FREE Discussion Questions
- On the first page, J.D. declares, “If it weren’t for guilt trips you wouldn’t go
anywhere, Leona.” How does this statement define Leona’s character; and how is
the theme of being resistant to change developed throughout the book?
- Leona’s struggle with the elder’s wife, Maxine Davis, is one of the major conflicts in the story. Hierarchical relationships are tricky, especially in the church. Have
you ever had to navigate the thorny line between boss and friend? Explain how
this person’s ability to hire and fire you made sustaining a friendship with them impossible.
- When Leona slides next to her pastor husband during the song service, she feels this incredible sense of security and purpose. But within a few short paragraphs,
the things that define and sustain this woman vanish. Compare Leona’s losses to
losses you’ve suffered. What happened to your self-worth?
- While Leona is defined by her fear of change, her children are defined by their fear of life staying the same. Growing up inside a “glass house” makes David and
Maddie desperate for privacy, or at the very least, the freedom to make mistakes without judgment. A traumatic past can set us up to believe a lie that creates our deepest fear. What event in Leona’s past shaped her, caused her to believe the lie that she must be perfect, and contributed to her fears? What happened in your past that created your fears?
- I believe fear hinders the reinvention process. For years I worried that we could
lose our ministry job. And then we did. Amazingly, we survived. What is your
biggest fear? What if the worst thing that could happen happened? Tell how Leona survived an unexpected realization of her worst fear. What are some
adjustments you would have to make to your life to survive a course redirection?
- Strained family relationships take a toll on Leona. How does the theme of starting over affect Leona’s thoughts and actions toward her mother? Her children? Consider your relationships: marriage, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers. What relationship do you long to reinvent? What would it take to accomplish
restoration in these relationships?
- The Story sisters are two of the first people Leona meets when she moves to Mt.
Hope. Her impression of these wrinkled busybodies is based on what she perceives as their unfavorable impression of her. Discuss the dangers of first
impressions; and the difficulty of reinventing someone’s incorrect impression
of you. Should we even want to change another’s opinion of us? How was Leona’s
relationship with the Storys reinvented?
- Leona has poured herself into the career of being a wife, mother, and pastor’s wife. In this paradigm she feels confident and comfortable. Maybe you, too, are
well-established in your chosen profession and feel defined by your occupation.
In today’s economy, people who have invested time, money, and long years in a
certain career field are finding themselves tossed aside, cut loose, and released from their jobs. Unable to find comparable employment, not only is their financial security lost; the walls of their paradigm have been bulldozed. How do you reinvent yourself for a second career so late in the game? Discuss Leona’s return to some of her former dreams. How did she capitalize on those desires God put in her heart? What unfulfilled dream lurks in the back of your mind?
- When Leona realizes life will have to change for her, do you think she had to
compromise to find happiness? If so, how?
- Change, the theme repeated over and over, comes to several of the characters in this book. Who do you think had to change the most? Why are we so resistant to
- One of the beauties of “the church” is the family it creates. A unique group of
people with absolutely nothing in common are bound together by the blood of
Christ. But just like any family, there are the crazy uncles or no-good cousins.
Conflict is inevitable. When Leona chooses to seek a confidant outside of this
body, it doesn’t set well with Maxine. Why?
- If you suffer a tragic set back or serious change in life plans, will you get up
or curl up?