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Faith Lessons along the River Thames

(ROCKWALL/HEATH, TX – April 27, 2017) “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it….” Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

As a mother of three young adults (forever young to me), I enjoy reading articles and blog posts by millennials whose faith is surviving the powerful sway of the bigger world they navigate. This is how I “met” Andrea, a South Texas girl who works in Austin as a freelance writer.

Andrea Lucado unknowingly gave me an early Mother’s Day gift by inviting me to read a pre-publication copy of her first book, English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith (Waterbrook; May, 2017). Reading this reflective memoir of faith lessons gleaned from a year of study in the awesome old city of Oxford, England, reminded me of God’s faithfulness to keep his children—and our children—safely in his hands.

If the author’s name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s one of pastor and author Max Lucado’s three daughters. Others know Andrea more intimately because of her blog and because she writes honestly, as evidenced in English Lessons, with tales that include plenty of pubs and too much wine.

She also writes with a pleasant, ambling (but not rambling) style. Andrea’s personification of the River Thames is just one example of wonderfully descriptive writing. Readers will feel Oxford’s relentless cold and damp—in great contrast to recalled images of hot and dry West Texas, where the author attended Abilene Christian University.

In English Lessons, Andrea confesses that her faith, especially at first, did not travel well: “I looked for the God of my childhood, the faith of my childhood. But it wasn’t there. I never found any rough, blue pew cushions in Oxford….”

This book soon put my other reading on hold as I found myself absorbed by Andrea’s personal story. I worried a bit about her big adventure alone so far from home and the Bible Belt, kind of like I’ve worried about the testing of my own children’s faith.

Would Andrea fall for the Asian friend strong in his Christian faith, or would she fall away with her Atheist classmate? Would she escape injury from those late-night bike rides? And what about the rented room that gave her claustrophobia? Would she adjust to the challenges of living in Oxford or bail out at the opportunity of that nice apartment waiting for her in Dallas?

Though Andrea’s stories reveal her struggle to boldly embrace her faith in Christ, each chapter reads like an essay. The lessons she learned became clearer over some years of reflection since those days of traversing the old streets of Oxford and the muddy footpath of the River Thames.

English Lessons paints a picture of young adulthood and its uncertainties, insecurities and fledgling faith. And it’s a promising picture.

By Blue Ribbon News faith columnist Patti Richter of Heath.

 

 

 

 

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