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Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places Paperback – March 17, 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[O]ne of the best books I've read in a while. . . . This glorious book is thoughtful without being laborious, literate without being self-conscious. [Barkat] has a great eye for details, and a luminous style that revels in God's presence in the day-to-day." (Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds Bookstore, Booknotes Blog, March 24, 2008)

"Stone Crossings walks the reader through the foggy landscapes of life, arriving at subtle moments of true grace. Barkat's courageous, unblinking honesty is a gift, a gift offered in gentle, delicate, literary prose." (Don Everts, author of Jesus with Dirty Feet and God in the Flesh)

"You are holding an invitation to a table set for two--you and L. L. Barkat. At this table, near a river in my mind's imagination, she will tell you her story of faith. You may not even notice the river, for the storytelling will lift you into a life of faith that will not lead you to gaze at her but to enjoy the same life of faith. The only writer I know quite like Barkat is Eugene Peterson. That probably tells you all you need to know." (Scot McKnight, author of The Jesus Creed)

"With a storyteller's charm and a Bible teacher's grit, L. L. Barkat weaves memoir, humor and spiritual insight together into a satisfying read. She challenges us to open our eyes anew to the amazing graces God lavishes upon us every day, in ordinary and surprising ways." (Edward Gilbreath, author of Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical's Inside View of White Christianity)

"L.L. Barkat tells a painful story of abuse and loss. But it is not her story but God's story that takes center stage in this remarkable book. The beautiful and intelligent writing will pull you in, but the deep and uncommon insights will keep you reading. Here is a book full of the wisdom which can only come when real life meets God's grace through God's Word. It is a book meant to be read slowly." (Steve Hayner, Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Theological Seminary)

From the Author

Grace. That's the centerpiece of Stone Crossings, shared through the hard and hidden places of my life and the bible.<P> <BR> In sun-dappled creekbeds and strawberry fields, in the dark belly of a whale and on parched desert plains, grace makes surprising appearances. Along the way, it calls, "Where have you been, where are you now, where do you want to be?" Then it gives strength to answer, to hope and to heal.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (March 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830834958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830834952
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,381,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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I love the way this writer speaks gently and with grace towards herself and those involved in her journey. A wonderful story of forgiveness and healing.
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Does anything indicate the quality of a book as much as how it reads the second time through? I enjoyed "Stone Crossings--Finding grace in Hard and Hidden Places" by L. L. Barkat the first time--even when tired and not doing it justice. But in August, relaxed and ready to meditate, I decided I'd look at it again. This time I knew the story so I could savor nuances, and they were tasty.

Barkat draws upon outside sources--secular writings, spiritual writings, children's books, and current events. She shares how key people displayed the life of Christ for her: a step-mother who shared the gospel and love; un-named church members who prayed over her, her mother, and her sister when they desperately needed protection; a college counselor who cared and didn't judge; and a boyfriend who didn't abandon her.

Not all significant people in her life were positive. Her honesty and integrity come through when she acknowledges she doesn't know if she's completely forgiven all sins against her--God hasn't required it at this point. But she also shares how forgiving brings freedom. And how, as she found freedom herself, she has been able to share freedom with others.

Ultimately, however, Barkat shines when she turns to Scripture. Her interpretation of Jonah--she identifies both his fear and anger--provoked soul-searching on my part. She confesses she thought God judged Moses harshly. Then she understood God cared more about Moses' heart than his ministry of power. Insights on King Saul, Israel, the Tabernacle, Solomon, Daniel, Paul, and Jesus all illustrate powerful truth. Especially Jesus. Her amplified story of the blind man with mud in his eyes stumbling on his way to the Pool of Siloam set me laughing--while illustrating how I often stumble around when Jesus meets my need.
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I consider it a privilege when I finish a book like Stone Crossings. L.L. Barkat's stark, evocative prose wormed its way into my heart, and her unflinching honesty caused me to consider life more deeply, to run to the God who made it all. I love her story throughout the book, how it restrains to tell the truth, yet holds her privacy. I love how she wrestles. And I love how God finds her.
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It's easy to think of L.L. Barkat's "Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places" as an autobiography. Like all writing, it is that, but it's also more, much more: memoir, devotional, hymn of praise, song of redemption, conversation with God. And it's in invitation to join her on a journey.

Barkat uses the metaphors of stone and rock to develop the themes of her life - conversion, doubt, shame, inclusion, witness, justice, love, gratitude and completion (there are more). Each "stone" begins with the personal and moves to the spiritual, and in that moment of transition comes a recognition for the reader that we're not just reading Barkat's story but our own. Her story becomes our story.

The writing is fine, remarkably fine. The way she tells the story of the Christmas lump of coal had tears running down my cheeks. Or how her grandmother forgets she made apple cakes. Or how the author herself, determined not to fall in love and not believing it falling in love, does so anyway in spite of herself.

I'm glad I walked this journey called "Stone Crossings."
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I first found LL in the comments section of Mark Galli's blog and followed her over to Seedlings in Stone. Right away I was hooked. LL can find Jesus in not only the "Hard and Hidden Places" but in every day life, green inventions, and in the yard. When I found out about the release of Stone Crossings, I ordered it as soon as possible. I stayed up late reading the first two-thirds of the book the day it arrived. I love the way the book flows, how LL intertwines her personal story with God's truth, that she doesn't provide easy answers but always points us back to grace. Highly recommend.
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