It is a pleasure to post my recent interview with Christine Litavsky, author of Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days. (CrossLink, $14.95, October 2013 pub date). Christine is an exceptionally gifted writer whose vibrant Christian faith breathes from the pages of her book. http://www.glimpsinggrace.com
Q: Why did you write Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days?
A: I wrote this book to encourage people to slow down and look for the glimpses of grace present in their lives. This self-reflection is not always easy — in today’s technology saturated world, we’re more distracted than ever. We rush about, texting in one hand while checking our emails with the other. This busyness and preoccupation hinders our relationship with Jesus. Not only are we not focusing on Him, but we’re also not seeing the grace notes that He lovingly inserts into our lives.
Q: How does this book help us glimpse grace in our own lives?
Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days is not a how-to handbook; rather, it’s a collection of true-life episodes that show us that God is always at work, even in ordinary – and sometimes just plain rotten – events. Some stories in the book showcase an unmistakable bolt of grace, but others simply focus on something easily missed – a memory, a comment or a realization. My prayer is that readers can relate to even one of the 55 stories in the book and use it to look for grace in their own lives.
Q: What is an example of a “glimpse of grace” in the book?
I quote Frederick Buechner in the preface of Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days as saying, “. . . a good night’s sleep is grace and so are good dreams. Most tears are grace. The smell of rain is grace. Somebody loving you is grace.” This fabulous quote encapsulates the theme of my book. Grace is undeserved and manifests itself in many forms. In my book, examples of grace are varied: a loving stepparent, baby turtles, a child’s white cape, and holding the hand of an Alzheimer’s patient. I also write about grace in the form of memories and reflections, prayer and play. Really, the grace of God is everywhere, but if we don’t slow down and reflect on our days, we might miss it.
Q: Why are you qualified to write this book?
It depends on who you ask! I’m a writer by trade, but have no theological degree; I’m not a pastor or a professor. To some, those are necessary qualifications for writing a book on grace. But I believe, with my entire being, that my very ordinariness qualifies me to write this book. Grace is not God’s gift to only those with many letters after their name; it is for all of us.
I believe a great majority of believers are just like me – ordinary folks living ordinary lives. I hope that sharing grace episodes from my life – mainstream as it is – will encourage others to find and share the glimpses of grace in their own lives.
Q: Is this book only appropriate for Christians?
Not at all! Many folks call grace different names – chance, coincidence, luck, good fortune, an alignment of the stars. Yet they believe in its beauty and positive power. Anyone who looks for the good around them, no matter what they call it, will be attracted to this book.
Q: Can it then be used for evangelism?
Absolutely. This book focuses on the slivers of beauty and understanding that help us through life. In my mind, these come from God in the form of grace, and I make this very clear in most every story. Without preaching, it will give a non-believer a different way of thinking about things. For example, for perhaps the first time, they may be encouraged to look at a life-changing friendship not as a stroke of luck, but rather part of a larger plan orchestrated by a loving God.
Q: What is your favorite story in Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days?
It’s hard to identify one, because they really do cover a gamut of topics. Some are funny, some reflective, some make me somewhat teary. However, if I had to pick one it would be the last story in the book, “Finding Grace in Alzheimer’s”. It’s about my very last visit with my stepmother, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and went to be with Jesus last summer. It was truly cathartic to write.