February Book – When the Heart Waits, by Sue Monk Kidd

WHEN THE HEART WAITS, Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions, by  Sue Monk Kidd

From the Bestselling Author of The Secret Life of Bees, an Inspiring Autobiographical Account of Personal Pain, Spiritual Awakening, and Divine Grace

Blending her own experiences with an intimate grasp of spirituality, Sue Monk Kidd relates the passionate and moving tale of her spiritual crisis, when life seemed to have lost meaning and her longing for a hasty escape from the pain yielded to a discipline of “active waiting.”

(I first read this insightful book in 1996 and experienced the beginning of the spiritual transformation that has spanned the ensuring years of awakening and rebirth.  Best read I could recommend for someone who wants to take a long loving look inward and see what God sees.)

Here are the reading/discussion questions for your reflection.   Post your observations and insights as the Lord gives inspiration.   These questions are taken directly from the Leaders Guide for this book, published by Harper’s Leader’s Guide Series.

Chapter 1:

1.  Sue Monk Kidd writes, “The sacred intent of life, of God is to move us continuously toward growth, toward recovering all that is lost and orphaned within us and restoring the diving image importuned on our soul”       (p. 4).  What do you think is God’s sacred intent for your life?

2.  Kidd drew a tent in the middle of some wind-howling woods with the stakes pulled up to depict her life (p.5).   What image comes to mind when you think of your life?

3.  The transition between the stages often requires each of us to reevaluate the roles we play in life.  Kidd identifies the roles of Perfectionist, Performer, Pleaser, Good Little Girl, submissive, churchgoer, passive and traditional wife (p. 10).  What are the overarching roles in your life?

4.  Read Matthew 4:1-11 and Matthew 26: 36-46.  What happened to Jesus during these periods of waiting?  What can you learn from Jesus’ example?  Think of a time in your life when you had to wait for something to happen.  How did you respond?

Chapter 2

1.  Review the story of Kidd’s visit to St. Meinrad Archabbey on pages 21-22.   Do you identify more with Kidd, who had trouble sitting and doing nothing, or with the monk, who believed that waiting allows the soul time to mature?

2.  Think back to a time when you were kept waiting.  How did you feel about not being able to control your time?  How did your body respond to have to be still?

3.  Who have been your mentors in your life?  What did those relationships offer you?  Why are role models important to spiritual growth?

Chapter 3

1.  Which of Kidd’s false selves (pp.59-72) feel like they are also a part of you?  On the “Naming Your False Selves” worksheet, circle the m asks that you identify as a part of you and list alongside how you have used this mask.

2.  Have you ever experienced an internal uprising – an inner sense that “there must be more than this?”

Chapter 4

1.  Kidd identifies three ways of responding to crises (p.88).

a) say it’s God’s will and force yourself into outwardly sweet acceptance

b) reject the crisis and rail against it until you become cynical

c) wait with honesty for the transformation this crisis offers to take place.

Which one of these, if any, best describes your response to the most recent crisis in your life?

Chapter 5

1.  Kidd describes feeling ready to move into a new state of life when she crossed a long, wooden bridge that spanned a deep chasm (pp.117-119).  She had to leave one way of living and be suspended in midair before she could reach the other side.   What lies on either side of the bridge you just cross?

Chapter 6

1.  Do you believe that “grace is everywhere” (p. 124)?  Where have you experienced grace lately?   Write a definition of grace in your own words.

2.  Read the definition of cremaster found on pages 126-127.   What serves as your anchor point – your still point?

Chapter 7

1.  Have you ever experienced a dark night of the soul when confusion and uncertainty were everywhere and God seemed absent?  What did you feel like?  What happened to bring you out of it?

2.  Read the Rainer Maria Rilke quotation on page 157.   What are the unsolved questions in your life?  How can you live these questions?

Chapter 8

1.  When Kidd’s butterfly emerged (p.176), it had to pump its wings for a while to ready for flight.  When it flew, it began to fly on wobbly wings.  What new way of living are you ready to try, even if on wobbly wings?  Be as specific as you can be.

2. Read the Hasidic tale on page 196.  Write a one-sentence answer to the question, “Who am I?”



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Simone Dubois
    Jan 22, 2013 @ 19:10:15

    Thanks so much for sending this on. It will prove very helpful in my own book discussion groups. Keep ’em coming!! Simone


  2. Michelle Gautreaux
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 14:00:50

    O Wow, love this! sounds like a very interesting read.


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