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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Renovating Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck

Becky Miller believes in fixing things: children, friends, mother-in-law, sister, church . . . and her husband. So renovating a run-down farmhouse is right up her alley--the perfect antidote for the pressures of modern life.

But Becky’s pursuit of the simple life is soon threatened. Her mother-in-law moves in, her son finds trouble at school, her sister arrives for a visit, her best friend is acting weird, all while work stresses mount. Worst of all, her marriage is in need of some major remodeling of its own.

Cinematic daydreams provide Becky with heroic drama. Maybe that’s why she escapes into the scenes so often. In real life, everything is a muddled mess.

Who knew one old house could lead them to the brink of bankruptcy? Or that Becky’s physical handicap could threaten to steal their dream?

Can Becky stop fixing everyone else and let God renovate her heart so she can find her own happy ending?

    Thoughts on the Story

You know, I could give you my review, but there's quite a few folks out there with some great things to say about this book. I do want to talk about the book-Sharon has some great discussion questions at the end, and I thought, rather than regurgitate what's already been said, I'm going to talk impact. After all, that's why we write books. To change lives. To help people.

1. Remodeling from the Inside Out: Where have you noticed spiritual growth from God's renovation in your life?

Wow. That's an ongoing process for me. I think it's all about pushing the envelope, making me recognize boundaries I've set and allowing myself to go beyond. I think that's why my blog is all about the journey. Every time I've arrived at one place, God shows me somewhere else I'm supposed to go.

2. Family Renovation: In addition to renovating our original lives, God is at work in our family lives. Becky feels squeezed between serving her husband, children, mother-in-law, and sister. What family stresses do you face at this season in your life?
I have a two year old. Enough said. Okay, so there is a lot more to Danica family life than the little terrorist destroying our universe. Throw in teenage stepchildren, a six year old, a dog, and a Man, and I think we can safely say that it's a lot of stress, and not much sanity.

3. Church Reconstruction: Becky's church is experiencing growth. What challenges does this growth bring? What challenges does your home congregation face? How can you support and serve your local church community?
Our church is in a season of change, certainly. We're moving to a new location next week, so there will be some adjustment. We're partnering with another church, and it sounds like there's going to be a lot of great new opportunities for us. In particular, I'm excited that we're going to be doing a lot more events surrounding the liturgical calendar. I've always wanted to do something like that. To support and serve-hmmm... I guess I think I already do some of that by some of the work I do within the church. But certainly, if I saw an opportunity (that didn't stretch me too thin, as Becky Miller had to learn), I'd be willing to do more.

4. Subcontractors: The Support System: Who makes up your support system? Becky's small-group Bible study serves a vital role in her life. Are you part of a trusted small group for prayer, Bible study, and accountability? What steps could you take to find or create this sort of ongoing fellowship? If you are part of such a group, what is working well? What could be improved?
Another tough question. One of the things Becky Miller revealed to me is how imperfect groups can be. I love that the woman I thought the least "friendly" towards Becky came through when she really needed it. I definitely think I've had some unrealistic expectations of my own group, so it bears re-evaluating. One of the things I know I'm missing is depth-something my best friend and I used to have, but our schedules have been so busy lately that we haven't had that good bonding time.

5. Power Tools: Getting a Little Assistance: Becky tries to ignore her physical limitations but learns that she has limits to her time, energy, and strength. Is this a copout or a wise discernment? Lori battles a chronic emotional health challenge she has hidden from her friends. How do you make choices to nurture your physical, emotional, and spiritual health without becoming selfish? Has God been prompting you to make some changes? To slow down, cut back, care for yourself? Or to step out, try something new, and care for others?
Ouch. Um, yeah. God and I have been talking a lot about that lately, and I think that will be a big part of our Lenten conversations. I'll be giving up some of my sleep time (getting up earlier-ACK!) to spend more time with Him. In a lot of ways, there's some expansion and growth happening in terms of trying new things and stepping out. But He's been reminding me a lot lately about the flipside. God's going to have to give me a lot of strength for this one.

So there you have it-Renovating Becky Miller and how Becky Miller is renovating me. Ha ha.

Did I mention there is a worldwide conspiracy against my getting any sleep. Between God and the two year old, the sleep thing is not happening.


Sharon Hinck said...

What an AWESOME post!
That was a super idea...using the discussion guide in Renovating Becky to share where you are confronting some of the life challenges that Becky does.
Thanks SO much for inviting me to visit!

Becky said...

Danica, this was a clever angle--fresh and interesting. Great job.

Becky (the real one)

Tiff/Amber Miller said...

Sleep? What's that? I didn't think writers ever slept. And mothers certainly don't. :) Now, a writer *AND* a mother? Yep. You're doomed. LOL!

Thanks for the unique angle you took with this post.