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I love having the chance to study Scripture a bit more. Having an author compile not only a group of verses to delve deeper into, but also take stories from the Bible and expand them with their own insight into how life may have been for them, is a blessing for me.
Journeys of Faithfulness by Sarah Clarkson which is available from Apologia is a mixture of historical fiction and delving deeper into the faith that is both appealing and rewarding. This particular product is primarily geared for young women, but as a slightly older woman I found it a wonderful read and study.
In the book, Ms. Clarkson presents four women of faith from the Bible who many are already familiar with but might not have considered them very much. The reader will delve into the lives of Mary & Martha, Mary (the Mother of Jesus), Esther and Ruth.
The book is divided into four sections corresponding with the Biblical women being described. Within each section are chapters that begin with the historical fiction followed by a reflection on the theme by Ms. Clarkson, a small grouping of Bible versus and room to journal your thoughts. This flow makes it very easy to break the book up for a weekly study by chapter, whether it is a mother and her daughter completing it or possibly a group of Christian women who want to grow in virtue and character.
For this review, I read through the book with a shorter pause on the personal reflection aspect than I would ideally recommend. I even brought it for a way to ‘calm’ my mind for sleep during the recent Apologia Real Refreshment Retreat here in Alaska. What better way to end the day than to reflect upon those heroic women from long ago. Even with the quicker pace, I still feel like I gleaned several gems from the study and would highly recommend it for any of my Christian friends seeking growth for them or their teenaged daughters.
Overall, this book fit fine with Catholic teaching. However, there were some aspects of the section about Mary, Mother of Jesus that showed conflict with the beliefs of Catholics versus the majority of Protestants. I opted to not dwell upon differences in theology and could see this being a nice opening for discussion about what the Catholic Church teaches regarding Mary (e.g. the absence of original sin.)
Journeys of Faithfulness is available in paperback format for $13.
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