A debut Christian autobiography offers heavy infusions of prayer and meditation.
The ideological heart of Kelly’s brief, passionate book is Psalm 91, which begins “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” The volume opens with a long segment that delivers an autobiographical sketch of the author’s life, marriages, and setbacks in her years as a Christian, starting with her reluctance to embrace the very concept of being born again. “I’m a Christian!” she fumed when the subject was first raised. “I don’t need this born-again fanatic stuff. I have been baptized and confirmed. I sang in the choir and ironed altar cloths.” But a closer relationship with her faith came about partly in the wake of her despair over her divorce: “With my life falling apart and without any ability to stop what was happening, my only refuge was the time I spent with God.” Throughout the shorter and more purely devotional segments that follow, she pursues this God-as-shelter idea, and regularly reminds her readers that he seeks a personal relationship with them and shouldn’t be taken for granted even during the most hectic of schedules. “When was the last time,” she asks, “you sat down and gave thanks for all God has given you, the seen and unseen?” Everything in the human body, down to the smallest cell, has a purpose, she reminds her readers, although she dubiously extends this to add: “Skin cells are positioned in the correct place and do the job they were designed to do” (well over three million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in America every year). But regularly throughout the book, her zealousness is softened and countered by her optimistic message connecting faith with a believer’s progress. “Little by little, bit by bit, with the help of the Holy Spirit,” she writes, “we keep moving forward each day.” Her fellow Christians, seeking testimony about the haven their faith can give them, should find the straightforward simplicity of this volume inspiring.
A Christian’s heartfelt account relates how her strong faith became a bulwark against life’s troubles.