If you walked down the aisles of a bookstore looking for Love Lives Here by Maria Goff, you'll walk past the marriage section and the parenting section, past the shelves with books about work and books about healing. You'll find Love Lives Here among the many books in the general Christian Living section. But after reading it cover to cover, I can safely say you'll be encouraged in so many areas of your life. Maria shares stories from throughout her life in order to inspire readers to live with intention and love well.
The 19 chapters are filled with honest words from Maria. I so appreciated her vulnerability and courage in inviting the reader into her heart and home through her words. There is a foreword written by her husband and author of Love Does, Bob Goff; and the epilogue is written by her children. Both of those delightfully add to the book's charm. Each chapter is marked by a specific story that impacted Maria and in turn her family.
Chapter 1: The Lodge
Chapter 2: Meeting Bob
Chapter 3: Just Imagine
Chapter 4: Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper
Chapter 5: Reverse Economy
Chapter 6: The Gold Mine
Chapter 7: The Jeweler
Chapter 8: Board of Directors
Chapter 9: Running Away
Chapter 10: A Neighbor's Love
Chapter 11: Work It Out
Chapter 12: I'll Be Back
Chapter 13: Fear Not
Chapter 14: Be Ready
Chapter 15: Let Love Set the Table
Chapter 16: Tossing Rocks
Chapter 17: Finding Rest
Chapter 18: The Fire
Chapter 19: The Chalkboard
Epilogue: In Their Own Words
These are the quotes that stood out the most to me from the book:
"I've been reminded that we are not the things we've done nor the things which have been done to us. We're not the successes we've had or the painful mistakes we've made. Instead, each of us is a reflection of Jesus amongst all of these things that have occurred in our lives." (page 2)
Maria has a way of simplifying things we tend to make complicated; it's refreshing. She talks about things like loving our neighbors and showing hospitality, dealing with fear and learning to rest. She gently tackles hard topics like sexual abuse and cheerfully shares light hearted things like having In-N-Out burgers for Christmas Eve dinner. The stories Maria shares that are pain-filled remind us that the painful things we endure aren't necessarily to display God's power but to help us notice and delight in His sweet, constant presence. She offers challenging thoughts with grace and encouraging thoughts with whimsy; and it all inspires us to go back to the teachings and life of Jesus and become more like Him.
Maria offers beautiful wisdom throughout the book. Although Love Lives Here isn't marketed as a marriage book or a parenting book, just like with her husband's book, Love Does, I walked away feeling incredibly encouraged and spurred on in both of those areas. Her words about hospitality are very needed in this perfect pinterest age. She gave wonderful reminders that being hospitable isn't fancy or expensive or flawless. I have a tendency to overcomplicate the idea of calling and work and rest, so I found myself greatly encouraged in what I'm called to and how to live simply in that. I relate to Maria in many ways, and the things Maria said about the importance of the work of motherhood resonated deeply with me. Overall, I felt challenged to love well and given insight into how to better do that. It reminded me there is a ministry in simply saying yes.
I must say that if I hadn't have read Love Does previously or follow the Goffs on social media, I might have felt a bit confused in reading Love Lives Here. There seems to be an unspoken understanding that the reader is at least somewhat familiar with the Goffs, which isn't necessarily a criticism. It all adds a layer of depth to the whimsical adventures and joy-filled life so many of us know about Bob and Sweet Maria. The one critique I do have is just over the lack of transitions. There were quick jumps between stories and sentiments. I'm sure most people can read it and not think anything about it. But with the way my mind works, I felt just a bit scattered.
Nevertheless, Love Lives Here is a beautiful work that I am definitely thankful for and greatly appreciate. It is a lovely book filled with sweet, courageous, loving, profound insight from Maria. I am better for having read it; I know it will have an impact on my life.
Follow Maria on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
To learn more about the book and to download a free chapter head here.
Click on this link to buy Love Lives Here.
(This is an affiliate link. Thanks in advance for your support!)
*I received a free copy of the book from the publisher as part of the launch team.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.