I know God’s will for my life. That’s what I remembered while reading “Church of the Small Things” by Melanie Shankle. Of course, I laughed as she told stories that made me think we’re friends.
But, really, most importantly, this book reminded me that I know God wants me to follow Christ as I embrace the life He’s given me and through it all He’ll change me from the inside out so He can be glorified. Of course, the circumstances and details of this change moment by moment because I don’t live in a bubble all alone. But God uses it all to that ultimate purpose.
“The bottom line is,
she didn’t do the glamorous thing;
she did the faithful thing.”
— Melanie Shankle in “Church of the Small Things“
Honestly, just saying that aloud makes me take a deep breath and loosen my grip. Knowing I’m in the midst of God’s will frees me from trying so hard to get to the next big thing. Believing He had a purpose in all the small, everyday things lets me rest in the One who truly holds it all together because when I get really tired when I try to control it all.
“Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up Life” is made up of stories about the seemingly small things in life that change us from the inside out. Melanie makes “Friday Night Lights” references, tells stories like friends would tell sitting on the porch together, and brings it all back to our faith in the God who weaves all the moments together.
“The truth is, we can spend our lives waiting for the big thing to happen, the dream to come true, the thing that will change everything. And then it happens and it’s nice, but guess what? No matter where we go, there we are. The world tells us that true success is a certain amount in your bank account, a certain number of cars in your driveway, maybe that all kinds of people know your name and you write a book that inspires an entire theme park and a line of collectible figurines. But true success and prosperity come when you are right where God wants you to be, doing what he has called you to do.”
— Melanie Shankle in “Church of the Small Things“
If there’s an author who can make me cry and laugh on the same page, it’s Melanie Shankle. I recommend this book and then highly suggest you follow that up with her three previous books, if you haven’t read them yet: “Sparkly Green Earring: Catching the Light at Every Turn,” “The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life,” and “Nobody’s Cuter than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship.”
About the book
Is my ordinary, everyday life actually significant? Is it okay to be fulfilled by the simple acts of raising kids, working in an office, and cooking chicken for dinner?
It’s been said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” The pressure of that can be staggering as we spend our days looking for that big thing that promises to take our breath away. Meanwhile, we lose sight of the small significance of fully living with every breath we take.
Melanie Shankle tackles these questions head on in her fourth book, “Church of the Small Things.” Easygoing and relatable, she speaks directly to the heart of women of all ages who are longing to find significance and meaning in the normal, sometimes mundane world of driving carpool to soccer practice, attending class on their college campus, cooking meals for their family, or taking care of a sick loved one.
The million little pieces that make a life aren’t necessarily glamorous or far-reaching. But God uses some of the smallest, most ordinary acts of faithfulness — and sometimes they look a whole lot like packing lunch.
Through humorous stories told in her signature style, full of Frito pie, best friends, the love of her Me-Ma and Pa-Pa, the unexpected grace that comes when we quit trying to measure up, and a little of the best TV has to offer, Melanie helps women embrace what it means to live a simple, yet incredibly meaningful life and how to find all the beauty and laughter that lies right beneath the surface of every moment.
This 224-page hardcover is published by Zondervan (Oct. 3, 2017). Learn more about the book at its website.
About the author
Melanie Shankle writes regularly at The Big Mama blog and is the New York Times bestselling author of three previous books. She is a graduate of Texas A&M and loves writing, shopping at Target, checking to see what’s on sale at Anthropologie, and trying to find the lighter side in every situation. Most of all, she loves being the mother of Caroline, the wife of Perry, and the official herder of two wild dogs named Piper and Mabel. The five of them live in San Antonio, Texas.
I received a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for being on the launch team. This review is full of my own opinions.
Joanne Viola says
Like you, I have so enjoyed every one of Melanie Shankle’s books and will be ordering this one as well. We need books which remind us to be faithful in the small things because many times, they truly are the big things in disguise 🙂
Yes, indeed! Life is sneaky like that sometimes. 🙂
Becky Hastings says
Loved this book! 🙂
There are so many good books right now! I’m glad you’re here, Becky!
Michele Morin says
I have yet to read one of Melanie’s books. Thanks for sharing this one. She (and the book) sound amazing!
Her book on friendship called “Nobody’s Cuter Than You” may be my favorite, you know, if I had to pick one. 🙂
Debbie Putman says
I’m adding this book to my “must read” list!
Yay! Hope you love it, Debbie!
Lisa notes says
This sounds like such a delightful book. I feel like my whole life has been just a series of small things, but that’s okay! 🙂 It’s good stuff. Thanks for sharing this, Kristin.
Totally okay! I have a quote in my house that says, “One day we’ll look back on the little things and realize they’re really the big things.” Thanks for being here, Lisa!
I love the quote you wrote – that we reach our dreams, theme park and all, and that is not what counts. I want to be and do what counts -I know you do, too! thanks for sharing, Kristin.
Indeed! Thanks for being here, Sue!
Katie | My Joy in Chaos says
Oooh, I’m adding this to my reading list and just submitted a request to the library to purchase it. Thanks, Kristin!
Good call! 🙂
Does anyone know why she changed the title of the book?
I noticed that too, but I’m not sure why.