Welcome to the first-annual Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club! We’re reading The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living by Lisa Hendey.
In the year 2000, I was a young workingwoman, who felt a little lost. I felt stuck in my faith, and I couldn’t see where I fit in. I was ready to claim my Catholicity as my own—to join a parish, get involved—but I didn’t want to do it alone, and I couldn’t seem to find anyone to share it with. I was hungry for meaningful and faith-filled friendships, but I was coming up empty. The light of my faith dimmed a bit, because I felt so alone at this point in my young adult life.
One day, totally out of the blue, I got a phone call to help facilitate a retreat for teens. “Who? Me?” I thought to myself. “I’m barely surviving in my faith, let alone thriving, and you want me to lead others on their faith journey?” I was hesitant to give my yes; it felt daunting, and I felt unworthy. I gave an excuse, “It would be such short of notice to get off of work …” But getting the day off of work was a little too easy, and I nervously agreed to serve on the retreat.
On the retreat, God provided me with an opportunity for rebirth. As I participated in the prayers and conversation, as I listened to the talks, as I went to Confession and received the Eucharist, I reached a turning point in my life. And I’ve never looked back. God reminded me that I’m never alone on this journey of faith. Even when we feel alone, Jesus is always with us, and He provides exactly what we need to live out our unique yes to Him.
“What does rebirth look like?” asks Lisa Hendey on Page 128 of this final chapter of The Grace of Yes. It looks different for each of us. Many of us have moments—big or small—of conversion or reversion. Some of us have more of a “strengthening of faith,” as we grow in understanding, wisdom, knowledge and love of the Lord.
For me, rebirth meant that I first needed to say yes to God—and God alone. I needed to put Him first, no matter what the rest of my life looked like. He was inviting me to trust Him fully and to generously give my all to His will. Then, and only then, could the other desires of my heart come to fulfillment: finding a parish with a strong young adult group, making friends on fire for their faith, and eventually being called to the vocation of marriage.
When we think about where we are on our faith journey, at this very moment, and how we got here, we recognize that each of us has a story of rebirth. Each of us responded to God’s initial invitation with our own unique yes. And that yes has opened doors that have led us to subsequent yeses.
“Because we are somebody—important, worthy, wonderful, thoroughly good, and created so by God,” we have a unique yes to offer the world that no one else can offer (132).
Even as we conclude this book about “the grace of yes,” some of us might still be asking the same questions I asked myself back in 2000, “Who? Me?” We may wonder what we could possibly give that someone else hasn’t already given. But the truth, which Lisa so beautifully conveys throughout this entire book, is “our yeses have limitless potential” (134). By asking, “Who? Me?” we are limiting God from unleashing within us the grace to reach our full potential. So, rather than ask, “Who? Me?” let’s respond, “Here I am, Lord!” And trust that God will provide every grace we need to live out our yes fully.
When we generously say yes to God’s plan for our lives, we say yes to the big and small ways He wants us to be a beacon of light to this darkened world. We may never be well known for our yeses, like Blessed Mother Teresa. Most of our tasks will be done behind closed doors and in the small corner of our world. But even our hidden yeses have abundant power to change hearts and lives, beginning with our own.
As we conclude this summer book club, I wonder what invitation to yes God has for us next. No matter what it is, may we live out our unique yes with belief, generativity, creativity, integrity, humility, vulnerability, a good understanding of the importance of no, and in the spirit of rebirth. May our lives always be filled with “the grace of yes” that we so generously give to God each and every day.
To Ponder, Reflect and Discuss:
- How have you experienced the grace of rebirth? Was it a clear moment of conversion or reversion? Or was it more of an extended “strengthening of faith” over a long period of time?
- Do you ever doubt your unique yes? Do you wonder what you can offer that others cannot? After reading The Grace of Yes, have you gained holy confidence in knowing your specific purpose, your unique yes?
- On Page 136, Lisa talks about being equally generous with the tasks we might not find exciting. How do you give generously even when you’re less than excited about a project or task?
Below, please comment on your thoughts from Chapter 8 (or any chapter from the book)—your inspirations and reflections—and/or answers to these questions.
This is the final week of our Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club. Thank you so much for reading and discussing The Grace of Yes with us! For more information about our online book club, visit the Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club page.
WINE thanks Lisa Hendey and Ave Maria Press for supporting our Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club. Thank you to Heather Glenn and her team for their marketing expertise. WINE also thanks the following Catholic writers for contributing their insights to the chapter reflections each week: Judy Klein, Sarah Christmyer, Carol Younger, Stephanie Landsem, Kelly Wahlquist, Lynne Keating, Sharon Wilson and Sarah Damm.
The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living is available for purchase at St. George’s Books & Gifts. Free shipping on orders of $30 or more, and WINE will receive 10% of your order to support our evangelization efforts.