When B&H Publishing offered the chance to read an advance copy of Maria Goff’s first book, I jumped.
That was back in March.
Looking back, I can’t say exactly what got in the way of reading the book as I had promised. Family. Work. Going through a running program. Whatever it was, it was bringing me closer to my family and co-workers as I made new friends with my running buddies.
Now that I’ve read the book, I’m pretty sure Maria would approve.
The book features a series of vignettes ranging from the early days of Maria’s relationship with Bob, extending through raising their children and all of the adventures they had in between as Maria provided the anchor to a home in which love was the primary language. Each story is told with simplicity and vulnerability, and is ultimately connected to the teachings of Jesus or to other stories and letters of the Bible.
And that is the note on which I very nearly stumbled hard not three pages into the introduction. Maria writes, “Paul said in one of his letters to a friend named James that sometimes life is like looking in a mirror and then forgetting our appearance.”
The verse to which I believe she is referring is James 1:23-24:
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
That letter wasn’t written by Paul. It was written by James. And I can’t think of a different reference – nor could I find another reference – that came close to what Maria wrote.
Certainly some may call that nitpicking over a single sentence, but I was worried for a bit about how accurately Scripture would be used, and – to be honest – I wondered about the editing. It seemed odd that I would have caught something like that immediately when editors did not.
Those worries and concerns dissipated somewhat as I quickly read through the first chapters of Maria’s story, and finding myself in agreement that life – and love – isn’t always about the big moments and the extraordinary experiences. It’s found in the small encounters we have daily.
The more I read, though, the slower it went. To some extent, it seemed like the stories were covering the same ground.
Would I recommend it? I know others absolutely raved about it, but I just never got there. Don’t get me wrong. It is a good read, and I think many people would enjoy it. So, yes, do read it if it sounds like your cup of tea!