Monday, February 25, 2008

Closer Than Your Skin

Molly went on a pseudo-date on Saturday with the Ukrainian foreign exchange student from school, Sergey. (Pseudo because they were at a mall and chaperoned.) She was nervous before leaving, asking for help picking out what to wear, what should she talk about, etc. His host mother drove him all the way out to our house to pick Molly up, then they went to the mall. I texted Molly a couple of times while she was gone (texting is perfect for when your kids are dating. It's not intrusive like a phone call, but still lets you check up on them a bit), and she seemed like she was having a good time. When she came back in the door just after nine pm, she was walking 6 inches above the ground, and a new smile didn't leave her face. Sergey bought her a bear at Build A Bear, they took pictures in a photo-booth, and ate Chinese. She sat on the end of my bed telling me the details in between texts from him. As I watched her with the smile that never quite left her lips, I wanted to remind her to be careful. Her last boyfriend hurt her quite badly, and she's still smarting from it. I wanted to tell her to remember how Andy hurt her and not to let Sergey touch her heart. But I let the words die on my lips. If Molly lives her life with her heart too tightly protected, she'll never learn what love really is. And love is dangerous; it takes courage to expose yourself to someone else and let them see your vulnerabilities. That's not knowledge she can get from listening, only experiencing. And I watched my little girl move one step farther away from me. An important step she'll have to take to become a responsible, intelligent adult, but a difficult step for me to allow her to take. Doogie's taking his driving test next month, and that's another piece of independence from me. They've both reached the point where I have to watch them start to fly for a short time away from the nest. It's no wonder that I keep such a tight bond with Mia. Her wings are pretty tiny yet.

Closer Than Your Skin by Susan D. Hill is a hard book to define in just a few words. It's not quite a devotional, but through it I see her devotion to God. It's not quite a biography, but I've learned so much about Hill, I see her as a friend. It's a book written with haunting lyricism about the God moments in Hill's life, and her gentle encouragement to seek your own. She tells her story with brutal honesty about her husband's adultery and alcoholism, as well as her own frequent separations from God. Stories like these abound in Christian bookstores, but Hill writes with such earnestness and heart it's impossible not to feel for her and want your own God moment as well. She describes it a bit like a sneeze: you know it's coming, you can feel it, and there's nothing you can do to stop it, it's out of your control. This is a book you'll read again and again as you travel down your own road to get closer to the Lord.

I'm giving away a copy of this book this week, so if you'd like to enter to win a copy, drop me an email at The contest will be open until midnight Thursday, and I'll announce the winner on Friday. Good luck!