Book Review: I Can With I AM

I Can With I AM:  Be Somebody, by Sheila M. Luck

[Note:  This book was given free of charge by Aneko Press.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

A few years ago I heard a minister give a message about the subject of this book, with the title “Be Somebody,” if I remember it correctly.  The gentleman talked about how he had been offered a time share in Cabo San Lucas (obviously as a minister his salary was a bit higher than mine) with the hook that it would allow him to “be someone.”  His comment was, of course that as a believer and as a loving husband and father he was already someone.  This author comes off as somewhere very similar to that, as she is the sort of middle aged woman many people are likely to know well:  she comments often about being busy with activities, her adult daughters being upset about her attempts to mother them and her self-justification in response to these concerns, and her focus is unsurprisingly here on the relational aspects of our walk with God, and encouraging the realization that if we are to make a better world we must do what we can with what we have where we are [1].  This is not an original point, it should be noted, but it is expressed well here, it should be noted.

In twenty chapters that take up a slim 150 pages, the author discusses the plans of God, how we live in Christ, in God’s love, demonstrate our love for others like Christ through our actions, and how we do what we can where we are physically, relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.  The author then spends the last few chapters closing the book by encouraging the reader to join with other believers and say yes to the stirring of the passions to assist in some areas that God stirs inside of us and gives some advice on how to get started.  This is, in general, a moving call for believers to overcome the tendency to slackness that results from seeing the broken state of the world with a feeling that our own feeble efforts will be entirely hopeless in making any difference to the world around us.  It is the sort of book written by someone who was once a more idealistic and less aware person who is painful aware of the mistakes she has made and the need to be gracious and understanding to others.  As a result of the author’s graciousness and vulnerability, this book goes down a lot easier than it would have at the hands of someone more harsh.

That said, there are a few aspects of this book that are likely to trouble some readers.  The author discusses her own flaws in ways that some readers are likely to find uncomfortable but that others are likely to find encouraging–her story about her abortion in her youth, which apparently has been the subject of one of the author’s previous books, is an example of this.  Possibly more intriguing are the ways that the author appears not to be fully aware of her mistakes and errors and her attempts to justify a certain bossiness with regards to her adult children which I found a bit cringeworthy.  This is a book that is likely to be a hit with middle aged women who are looking to know what they can do with their children moved up and a longing to be active and involved in the larger outworking of God’s grace and mercy on a broken world.  That is a pretty substantial market of potential readers, and they will likely be gentle in listening to the author’s discussions of her struggles and difficulties and likely be able to understand her concerns all too well.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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