Book Club: Sensible Shoes - Who Are You & Where Have You Come From?

Posted at 09:55am on 10th September 2018


You pick up the phone, an unknown voice asks: 'Is that the owner of the house?' Indeed, sometimes they may address you by name. And what is your immediate response? Mine is never to affirm the query but to ask, 'Who are you?'

This, however, is not what we're asking today. The query, here, is self-addressed. Who are you? Who am I? More to the point, where have I come from?


In the book we've been reading for my Book Club, Sensible Shoes, the four women characters have met while on retreat. Each, as we saw in my last blog, Who are you? Picture Perfect? has different issues to address. Charissa, the perfectionist, despises Mara when she opens up about her past: a miserable childhood, which she compensated for by looking for love in an adolescence riddled with sexual immorality. What Charissa doesn't know is that Mara is also beset by a persistent attitude of guilt. In fact, with a tattoo of an eye on her arm, she's convinced that God, who is all-seeing, stands in judgement of her at all times.

So does anything resonate there for you? It certainly does for me.

Born with an undiagnosed bowel condition which has made me dependent upon medication throughout my life, I have suffered constant pain and embarrassment. My mother was told to leave me to cry as I was considered, by others, to be nothing more than a 'naughty, attention-seeking baby'. Thus labelled, I was beset by nightmares throughout my childhood, in which I floated above my grave wondering if my parents might now love me.

Told that my condition was my fault - 'should eat more veg; should exercise more' - that nomenclature stuck with me throughout my childhood until, like Mara, in the book, my adolescence was spent looking for love wherever I could find it. **


The guilt of past immorality is mitigated, of course, when we accept the gift of salvation. Yet I still weep whenever I take communion. In shame for what I've done and in pain for the One who took it upon Himself. Nevertheless the inner self-condemnation induced by the 'naughty' label is hard to shake off. As a friend repeatedly told me: let that knowledge of forgiveness sink eighteen inches - from head to heart. In other words, an intellectual acknowledgement of forgiveness is simply not enough. What we need is for that knowledge to become a part of who we are.

Easily said! My instant response to any trouble or negativity is to believe myself to be responsible. Like Mara, in the story, I have to take a rational approach to counter the emotional, and even then I often fail to convince myself.

So that's where I've come from. But does it aptly describe who I am? I hope not. Because if that were so, it would mean I was stuck in the past. And one of the questions put to the four characters on retreat in the book, is Where are you going?

**The full story is told in my forthcoming book, Picked for a Purpose. With a strapline reading: Feeling Useless or Unheard? Don't! You're . . . I attempt to show how God chooses and uses. He chooses us to achieve his purposes here on this earth (for me that was through my writing and his command to comfort others with the comfort we've received). And he uses our weakness and failings to portray the gift of his grace, and the perfection of his power.


Feeling Useless or Unheard? Don't! You're . . . PICKED FOR A PURPOSE

Mel Menzies has an impressive track record with her books. Look in the mirror of 'Picked for a Purpose' and it may prove life changing! David Coffey OBE, BMS Global Ambassador, Retd

This book is not only a personal testimony but also an inspiration for the readers to discover that the Lord is able to bring a similar blessing to them. Michael Cole, Editor of Living Light

Read this book and find hope rather than cliches, substance rather than slogans. Highly recommended. Jeff Lucas, Author, Speaker, Broadcaster

The reflections and challenging questions at the end of each chapter, encourage the reader to focus the mind and find answers that are unique to themselves. A sincere, compelling read.

Marjorie Broadhead, Headmistress and OFSTED Reporting Inspector, Retired

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