My Utmost: A Devotional Memoir by Macy Halford was published February 7, 2017.
It’s the first new book on Oswald Chambers in more than two years.
(Drs. Jed and Cecile Macosko published A Daily Companion to My Utmost for His Highest in late 2014).
I devoured the memoir in three nights and enjoyed it a great deal.
I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard about it in 2013.
Halford had access to information I did not, so I wanted to see what she found.
It’s a memoir
For those who love Oswald Chambers, it’s important to remember Halford’s book is a memoir.
Memoir differs from biography–and while she includes biographical information, the story is Halford’s not Oswald’s or Biddy’s.
“A memoir is a special kind of autobiography, usually involving a public portion of the author’s life as it relates to a person, historic event, or thing. The text is about the personal knowledge and/or experiences of the author.
“In contrast, an autobiography covers the author’s entire life to the present, and is expected to include details about his or her public and private life. A biography is someone’s life story written by another person.”
As memoir, this is the story of how and what Halford learned about the devotional book she had loved since her teen years.
She described seeing both her mother and grandmother spend “quiet times” in the evening on their beds reading the Bible and savoring My Utmost for His Highest.
Those “holy” moments lingered in her memory and as a result she picked up the devotional, too, and has read it daily ever since.
Growing up in Texas, she traveled to college in New York City and remained there until her mid-thirties.
As she graduated in history, found work and ultimately became a book reviewer for The New Yorker magazine, her relationship with her childhood faith morphed.
My reaction as a Christian
This memoir follows Halford’s maturity from childhood faith to seeing Christianity through a more sophisticated eye.
Several times I caught my breath, “no, don’t go that way.”
More than once I shook my head–the descriptions of her childhood church were so different from anything I’ve experienced.
But, that’s the draw of memoir–you have to read it all the way to the end, where you find the resolution. The photo at left explains where Halford finally found her faith, via Oswald.
My reaction as Biddy Chambers’ biographer
My biography of Mrs. Oswald Chambers will be published in October, 2017.
My book is a biography, the story of Biddy’s life from birth to death, along with an examination of how she produced My Utmost for His Highest.
I don’t discuss my personal reactions to the story.
Reading Halford’s memoir felt odd as I encountered stories about Oswald I didn’t know, recognized quotations she interpreted differently, and marveled at some of the information she found that I never saw.
Even I learned from My Utmost as she explored the influence of Oswald’s life on the readings in My Utmost for His Highest.
Sometimes I laughed aloud, other times I once again felt the poignant weight of facts I knew.
Halford did a fine job.
I read the last few chapters to my husband–another Oswald Chambers fan–savoring her insights with him.
If you love My Utmost for His Highest as much as Macy Halford and I do, you may very well enjoy this interactive jewel.
A memoir of faith, love and My Utmost for His Highest. Click to Tweet
How the love of My Utmost for His Highest took a woman on a spiritual journey. Click to Tweet
Those interested in Oswald and Biddy Chambers might enjoy short monthly stories about God’s leading in writing Mrs. Oswald Chambers (to be released in October 2017 by Baker Books).
February’s appropriate story: “In which Oswald Chambers presents an opportunity to write a romance novel.”
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