Friday, January 6, 2017
Book Review-Crossing the Waters by Leslie Leyland Fields
I am currently studying the Gospel of Luke and found this book a helpful companion resource to bring context to the stories about Jesus and his disciples. Leslie Fields opens to us her unique perspective on making a living on the sea in Alaska, where she moved from New Hampshire, when she married, Duncan, her Alaskan husband whom she met in college. There have been rocky family times, isolation from conveniences and close neighbors and now some of her 6 kids have just recently left home to pursue their own dreams and adventures, bringing a new season of life for the author.
Leslie's insights come through her wealth of experiences, many of them through her fishing occupation -storms, rugged land and weather, hard fisherman work, and the constant possibility of danger and tragedy. Leslie says these circumstances give her a special connection to the fishermen who Jesus called, and they have grown her faith immensely.
Leslie also shares wisdom from her travels to Israel. We are with her on the Sea of Galilee, talking to local fishermen, or approaching a priest after a church service asking, "Why do you think Jesus chose so many fishermen?" The trip afforded her a new journey through the gospels, which she shares with us.
Throughout the book, more questions trouble her. "Does following Jesus mean we must all leave the material world of commerce to fish for men and women with the net of the gospel?" Or, "I believe he is with us in every storm...Yes, so many saved, but so many lost. (Leslie's mother-in-law died in a fire, a neighbor friend loses a son and father who drowned at sea) I know that 'take up their cross' means to be ready to die. But who can do this?...If we who follow after him cannot even be sure he will save us, how can we trust him?" How does Jesus bring peace and understanding in spite of the questions?
I was deeply moved by Leslie's story and the spiritual lessons she shares so candidly. Leslie hopes the reader hears Jesus calling. Come follow me. Do not be afraid. Following Jesus changes us. He never leaves us as we are.
There is a study guide in the back of the book for those who want to dig deeper, individually, or in a group study.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.