Andrea was a missionary kid. Her parents moved to Kenya in 1979, Quaker missionaries. They left Kenya in 1985, when Andrea was seven. They moved to Spokane, Washington.
When she was twenty one, she scraped off the fish symbol her brother had placed on the back bumper. “I was purging myself not of faith necessarily, but of a particular kind of faith and of a Christian culture that I associated with spiritual certainty. I didn't want anything to do with it.” (89)
She walked away from church when she was twenty three, not knowing if she would every go back.
This book tells the story of her search for purpose, a partner, and a worldview she could believe in. It is written for people like Andrea who find themselves driven by doubt, searching for a place to call home.
She shares her experience attending Whitworth University in Spokane, being a nanny for Jerry Sittsers' children. She frequented bars and led an aimless life. She dated and was disappointed. “My heart was out drifting in the dark somewhere, alone and untouchable, like a kite whose kite runner had stopped watching and let the string unwind into the air.” (202) “In the search for love, faith, and life purpose, I was failing on all fronts and driving around with three flat tires.” (206)
After two years of spiritual wandering, she started going to church again. “I left for a while, burned out by faith and church. Then I came back, driven by a completely different kind of fatigue. I was tired of myself. Tired of being an overwrought, introspective twentysomething trying to undertake the search alone.” (233)
Back at church she begins attending a Bible study. She finally found a few answers and the man she would marry.
As Andrea and her new husband drive off to Arizona, Andrea says, “I still had so many questions – about the doctrine of atonement, the triune God, the purpose of prayer. Behind those questions were buried other questions.” (297) And so Andrea ends her story, still looking for answers to those hard questions.
Andrea is articulate, sharing her questions about God and faith. Many young people will be able to identify with her searching spirit. This is a good book for the parents of twentysomething children to read. It will help them understand the doubts that plague young people. It will also remind them that we live with doubts, developing the faith that we can live with.
Andrea Palpant Dilley grew up in Kenya as the daughter of Quaker missionaries, and spent the rest of her childhood in the Pacific Northwest. She studied English literature and writing at Whitworth University. Her work as a writer has appeard in various publications. Her work as a documentary producer has aired nationally on American Public Television. She lives with her husband and daughter in Austin, Texas.
Zondervan, 300 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar Marketing for the purpose of this review.