Wednesday 31 January 2018

From Islam to Christ One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God - Derya Little

From Islam to Christ: 
One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God
Derya Little
Ignatius Press

ISBN 9781621641124

This was the third book by Derya I have read in the last month. The other two were her fiction series, and as much as I loved those stories. This story is incredible and proves yet again that real life is stranger than fiction. This is a powerful story, and I am very thankful to have read it. This book is an easy read from a reading level, but at parts is very hard to read about what Derya went through on her journey to Christ, and then into Catholicism. For an academic this book is very accessible. In fact, in many ways it reminded me of reading C.S. Lewis's religious writings.

The stories of the people God brought into her life. And the path she traveled to become a person of faith is incredible. I also appreciate her little weavings of her love of fiction into her story as examples. Such as early on she says:
"Most importantly, that Turkish young woman did not want anything to do with God, yet I was filled with gratitude and hope at the sight of a crucifix in a garage. Little by little, I had traveled far, not only physically but also spiritually. Thankfully, as wise Gandalf says in The Lord of the Rings, "Not all who wander are lost.""
Or later when she exclaims:
"I was a new creation, and I could not wait to learn all about my new life. When my journey began, I was a reluctant traveler like Bilbo Baggins, who was jostled and annoyed by uninvited guests in his house. That evening I made the same discovery eventually made by Bilbo-that I was being led on a thrilling, life-changing adventure."
For much like Bilbo her life has been an incredible journey. Both spiritually and physically. She travelled from a culturally Islamic family in Turkey. To England for grad studies, where she became Roman Catholic. And finally, on to the United States to become a wife, a mother and author. She first became a Christian through the influence of evangelical Christians. Later when a friend from those circles became Catholic she decided to study Catholicism to refute his positions. But few people begin their study with the theology of Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger. Finding it a stretch she returned to Mark Shea's 'By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition' She states:
"To be honest, after reading Shea's book, I was not suddenly convinced of the Catholic Church's authority over all Christians, but I found a giant hole in my arguments against all things Catholic."
And thus, began her study in earnest. She had to convince the staff at a Catholic church in Turkey that she was serious. Her persistence eventually led to a pivotal turning point.

Later she says:
"I would love to hop into TARDIS and travel back in time to have a chat with my twenty-year-old self, telling her that in seventeen years she would be Catholic, married to an American, raising four children, and writing on the side. She would not believe it. She would more readily believe in a time machine and an alien race with two hearts than in the version of herself that I have become."
And I wonder how many of us would like the chance to go back and tell our younger selves something. And she concludes the book with these words:
"It occurs to me that little by little, I traveled far.It occurs to me that God is forever faithful.It occurs to me that I was lost, but now I am found."
Now this story is not all sunshine and roses. Derya came from a very dysfunctional family. Her parents were divorced at a time and place where that was not the norm. Her mother checked out, and her father focused his time, attention and money on his new wife. She experienced years of rejection and rebellion in her own life, and those choices had consequences. Some that would bother her for years. But God proved to be with her always guiding and leading her.

This book is a powerful read, but it is not all rainbows and candy. I found that my own faith was inspired and encouraged by Derya's story. And my prayers for my own children has redoubled. I highly recommend you give this book a try. And if you love a good fiction story check out her Kayan Kronicles!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Derya Little:

From Islam to Christ: One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God

First Editions Kayan Kronicles:

The Manual Beyond
The Ambit Above

Second Editions Two Fallen Words Kayan Kronicles:

Author profile and interview with Derya Little.

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