Jackson, Neta. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Real. Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2005.
This is the third installment of the story of twelve diverse women who meet at a Christian women's conference because they are assigned to the same prayer group. When tragedy befalls one family, the group acts beyond the limits of the conference to become the Yada Yada prayer group. When tragedy finds the main character Jodi, she realizes just what this sisterhood of prayer partners means to her. She grows in her faith and her own Christian understanding. Not everyone experiences the same life, even if they live in the same town or attend the same church.
Yea, we learn more about Stu in book three. I predicted (hoped) correctly after finishing book two. As I read about this "mysterious" character, I wondered what was her huge secret. Why did she have reservations about attending the church that she left? What I thought was not what happened at all. Jackson dropped clues leading me to believe that Stu's secret was her gender. What happens is really about another character, and how Stu's past is now intertwined with Becky Wallace's son (Becky showed up in book two. Her actions caused the group to become even closer and now they are truly showing how Christians can behave, in spite of the fear they feel). God teaches us that we must trust him, even when we are afraid. The Yada Yadas are experiencing this in book three.
I can relate to how Jodi feels when Stu is around and always "saving the day." Sometimes I feel like Jodi (being upstaged) and sometimes I feel like Stu (always running to the rescue). There were many "points" made during this book that I felt like an "AMEN!" or an "OUCH!" that Jackson shares with us. One such point was Jodi saying that "this diversity business was complicated" (Jackson 98). I find myself conflicted on this very issue often. I am ignorant about so many worldly and cultural things. How would I fit into this group? I am curious about others, but at what point does politeness overstep knowledge or does knowledge overstep politeness? I think that's why I can identify with Jodi so well. We are both curious, but we hesitate behind what we think is the "right" thing to do or say.
Another point is that Yo-Yo has questions...tough questions...about Christianity. Like Jodi, I wonder, "did I really understand all the truths I took for granted about my faith?" (Jackson 117). I often take my own believes for granted and may not know why I believe or act in certain ways. I do believe that if I'm not questioning my faith, I'm not growing in it.
By reading this series, I'm finding so many parallels to my own life. My prayer time is stream of consciousness, but I also use a rote "thank you" list to God. Should I stretch and include scriptures like Nony (and am I familiar enough with God's word to do that?)?
This book is aptly titled "Gets Real." I think that Jackson is peeling away the superficial layers that we often display to get to the core of our beliefs. Thank you, Mrs. Jackson, for making me peel away some of my layers because you've exposed them to me. I want to be like Stu and "have a heart for redeeming lives" (Jackson 363). I know this will take work and faith.
Book Three ends with the entire group being baptized. I am excited to read book four to see how their new birth will shine through their lives.