I love a good title. That’s why this one makes me smile. It could mean this post will tell you all about the Reflections series.
It could mean that. But it doesn’t.
Instead, this post is about a particular section in each of the Reflections books that I called the “Reflection Section.” It’s basically a study guide.
But this isn’t a “get out your paper and do some work” sort of study guide. It’s intended to help the fiction gel with the fact of God’s Word in a way that helps readers walk away with deeper truths.
Not about Mary, Martha and Mary (could have been an amazing Girl Band back in first century Israel). No, these are truths about the reader.
Good stories always make us think deeply: about the world we live in and about the sort of people we are.
I pray these are good stories. And, until Easter, I’m giving a price break on the first in the series.
Behind the Guide
The Reflection Section of each book has a dual purpose:
- Explain some aspects of the stories and share how and why I came up with them
- Use the story as a starting point for self-reflection
(Look at that! Another meaning for the title. Am I good or what?)
I wrote the questions after my final pass of each manuscript. This means after being with the characters for several months and reading through my story a minimum of four times, I formulated questions to spawn even deeper thoughts.
Some of the questions were ones I asked myself before I wrote anything. Others I asked while I was writing.
I pray they will help readers understand ALL Bible characters in a deeper way. After all, they were human. We have more in common with them than we think.
Inside the Guide
Here’s an excerpt from the guide in An Adoring Spirit. It will give you an idea of what you’re getting (besides a fictional story) when you pick up any book in the Reflections series.
I have an older sister. She’s a little bit bossy (aren’t all big sisters?), but I think she’s a perfect blend of Martha and Mary. We both share some of the attributes seen in Martha and Mary of Bethany.
The best news I discovered while studying, preparing and writing Mary’s story is that God made me exactly as I am:
A Martha-worker-bee who sometimes has a Mary worship experience.
I’ve also learned it doesn’t matter if we see ourselves in one of these sisters—or neither of them. What matters is embracing our uniqueness as a daughter of the King. I pray the questions in this chapter will help you reflect on Mary’s unique qualities and thank the Lord for yours.
Before You Read
How have you imagined Mary of Bethany? How do you see her relationship with her siblings: Lazarus and Martha?
What do you admire about her? What things about her have confused you?
It was my choice to make Mary ten years younger than Martha and only a teenager when she knew the Lord Jesus. That makes this book, more than any of the others in the series, quite appropriate for teenagers to read. There isn’t really scripture to support my choice, other than this: culturally speaking, if Mary had been much older, she would have been married and not part of Martha’s household.
What do you think about Mary being so much younger than Martha?
How do you see her relationship with Martha now that you’ve read this chapter?
Unlike the book club questions in the back of many women’s fiction books, these questions are meant to be personal. I hoped they would encourage readers to dig more deeply into the Bible and consider what was in their own hearts and backgrounds.
Some people think the Bible is an archaic book with no application to current events and the life they’re living. I’ve learned that is not true, and part of my goal with the Reflections series is to convince others to make a hard pass on adopting such a skewed view of the Bible.
I hope reviewers of the series will comment about the questions when they post reviews. If they’re helpful, other readers would benefit from knowing there’s more to these books than a couple of hours worth of entertainment.
Do you read through the questions in the back of books? Do you find them helpful in understanding either the book or author better?
2 thoughts on “The Reflections Guide”
I read the questions at the back of books. Sometimes they give you more insight on the author and sometimes they help make your reading experience more reflective and personal.
Whether I just mull over the questions, verbally answer or actually take pen to paper, I feel questions at the end of a book are beneficial to both author and reader. Also helps a book group!
I agree on all counts! I’m always interested in WHAT sort of questions are asked at the back of the book although I don’t know FOR SURE that the authors always write them. Sometimes the questions make no sense because I had a different view of the story, but I still like to read them. They always make me think.