What do you do when everything you held as truth becomes a question? That’s what Andrea Lucado (daughter of UpWords speaker, Max Lucado) investigates in her winsome memoir, English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith.
“Church was not a part of my childhood. It was my childhood,” Andrea writes.
“Church determined my social life as well as my weekly calendar. Sunday mornings were busy; therefore, Saturday night was early curfew night, a rule I openly hated and disagreed with until the day I left home for college.
Sunday nights were for small-group gatherings called life groups. Wednesdays were for midweek service. Spring break was the youth ski trip to Colorado. Christmas was always spent at home because of Christmas Eve service.”
It was a startling experience for Andrea when she graduated from college and moved to Oxford, England. There to pursue her MA, 22-year-old Andrea had to work hard to find peers who even went to church—let alone, were involved in or talked about it. She met people who claimed to be atheistic, agnostic, or even “liberal Christian.”
Was the foundation upon which she had built her life actually fractured?
She honestly expresses the cycle of questions, answers, then more questions, further investigation, broader answers … that ultimately deepened her faith in ways that perhaps could not have happened anywhere else.
Readers from all walks of life, faith backgrounds, and geographical locations can appreciate Andrea’s candor. While I read this book, I walked with her as she navigated awkward social norms, confessed coffee addiction (which I did, too!), clarified her relationship with food, defined where she stood with love interests, as well as roommates and friends, and struggled with what it actually means to follow Christ.
Whether we’re 22 or 62, in England or California … we each undergo periods of transition throughout our entire life’s journey. For that, Andrea offers this perspective as she closes the book:
“That’s what this collection of stories is, I guess. Not a few pages about how to live, but a few pages reminding us that youth and its feelings of uncertainty, constant change, and insecurity are the perpetual way of the Christian life.
Learning never ends. Change is continuous. The questions never stop … Our faith, how we feel about it and how we feel about God, was never meant to be static. We should never assume we have ‘arrived.’
Because the moment we do, something happens that we didn’t expect or don’t understand, and we are flattened by the reality of our lack of knowledge once again.”
And, isn’t that the beauty in the battle? It’s God calling us back to Himself, to teach us something new, and remind us of our need for His grace, love, and guidance.