Last night I decided to give myself a break from writing and just relax. I’ve set an insane goal of completing 4 new talks and 4 scrapbooks (for Christmas presents) in the next two months. Anyway, after my bubble bath I decided I was going to read something just for fun. I’ve already squeezed in a great fiction book for the CFBA this week and an amazing nonfiction too, but I wanted to read something of my own choosing. I have a HUGE “to read” pile.

just-as-i-am.jpgI chose Just As I Am, which was the debut novel for my friend and critique partner, Virginia Smith. I started it at 8 last night and sometime around midnight Mike made me turn the light off. I would have moved downstairs, but I was already toasty under the covers. This morning I finished the book with my morning coffee.

Can I just say that I have the opportunity to read many fantastic books for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I’ve even critiqued Smith’s last book there and another new one is coming down the pike soon, but this book….oh, my. It was amazing. I have never read anything like it! One of her endorsements compares it to a fiction version of Blue Like Jazz. Okay, that is the nonfiction that I read this week and I say…Amen!

Just As I Am is the book that every one IN the church needs to read. I think the more time we spend in the church, the more we all start to resemble each other. I’m writing an entire chapter about this in my Holy Enthusiasm book right now. I think we get so hung up on what we SHOULD look like as a Christian, that we leave our selves behind. We forget that God created our diversity so that when we get to heaven we are prepared for a premium assortment of people.  Remember Revelation 7:9 where it talks about “a great multitude from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues…”? I’m pretty sure that includes people with purple hair, lip labrets, nose studs, tatoos, gays, motivational speakers, moms, writers… we all have to be saved. We all have to confess and profess.

This is the message of Just As I Am. I haven’t laughed this much reading a book in a long time. In fact, Mike was laughing at me laughing. I bet Ginny had a blast writing this book! I have two friends (Sue M. and Tami R.) who are soooooooo going to be reading this book.

Go to Virginia’s website and sign up for her newsletter and then go to Amazon and buy this book! Here’s the best news…the second book in this series will be released in March of 2008. When you begin to adore Mayla Strong, you won’t have to say good-bye at the end of the book. There’s more to come with Sincerely, Mayla. I, for one, can hardly wait!!