Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Letters to Me: Conversations with a Younger Self Paperback – November 6, 2012
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
There is something maddeningly compelling about this book. You want to leap into its pages and shake some sense into the characters just like you're reading a page-turning novel, except that it's real life and if you could somehow grab them by their shoulders, you would realize you were staring yourself in the face. The talent of these storytellers is revealed in how universal their personal stories are. In their stories you will experience agony and joy, pain and healing, fall and redemption. Adam S. McHugh, author Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
This is so needed. I've often wished I could go back and have a strong talking to with my younger, more idiotic self. These stories are funny, heartfelt, and important. Reading them will make you think and imagine a better life—maybe even give you the courage to live one. Jeff Goins, author, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life
One of the most unnerving, unsettling things one can do in life is stare at themselves in the mirror—eye to eye. Letters To Me is the sacred chance to witness person after person pause their present as they stand naked in the mirror, facing everything they've been and everything they've done. To listen to what they hear in their souls, to see their past as they truly do. Oh, how I wish I'd been given this collection of stories earlier in my life. The entrance into adulthood would have been painted with so much more grace. Lauren Lankford Dubinsky, founder of Good Women Project
A beautiful timeline of truth, honesty, and hardship. Explore each story in hopes of finding yourself, and when you do, rejoice in the commonality and understanding. This compilation of stories reveals redemption of the past from the bright eyes of the present. A beautiful work of introspection. Rachel Sender, student
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 75%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
I was delighted to find some old 'friends' in this collection - Lyla Lindquist, Tamára Lunardo, Shawn Smucker, Charity Singleton, J.B. Wood, Lore Ferguson, Anita Mathias - people I have previously encountered through their blogs and their comments on mine. And none of them disappoints. All are fine writers, good thinkers and excellent communicators.
I loved reading about Shawn's blue-eyed girlfriend, Charity's courageous act of resignation, Tamára's heartfelt choice for life when faced with an unplanned pregnancy as a 19-year-old. Jim Wood begins with, 'GET A GRIP!'--SO perfect for many of us as we look back at our angst-ridden younger selves. But he goes on to celebrate all that happened in those long-ago years, praising and encouraging himself-from-way-back-when. I think we all need to do that from time to time, don't you? Look back with love and support?
If pushed, I guess I'd have to say that Lyla's letter was particularly poignant for me, rich with wry, careful reflection and a superb pages-long metaphor of life-as-a-Rube-Goldberg-contraption:
"So many people think there's a sure-fire, idiot-proof way to know the right thing. They get this idea that God's whole plan for every person on earth can be derailed with one small misstep. I suppose some do get a clear and certain sense of the way they are to go. But it seems that for many of us, the fleeces and pro/con lists, the long straws and coin flips are formalities. Sometimes we're going to have to 'fish or cut bait' as my dad would say. We're just going to have to make a guess. Maybe an educated guess, but it'll be a guess all the same. What I want you to know now is that is that it will work out, better than you could have known or planned. Because for many of us, life is less like following a road map than coursing through a Rube Goldberg contraption. It seems far more like an elaborate series of springs and pulleys, levers and ropes that sets a chain reaction into motion."
And she is off and running for a series of beautifully described twists and turns, rolling down ramps, across all kinds of fascinating obstacles, always following the marble on its relentless path to somewhere. It's gorgeously done and worth the price of the book all by itself.
Yes, Lyla is a friend. But she happens to be an inordinately talented one. Each person in this collection contributes to the whole in their own unique way, telling pieces of his or her story. If you know someone in this age bracket--18 to 30--who is feeling discouraged, a little bit lost, wondering where they're headed, why not purchase a copy of this book and pass it along to them? I know they'll find encouragement. I pray they'll even find a small, sunlit piece of hope to hang onto when the way ahead feels decidedly murky.
The stories in Letters to Me would say otherwise. I sat down to read this book and found myself so encouraged and strengthen through the community built around life in these stories that I only stopped when I reached the end of the book.
These stories are my story. And they're probably your stories. Dan Schmidt talks about "evidence of grace weaves through many of these letters" and it's these threads that strengthen you.
I read Shawn Smuckers letter to himself about realizing he loved the early stages of love but was afraid of moving forward ("preferred the present shallows to some future depths" p. 12). That was my story.
Penny Nash admonishes her younger self, "I wish you could have been willing to accept companions along that rough road" (p. 25). I also tried to go alone and nearly pushed myself to the point of death.
I could sympathize with Tamara Lunardo feeling of never being able to please those pesky conservative Christians who are ready to shame you if you fall into sin. I know the feeling of "the loss of your good reputation, your envisioned future" (p. 91, 92).
I even feel the words leaving my tongue with Brian McLaren and the Psalmist (77:3), "`I think of God and I groan'" (p. 106). I remember groaning as friends and family tried to encourage me with the gospel. I remember despising a pastor who was trying to save my marriage and speak into my life. I wanted nothing to do with God.
And although the details of our Gospel wakefulness was different, the work of God was the same for Lore Ferguson and I. We were both brought low. We both were brutally honest with God--"He is a liar. He is not faithful. He stands far from you. He judges everything you do. (Or don't do)" and we also felt like the Church was "the greatest whore of them all" (p. 140). Thankfully God "is not undone by that" (p. 144). God can take and is patient with his children.
I would encourage you, the you out there who feels alone. Who feels like no one else knows what you are going through. Our Jesus was a touched with our humanness. And if suffering was good enough for the Lord of Hosts than it's good enough for us. We should expect the suffering and pain of life. We shouldn't be afraid to groan. We should also not be afraid to share our stories. Share our experiences and help each other grow through them.