Ok, we might be a few days behind here but let's get crackin' on wrapping up last month's Reading to Know Book Club Read. Stephanie from Simple Things had selected Christy, by Catherine Marshall for us to read. I have to confess that I (regrettably) did not get to read along because I couldn't find a copy anywhere! I was dismayed to discover that this book isn't available on Kindle (which is always my back-up plan when I can't find the book). Whenever I do manage to get my hands on a copy, I would love to read it. In the meantime, I'm going to have to live vicariously through those of you who did.
Below you'll find Stephanie's thoughts on the book. If you read along, please sure a link to your blog post containing your thoughts in the comment section below. Or if you want to share your thoughts directly into the comment section, please feel free to do that.
Well, it has been a delight returning to Cutter’s Gap and becoming reacquainted with Christy Huddleston, Alice Henderson and the rest of the characters in Christy. And, I was definitely right about it being a different reading experience as a mama and adult from the last time I read it! (I actually found a bank deposit slip in the book from 2001 so that’s when I’m guessing the last time I read it was – fourteen years ago!)
As an adult with experienced eyes now reading this, I can see this is so much more than a book about a young girl trying to find her place in the world. It’s more than just figuring out “what do I want to be when I grow up?” It’s more about learning to live without the safety net of one’s home and parents. This book is the journey of Christy’s faith in Christ. As someone who was a regular pew sitting church attender (just like I was at her age), her move to Cutter’s Gap was when Christy had to figure out what her faith in Christ really meant, and if He was enough in the hard circumstances that she faces. Isn’t that when most of us have to decide if we are going to pursue our own walk with the Lord – when we realize that we can’t depend on our parents’ faith and guidance to keep us in church and in the Word?
I loved this quote by Alice Henderson:
“Remember, I said it was God who was prying the little girl’s hands off her eyes. As if He were saying, ‘I can’t use ivory tower followers. They are plaster of paris, they crumble and fall apart in life’s press. So you’ve got to see life the way it really is before you can do anything about evil. You cannot vanquish it. I can. But in my world the battle against evil has to be a joint endeavor. You and Me. I, God, in you, can have the victory every time.’ After that, He was always right there beside me, looking at the dreadful sights with compassion and love and heartbreak His caring and His love were too real for bitterness to grow in me."
Another favorite quote from her:
“We Friends say that all discouragement is from an evil source and can only end in more evil. Wallowing in self-condemnation or feeling sorry for yourself is worse than falling on your face in the first place.”
I think Alice Henderson is someone I would have liked to have had mentor me as a young girl. I might need to hear this once or a hundred times. :)
I find it interesting that I read this book after completing a study of the book of Romans (how’s that for firming up your salvation and the truths therin) and now I'm working through the book of 1 John. Two verses from each of these respective books capture the essence of what I think Christy’s lessons were this first year in Cutter Gap.
First from Romans 12:9-13:
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
And from 1 John 3:16-17:
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?
This is what I think was at the heart of Christy's lessons - learning to abide in Christ and what the outpouring of that abiding would be in the life of the community she served. To love them unquestioningly and point them to Jesus.
I hope you enjoyed reading this along with me. (Thanks, Carrie, for the opportunity to host!) I’ll leave you with one more quote that I loved from the story – not at all politically correct in today’s culture, but in my opinon, absolutely hilarious in its truthfulness.
“Tell you something’. Tongue-tied wimmin are ve-ry scarce and ve-ry valuable. If you ever find one, men, hang onto her. All wimmin’s tongues be good for onyway is for spreadiin’ secrets. And secrets are like measles: they take easy and they spread easy.”
Here are a few pictures of East Tennessee / Smokey Mountains to help you visualize the setting for the story if you are interested: