Everyone likes to be invited to things.  We thrive on belonging to others and community.  I think that is why social media can be so difficult for some people, especially teenagers, as we see all the things we are “uninvited” to.  Even as adults, it can be painful to feel like you don’t belong.   The good news is that even if you have felt uninvited or excluded, I’d like to extend a special invitation to you, and that is to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, to whose heart we all belong.

As an author, I get a lot of books to review and endorse; more than I have time to read.  Many get skimmed or a cursory glance over, but last month I received a copy of Allison Gingras’ new book The Gift of Invitationthe first in the Stay Connected Journal series.  Instead of it being something to “check off my to-do list,”  it was a present to myself to spend the last few weeks reading and journaling through its pages.  This unique series is part book and part journal, encouraging you to go deeper into the invitations Jesus is offering each one of us, especially through pondering scripture and prayer.  What I especially liked about this book, is that unlike most journals I have received, there is plenty of material to digest along with space to journal your thoughts and insights on the scriptures.   

While I’m blessed to know Allison personally, I got to know her even better through her honest and open reflections.  Her stories were refreshing, real and inspiring.  I found myself pondering the prayers from each chapter, laughing and nodding through the chapters and drawn into the scripture verses she selected for each chapter.   While I spend each morning reading the daily scriptures taken from mass, I realized God was calling me to dive in deeper and to read more of His Word, so I could grow closer to him.   The Gift of Invitation was truly a extraordinary opportunity for me to grow in my relationship with Jesus.   Below I’ve included an excerpt that I hope encourages you to pick up the Scriptures, as well as Allison’s new book and draw deeper into the Heart of Jesus.

No Book Like the Good Book
There is absolutely no other book on any of my shelves that I can pick up every single day and be inspired by. These inspirations are more than simply feeling good after I read, like a typical good book. The Scriptures teach me, encourage me, and spur me to live out what I’ve just read. They are truly a living, dynamic, endless source of spiritual nourishment.

For our part, we must make time to hear. When I was first integrating
daily prayer and Scripture reading into my day, I literally put it on my calendar. I called it, “Coffee with Christ,” and like any other appointment on that calendar, I made every effort to keep it!

Jesus models slipping away from the din and demands of the world and finding silence in your life. How often I have thought, well that was easy for him to do. He didn’t have to attend to kids who needed help with homework or who were involved in a million after-school activities while still working, cleaning the house, and getting supper on the table; he didn’t have a boss with unreasonable demands and ridiculous deadlines; he didn’t have sick parents who needed assistance or to be cared for. However, that does not mean he is unsympathetic to those challenges in our lives. Jesus understands our afflictions and our infirmities; he is empathetic to our human weaknesses. So we can bring these challenges to him, ask for his help to find those quiet moments with him, and trust that his grace will make a way.

Excerpt printed with permission from The Gift of Invitation, Allison Gingras, Gracewatch.Media