Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review: A Perfect Mess by Lisa Harper

Title:  A Perfect Mess:  Why You Don't Have To Worry About Being Good Enough For God
Author:  Lisa Harper
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
Format:  Trade Paperback
ISBN:  978-1-4000-7479-2

I took this book along with me on my vacation, and read it in the car.  Although it is designed to work as a devotional or a group book study with discussion questions, it was also an encouraging book to read quickly.  Lisa Harper uses humorous stories from her own life and Scripture to help us all confront the lies we've believed about perfection, faults, and God's love. 


Lisa begins each chapter with a personal anecdote from her life, and then makes a spiritual analogy and application.  She refers to the Psalms, and explains how they relate to our lives today.  Each chapter ends with a series of questions to lead us further into Scripture, and help us apply God's Truth to our lives.

I've learned some of these lessons already, and others I'm still learning.  I know that I can't earn God's love or forgiveness, and I'm totally dependent on His grace.  But I am still prone to seeking His approval, and others' approval, by appearing to have it all together.  Unfortunately, I can never hold the act together very long.  God already knows my faults and sins, and my kids usually help reveal them to anyone else I was trying to impress.   There is nothing like losing your patience, snapping at one of the kids with an impatient "Because I SAID SO!", and then looking up to find someone you know watching you ... unless it's having someone show up at the door when your living room is a mess, you're all still wearing pajamas at noon, and you were just yelling at one of the kids with the windows open. 

A Perfect Mess was a refreshing reminder that God loves us and delights in us, despite our messiness.  There were some "ouch" moments, but they were gently delivered with humor and grace.  Lisa is very "real" and admits her own faults in a way that helps to soften the blow as we face our own tendencies to hide our faults.  I loved learning more about the Psalmists and the Psalms themselves.  It is evident that Lisa enjoys studying God's Word, and she carefully shares that knowledge with us.


This is an excellent book for all women -- whether single or married, a working Mom or a Stay-at-home Mom.  It would also make a wonderful book study for a women's bible group or book study group.  Christian women need to hear Lisa's message that God loves us, and delights in us, even though we are imperfect sinners. 

Summary:   Caught up in the self-imposed pressure to do and be all the things they think a Christian woman ought to do and be, countless women are working desperately to convince everyone, including God, that they have it all together. Few have any idea that the Creator of the universe looks at them with delight even when they yell at the dog, drive a minivan littered with French fries, or think bad words about that rude clerk at the store.

A Perfect Mess offers hope to every woman who yearns for a vibrant relationship with God but worries she isn’t good enough or doesn’t do enough to merit His affection. With characteristic authenticity, speaker and author Lisa Harper shares poignant stories from her own imperfect life to showcase the real-life relevancy of the Bible in the lives of modern women.

As she guides readers on a story-driven journey through selected Psalms, they will be inspired to experience for themselves how God’s incomparable love transforms the messiness of life into a gorgeous work of grace.

Author Bio:
  Lisa Harper is a master storyteller whose lively approach connects the dots between the Bible era and modern life.  She is a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker whose upcoming appearances include the national Women of Faith Conferences. A veteran of numerous radio and television programs and the author of several books, she also is a regular columnist for Today’s Christian Woman magazine. Lisa recently completed a master’s of theological studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. She makes her home outside Nashville.

Take Joy,

1 comment:

  1. Maybe I need to look closer at this title--and more by this publisher. I'm really not too familiar with it--yet, anyway. Thanks for reviewing this. It sounds like some lessons we all need to read once in a while.


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