what they saw?"

If memory serves me correctly, several hands shot up along with exclamations of, "Oooooh, oooooh, oooooh, I know!"

Then one of us blurted out that they would have described the parade differently because they had observed it from individual viewpoints. Our teacher nodded and explained that's what the first four books of the New Testament were like. Four different guys, observing the "parade" of Christ's life and ministry from four different vantage points, and then describing what they saw. Consequently, we have four wonderfully nuanced gospels, each having a distinctive purpose and flavor:

Matthew's purpose was to give his readers treasures, and his flavor is decidedly Jewish since he preached to a mostly Jewish audience.

Mark's purpose was to declare the good news of Jesus to the whole world (the word gospel comes from the Greek word euangelion, which means "a decree of good news." Mark was also the first writer to associate gospel with the Messiah), and his flavor is energetic.

John's purpose was passionately evangelistic (John 20:31), and his flavor is bold.

Luke's purpose was to help believers grow in their faith, and his flavor—probably like his bedside manner as a physician—is compassionate. And since I'm a sucker for anything soft, Luke tends to be my go-to guy. That's why I love Luke's repetition of the Sermon on the Mount (recorded in Matthew 5–7; Luke 6) here in chapter 12. If you're familiar with Christ's homily on a hill, you probably noticed that Dr. Luke edited the original sermon with a few unique additions and deletions of his own, a habit most good storytellers have. In fact, his use of the term little flock in verse 32 is so unique that this is the only place it can be found in the entire Bible. The phrase Luke coined comes from a double diminutive word coupling in Greek and can literally be translated "little, little flock."

Most commentaries skip right over that tender title and focus on the meat of Christ's message here, which was an admonition about being fearful, a how-to manual on trusting God with our financial portfolios and our physical health, and a warning against worrying. It's a practical sermon filled with great truisms we need to be tutored in over and over again: God will provide our needs. God will protect us. He has control over our bodies and our bank accounts. However, from where I'm standing, the affectionate pet name at the end of this passage is what really drives the Messiah's point home: "little, little flock." Only a Shepherd, who absolutely adores His sheep, would use that phrase. And that's the Shepherd I'll run to when I'm scared.

Hope for Our Ongoing Stories

I was back at the hospital today, but not for the basal cell carcinoma Dr. Vincent discovered lurking above my right ear. Thankfully, a surgeon was able to remove that whole "rash," and the resulting Frankenstein scar is only visible if I wear a hair fountain, which doesn't look that good on adults anyway. This morning's appointment was much more routine in nature. I went to the Centennial Women's Health Center in downtown Nashville to have my tah-tahs squashed (usually referred to as a mammogram by people with a sense of propriety).

After I signed in, a big nurse came out to greet me. She called me "honey" throughout the registration process and the walk back to the flattening area. The tiny droplets of fear that had rolled into my mind in the waiting room evaporated at the tenderness of her tone. And every time she said "honey," my heart turned up at the corners. It reminded me of the nickname Jesus gave us two thousand years ago: Don't be afraid, little, little ewes. It reminded me that we have a gentle, protective, and ever-present Shepherd.

Living in Light of His Story

Dear Jesus, help me cling to You when I'm afraid, instead of hiding in the dark by myself. Teach me to trust You no matter how scary my journey gets. I want to find my greatest treasure in Your constant presence. Amen.

Personal Reflection and/or Group Discussion Questions

1. What are three physical, tangible things you're afraid of (e.g., spiders, snakes, clowns)?

2. What are three emotional, less tangible things you're afraid of (e.g., abandonment, conflict, being misunderstood)?

3. When it comes to admitting fear, on the scale of one to ten below—with one being "stoic" and ten being "scaredy-cat"—circle the number that represents where you would place yourself:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4. What do you think your closest friends and family would say are your greatest fears?

5. Describe a recent experience that really scared you.

6. Reread Luke 12:32. What does Jesus' term of endearment "little flock" mean to you in this season of your life?

7. Read Isaiah 43:1–3. How would you condense the theme of these verses into a song or movie title?

8. What's one practical thing you can begin doing today to apply that theme to your own life?

Journal Entry

Please consider completing this sentence in your personal journal:

So, today I've been thinking about what I'm really afraid of, Jesus, and ...

Chapter Two

THE VERY REAL PROBLEM WITH PANTYHOSE

For a compassionate man nothing human is alien: no joy and no sorrow, no way of living and no way of dying ... This compassion pulls people away from the fearful clique into the large world where they can see that every human face is the face of a neighbor. —Henri Nouwen

So, today I've been thinking about binding things.

The thought flitted around my mind and then landed for a while, likely because I was wearing a pair of too-tight jeans. But as I shifted uncomfortably on the couch and pondered whether I really needed to go to the restroom or whether these pants were simply squeezing my bladder, I realized my aversion to confinement can be traced back to a pair of pantyhose.

They weren't even my hose; they were part of the ensemble my second cousin Brenda was wearing one Sunday night when we were thirteen years old. She had dressed up especially nice that evening, because she was to be the first of several of us who were going to speak about our experience at church camp. A few minutes before the worship service began, a serious deacon ushered us to the very front pew where a lone microphone loomed menacingly. Then, after an organ prelude and a few hymns, the pastor introduced us, and Brenda stood bravely, turned to face the congregation, and began.

She barely glanced at the notes she'd written neatly. Her voice rang out strong and true in the Missionary Alliance Church sanctuary. Some of her poise was due to the fact that it was the church she'd grown up in. These were her people. Plus, she was the star of the youth group. She volunteered at Vacation Bible School, she memorized lots of Scripture verses, and she sincerely liked the scary rapture movies the youth pastor forced us to watch. The rest of us plopped on that pew were jittery ruffians by comparison. Worse still, I was a known interloper, who went to their CMA summer camp and some of their youth group activities, but was actually a member of the big, pink Baptist church across the street.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from stumbling into grace by LISA HARPER Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Harper. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: We had him at "Hello" xvii

Part 1 Real Life

1 Ewe Scared? Jesus and Scary Things 3

2 The very Real Problem with pantyhose Jesus and Binding Things 15

3 Take a load off Jesus and Fattening Things 27

4 No Fangs Allowed Jesus and Dangerous Things 39

5 Cat appreciation day Jesus and Little, Sweet Things 51

Part 2 Real Gifts

6 Johnny come lately Jesus and the Gift of Forgiveness 63

7 Getting our Squeeze on Jesus and the Gift of Touch 75

8 The Bride who Tripped down the Aisle Jesus and the Gift of Good Humor 87

9 who's got your Back? Jesus and the Gift of Community 99

10 Busyness isn't a Spiritual gift Jesus and the Gift of Rest 111

Part 3 Real Growth

11 Empathizing with Enemies How Jesus Helps Us Become Less Critical 125

12 Liar, Liari pants on Fire! How Jesus Helps Us Become More Honest 137

13 Putting down the Pen How Jesus Helps Us Become More Content 149

14 Carrying Home a Giant How Jesus Helps Us Become More Dependent 159

15 The Galvanizing Effect of Gratitude How Jesus Helps Us Become More Grateful 173

Conclusion: The sanctity of Scars 187

Notes 191

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 43 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Awesome - A Must Read

    So, today I figured I’ll put up a review of Stumbling into Grace. Its a book on spiritual growth using real life experiences. It reads like a conversation between good friends and Lisa Harper shares secrets and tips on the walk of faith and I like how it’s more like she is gisting with me than lecturing me. The use of modern terminologies to explain scripture also made me see things in a different, clearer light. Although I read this book all at once at first, because it is that engaging, I will definitely be reading it over and over again; the next time, like a devotional. She has Group discussion and journal entry pages for every chapter for you to reflect on. I will recommend this book for anyone, anyone at all. There is something in it for the old, the young, the good, the ‘bad’. As long as you are human, you’ll take something meaningful from it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    One book I read recently that challenged my perceptions of the &

    One book I read recently that challenged my perceptions of the "Books for Christian women" genre was Lisa Harper's Stumbling into Grace. Harper brings seminary training, the ability to write clearly and persuasively and a wicked sense of humour to the table and this is one book that challenges many of the stereotypes I am less than enamoured with. Harper is also a single woman engaged in travelling and speaking and so maybe I find myself associating with her on that level too.

    I will say that the book is very American but given that Harper is, and so too her publisher, I guess that is both to be expected and understandable. Harper draws from a deep well of biblical and systematic theology, as well as ministry and life experience. Her willingness to acknowledge her clumsiness is so darn refreshing!

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  • Posted June 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Humorous yet relevant truths about faith and Christ's ministry

    Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper is a collection of stories from Lisa's life, which takes readers on a journey about faith and the misconceptions we often have about Christ. Lisa has a delightful way of meshing humor with her personal stories that relate to Biblical truths.

    I love that Lisa's stories were relevant and allows readers to connect on a deeper level. I think most of us have had similar fears, doubts, shame, misconceptions as Lisa. Her candidness allows others to see that they do not have to be overtaken by their guilt, shame, past mistakes, etc., but their lives can be transformed into a life full of joy that is ultimately centered around their relationship with Christ. This would be a great gift for someone who feels that they aren't good enough for Christ's love or struggling with the theological truths presented in the Bible.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Stumbling Into Grace book review

    Author, Lisa Harper takes us on her personal journey of a life of faith, in a witty, honest way. The book reads sort of like a diary/ devotional.

    Each chapter is broken into sections that include:

    Scripture
    The Heart of His Story
    Hope for Our Ongoing Stories
    Living in Light of His Story - a prayer
    Personal Reflection and/or Group Discussion Questions
    Journal Entry

    My thoughts:

    It's an easy read, only 189 pages, but it did sit on my coffee table for a while before I really sat down to read it. It wasn't as funny as I thought it would be, but still made me chuckle a bit. I like the reflection parts as they made me give serious thought to issues in my life.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    wish you could return ebooks

    I wish I read a sampling of "Stumbling into grace" before I bought it. If you could return ebooks I would have returned this. I made it to page 30 or 33. I was hoping it would get better. The reviews I read on the book were great. For me the author was trying to hard to put humor into her story. It was like a teenage girl wrote the book not a grown women. In the 30 something pages I read I do not recall anything really about grace just too many silly exsamples of how un graceful the authors stories are. I'm sure this book was a blessing to someone, just not me and I really wish BN would let you get a credit for ebooks.

    p.s I would give this 0 stars but it seems you have to check at least 1 to submit a review.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Good Book with a couple of Stumbles

    This book has a lot of funny, little stories throughout it that will keep you entertained and even make you laugh out loud. One such story involving pantyhose and toes still brings a chuckle whenever I think about it. In each chapter, Lisa focuses on a section of Scripture and then uses a story from her life to illustrate how it is just as meaningful as it was when it was written.

    At the end of each chapter, there is a section for you to have a personal reflection or a group discussion over what you just read. Then there is a journal entry sentence for you to write your personal thoughts regarding what you read in the chapter. I especially liked this because it really did encourage you to reflect on what the teaching means to you and how you can apply it to your life.

    There were areas of the book where I felt it did drag and I had moments of wanting to skip over these dragging parts of the book (but I didn't). There was also a comment she made at the end of chapter 2 that made me uneasy because I don't believe that women are meant to be a Pastor of a church. She says regarding church, "So our Creator provided a divine pit stop - whether we go to the theater with cup-holders presided over a man wearing skinny jeans on Saturday night, or to an elegant room ringed with stained-glass windows that's presided over by a woman in a robe on Sunday morning - wherein we can have our souls refueled by worshiping Him and hanging out with other limping, like-minded disciples." Perhaps I read this wrong, but I don't think so, and because it came so early in the book, it colored my reading for the rest of the book. Now this may not be a big deal to some, but because the Bible states so clearly that women should not teach men, I questioned her Biblical standing for the rest of the book.

    Overall, it was an entertaining book and I did enjoy reading it, but I would have to give it 4 out of 5 stars for the dragging bits and for my uneasiness about the woman pastor part.

    **************
    This book was provided to me for my honest review by Thomas Nelson Publishing

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Review from a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman

    Let me count the ways that I love this book...

    1. The Title: Stumbling into Grace. Isn't that a great word picture! It is a wonderful title that I feel describes me extremely well! What about you?
    2. The Subtitle: "Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman." This would fit all of us Christian Women, if we were as honest as Lisa Harper, true?!
    3. The Picture on the Cover: The little girl makes me smile! She reminds me of my little girls. They twirling around in their very creative dress-up outfits fully confident in who they are and how much they are loved -- may we be more like that as we worship our Jesus!

    ...Anyway, I haven't even got to the inside of the book! It is split into three sections: Real Life, Real Gifts, and Real Growth...

    4. The Humor: Lisa Harper uses humorous stories to break the ice and get the readers' heart open to listen, learn and grow. Like the title, the chapter titles are even humorous, including names like "The Very Real Problem with Pantyhose - Jesus and Binding Things" and "Getting Your Squeeze On - Jesus and the Gift of Touch"!
    5. The Honesty: We got a glimpse of Lisa Harper's openness in the subtitle. This honest writing continues throughout the book.
    6. Personal Refection/Group Discussion questions: These are very thought provoking, outside of the box questions that kept me thinking throughout the day. I plan to use this book in a group setting soon, and I look forward to the discussions that will occur.
    7. Journal Entry: Lisa Harper encourages the reader to complete these sentences in your personal journal. An example is "So, I've been thinking about becoming absolutely devoted to and dependent on You, Jesus, and..." These could be used over and over as ideas to use in your journalling.

    Lisa Harper is like a great friend with whom you are comfortable enough around to laugh often and cry hard because that's the openness in which she writes! I look forward to reading some of her others books.

    Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    Stumbling Into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spriritually Clumsy Woman by Lisa Harper was a great book!! You don't want to miss the opportunity to read what the author has to say about grace!

    Stumbling Into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman by Lisa Harper is a beautifully written book organized into very easy to digest chapters. At many points throughout the book, I found myself laughing so hard that I was almost in tears! Her writing is so eloquently transparent that you feel as though you have known her for years. Her frankness and head on style are a breath of fresh air. The book dives deeply into spiritual principles without the weighty and sometimes confusing terminology that often accompanies subject matters like this. Lisa has a Masters of Theological Studies and it is obvious as she applies the Word of God chapter by chapter. She delivers some much needed straight talk about the graciousness and truths of God. Upon investigation of her Bible references, one can only conclude that there is truly nothing we can do in our own strength to earn our way into the presence of God. It is a gift. This book is filled with wonderful authenticity about the obstacles we often find ourselves trying to hurdle over. The author expounds that as we fall back on the Lord, He will give us what we need. Each chapter concludes with a prayer, reflection questions, and a challenge to further your pondering with a journal entry directive. The book is systematically designed to be used in in a small group study or as an intimate heart search between the reader and the Lord. Either way, the experience will leave you stronger for having walked with her through the pages of her life and His Word. I highly recommend reading this book! It is one that I would like to discuss, one chapter at a time, with a small group of sweet friends around a warm crackling fire and a hot cup of coffee. Enjoy! I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishing Company through BookSneeze for providing me with this review copy of Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper. The opinions I have expressed within this review are completely my own.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    God's Provision For Our Stumbles -- His Grace

    I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Harper on our radio show "Kingdom Highlights", about her new book, "Stumbling Into Grace" published by Thomas Nelson.

    The best way to describe what "Stumbling Into Grace" is to do what Ms. Harper does in her introduction. She focuses on God. Some of us actually believe that God is too busy to be bothered with us especially in our little things. And if we mess up not only is God upset but His punishment is severe. Ms. Harper states that this belief system is totally inaccurate and not only that God knows that we are going to continually mess up but He has provided a way for us and that way is His grace.

    I hung on every word. In every chapter Ms. Harper looks at a way that people mess up then takes a section from the Gospels that show the response of Jesus to that situation. If you are like me you will be amazed on how current Jesus was portrayed. At the end of every chapter there is a "Living In The Light Of His Story" where a prayer is provided to repent of that chapter's particular situation. Following that is a "Personal Reflection and/or Group Discussion Questions" which will allow the reader to probe deeper into the issue.

    In my opinion everyone needs this book. I know I sure did and do. I will read this book again and again because I need to be reminded of God's great love often and this book will do it every time. I recommend it highly. I have to say that Ms. Harper is an excellent Bible teacher and I am going to go out and acquire all of her previous books and be ready for all her new ones simply because she is that good.

    If you missed the interview for "Stumbling Into Grace" or "A Perfect Mess" and would like to listen to them and/or listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.

    To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

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    Stumbling Into Grace---great book!

    A couple of years ago, I attended a Women of Faith event in Houston, TX and was introduced to Lisa Harper for the first time. (Well, not literally introduced. But wouldn't that be cool??!!) I had been to other WOF events in the past, but Lisa was a new speaker for me in 2009. I loved every moment of her talks on stage, so I knew I'd enjoy this book! While our lives are very different, our hearts & minds are very similar. Lisa is one of those women that I think would be a fun party guest for my girlfriends slumber party. (You know...the same one where I'll invite Angie Smith & Beth Moore & Patsy Clairmont, Priscilla Shirer & Jennifer Rothschild to come hang out. If you don't know who those ladies are, look them up. They are all AWESOME authors & speakers.) So anyway, I have this book......

    I began reading it a couple of weeks ago & have read it in bits & pieces. I've read it in bed at night before I doze off. I've read it while I'm at work, doing lunch duty for the teacher down the hall. I've read it on the treadmill when I'm working out. Anytime I can quietly get a chapter or two in is great! And you know what? I love this book!

    Stumbling Into Grace has the subtitle "Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman". I love that! What woman among us wouldn't claim to feel like a spiritually clumsy person now & then? Lisa weaves her personal stories of silliness or embarrassing moments throughout the book, always drawing the reader back to God's truth in Scripture. She eloquently takes stories from the Bible & adds a creative touch here & there to make them more understandable & applicable to our lives today, while never distracting from the original meaning, characters and motive. Ms. Harper's writing is so funny & fresh! You can't help but laugh...or cry... or laugh until you cry! The book is sort of like reading the author's diary, seeing into her private life & her heart and then seeing how God reels her back to Him over & over and points out truth to bring Him glory with her life. Even when life doesn't look like she'd like it to!

    Each chapter ends with some questions that could be used in a small group setting, or just for further study with an individual reader. I thoroughly enjoyed this book & strongly recommend it for Christian women. It's a light, easy read with a lot of meat.

    P.S. I think the cover of this book should get a prize for one of the cutest covers ever!

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    Great Encouragement for All of Us Spiritually Clumsy Women

    When I first read the title of this book ,"Stumbling into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman", I thought "that sounds like something I can relate to." And relate I did. In this easy to read, diary-like devotional, Lisa Harper shares her own ongoing, often clumsy journey of faith. She weaves her real-life stories that are laced with honesty, humor, and sometimes deep pain with Biblical principles and offers encouragement through a better understanding of God's grace. She ends each chapter with a prayer, series of questions for discussion or reflection, and a journal entry prompt. I really enjoyed this book. Having had the opportunity to hear Lisa Harper speak at a Women of Faith event, it was fun being able to "hear" her voice in the stories she shared. I love Lisa's ability to take events from the Bible and make them relatable to today. As I read this book, I appreciated Lisa Harper's easy, conversational style and her willingness to be real and honest as she shared her stories. I found myself at times laughing right out loud and at other times feeling great heartache while I read each story. And with each chapter read, I received another gentle reminder of Christ's love for us and his abundant grace in our lives. I appreciated the questions and journal prompts at the end of each chapter as they encouraged me to pause and let what I had read soak in deep. If you need some encouragement and a reminder of Christ's unconditional love and abundant grace, then pick up this book, read it, and keep on stumbling into your grace-filled journey of faith. Disclosure: This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing through BookSneeze. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

    Great book!

    Very witty yet inspirational.

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    COME AND READ!!!!!

    I'm a teenager and I decided to read this book which caught my attention by the title. When I first started reading it, it was good it made me cry in the introduction and made me laugh in the following chapters. I just like how she explains things from another angle or expression. I just think that Lisa was genius enough to put example from her own life experience to bring what she wants to bring. I really recommend this book for a women's bible study at church or simply for your own personal satisfaction. I like how at the end of every chapter she has this little prayers, personl reflection and/or group discussion questions and journal entries that ar good for yourself and bible study. Lisa has like this unique way of expressing, and still be funny with her own hilarious stories. I learn things that where really interesting for me to learn with questions that I really didn't put attention to them. Also is great how she applies the truth's found in God's Word.

    In conclusion I recommend this book for young womens and womens specially in a bible group study, so not only you have your opinion but you have others opinios an if you have a doubt you have somebody to ask for aclaration. But in general is a great-magnificent-amazing-book.

    I received this book free from BookSneeze as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    Great read...so witty!

    This is the 2nd book of Lisa Harper's I have read and I love her writing style. She is SO down to earth, witty and comical that she makes reading her books a joy. Like others she has written, this book works well for personal reading, devotional or as a group. Lisa uses her own personal stories to relate back to biblical basics. Great read!

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  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Stumbling Into GOD'S Grace!

    Witty and Fun, Stumbling Into Grace, written by Lisa Harper, keeps you engaged as you read through tales and stories that are real as well as Gospel accounts. Lisa Harper has a way of writing that is fun and engaging. When you think you have read all the stories there are to read about Jesus, here is one more take/angle on it. Lisa Harper first engages the reader with a tale of her own. Sometimes about others, but mostly about her, which really captures you as the reader. You gain an understanding that we all make mistakes, but that our Savior is in fact there to lift us up from those mistakes by His Grace.
    There were a few chapters that were not as engaging for me, simply because I didn't see the correlation between the "tale" as I like to call it that you read first with the Gospel account that you read second. However, there were other chapters that I have dog-eared to go back and read and to really take the time to make it a devotional setting for myself.
    Lisa Harper includes a prayer and questions as well as a journal entry prompt. All of which are great to do as a devotional for yourself or with a group. I think this would make a great group Bible Study as there can be a lot of conversations about how we stumble, but by God's Grace alone we are given a second chance.
    I would love to read more books by Lisa Harper. She reminds me of Liz Curtis Higgs in many ways. Only through Booksneeze would I have had the great opportunity to read these two amazing authors!

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  • Posted August 26, 2011

    Great book to read

    I picked this book because I was so in love with the front cover. Isn't she cute? The story is all about the Author, Lisa's inspirational life. The moment I read this book I dont want to stop. I even brought it to my work just to finish it. I liked her life story a lot. I highly recommend this to all the ladies out there go ahead get a copy of this. I bet you gonna love it. Trust me, Lisa will going to inspire your life. Anyway, I would like to thank the Booksneeze for sending this for free.I love working with you guys.

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    Great Read

    Each chapter of Stumbling Into Grace has its own topic. Lisa talks about fear, strongholds, food, forgiveness, healing, community, honesty and more. Within each chapter are examples and stories from Lisa's own life, as well as a biblical reference - sometimes paraphrased by Lisa, and these are the best, as she brings Bible verses to life in modern times in ways that might surprise you. Included in each chapter is a closing prayer, questions for group discussion or personal reflection and a lead-in question for writing in your personal journal. Harper utilizes personal stories and a healthy dose of good humor to share experiences that are common to all of us and spiritual insights that will challenge and inspire you. This book is great as a solo devotional or possibly in a small group setting.The books was a pretty easy read! Miss Lisa is quite hilarious (and ever-so-slightly crude at times) but her lover for her Savior is beautiful. Each chapter starts off with a story, the middle includes a Bible passage, and the end explains the passage and shows how it can be applied to our lives today.A very good book if you are looking for something to help you get back on track in your walk with God!

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  • Posted August 21, 2011

    A must have book for all!!!

    I recently got to reveiew this wonderful book named Stumbling Into Grace Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Women by Lisa Harper.This is the first book of Lisa that I ever read and I am already thinking of buying more books written by her.In this book Lisa Harper shares ordinary stories of her life with a tinge of humor to it.Everything about this book is so addictive that I just didn't feel like putting it down once I started to read.I especially love the cover of the book,it is absolutely adorable Lisa has not only shared her experiences but has also provided journal entries after every chapter of the book.Her humorous take on life and her everyday day examples make you relate to the book so well that you feel that it is the part of your life.Many a times while reading the book I was like oh yes this is so me...This book can make you laugh it can make you cry it makes you think it makes you love yourself.I definitely recommend this book for every women.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A definite must-read for any Christian woman

    Stumbling Into Grace is just as wonderful as the other books by Lisa Harper that I've read. Ms. Harper has a real gift for storytelling and sharing Biblical truth in a simple way. Her stories in the chapters of this book made me laugh and they made me think and they made me feel very convicted at times! I really appreciate the way that this author shares her struggles and foibles so honestly, and then follows it up with strong Biblical teachings and encouragement. Stumbling Into Grace is what I would call a "life tune-up" book. It covers topics like becoming less critical, becoming more grateful, enjoying the gift of community, scary things, forgiveness and contentedness, to name just a few.

    Each chapter of this book ends with a short prayer and questions for personal reflection and/or group discussion questions, followed by a journal writing prompt. I'm so glad to have gotten the opportunity to read Stumbling Into Grace, and I highly recommend it for any Christian woman who's looking for a good laugh and quality, relevant Biblical instruction.

    Disclosure: I received this book to review as part of the Booksneeze book review program. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    This is a great book for any woman

    I absolutely loved this book. I like that she uses real life stories of herself in the book, like using her pincher like toes to pick on someone wearing pantyhose. Another plus of this book is that it is also a devotional for the reader with a study lesson at the end with a journal entry space for you. I was not expecting that as I was reading it and was surpised after the first chapter and I got excited. I have been looking for a devotional/study guide and this was a great one. I liked reading her stories and then liked how she pulled in some scripture into it to make it go together. This book could be used in a small women's group using the questions and the end of the chapters to make it more of a study guide but it is great as a personal devotion as well.

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