Book Review: A Place to Land

Kate Motaung’s memoir is a story of God’s grace throughout the events of her life.

A Place to Land

She has a relationship with God that grows through her college years and motivates her to pursue missions. But she couldn’t know the great challenges she would face in the ensuing years. As she tells her story she takes the reader along with her from Michigan to South Africa.

This author shares her moments of struggle and doubt.     A thread of brokenness runs through the book—we live in a broken world. We all experience some brokenness in our families. But there is hope.

Throughout the book Kate writes about painful life experiences but notes the provisions of  God’s  grace. God provided for her during the difficult months of her mother’s battle with cancer. God provided for her mother’s needs. The book has a wonderful tone of Christian community—people helping and  supporting  each other.

I enjoyed reading about South Africa and the friendships that developed. Kate shares vignettes from her marriage, childbirth, beginning motherhood and adoption.

Within the memoir I was impacted by the legacy of faith that Kate’s mother gave to her daughters. A beautiful portrait of a mother’s love.

The major themes of this memoir are faith, community and hope. It is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and points to the future Jesus promised. This memoir is a good read–it will  broaden  your  perspectives.

In an interview Kate gives insight into her purpose in writing.

Q: What do you hope readers gain from reading A Place to Land?

My hope and prayer for my readers is threefold:

1) I pray that A Place to Land would increase their longing to spend eternity with God.

I don’t presume to have any idea as to what heaven will be like, except for what Scripture has revealed to us. But I do think that the vast majority of us have a diluted, lukewarm view of eternity. We lack a depth of eager anticipation, and I believe that negatively affects our choices and attitudes in this life.

A Heavenly Home

I’ve learned through writing this book that     intentionally keeping an eternal perspective at the forefront of my mind does wonders for my countenance, attitude, and actions. It has changed me in ways I never expected.

2) I pray that they would find hope in Christ in the midst of their suffering and grief.

He is the only one who can relieve our pain. I pray that the readers of this book will find their anchor in Him amidst the turbulent trials of this life, holding fast to the truth that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

3) I pray that they would be reminded that this world is not our home.

For some, that is a comfort, knowing that one day those who trust in Christ will lay asideall their pain and suffering in exchange for a sin free existence forever in the presence of their Redeemer. For others, this realization could be a bit disconcerting. Many of us make a great effort to find comfort, fulfillment, and satisfaction here in this life, and we don’t like the idea of giving it up.

Before writing this book, I struggled with that a lot. I would get incredibly sentimental over certain material things. Now, the Lord is teaching me that those are all part of what Jesus calls “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves breakin and steal” (Matthew 6:19).

Instead, He calls us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21). Writing A Place to Land challenged me to consider where I’m storing my treasure.

Kate Motaung

4 Bible Verses for a Spiritual Routine

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: ROUTINE. The goal is to write for five minutes, inspired by this one word. To learn more about the community of writers led by Kate Motaung click here.

Over the past couple weeks we have been traveling and spending time with family. We have changed time zones. The order of our day has changed, but I try to keep a spiritual routine. The following practices give me peace and joy.

Time in the Word

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Seeking God’s guidance

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24

Praise

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Psalm 96:4,9

Thanksgiving for community

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers. I Thessalonians 1:2

Honestly I don’t always keep this routine, but when I do my days are blessed. Do you  have a routine?

Sharing this post with Faith on Fire.

When the Church Responds to Foster Care Needs

On most Fridays I join the challenge to write for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Visit this inspiring community by clicking here. Today’s prompt is: PROVIDE

My children are grown and married. Currently we are taking care of my daughter’s children while she and her husband attend a seminar and celebrate their anniversary. As grandparents we are being introduced to foster care—we have two foster grandchildren. My eyes are being opened to the circumstances that many children face.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, 437,465 children in our country were in the foster care system in 2016. The most common reason a child is placed in foster care is neglect (61%). The second most common reason is drug abuse (34%).

I was talking with my son-in-law and he said that poverty is a factor. He has participated in a poverty simulation course and was awakened to the stress that poverty places on a family.

Some children bounce back and forth between foster care and their biological family. It is heart breaking. But I have been encouraged to see the way the church in this community has stepped up.

Last Sunday we attended church with our daughter’s family. A dedication service took place for a young couple and their foster daughter. The children’s pastor invited people that wanted to  support  this  young   couple to come to the front of the church.

About thirty people, from teenage to elderly, walked to the front. They encircled the couple. The young mother had grown up in the foster care system and had been befriended by a family in this church.

My daughter’s family is part of a community of believers who are taking in foster children, providing support to families (children’s clothing, furniture as needed, meals as their family grows suddenly).

The community provides material and emotional support. The love and compassion for children is palpable.

It has blessed my heart to see this faith community engaging in the needs of children. I am so grateful that my daughter’s family has this support system.

Naomi and Ruth: Perseverance of Faith and Love

The book of Ruth has many insights into a life of faith. When our Bible study group read the first chapter together one evening I was struck by the part that Naomi played in Ruth’s pursuit of knowing God.

Book of Ruth in the Bible

Our study leader suggested that we imagine what Ruth might have said about her decision to go with Naomi. What might she have said as a testimony? I thought about her story . . .

As a young woman I was offered an unexpected marriage proposal. A young man, an Israelite, asked me, a Moabite, to be his wife. I had heard stories about Israel and was intrigued. I accepted Mahlon’s proposal. He took me to reside with his family, and I was introduced to their God.

My husband’s mother, Naomi, was good to me.   She was a widow and  devoted to her sons. As I worked with her making meals and taking care of the home she told me about her God. She told me about the way God had guided her people, sometimes in miraculous ways. I could tell that she missed Israel.

Great tragedy struck us.  My husband and his brother became ill and died. His brother’s wife, Orpah, and I were widows now, with no sons or daughters.   Naomi was filled with grief and decided that she would go back  to   Israel. She told Orpah and me to go back to our former homes. We wept because we had grown to love Naomi.

After embracing Naomi Orpah left. But I did not. I wanted to know about the God of Israel. I told Naomi that I would go with her. Her God would be my God. I made a covenant to remain with her for the rest of her life.

Naomi's faith as passed to Ruth and she persevered

This account is an encouragement to live out our faith in loving actions and words. Naomi endured great hardship, but she still was able to convey a message about God to Ruth. What impresses you more, Naomi’s perseverance or Ruth’s openness to learning from Naomi?

Sharing this post with Faith on Fire and Grace & Truth

Mental Illness Affects the Whole Family

Yesterday I began the task of going through my brother’s papers. After years in psychiatric hospitals and then group homes he passed away last June. I was his guardian.

When I saw the prompt for Five Minute Friday, I was already there emotionally. Sadness and REGRET.

When my Dad could no longer handle his  finances,  I  became  his  rep payee. I have years of bank records and medical records. I am discarding many of the papers, but keeping those that tell his life story.

My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a young adult. His illness shattered our family. Each of us was traumatized by the events that took place.

Over the years my sisters and I had our turn as advocate for our brother. We visited him in the hospital and arranged outings.

Among the papers that I accumulated, are papers that my parents saved. I found my brother’s birth certificate. And I found copies of letters that my father wrote seeking better care for him. Letters looking for answers. Letters from hospital administrators, doctors and a senator. A letter from another parent of a mentally ill son.

My brother’s life was tragic. I do wish that I had understood better the heartache that my parents carried for so many years.//

Now I have to trust God’s word.

And I heard a voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4