Someone who I consider to be a wise friend gave me this book to read. I am so grateful that he introduced me to the author Brennan Manning and encouraged me to read this book – Abba’s Child. I am by no means a book reviewer but I do want to share my thoughts on a book that has deeply impacted my life.
If I were asked to describe Abba’s Child in one sentence, it would be difficult but not entirely impossible. I would have to say that this book describes God as a very loving perfect Father who strives to have a personal relationship with me who He sees as His own child.
This view of God that Brennan talks about differs greatly from that of what I was taught as a child. I grew up being taught the legalistic view of God. I thought that God was strict and more like an impersonal judge who punished me for everything I did wrong. I was taught to be good and I could earn God’s love that way. But I knew that no matter how hard I tried, I just kept screwing up and could never ever meet the impossible expectations that I felt were placed on me. But I have been learning that God is nothing like that and this book talks about how God is actually much different. He loves us very much.
When I read a book, I have a notebook that I write anything that hits me. I like to do this so I can read through it and be reminded of the parts of the book that were meaningful to me. For this book however, I found so much that I related to or stuff that really hit me that I wrote down 9 notebook pages full! I found that I probably could have written down everything from the book. The way Brennan describes God makes me want to know God so much more. There is truly so much in this book that I would love to share but to keep this post from getting too long-I have to try to mention just a few things that stood out for me and not everything. Of course for different people, different stuff will stand out but this is a small part of what stood out for me.
One of a few very powerful messages that I took from this book is that God loves me as I am and there is nothing I can do or screw up that will change that. No matter how many times I screw up or how bad I screw up, He will always love me. That is the same for every single person. For me this is huge and it really lifted the burden of trying to be good and trying to please God. It is interesting because I heard this from 4 different sources at the same time. None of these sources were connected in any way or knew that I was reading this at that exact time or that I had heard it from other places. So I like to hope this was God speaking to me through others about something I really needed to hear. Brennan also mentions that God’s love isn’t based on circumstances and He is not punishing us or withholding His love when everything is falling apart.
“It takes a profound conversion to accept that God is a relentlessly tender and compassionate towards us just as we are-not in spite of our sins and faults but with them… He does not withhold His love because there is evil in us.” Brennan Manning (Abba’s Child)
Another very powerful message from the book for me is that we need to accept and forgive ourselves. If God has forgiven us-why are we still punishing ourselves? It seems so simple but I struggle so much with it and seeing myself as someone worth loving. I struggle with wondering how God could possibly love me but He does and now I have to learn to forgive and love me too. We also shouldn’t stop at ourselves because we are called to forgive others as well. Brennan says “according to Jesus, a distinctive sign of Abba’s child is the willingness to forgive our enemies.(Luke 6:35)” Forgiveness isn’t easy which is where God comes in and gives us the ability to forgive. I am still working on forgiving myself and others so I am not speaking from experience but from what I have understood from the book.
I would love to continue writing because there is so much more I would love to share from this book about what Brennan calls an Imposter and how to embrace the imposter, how our actions mean more than our words to those around us, standing up for truth when others are willing to stand aside because they do not want to be ridiculed by their peers, how God can use what happens to us to help others and so much more. But then this post would go on forever. So I will leave it at this and leave you now with a few of the many quotes from the book that stood out for me.
“God’s love knows no limits. He loves the religious and criminals alike.”
“Christianity is lived more in the valley than on the mountain top.”
“how we view ourselves at any given time may have very little to do with who we actually are.”
Lastly I want to mention a quote by Thomas Merton that Brennan included in the book “God is asking me, the unworthy, to forget my unworthiness and that of my brothers, and dare to advance in the love which has redeemed and renewed us all in God’s likeness.”
Thanks for taking the time to read my post about a book that really affected me and my relationship with God. I definitely encourage you to read the book as well. 🙂