Grin with Grace by Kathy Carlton Willis is a wonderful Bible study on the action of God’s grace in our lives. Kathy has done a word search on the word grace. She presents us the Scripture verses along with the appropriate context and questions for us to answer that are thought-provoking and insightful.
Kathy has divided each chapter in the book into five sections: real-life stories and observations; a grace word study; life application; expanded life applications to help us be instruments of grace to others; and a Grace Challenge—a common situation that may arise in our lives and the challenge to think about how we would handle that situation with grace.
I appreciated the stories and observations. Kathy is very transparent and shares her feelings and thoughts openly. I could really relate to most of what she said. The stories brought grins to my face and brought to mind many memories—some good, some bad.
The grace word study was well-focused and the questions following each applicable Scripture verse were thought provoking. I loved that Kathy always kept the context of the verse in mind—one of my pet peeves is when people quote Scripture verses without any thought to the situations surrounding the verse. Kathy clearly appreciates that we must look at the whole counsel of God.
The life applications are relevant and, of course, the carrying out of the application would be different for each person doing the study. One in particular that I appreciated was her explication of six concepts that team up with grace and her urging us to determine how to grow these virtues in our lives: mercy, peace, comfort, love, hope, and truth.
The expanded applications are stories of people who really have integrated that aspect of grace into their lives and have demonstrated that grace in the life of others.
The Grin with Grace Challenge was an interesting finish to each chapter. Perhaps the most thought-provoking of all, they hit very close to home. Again, real-life situations with which we all can identify. The one that hit closest to home for me was, “there’s nothing you want more than to earn the praise of your mother. You have something wonderful to share with her, but instead of commending you for the accomplishment, she finds a way to respond with criticism or comparison. Do you bring up your frustrations with her or alter your expectations so you have more peace in your life?” I thank God daily that Mom and I worked through that during her last years when she lived with us. I know without a doubt that she was proud of me—she told me so frequently during those times. But in my early years, I really had to bite my tongue to not respond to the comparisons and criticism.
All in all, this is a wonderful Bible study. I have suggested to the wife of our pastor that she consider using Grin with Grace for the fall women’s Bible study at our church. But even if she doesn’t, I will be working through Grin with Grace myself over the next months. I’m positive that you will also love this book. Five stars! Grin with Grace
To quote her bio from the back of the book, “Kathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. Not many funny girls also have Bible degrees! Kathy’s a pastor’s wife, which gives her plenty of opportunities to grin with grace. She shines the light on issues that hold women back and inspires their own lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published in books, magazines, newspapers, and online publications. She’s affiliated with several Christian writer and speaker organizations and serves as a consultant in the industry.” Kathy is someone you’ll want to know better: check out her website, www.kathycarltonwillis.com.