The Making of Us: Who We Can Become When Life Doesn't Go As Planned

The Making of Us: Who We Can Become When Life Doesn't Go As Planned

by Sheridan Voysey


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Beautiful Things Can Emerge from Life Not Going as Planned

When life takes one too many unexpected turns, do you find yourself saying, “I don’t know who I am anymore”? In the wake of shattered dreams, do you wonder how you will keep going—and if you’ll ever find purpose or joy again?

After infertility, an international move, and a professional change shook Sheridan Voysey’s world, he realized that he couldn’t reconcile his expectations with the life he was living. Feeling lost, he decided to pair his spiritual journey with a literal one: a hundred-mile pilgrimage along the northeast coast of England.

Inspired by the life and influence of the seventh-century monk Cuthbert, Sheridan travelled on foot from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to Durham. Taking his friend DJ along for the journey, and keeping a journal by his side, Sheridan discovered not resolution but peace. Not ambition but purpose. Not shouts of convictions but whispers of the presence of God.

In The Making of Us, Sheridan invites us to join him as he walks along England’s shores and we trace the borders of our own hearts. Part pilgrim’s journal, part call to reflection, The Making of Us eloquently reminds us of the beauty of journeying into uncertainty, the freedom of letting go, and the wonder of losing our identity only to discover who we really are.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718094232
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 324,008
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker, and broadcaster on faith and spirituality. His other books include Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings, Resilient, and the award-winning Unseen Footprints. Sheridan is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2 and other international networks, and has featured on BBC Breakfast, BBC News, Day of Discovery, and 100 Huntley Street. He is married to Merryn and lives and travels from Oxford, United Kingdom.

Read an Excerpt



The traffic lights flashed yellow, and I slowed to a stop. That's when it caught my eye: a white plastic grocery bag floating in the air, stuck in the middle of the freeway. Rising and falling, it blew this way and that, trapped in the whoosh of the traffic. It danced and swirled and curled and did somersaults, ballooning like a parachute, then collapsing flat. That bag flittered like a spirit, like a shirt without a body, drifting and directionless, prey to each gust of wind.

This spectacle continued for some time until a sports car raced past. And with a sudden flourish, the white plastic bag was ripped from the air. It rushed to the car's side, swept up into its slipstream, and began following it down the freeway. And there it stayed, fluttering behind the bumper, in the grip of an unknown driver, getting carried somewhere far away.

* * *


Sprawling countryside rushes past my window — fields of tan and paddocks of green, sheep-peppered hills and hay bales dotting tractor trails, old barns, stone walls, wooden gates, and streams. It's gray outside, but the scenery still inspires.

"Welcome to the 1:15 p.m. service to Edinburgh," the conductor says over the speakers. "Our next station is Newcastle upon Tyne."

The girl sitting next to me has her earbuds in. The guy across the table stares into his laptop. A grandmotherly soul sits across the aisle to my right. She gives a little smile to each passenger as they board, makes friendly muttering noises as they find their seats, then returns to her crossword puzzle once they've settled in. Bless her.

My wife, Merryn, and I have been in England two years now, long enough to have seen its faults yet still love the place. For this is a land of rolling hills and winding rivers, of castles, cathedrals, and cozy towns. There's history in every brick, a story on every corner, as a visit to our home city of Oxford shows. Handel premiered his oratorios in Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre, and Shakespeare used to lodge at the nearby Crown Tavern. William Penn studied in Oxford before founding Pennsylvania, and John Wesley once preached in its churches. John Donne, Oscar Wilde, and Dorothy Sayers lived here for a time, and C. S. Lewis wrote his books in a house up the road. I never tire of wandering Oxford's old streets, wondering in whose footsteps I'm walking.

But two years is enough to miss what you've left behind. And I don't just mean the family and friends we've left in Australia, or the blue skies and sunshine, or Sydney's glistening harbor that's always so full of life. I mean the sense of knowing your place in the world. The sense of knowing where you fit.

The grandmotherly soul looks up from her crossword as an eccentric couple walks through the carriage. The man is probably in his eighties, the woman a little younger. He wears a yellow shirt with mauve stripes, hiking sandals with tennis socks, and white suspenders holding up corduroy trousers that are too short in the leg but too wide in the hip. His wild gray hair points in all directions and is trying to escape out his nose and ears. Her sand-colored hair is pulled back in a bun. She wears blue trousers, supermarket sneakers, and a sweater as pink as the rose of her cheeks. They slide into seats opposite the grandmother, who approves with much muttering.

The rose-cheeked woman pulls from her bag two small fruit juices, the kind with the little twisty straws stuck on the side. A plastic-wrapped stack of jam sandwiches comes out next, which the man eyes with interest.

"How many of these are mine then?" he asks, a little too loudly.

"Three halves," she says. "But wait ..."

The woman rummages in her bag and finds some napkins. They're printed with bright blue cupcakes with red icing — the kind you get at children's parties. She places one in each lap, he scrunches a third into his collar, and they begin to munch and sip and drop their crumbs. I almost expect party hats to come out next. Maybe you reach an age where the fear of looking ridiculous dissipates.

I have my journal out, attempting to scribble down what's going on within me. The rocking of the train makes it hard to write, and, if I'm honest, the words I scrawl aren't just messy but blurred. I must face the truth: I need glasses. Gray flecks have appeared in my dark blond hair, too, and after years of being skinny, my waist has expanded. It's becoming obvious to all that I've passed the age of forty.

Friends further along the path tell me the forties can be a time of reckoning. With mortgages to pay, children to feed, expectations to meet, and aging parents to care for, one can feel constrained by responsibility. The dreams of our twenties may not have come to pass; the failures of our youth may be catching up with us. And with time rolling on and choices hard to change, disillusionment can set in.

But my friends also tell me the forties can be rich — a time to lead and flourish and make one's mark. We've honed our skills and have expertise to offer. We've faced a few battles and have wisdom to share. Our bodies can still keep pace with what our minds can imagine. It's also the age, they say, when we begin to stop worrying about what others think of us.

I'll find out soon enough how right my friends are, but I'm pretty sure I'm not in some midlife crisis yet. The restless feelings I scrawl in that journal haven't come as some slow-rising tide of middle-age disappointment. They've come quickly, like a crashing wave — the result of one life-defining event.

"Arriving at Newcastle upon Tyne," the announcer says as we begin to slow.

In total, today's trip will be over seven hours long. I'd gotten a bit lost in London this morning, looking for the right Underground line to reach this train, zigzagging the passageways beneath Paddington Station with another guy to find the platform.

"What do you do?" I'd asked him as we walked together.

"I'm a software engineer," he said. "And you?"

"Well, I guess I'm a writer," I said, looking for words. "But I used to be in radio."

Why do you do that? I wonder now. Why do you always tell people what you used to be?

Because I don't know who I am now, I reply.

For years I'd had my life figured out, with a settled career and a clear sense of purpose. Now I have neither, and I feel directionless — like a plastic bag I once saw floating along the freeway. It rose and fell, blew this way and that, tossed about by the whoosh of each passing car.

* * *

It doesn't take long to wind through Newcastle's bridges and buildings, slip past its terrace-house suburbs, and get back into farmland. From here we cross hills, valleys, meadows, and pastures. If you were to look down from the sky, you'd see how they all join up like a patchwork quilt — each field a patch sewn together by hedgerows.

"The next station is Berwick-upon-Tweed," comes the announcement.

I've ridden this train just once before — a dozen years ago during a holiday to the UK when we'd visited a friend in Edinburgh. Merryn and I had talked about our dreams on this train — about writing books and having kids and starting national radio shows. So much has happened since. One of those dreams has been fulfilled, one has been broken, and a third has come and gone.

I've been on the radio a lot recently, but as the guest, not the host — doing publicity for a book I wrote that came out a few months ago. A phone interview last week on an American show comes to mind and makes me smile.

"I have to tell ya somethin'," the host had said in her deep Southern accent as we waited to go live. "You have given me one of the best quotes of my week from your book. Ya know which one it is?"

"Is it the one that goes, 'A greater tragedy than a broken dream is a life forever defined by it'? People seem to like that one."

"No, not that one," she said. "It's where you say, 'You're never as old as you once were, and never as young as you think you're gonna be.' Do you remember sayin' that?"

I was silent for a few seconds. Not only had I not said it, I didn't even know what it meant. My host must've been quoting another author, which wasn't a great start for our interview. I tried to let her down easy.

"Perhaps you're paraphrasing me and I can't recognize it ..."

"Yeah, perhaps I'm paraphrasing you."

The show had begun and my host had been funny, friendly, and proven soon enough that she'd read the right book. "You and your wife tried all those years to have a baby," she said, recounting the story. "And you tried everything, I mean everything, to start your family — in-vitro fertilization, adoption, special diets, prayer. You pursued that dream for so long ..."

"Ten years," I said.

"And toward the end it looked like you had what you'd prayed for," she added. "I have to tell ya, Sheridan — when I read the bit about the phone call on Christmas Eve, and them tellin' your wife she wasn't pregnant after all, and her puttin' the phone down and curlin' up on the bed in tears ... well, that had me in tears."

"You're not alone," I said. "Few people get through that chapter with dry eyes."

"And here's what I don't get," she added. "You and your lovely wife tried all those years to have a baby and couldn't. And me — well, I just spit them babies out!"

I nearly choked on my glass of water.

"I mean, Vince only has to look at me a certain way and the next thing I'm bein' wheeled into the delivery ward. Ya know what I'm sayin'?"

"I get it," I said, laughing now. "It's an unfair world."

"But then came your Resurrection Year. Tell the listeners about that."

"After that call on Christmas Eve, we decided to start our lives again," I said. "Merryn really only had two dreams in life: to become a mother and to live overseas. When the first dream died, it was time for her to have the consolation prize. And when she was offered her ideal job at Oxford University, we took it as a sign to leave Australia and come to England."

"But that came at a cost to you, didn't it?"

"Well, I had this radio show by then —"

"A national show, which was your dream job. And you gave it up for your wife ..."

A point like this came in most interviews, and I had to navigate it carefully so as not to appear the hero. Yes, that radio show had been my dream job — a God-given dream that had taken a decade to materialize. Yes, that show had been special — exploring Christian faith with secular people in creative ways. Yes, it had broken my heart to leave it — that show was my baby.

"But don't think I gave it up with saintly joy and unwavering faith," I told the host. "I wrestled and doubted and sulked about it. And it wasn't like Merryn hadn't made sacrifices for me. Besides, when you've held your wife every night as she's sobbed over what she can't have, and an opportunity comes up for something she can — well, only the most callous person would stop her having it."

"But it shook up your writing career, too, right?"

"British publishers turned my books down because I wasn't known here like I was in Australia. This book ended up with a US publisher. Thank God for you Americans."

"You can get a pizza to your door here faster than an ambulance," the host chuckled, "but at least we give folks a chance. Hey, we're runnin' outta time, but I gotta ask you this: how is your wife doin' now?"

"Those ten years were like wandering in the wilderness," I said, "but for Merryn, coming to Oxford has been like entering the Promised Land. A job is no replacement for a child, of course, but it's been the new beginning she needed."

"And you? Are things looking up with this new book an' all?"

I had a book contract with a major publisher, something every writer wants. But strangely, this had only added to my confusion. I'd spent years giving people reasons to believe in God, and now I was writing about broken dreams and unanswered prayers. It was very different territory. Was this the new direction my life was to take, or just a momentary diversion? If only I could look down from above and see how my past and present fit together.

"I'm definitely on a new path," I said, "and I'm not sure where it's leading. But unexpected journeys can take you to good places."

* * *

The sky is more dramatic now. Full of contrast, full of might. The ashen blanket that covered us all day has rippled into waves, then parted into pillows of deep gray cloud rimmed in white. Fingers of light break on the horizon, and I can see the ocean now. Drops of rain hit the window and make little trails across the glass.

It's time, I think. I'm ready for this. Abram embarked on his sacred trek and found his place in history. The Israelites walked their wilderness path and reached their Promised Land. The wise men took to their sandy trail and found where to lay their gifts. Cleopas's eyes were opened wide as he walked the Emmaus road. Scripture is full of sacred journeys — from heavens to earth, from graves to skies — and as countless saints have proven since, a walk with God can bring clarity.

Yes, it's time. I'm ready to go on pilgrimage.

My backpack sits in the luggage rack by the door. It's as light as I could make it and holds only the essentials: T-shirts, underwear, water bottle, raincoat, Band-Aids, painkillers, toothbrush, Bible. I've brought my camera, too (an essential in my book), and a small packet of cheap dark chocolate.

Like those pilgrims of old, I won't journey alone. My good friend DJ will join me for the trek, and another, historical, figure will be "present" as we walk. Revered as a saint, a miracle worker, and a holy man, the famed medieval monk Cuthbert is as integral to this land as its wind and its waves. Consulted by kings but a friend to paupers, a hermit at heart but a missionary by calling, a healer of bodies and a revealer of mysteries, Cuthbert traipsed this land with the Gospels in his hand, praying through his tears and preaching up a storm, baptizing thousands, and changing the face of Britain. Through Cuthbert and other saints like Aidan, Hilda, and Bede, Christianity took root in the north English heart and changed the course of history.

This is new terrain for me — spiritually, I mean. I have never attempted a pilgrimage before, the concept being quite foreign to the average Australian. And I've never had much interest in saints, let alone Cuthbert. But the more I've looked into pilgrimage, the more I've felt drawn to do one, and the more I've learned about Cuthbert, the more I've wanted to know. And there's a good reason to explore his world now.

"Look out there," the wooly-haired man says, jam on his fingers, pointing toward the sea. "Past the castle on the hill. See it? That's Lindisfarne."

And there it is, barely a smudge on the window from this distance — the cradle of indigenous English Christianity and the starting point of my journey, Holy Island Lindisfarne. Founded in the seventh century as a place of spirituality and mission, the gospel flames tended here by Cuthbert and others spread across the land and to the four corners of the world.

"That's where I'm going," I say, breaking the great unwritten rule of keeping to oneself on British public transport.

"To Holy Island?" says the eccentric gent.

"Ooh, it's lovely there," says the grandmother.

"What takes you there, then?" says the guy with the laptop.

And I wonder why I haven't spoken up sooner.

I manage to explain the basics of my trip before the train slows down and I must gather my things, hoist on my pack, and leave. I'm sent on my way with nods and farewells and the wave of a half-eaten jam sandwich, while my once-silent travel companions share their childhood visits to the island with each other.

* * *

"I thought about emigrating to Australia once," the taxi driver tells me.

"Really?" I say, enjoying his Scots-tinged accent.

"Aye. I even rang the Australian Embassy for details. They asked me if I had a criminal record. I said, 'Why? Is it still an entry requirement?'"

I've heard the convict joke before, but it's still funny coming from him. Rob tells me he was born in Berwick and has been a taxi driver for years. His punch lines come subtly, with just a smile and a wink. There'll be a few of them as he drives me to Beal, the little mainland village near the crossing to Lindisfarne.

"So you're walking from Holy Island to Durham," Rob says, his r's softly rolled. "That's not a wee trek."

"About 115 miles," I say.

"And how long have ye got to do it in?"

There's some time pressure on our trip. After Cuthbert's death in 687, the Lindisfarne monks crafted one of the era's most precious works of art in his honor — the Lindisfarne Gospels. Now thirteen hundred years old, this exquisitely illustrated book, so luminous in detail but fragile in page, is on display at Durham University. It's a rare event — the frail gospels barely leave their vacuum-sealed box in the British Library. And the display is ending soon.


Excerpted from "The Making of Us"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Sheridan Voysey.
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.

Table of Contents

Author's Note, xi,
1. A Soul Adrift, 1,
2. Sand and Stars, 16,
3. Caves and Crossroads, 31,
4. Visions and Whispers, 47,
5. Castles and Ashes, 64,
6. Rivers and Streams, 83,
7. The Space in Between, 100,
8. Losing and Birthing, 120,
9. Gifts and Graces, 136,
10. Pathways and Providence, 152,
11. A New Creed, 176,
Acknowledgments, 189,
Reflection Guide, 191,
Notes, 205,
About the Author, 215,

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The Making of Us: Who We Can Become When Life Doesn't Go As Planned 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
If you’re secretly thinking ‘what should I be doing with my life?’ or even ‘is what I do enough?’ then this book is a must-read. Sheridan is a writer who manages to give space for those big questions of our identity and purpose, especially for those over thirty and offers gentle wisdom and refreshing spiritual perspective. The real joy of the book is how he does this: through a memoir of walking and talking with his friend along a pilgrimage path in the North East of England, walking in the steps of Saints Hild, Bede and Cuthbert, learning from their wisdom and mistakes. Part travelogue, part memoir, part exploration of saints, and part Christian practical wisdom, it’s all masterfully woven together and beautifully written. This felt like a precious and timely gift to me. Outstanding memoir – highly recommended.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Not only could I not put Sheridan’s book down, but I have found myself thinking about it on and off since I finished. Themes of pilgrimage really capture my imagination, so I loved engaging with Sheridan and DJ’s fascinating journey that retraced the steps of St Cuthbert. 'The Making of Us' has left footprints all over my heart and I have enjoyed feasting on its many transformative ‘take-away meals’. Here is one of my favorites from page168… "For those on the path of God… all we’re told is that ultimately we will be like him. Our body with his nature. Our personality with his character. Ailments gone, afflictions over. Gifts glistening. Sins taken away. Our faltering candle of virtue turned into a furnace of other-centeredness making us the God-shaped selves he’s always intended. Until that day, and to the extend we yield to it, we are being drawn toward that future self. Step-by-step we go, one notch of radiance to another. Becoming more like him, and so becoming our true selves." I totally recommend 'The Making of Us' as a faithful guide for the broken hearted, the weary pilgrim and the confused traveler – you won’t be disappointed where it will lead you! Lynda Wake Author of 'Heartbreakingly Beautiful'
Anonymous 12 months ago
I am so thankful for the "The Making of Us"! Sheridan's honesty, vulnerability, and the poignant truths he shares encouraged my heart and gave me a sense of hope and peace. As I followed Sheridan's journey through loss and renewal, he came alongside me in my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In his latest book, “The Making of Us”, Sheridan Voysey invites us to join him on a pilgrimage from the holy island of Lindisfarne to Durham in the steps of the 17th century monk, Cuthbert. But it’s more than a road trip. It’s a journey of self-discovery and as the reader journeys with Sheridan and his friend DJ, images keep popping up that spark personal thoughts and memories. Even without making use of the valuable reflection guide and journaling pages at the back of the book, the reader is drawn into Sheridan’s personal journey and begins to enter into their own journey of self-discovery. “The Making of Us” draws you in, captures the imagination, and takes your hand, as it leads you along muddy roads, through quaint villages and into an adventure of grace.
Becstar More than 1 year ago
I was so keen to read The Making of Us as I’ve long been a fan of Sheridan Voysey, having listened to his fabulous radio program Open House for many years and having read several of his previous books. The topic of this book, which is all about how beautiful things can emerge when life doesn’t go as planned, resonates with me as I know my life hasn’t always gone as planned. Sheridan takes us on a beautifully descriptive journey as he and his friend DJ walk in the footsteps of St Cuthbert on their pilgrimage to Lindisfarne. Along the way DJ & Sheridan have deep conversations and what they share and discuss is very real and raw as they seek wisdom and understanding. I loved so many things that Sheridan said, but one so important reminder is that our one great calling is to love God and love others. When one stream ends, go back up the river and simply love those standing before you. And when we can’t become what we want to be, we can still become who we’re meant to be. I believe we all can identify with life not going as we planned and there is wisdom to be found in this book for us all. Don’t hesitate! Read it now and discover the gems inside! I listened to the audio version of the book as I love Sheridan’s familiar voice... I recommend this as a great way to listen to the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“The making of us” is a beautifully written book in which the author draws ‘us’ in, inviting us to ponder upon our own journeys, as the author travels his own. Life’s purpose is everyone’s question at some point in time, but even more poignant for those of us who have faced something which challenges the very core of who we believe we are and what we are on this planet for. This book is a personal account of the authors musings on such topics as he treks through the North Coast of England with his friend. The safety and security this friendship affords the author allows him to explore in conversation some deep and thoughtful personal questions. It is sensitively and descriptively written. Due to the pilgrimage taken in the story, travel and history lovers in particular will enjoy the detail of this book. I was anticipating reading ‘The Making of Us’, after being seriously impacted by Sheridan Voysey’s previous book ‘The Resurrection Year’. When I read ‘The Resurrection Year’, I felt as though the author had read my personal journal as background preparation, all the while acknowledging that ultimately, life doesn’t go as planned for many of us. Both books are highly recommended for this reason- I believe they appeal to anyone who is willing to slow down and reflect upon the purpose of their lives, particularly in the context of failed dreams. The real beauty of this book is the sense that life is in fact a journey, and despite the sometimes undulating and perilous paths we walk or stumble along, there is a purpose and hope for us. I received a copy of ‘The making of us’ in exchange for a fair and honest review.
JuliaCSA More than 1 year ago
It is easy to be full of hope and optimism when life is going well, however how do we cope when challenges and obstacles come our way? Sheridan Voysey's book Resurrection Year speaks volumes about ‘real Life’ and so given the opportunity to read a copy of “The Making of Us” for review was a privilege. The reader becomes an unseen companion on hundred-mile pilgrimage via the northeast coast of England from the Island of Lindisfarne ending in Durham. The description of the journey through the eyes of the author transports you and one feels as if you are walking alongside him. Sheridan embarked on this journey with a travelling companion and friend DJ, the pilgrimage like life is not without its challenges. Vulnerability and reflection walk alongside the pilgrims – invisible to man but real in our travellers soul. Questions about suffering sometimes go unanswered and yet we push forward knowing that there is a caring and loving Father. Who knows why some seem to have more challenges than others? The historical information enlightens one - how quickly we forget the suffering of saints who walked before us? In recent times, the Christian message has not always painted a true picture of disappointment, pain and suffering. Why some suffer and some don’t will only be answered at the end of life’s journey. Sheridan puts life in perspective in his latest book. An excellent read and very thought provoking.
JuliaCSA More than 1 year ago
It is easy to be full of hope and optimism when life is going well, however how do we cope when challenges and obstacles come our way? Sheridan Voysey's book Resurrection Year speaks volumes about ‘real Life’ and so given the opportunity to read a copy of “The Making of Us” for review was a privilege. The reader becomes an unseen companion on hundred-mile pilgrimage via the northeast coast of England from the Island of Lindisfarne ending in Durham. The description of the journey through the eyes of the author transports you and one feels as if you are walking alongside him. Sheridan embarked on this journey with a travelling companion and friend DJ, the pilgrimage like life is not without its challenges. Vulnerability and reflection walk alongside the pilgrims – invisible to man but real in our travellers soul. Questions about suffering sometimes go unanswered and yet we push forward knowing that there is a caring and loving Father. Who knows why some seem to have more challenges than others? The historical information enlightens one - how quickly we forget the suffering of saints who walked before us? In recent times, the Christian message has not always painted a true picture of disappointment, pain and suffering. Why some suffer and some don’t will only be answered at the end of life’s journey. Sheridan puts life in perspective in his latest book. An excellent read and very thought provoking.
HeatherCork More than 1 year ago
If life hasn’t always gone just as you wished or planned (and whose has?) this might just be the book for you. Sheridan and his friend go on a pilgrimage from Lindisfarne Island to Durham Cathedral mostly on foot. The description of their travels is fascinating. However, what I love about the book is how they frankly and honestly discuss how they feel about life’s events, memories, where they are now and where they are going. I found their discussions on how God has been involved and how they have handled the ups and down of life very encouraging and challenging. It’s a very enjoyable read as well as being thought provoking. I’m sure that any reader will find hope and encouragement in its pages. I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this is my own fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sheridan Voysey shares his own journey with great generosity and honesty. His pain, his existential questions and deepest longings resonate with us because in the end, they are nothing but a reflection of our shared humanity. This book is a great companion for those who are willing to go deep in their own inner journey with God and begin again, making something new and beautiful out of pain and lost dreams and becoming who they were meant to be all along.
DariaHadley More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a great book and instead I got a masterpiece of writing, which as all great books do for me, made me a voracious reader. My expectations were met by me being not only able to understand about the author's knowledge of early English church history and how the pieces of the story fit together, but also in the way that I saw into his heart for people. This book has made me fall in love with his natural curiosity for getting to know people. Having previously had a career in radio amongst other things, in which he did an great job, I can clearly remember how he would welcome his guests and encourage them to say how they feel. This book has taught me a lot. I’ve gained more of an understanding about saints and religion in England than I had previously. I’ve thought more about my current life situation, and how things could be changed or improved. The reflection guide and creed are also something I am glad to see. They have challenged me to seriously question my thoughts on things like dreams, gifts from God and encouragement, and loss and grief. I love the imagery used to describe the pilgrimage itself, it really made me want to be there as well. Reading the conversations between Sheridan and DJ reminds me of good conversations I’ve had with close friends before. This book is for people who love reading about Christianity and its history in England, people who enjoy walks around villages and towns in and around the area where the pilgrimage occurred, to people who love castles and other monuments and to those who like reading books that help reflect on new paths and journeys in life. This book isn’t just for the recommended target audience, everyone from young to old can learn something from this book, that they may have never heard anywhere else. After all, when life doesn't go as planned, who else do we become?
AdamWalton More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful, enjoyable and profound book. I have already read several parts of it twice, and look forward to returning to it again. Voysey knows from experience that life is a journey with many twists and turns. I read this book at a point in my life when things haven’t been going as I would hope or expect. Voysey managed to weave together his literal walking journey / pilgrimage, with aspects of both his own life journey and those of his travelling companion DJ, Saint Cuthbert in whose steps they are walking, and others in such a way that they spoke helpfully and encouragingly into my situation. In different ways each chapter helped me to step back and see more of what God might be up to in my life, and to reflect on how I might respond. Voysey writes with gentleness, tenderness, humour and an excellent eye for detail. His evocative, immersive descriptions provided me with new spaces in which to think about who God is, what he desires for us, and what he might be calling me to. My reflections on life in the church, and ethics generally, have frequently drawn me back to those who emphasise the importance of character and virtue. It is difficult, however, to find books which unpack in accessible ways what God’s concern for who we are as people looks like in the messiness of life. The Making of Us is such a book. I am grateful for Voysey’s attentiveness and for the ways in which this book has helped, and I trust will help, me to be more attentive. I suspect that this will be a book I find myself giving as a gift to many in the future. I received a free copy of this title, but this is my own fair and honest review (and I have already bought another!).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having heard Sheridan speak and following his blog for several years, I was excited to hear that he had a new book coming out. The idea of going on a pilgrimage has resonated with me for some time, so I was delighted when I found out that “The Making of Us” was about a pilgrimage following the footsteps of Saint Cuthbert in the north-east of England. On reading his book, I found that this book was far more than a description of that journey. Sheridan has woven the practical story of that walk (including the blisters), the history of the early Christians in that area along with reflections that he discovered as he and his friend DJ walked. So many of them spoke to me. The very first one that ‘jumped out’ was that my “first calling in life is to be with God and to be present with Him”. I wrote in my journal, “How can I find time (NO make time) to just be present before God? I don’t have to be doing all the time!” There were too many of those moments to record here. For many years, I’ve loved the metaphor of life being a journey. We can plan where we want to go, how we’re going to get there and usually seek the shortest and most direct way. All’s well til we come across roadblocks or other obstacles and suddenly that plan has to be revised. That’s what our lives are like too. Things don’t always go as planned and we might need to change direction, go an alternative way or even change the destination entirely. These times of change and transition can be really tough and often raise a lot of different emotions within us. Those of us who have spent a few more years on this earth, know from experience, that even though things haven’t turned out as we might have planned, God’s plan is infinitely better. Sheridan brings this out so clearly in his book. “The Making of Us” is a beautifully written book. A pilgrimage allows the pilgrim plenty of time to be present, notice what’s going on around him/her, move away from busyness, and reflect on life. Reading this book allows the reader to do the same. While it’s an entertaining read, I think the greatest benefit for the reader is to have a journal on hand and make use of the Reflection Guide at the back, as well as tools freely available on Sheridan’s website. At times, we all need to stop and take notice of what’s going on in our lives and this book assists us in this process. Readers of any age will be blessed by reading and working through this book. I received a free copy of this title, but this is my own fair and honest review.
Girlea More than 1 year ago
I loved reading about the pilgrimage at the heart of this book and the rich, ongoing conversation that takes place between the author and his friend. As is usual for me, I had to read in snatches, fitting it in between life and life… between working and family and home and life and the constant draw of sleep. Fortunately, The Making of Us is perfect for that kind of reading. The story itself is easy to read and quickly picked up after a hiatus. Yet, the depth of ideas and the evocative reflection asks the reader to stop and go slowly instead of skimming and racing to the next page, the next chapter. As I read, often on a commuter train that crosses bridges and takes me past stunning waterways at dawn or dusk, Sheridan’s voice kept reminding me to look up, to notice, to give thanks for, to bathe in beauty where I find it. Like the current hit song from Christian musician, Lauren Daigle, Look Up, Child. Look up and out. Look to God. A simple message that we just keep forgetting to remember. Thank you Sheridan Voysey, for living through all that it took for you to be able to write The Making of Us. I am grateful for the opportunity to read it, thanks to receiving a complimentary review copy, and grateful for the opportunity to write this honest review.
KitLacey More than 1 year ago
What an amazing book! I’m one of those young-uns that’s doesn’t read like my ancestors did, but this book has been hard to put down. More than a teaching guide, the book follows a simple journey that takes you along for a ride (a bit like a plastic bag caught in a slip-stream...). It journeys with you and then guides questions and thoughts into your mind. Subtly, but powerfully, creating revelations in your soul. This book is for everyone, as we have all faced disappointment and the raw honesty of the book is a rarity to treasure. (I received a free copy of this title, but this is my own fair and honest review)
Rosie Strellis More than 1 year ago
I am not lost for words rather I have been affected deeply by the messages within this that have resonated so strongly with me that I could so easily dissect them all. However, this is a book of personal discovery, a journey you take individually with the author & his companion. My words would be my personal relationship with the book & not yours so what I shall say is please read this & go on your own journey… If you are not ready to go on that path now come back to the book & read it again another time. Then go back as I shall be doing taking my time to work through it with the reflections to examine my place in this world & where my journey might take me… Thank you Sheridan for sharing this with me & all other readers, it has certainly been enlightening, reassuring, challenging & joyous to read….
LucyMarfleet More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book for two reasons: first, I felt I connected with the core message, that life deals you situations you do not invite or expect, but which may very well be the making of each of us. Secondly, Voysey communicates his pilgrimage from Lindisfarne to Durham beautifully. I felt I was actually walking along with him and DJ at a number of spots on the journey. Chapter after chapter evoke the landscape and the people of the North-East of England gently and honestly, and Voysey reflects on the journey life has taken him without throwing out easy answers. The blisters are as much a part of the route as the wide expanses of sky and the tides. What I particularly valued was the imaginative way the reader is invited to consider and engage with the themes which arise. This makes this a valuable read for people in small groups, in pastoral situations, in times of personal change and anxiety and when reflecting on life generally. Practical questions for real situations feature after reading the story of the pilgrimage, and I intend to study these in more depth in the coming months. I did get to read the book in advance of its release in order to review it honestly and impartially. I was thrilled that ‘The Making of Us’ really did resonate with me, and strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed ‘Resurrection Year’, or who wants to take time to reflect on the journey they are on in life. You will find much to make you think here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sheridan Voysey’s delightful new book, The Making of Us, slotted into my “unputdownable” category after I read the first few pages. This well written book tells the story of many journeys and is a fascinating read. There is the physical journey which Sheridan takes to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, where his friend, DJ, joins him. The two then make a hundred mile pilgrimage on foot (mostly!) to Durham on the northeast coast of England, where the famous Lindisfarne Gospels are on display for a short while. Sheridan’s descriptions are such that I felt as if I was travelling with him—experiencing the highs and the lows along with landscapes, seascapes and skyscapes. I marveled at God’s Creation with him and met the many colorful characters Sheridan tucked into the pages. The physical and spiritual journeys of Cuthbert, the 7th century monk who was one of the first evangelists in northern England, and other saints of yore, are interwoven with Sheridan and DJ’s journey. Interesting snippets of historical detail signpost the way and add to the richness of the narrative. But the most important journeys are the spiritual journeys of Sheridan and DJ which seamlessly unfold through the walk. They seek answers to questions which we all ask at times such as: Who are we? What makes us who we are? What happens and who are we when our lives do not play out as we hoped or planned? Sheridan shares his experiences and epiphanies with us in a way which makes them relatable to our everyday lives. At the end of the book there is an invitation to take a spiritual journey of our own. This is in the form of a Bible-based refection guide for each chapter, which will help us to learn more about God’s love and our identity in Him. I look forward to accepting the invitation and taking up the challenge of working through this section as I read the book again slowly so that I can savor every page. I read this book hoping to enjoy Sheridan's writing and to learn more about drawing closer to God. It exceeded my expectations and I give it a five star rating. I received a free copy of this title, but it is my own fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book, Sheridan Voysey tells the story of a pilgrimage on foot from the island of Lindisfarne (Holy Island) to the Shrine of St Cuthbert at Durham Cathedral. This is also a Christian-inspired self-help book enabling readers to reflect upon their own life journeys. Following the rhythm of the two pilgrims, (the author Sheridan Voysey and his friend DJ), we can visualise the scenes he describes and feel the spiritual highs and the physical and emotional lows of the journey. Sheridan himself is originally from Brisbane in Australia, though he now lives in Oxford in the UK. I find his observations about Brisbane and Sydney particularly poignant as I lived in Brisbane myself for four and a half years before returning to live in the UK. Through the medium of this physical journey, Sheridan teaches us much deeper values which may apply to our own lives, especially those of us who may define ourselves by, perhaps. who we know, or by our possessions, our status, our dreams and ambitions or job titles. His journey through the woods and fields and paths and roads of Northumberland then starts to parallel our own life journeys. During his description of the walk, he reflects upon periods in his own past life story. Places he and DJ visit give rise to memories of people he has known whom he now sees in a new light. In all this, Sheridan’s purpose seems to be to shift our own value systems, our vision of what really matters about our lives here on this earth. He interweaves biographical information about the Celtic saints Aidan and Cuthbert into his pilgrimage, giving us the opportunity to relate aspects of their journeys to our own. One of the most striking sentences in the book is “Maybe when identity is lost we can discover who we really are.” And the most challenging question: “Could you be content having your contribution to the world left unknown or forgotten, yet known by God and pleasing to him?” At the end of the book, Sheridan gives a series of questions to reflect on for each chapter, and several blank journalling pages if you wish to use the book as the basis for a much more in-depth project of self-knowledge; and the book can be used as a group or individual resource. He also offers a contemporary “Creed” which you may download from his website I received a free copy of this title, but this is my own fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I’ve now finished reading Sheridan Voysey’s new book The Making of Us for the second time. The first time was just to enjoy the story, the wonderful descriptions of the pilgrimage and the little nuggets of truth I came across. The second reading has been with a notebook to hand. I knew that there would be more to discover this time and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I was drawn to the book because I too undertook a similar walk in the same area a few years ago, visiting some of the same places so I was keen to read about Sheridan’s experiences. Sheridan has managed to infuse the book with his sense of the constant presence of God, not in any spectacular way, rather in the gentle whispers that come to those who “attend”. This takes the book from being an excellent account of a long walk to something that has the potential to touch the hearts of many readers in different ways; speaking into the unique circumstances of their lives. Writing about the specific content of the book would be a spoiler so I’m not going to give the game away. I will certainly be returning to this book again and again. Thanks for a great read and so much more Sheridan. I received a free copy of this title, and this is my own fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I read it fairly quickly, though would like to go back and savour it more slowly for a second time. The book took me on a journey both down a British coastal path and also in engaging with some poignant and arresting questions of life. Personally I relished the 'travel writing' aspect of the book because it anchored points of spiritual significance and questions of great depth into country walks and the interesting and captivating story of some of our Christian forefathers. Sheridan and his friend go on a physical pilgrimage, tracing the steps of St Cuthbert, and the reader is drawn into the story and given plenty of food for thought along the way. Who are we? What is the point of life? What about when some important parts of who we are, are stripped away? Where does this leave us? Sheridan sensitively and artfully draws the reader into engaging with these questions and provides some enlightenment as the book goes on. As an aside from the main thrust of the book, I was also particularly interested in a few strands which looked at the interplay between faith and disability. A beautiful and engaging read. I received a free copy of this book, but this is my own fair and honest review.
KenPat More than 1 year ago
My Insights at the Launch of The Making of Us The appeal of Sheridan Voysey’s book The Making of Us is captured for me in its sub-title ‘Who we can become when life doesn’t go as planned’. I was curious to learn what Sheridan offered me by way of insights on how to make over my life ‘that has not gone as planned.’ So I was expecting a ‘how to’ kind of self-help book. Instead, I was delighted to interact with a deeply personal lyrical tale about the Author’s life experiences – ‘a soul adrift’ – peppered appropriately with spiritual, Christian and Biblical insights about what life ought to be about. Otherwise, the World view pushes me to think that my real identity is derived from what I have accomplished academically and professionally – career wise; and the legacy I ought to leave behind when I pass on. After going through The Making of Us, I can relate more closely with what I am learning from my reading of the Bible in relation to the call of God for me ‘to be present’ before Him; in my ‘pilgrimage’ through life. I am a channel of (and witness to) God’s power. My fruitfulness is in my challenges. The adversity I go through is an opportunity to release my greatest gift/s to the world! Enjoy the Book! Khana Kenneth Patrick Disclosure: I received a free copy of this title, but this is my own fair and honest review.
ALeTissier More than 1 year ago
As an author in the making myself, I have only one disappointment with this book: I didn’t write it! Not that I could, it is Sheridan’s personal story. But therein lies the gracious yet influential command of his words describing a pilgrimage of disappointment, confusion, realignment and restoration that so many of us have journeyed, or indeed, are still walking. From his train trip to a station near Lindisfarne, through his pilgrimage from Holy Island to Durham accompanied by good friend, DJ, to concluding reflections in an Oxford coffee shop, Sheridan inspires the reader to walk each step alongside him. To feel the trek and trudge physically, limping with blisters and pulling down caps against blast of wet wind on face. To perceive the journey mentally as he writes at a pace which leaves space to breathe, to reflect, and ponder personal implications. To engage with the pilgrimage spiritually, responding to the Presence of our constant Companion; for as the author reminds us -‘It is a holy thing to be called a friend.’ At one point Sheridan, writes, ‘I want to craft words that captivate the heart and open eyes to see God.’ In this book he has done just that; pages that read like a transcript of my heart through his engaging, lyrical wordsmithing, helping me reassess and evaluate struggles I’ve failed to address, in turn, hauling me back to a path of wholeness of wellbeing. I believe that will be the case for many other readers too. Be blessed, encouraged and renewed with fresh hope as you read. I am most grateful to have received a free copy of this title, but this is my own fair and honest review.
Amyt5 More than 1 year ago
They say don't judge a person unless you've walked in their shoes. Well try 115 miles in 8 days and the prospect doesn't look so inviting but joining Sheridan on his pilgrimage from Holy Island to Durham with just his friend DJ and God for company you may just change your mind. In a world where we are too busy documenting our lives on social media to actually live it this book brings a refreshing perspective on God's creation. What to do when identity is lost? Seeking a new dream? Lacking gifts? Great burdens? Facing fear, uncertainty, trials? Remember: ' The same hands that made the galaxies crafts us in the womb, making us as significant as the stars'. I'm sure this book will change, broaden and strengthen your life and your faith. And just as we are as significant as the stars then this book is worthy of the 5 stars I've gave it. Not only will I be recommending it to all I know, I'll be buying copies for people I know will benefit. To spread Sheridan's gift of writing to the world is to spread God's word and love!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After having read and thoroughly enjoyed Resurrection Year by Sheridan Voysey, I was really looking forward to reading The Making of Us, and I was not disappointed. I am not being overly dramatic when I say that a lot stood out for me in this book. I love how Sheridan writes, his vulnerability, openness and the way that his writing is so relatable. I literally felt like I was on the journey with him and DJ. "Your first calling in life is to be with God" was one of my favorite quotes, as it was a gentle reminder that relationship with God, is the most important and foundational aspect of our lives. "Can I be content as a child of God, before any career-based identity?" This was a really profound question, that I kept reflecting on myself. It is a performance-based mentality vs being a child of God and just receiving. “There is no discovery without movement, no direction without action” When Sheridan speaks of the secret fear behind each worry- that if we don’t make the perfect life choices then we have ruined our lives. The notion of embracing risk and fear, and not running away from it. I reflected on my own definition of ‘home’, as Sheridan reflected on his and said (my para-phrase) Home is not just about belonging, it’s about where you are free to be who you are and become who you are meant to be. I believe we are all on a journey, to find purpose, to find the right tribe, to find meaning in our jobs/lives and our relationships. This book is the journey we all get to go on, not by force or by coercion but by choice. Anyone who may be seeking a greater purpose, meaning to life and peace through the struggle and turmoil of our thoughts or of our perceptions of ‘how life should’ve turned out’, will glean so much from this book. It is a book of hope and encouragement, a book that leads us to trust and lean on God more on the journey and to deal with our disappointments in a healthy way. Maybe it will even encourage us, to go on a journey with a close friend, to share, reflect and learn more about ourselves, and maybe that friend could turn out to be God. A beautiful, personal, intimate journey, this is what The Making of Us took me on. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this title, but this is my own fair and honest review