Posted by on November 21, 2013

 

I’ve been working on the Balustrade book study guide for…well…a very long time now. Not that I’ve been writing and revising all of that time. It just always seems like something else edges it out. I think part of my problem is I’m not (brutal honesty alert) convinced anyone will actually read the thing. I say I’m being brutally honest, but the truth is I’m focusing on me and not you or God. Someone recently told me that if I’m not writing for God or to help others, that if my writing isn’t serving some greater purpose, then I might as well toss the computer out the window and take up knitting. If whether or not I write something is dependent mostly on how many people read it, then maybe I’m missing the point. I think I’ll be happy to be a part of one person’s life at a time. 

Study GuideThrough the Balustrade Reading Group

Book Study and Bible Study

Introduction

It’s time to strap on your boots, grab a snack, and head out into the great wide world. Well, maybe not boots. Maybe just a comfy pair of sneakers. And I don’t really need to pack a snack. I can just stop by my favorite coffee shop. And by great wide world, I’m really meaning the park, my back porch, or maybe the mall.

Yep, this adventure’s already taken a turn before I’ve even left the house.

Well, maybe we can just take a journey through a book. No boots required.

When I first started writing Through the Balustrade, I was struggling through one of the worst times in my life. Originally, I tried to create characters who mirrored those in my own life who had hurt me. Jonas was never supposed to . . . I guess I can’t really tell you that since you may not have read the book. Anyway, things quickly changed. The book started on a journey of its own, and I let it go to the characters.

Strangely enough, my life started on a journey as well, and by the time my book contract had come and my deadline was approaching, I was in the middle of the lowest of lowest points. (I keep thinking I’ve been to the depths of the pit, and then later I find out, it gets worse. Here’s hoping we’re done with all of that.) But I met the deadline, heaved a sigh of relief, and went back to my suffering life.

And somewhere in between my deadline and my editor returning the manuscript to me for more edits, I woke up. There are parts of me that had been asleep for a very long time. I had ceased living my life to let others live it for me. I had lost myself. It was there in my confusion that I met my . . .oh, I can’t say that either. . .person who seems like a friend, but really isn’t.

This person offered me a lie, and I almost took it. When you’re broken and hurting, you’ll do anything to get it to stop. But I heard one simple word in my head, “Wait.” So I waited. And as I waited, I was changed.

I talk a lot about us taking responsibility for ourselves, and I believe that, but in the end, when it’s something really hard, and you absolutely see no good answer, there comes a point when no amount of personal change will fix it. There comes a point when the only answer is God.

And God showed up. So as I was watching him wrap his arms around me and lift me from the mess I’d made, I also got a new story to tell, and I pretty much rewrote the ending of Through the Balustrade. And by ending, I mean last half. I didn’t really write it. It sort of wrote itself. And what happened there surprised me. It became less about me and more about them (the characters).

Through the Balustrade is just a story. It paints pictures of truth and depicts pain, but in the end, it’s just a book. Real truth. Real hope. There’s only one place to find those.

As we begin this journey, grab your Balustrade, a blankie, and have your Bible nearby. And think big, because I’m pretty sure God’s got something big for you, and when you’re all done figuring out your gifts and finding your purpose, you can sit back and watch what he can do.

 

The Balustrade

Read the Prologue

  1.  “For the good of all, we give ourselves” – what’s your first impression of this mantra?
  2. Who/What do the people in the Oblate live for? What is their purpose?
  3. In what ways is this world like the Oblate?

 

The Bible

  1.  Read I John 1:8,9,  James 1:12-18, and 2 Timothy 3:1-5
  2. Who’s being deceived and who’s doing the deceiving in these verses?
  3. What do you find out about God in these verses?

 

The Banter

  1. When’s the last time you were deceived?
  2. How do you know who to trust? List three characteristics of being trustworthy.
  3. When would you stop obeying the government/establishment?

 

God is completely trustworthy. And he loves you. So no matter where you are in this journey, whether you can believe in him or not, remember when you are a faithless, he remains faithful. When you can’t love, he still can. When you are filled with guilt, he is full of forgiveness. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

 

For next week, read chapters 1 – 10


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