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Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith Paperback – April 15, 2014
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Praise for Spiritual Misfit
“Derusha is not a familiar figure on the landscape of spiritual writing, but the merit of her prose may lie in her very typicality. Married with two children in Nebraska, a columnist (Lincoln Journal Star) and occasional author, she writes with unassuming verve and charm reminiscent of Anne Lamott; her frequent admissions of her own shortcomings, doubts, and fears are presented with humor, wit, and intelligence. Her journey and struggle—to accommodate uncertainties within faith—resonate with the experience of many Christians today.
Verdict: One of the most appealing spiritual memoirs of the last several years, this book deserves readers well beyond church reading groups. It will speak to the lives of many individual seekers within Christianity and without.”
“This book is profoundly insightful and laugh-out-loud funny—the kind of book you carry with you to the kitchen sink and to the laundry room and even to the bathroom, because you can’t.stop.reading. World, meet Michelle DeRusha—master storyteller, brilliant writer, spiritual misfit. With candor and humor, Michelle picks up the pieces of her faith story (and her faithless story), then spreads them out on the pages like an offering. This book reveals a loving God who isn’t surprised or repelled by our misfit tendencies, but who pulls us closer. Spiritual Misfit is for any one of us who has ever groped through the dark, which is pretty much every one of us.”
—Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol
“Michelle DeRusha shares an honest and heartfelt personal perspective on the journey of faith. She takes us to the hard places, through the doubts, and brings us to this reassuring truth: sometimes when you’re searching for a place to belong, what you really need to discover is how much you’ve been loved all along.”
—Holley Gerth, best-selling author of You’re Already Amazing
“It is rare to find someone who seeks God as Michelle DeRusha does—with an authenticity the world lacks, with the wit and candor of Anne Lamott, and with the humility of Christ himself. Spiritual Misfit is the unadulterated journey of a woman who knows what it is to struggle and what it is to overcome. You’ll come away changed.”
—Emily T. Wierenga, author of Atlas Girl
“Michelle DeRusha’s Spiritual Misfit is a generous and honest portrait of stumbling into faith. This book is an invitation to wonder and journey, masterfully crafted by Michelle’s insights and humor. At once vulnerable, at once assured, this narrative offers a welcome and fresh perspective on the spiritual memoir and on the coming to terms of faith within ourselves and our communities.”
—Preston Yancey, author of Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again
“This is the book we’ve been waiting for! It’s the book we need, because there is no way we get to faith without asking a bunch of questions and fumbling around in the dark for a while. This book frees us to be ourselves with Jesus, and to let him pursue us and woo us and love us and challenge us and stretch us. Michelle tells her story with humor and heart. It’s as if she knew someone needed to go first, giving the rest of us courage to exhale and say, ‘Whew! I’m not the only one!’”
—Deidra Riggs, managing editor, The High Calling; founder, JumpingTandem
“Michelle DeRusha is a masterful writer who brings fresh insight, imagery, and wisdom to the spiritual memoir genre. Spiritual Misfit invites the reader to climb a tree and cock the head to see the world from a whole new perspective. It’s funny, smart, and brimming with hope—a book for those new to faith and those who long for a faith that’s new. I look forward to reading everything Michelle DeRusha writes.”
—Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood
About the Author
Michelle DeRusha writes a monthly column on religion and spirituality for The Lincoln Journal Star and has published a number of articles and personal essays in both print and online media. She also writes a blog, MichelleDerusha.com. She and her husband, Brad, live in Nebraska with their two boys and pet lizard.
Top customer reviews
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"When I thought about it, these lake-water images struck me as the perfect metaphor for my tentative floundering toward belief. In matters of spirituality I often assumed that if only I knew for sure, if I firmly grasped the answers to all the questions if I saw clearly how it would all turn out, then I would be okay. I thought if I could see under the surface of that murky water, glimpse what was hidden beneath, my faith would finally be secure, rock solid and steady. On the other hand, my memory of yet another lake experience left me wondering if even that kind of clarity would satisfy." (page 91)
In the end, Michelle realizes just as the murky water was scary, so too, was the water that was so crystal clear she could see absolutely everything. To see both nothing and everything are ends of a spectrum -- the black and the white. And where I think God wants us to live is in the gray, where our lives are punctuated with light that sheds clarity exactly at the moment we need it.
Michelle's whole memoir is testament to this. She doesn't have a Saul/Paul moment of conversion. Hers is step by step, moving from doubt to faith. She lets you in on her own analytical mind, showing us how she regularly clung to her logic as a three year old clings to her favorite lovey. But we also see God gently prying her fingers off, one by one, eventually setting free the lovey, clasping each finger fully onto His, the very definition of love.
And isn't this how faith works? Whether you've been a Christian forever or you are still entertaining the idea that He might be real, there are still worldly ways and worldly things onto which we cling because we just need to know. The fear of the unknown, we think, is too much to bear.
It's by living that we trust, by giving Him opportunities to work in our lives, opening our eyes to seeing His involvement, to feeling His touch. It's there. If only we allow ourselves the time and space to see it. Michelle's life is testament to this.
It's a beautiful, funny, poignant, wrestling life where, no matter what your journey, you will find some common ground on which you can grow.
I was privileged to read an advance copy of this book, a few months before the book was released. Since then, I've pre-ordered several copies, and told many friends, family members -- and even strangers -- about it. I loved it so much that, during a women's retreat last weekend when I was speaking about faith journeys, I asked all the women attending to please open their notebooks and write down these five words:
"Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha."
This is the part of the review where I might say, "I will be recommending this to all my friends." Except that I already HAVE recommended it to all of my friends. :)
This book will melt your heart, make you gut-split laugh, and challenge you in the very best ways.
To read such a stirring account of struggling to find your place is rare. Trust me, you're going to want to read it in one sitting!