Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, writer, editor, marketing professional, and coffee drinker. You’re just as likely to find her hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait — are those her kids?) She is the author of many books, the most recent of which she co-edited with Lisa Hendey: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections. She blogs at SnoringScholar.com and writes online regularly at CatholicMom.com and Integrated Catholic Life. Reinhard holds a master’s degree in marketing and communications and has worked for many years in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and children.
Lisa Hendey’s new book, The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living (Ave Maria Press), is one you won’t want to miss. I don’t say that because I know Hendey personally and am friends with her (though both are true). I say it because it was nothing like I expected.
Generous living entails both openness to God’s plan and a plan of our own. We each need a plan for total engagement in the virtues that lie at the heart of generous living: belief, love and generativity, work and creativity, integrity, humility and forgiveness, vulnerability, saying no, and rebirth. I hope that recognizing and seizing the grace of yes in your life will be a gift for you, as it has been for me, and will help you get started — for the first time or once again — on the sacred path of generosity.
I’m not sure what I expected in The Grace of Yes: maybe a textbook approach to the Blessed Mother, a look at virtues, and something that I could safely assume would NOT be good bedtime reading.
What I found, though, was that I had to rein myself in and keep myself from just whipping through this book. It’s not that it’s an easy read; it’s that it’s compelling and wrenching and it keeps your attention. What Hendey has done is craft a book that taps into everything I love most about her writing.
It’s tempting to put our heads down, plow straight ahead, and avoid any potential distractions that keep us from attaining our end goal. Don’t they say that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points? How tempted I am on so many days to lock myself in my office, plug away at my work for hours on end with only breaks for prayer and sustenance, and cross all of the items off my to-do list!
But when I do this exclusively, my yes is deprived of the fullness of God’s grace. Jesus taught us this lesson during his time with us. What an inefficient path God chose to bring us into his path for salvation!
This book took courage to write, and it takes a measure of grit to do more than just read it like it’s an enjoyable read (which it is). I’m well-acquainted with Hendey’s writing: she’s written three other books and she’s a well-known blogger, writer, speaker, and new media personality. I follow her closely. I listen to what she has to say. Whether I agree with her or not, I do always take note, because her sincerity, humility, and wisdom always shine through the deep faith she nurtures.
True humility will not come naturally or easily for many of us. I’ve been praying of late for the ability to put The Diva to the side and let the child of God within me shine in her place. The Diva dodges compliments but expects special treatment. The Diva is terribly concerned with appearances and achievements. She doesn’t always expect to be recognized, but she really loves it when she is. The Diva has a lot of friends but never enough true friendships. She would like others to believe that she is a humble person, but in reality she’s got a long way to go before her actions and intentions are free of ulterior motives and could be called truly humble.
A large part of me is ready to let The Diva go by the wayside and in her place shine a light on who I am as a child of God. The child of God isn’t vain or self-centered when being true to herself. She marvels at the audacity of the sunrise and happily extols the majesty of the ocean. She clings to the life-affirming relationships she has and lets them surround her like a security blanket that keeps her safe and warm. The child of God whom I keep striving to be is ready and willing to glorify God in simple, precious ways and to praise him when the fruits of his work in her are pleasing to others.
In the body of work Hendey has produced, I rank this as the best of her writing. I found a lot of grace in reading it, and I expect that, upon rereading it, I’ll find myself struck again by Hendey’s wisdom and insight. The prayers that close each chapter, along with the questions, are carefully considered and deeply provoking.
The Grace of Yes book is nothing short of amazing. This is a book that will get you thinking and make you want to talk and discuss or, at the very least, ponder and reflect.