Book Review: All the Way to Heaven: A surprising Faith Journey
by Carole McDonnell
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All the Way to Heaven: A surprising Faith Journey
by Elizabeth Sherrill
Baker Book House
P.O. Box 6287
Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
Hardcover - $19.99
Among Christian writers and biographers, Elizabeth Sherrill is a famous unknown. Having co-authored and ghostwritten books such as Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place, The Cross and the SwitchBlade, and God's Smuggler among other books, this correspondent for Guideposts has written her own faith journey. Her book, All the Way To Heaven: A Surprising Faith Journey,
takes its title from Catherine of Siena's quote, "All the way to heaven is heaven, for He said, "I am the Way.'"
In meaningful and uplifting accounts, Elizabeth Sherrill's episodic memoir shows us that The kingdom of heaven is here. She did not know this as she struggled through her years as a young mother with clinical depression. Nor did she truly understand it as she wrote her articles about triumphant Christians for Guidepost magazine. But in recounting her journey from nominal agnostic uncommitted Christianity to committed Christian, Elizabeth Sherrill continually shows us glimpses of heaven that a loving God used to show her his presence.
Sherrill was born and reared in a family that never spoke about God and to a mother who loved her but rarely showed her feelings. In addition, she had been scarred as a young child when her parents disappeared for a long-term vacation. The long separation left her with a feeling of rejection and abandonment. These unresolved emotions eventually flowered into a full-blown clinical depression as she cared for her young children. As a young newly-married woman, Sherrill had planned to begin her life as a writer in France. Instead she became pregnant and in suburban New York. She and her husband had wanted to write travel pieces. Instead, these two agnostics ended up writing articles for a religious organization. These were not paths they would have chosen. But these fences that seemed to lock them in became their gateway to heaven.
Although Sherrill discusses her agnosticism and her depression, the book is not primarily about these matters. It is primarily about heaven. Most of the chapters are introduced with quotations about heaven, awe, and wonder. All the Way To Heaven is primarily about Jesus and The Way his abiding presence űheaven along the way-- draws and keeps those He loves. As someone who has read Guideposts and other books and articles by Elizabeth Sherrill, I was glad to find yet again that reading her works always produces a joy unspeakable within my heart. That is a rare gift. And yet, many browsers in Christian bookstores may not pick up her book because her name is not more widely known. That would be a shame. This is one of the best books on seeing the kingdom and practicing the presence of God which I've ever read.
I recently read another memoir, a secular book in which the writer never once mentioned her relationship with God. It touched my soul. But it did not uphold or uplift my spirit. Sherrill's book, on the other hand, reminds me why I like to read the life of Christians, normal, famous, or otherwise. Here is a document a reader can identify with. The insights are inspiring and uplifting. This memoir will make its readers think of their own Christian history. She shares her journey and triumphs in a friendly conversational style that is honest, evangelical, and rhapsodic. The book will help to open the eyes of those to the kingdom around them, the foretaste of glories divine. I highly recommend this book.
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