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When the Heart Waits

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  1,875 Ratings  ·  194 Reviews
Combining personal experience and classic Christian teachings, this inspirational autobiographical account of a woman's personal pain, spiritual awakening, and divine grace received "Virtue" magazine's "Book of the Year" award.
Paperback, 217 pages
Published August 14th 1992 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 1990)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 31, 2007 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mothers and artists
"It's always difficult and risky to try to put soulmaking into words." - Kidd. This is a worthy disclaimer in the preface. Kidd's description of crisis and dispair and spirituality sometimes lean on the heavy, waxing, maudlin side - and if I had not experienced such times myself, I would abhor their description. However, I've been there as almost all of us have, and the few moments of tangled emotionl overkill are well worth the many nuggets nestled in between. I am thoroughly enjoying this and ...more
Dec 20, 2009 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who is going through a change and questioning it's pace, purpose and/or meaning.

"When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the Spirit laughs for what it has found" (118).

"Love consists of this, that two solitudes protect, and border, and salute each other" (167).

"I'd spent a lot of my life wearing masks to fit the occasion, being everything to everybody even if that mean being someone other than myself. Now, after long months of passionate wait
Feb 07, 2010 Tristy rated it it was ok
Shelves: women, spiritual, ministry
Having just finished "Dance of the Dissident Daughter," this book is almost painful to read. It was written before she had her awakening and you can watch Kidd trying to force her spirituality into the tight, constrictive box of Christianity. I am so glad she was able to break free and find her true, unique, authentic path to faith. I realize that she needed to go through this stage to get to where she is now, and for that reason this book is interesting. Her writing style is still beautiful, I ...more
M.B. Gibson
Jun 28, 2011 M.B. Gibson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been a God-send to me throughout the years. I first read it during a difficult time in my life and it was instrumental in pulling me through. I have since bought copies for friends and relatives, some of whom feel the same way I do. For anyone dealing with a personal crisis or has ever faced an internal struggle at all, this book is a wonderful tool.
Jayne Mattson
Aug 28, 2011 Jayne Mattson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book because of the time I read it in my life when things were just not happening the way I thought there would professionally. Since I am comfortable in the reflection part of life, this books reminds you that the waiting period is where alot of your growth and learning occurs.

One of my favorite books I've read and often encourage others to read it too.
Jul 08, 2010 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for every woman.
Amazing book! This is a book that needs to come into your life at the right time. If you are not connecting to it, then it is not the right time for you to read it. This book came to me at the perfect time and helped me to get through a long period of waiting and change. I don't recommend reading this book straight through quickly. It needs to be read slowly, one section at time.
Sep 26, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I have read both The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair; the author of those novels wrote this spiritual work some twelve years before writing the novels, and I very much enjoyed both the novels and this nonfiction book.

The essence of this book is that a vital part of the spiritual transformation process is waiting; that one cannot always be doing, but that one must also wait on God and on His timetable. The author’s main metaphor is that of the transformation of the caterpillar into the
Jun 04, 2011 Kerith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kerith by: Lucy Gauvin
I read this for the first time in October of 2006, actually -- it was loaned to me by my friend Lucy. Around the holidays I went out and bought myself my own copy (and one for my mother) and proceeded to start re-reading it, bit by bit. At the time, I was expecting a child through adoption and was trying to actively wait with patience and grace, which was really a challenge. This isn't why Sue Monk Kidd wrote her book, but that's the beauty of books -- we bring ourselves to them and sometimes fi ...more
Anita Zinn
Oct 29, 2012 Anita Zinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of very touching analogies, that have given added dimensions - (effective ways to apply our darkest times, into a healthy, new beginning)

"I said to my soul, be still, and wait.....
So the darkness shall be the light,
and the stillness the dancing."

"The shell must be cracked apart if what is in it is to come out, for if you want the kernel, you must break the shell.". Meister Eckhart

Psychiatrist Scott Peck says, "Pain won't kill you, but running from it might.". Here is one of the
May 17, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I "discovered" Sue Monk Kidd when I finally read her breakout novel and watched the movie, "The Secret Life of Bees." I enjoyed so many things about her writing that I wanted to read more and was delighted to learn that she writes nonfiction as well as fiction.

In "When the Heart Waits," Kidd takes us along on her spiritual journey of discovering who she really is. She offers no simple answers or shortcuts. Like the ancients, she finds the spiritual disciplines of solitude and simplicity essentia
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Over 15 years ago a spiritual director pointed me to this book. Timing matters. I know that I read through Monk's personal journey, but it didn't resonate with me then. Now every page found home in me.

I cannot really read without writing and underlining, (nor can I write without reading). Happily, I realized this was a keeper and returned the library copy and got one of my own to enjoy and digest at leisure. As I write about life changes and the process of transition, I found Monk's thoughtful
Apr 09, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spiritual crises. We all go through them. However, I never heard of a "Mid-life spiritual crises" until I read "When the Heart Waits". Recommended to me by Author, Ken Gire, I saw myself as if staring into a mirror.

Sue Monk Kidd, describes her own mid-life spiritual crises, with poignant, detailed stories of her own journey. Using the symbols that gave her a depth of understanding into her own soul, she takes you step by step down the path that completely altered her life, and set her on a new p
Apr 22, 2011 Tamra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good quotes throughout as she describes her midlife experiences and crisis of spirit. I quote: "Sacred intent of life, of God-to move us continuously toward growth, toward recovering all that is lost and orphaned within us and restoring the divine image imprinted on our soul." Another quote: "...the confetti of scars and torn places we would like to be rid did we ever get the idea that God would supply us with quick fixes, that God is merely a rescuer and not a midwife?"
Mar 03, 2014 Krista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my top five favorite books of all time.

I know something about waiting, and yet, I know nothing about waiting. This book reopened my eyes to the holiness to be found in waiting.
Dec 26, 2012 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I have to note is that the title of the book, When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions, doesn't quite fit. Very few questions are asked directly throughout the book and it offers direction only in a very broad sense. Having read the entire book, I *guess* I can understand how they chose the title, but frankly they could have done better.

The book focuses on Sue Monk Kidd's personal experiences as she goes through a midlife crisis. Although this was the
Dec 05, 2015 Mindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed every book I've read from Sue Monk Kidd - The Secret Life of Bees, The Invention of Wings. And When the Heart Waits did not disappoint either. She is clearly very well read and she has interwoven her love of books, from medieval Christian mystics to fairy tales to Jungian theorists to existential writers, into her very personal life journey. She is transparent, vulnerable, and patient to wait, all qualities that I admire. This book is a keeper that I will not pass on to others, ex ...more
Oct 07, 2016 Tanya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Kidd's writing! This book is full of gems. At times she perfectly describes feelings I have or have had in the past. She is talking about the dark times of waiting that we each have and compares it to the cocoon before a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. We often feel at these times that nothing is happening and we grow weary of waiting. But she points out that during these times, we can be growing and changing the most on the inside if we can remain patient and put forth a little effort. ...more
Feb 25, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really loved this book--I would say 4.5 stars. It resonated with me to my very core. The only thing preventing me from giving it 5 stars is that I felt like many parts of it were repetitive (perhaps that's fine because I needed it said over and over to get the point), but I felt like some of the more poignant part were overshadowed by the parts that weren't as necessary. But as a whole I would say it's been a long time since I read a book and related to so many of the passages. I kept underlinin ...more
Jacqueline Snider
I liked the book and her ideas about the chrysalis and the need to wait. I found she wrote a lot about God and is obviously religious and saw her evolution in relation to her relationship with God. That kind of turned me off because I am an agnostic. I don't see my evolution in relation to a God at all, I see it in relation to myself. I found that she relied very heavily on God and that I had to force myself to finish the book because I liked some of her ideas.

I like her fiction books a lot and
Nov 30, 2011 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sue Monk Kidd articulates her spiritual and psychological struggle through her midlife journey. Her quests are grounded in the Bible, Christian spiritual writing, contemporary spitituality and psychology. She shares some profound experiences of personal spiritual breakthroughs.
She compares the "waiting process" of becoming your "true Self' and giving birth to the Christ within as the catapillar developing in chrysallis of the cocoon. During this waiting time being nutured by Mother nature until
Jan 05, 2015 Bess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tend to read books very, very quickly - one or two days, usually. So the fact that this one took me over 2 months to get through is really saying something. I found it to be so important at this time in my life that I wanted to make sure I read every word as carefully as possible so I wouldn't miss anything. If you're going through a big internal change right now, I can't recommend this enough.
Feb 19, 2009 Eva rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-books
This book is pretty deep and requires a lot of thought. It is great for someone trying to figure out who they are from childhood to today.
Jun 02, 2017 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-spiritual
I love this author and have enjoyed all her books. She is just two years older than I am, so I have identified with the stages of her spiritual journey and have appreciated her honesty about her "dark nights of the soul" and her periods of doubt, anger, and fear.

This book was written when Sue Monk Kidd was in her forties, but its lesson is one most of us have to keep learning. She had always been the "good girl," living up to everyone's expectations but chafing inside a prison of her own—and so
Ann Yeong
May 12, 2017 Ann Yeong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"How did we ever get the idea that God would supply us on demand with quick fixes, that God is merely a rescuer and not a midwife?"

In the past year I had entered a season in my spiritual journey that was new and unfamiliar to me. It was a season of deconstruction and dying, of learning to be still in not knowing what was happening except that God IS the darkness and the unknowing I had entered. My spiritual director suggested this book to me after I had described to her my experiences. I had be
Jan 07, 2017 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a huge fan of her writing style, but the content was great. I definitely don't agree with everything, but it was a welcome read from a different perspective (and writing style) on formation. She does a fantastic job of compiling and presenting God's process of formation in a way that I think is extremely accessible. Definitely worth the read.
Mary Appold
Jun 25, 2017 Mary Appold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christian themed spiritual insights regarding the restlessness of the mid-life crisis. The author's own journey provides the outline as well as symbolic concepts through which one explores this so called dark night of the soul. Good read.
Kristen Pekarski
Jun 11, 2017 Kristen Pekarski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book about her spiritual journey. I can't thank her enough for sharing her insights and lessons learned. I found alot of what she shared very helpful and useful in looking at my own journey.
Jun 14, 2017 MaryAnn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Reading for Sunday School, but had to return to library! Got about halfway through...
I've always thought of Sue Monk Kidd as a novelist, even though I was only somewhat familiar with her work. When I came across this book on spirituality, I was intrigued. Sue writes about what she calls her “winter of discontent. Others may refer to it as a “mid-life crisis.†At the beginning of the book, life seems to have lost its meaning for her. Not knowing what to do or where to turn, she takes a long winter afternoon walk (taking a walk as such a time resonates well with me). During h ...more
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SUE MONK KIDD was raised in the small town of Sylvester, Georgia. She graduated from Texas Christian University in 1970 and later took creative writing courses at Emory University and Anderson College, as well as studying at Sewanee, Bread Loaf, and other writers’ conferences. In her forties, Kidd turned her attention to writing fiction, winning the South Carolina Fellowship in Literature and the
More about Sue Monk Kidd...

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“Back in the autumn I had awakened to a growing darkness and cacophony, as if something in the depths were crying out. A whole chorus of voices. Orphaned voices. They seemed to speak for all the unlived parts of me, and they came with a force and dazzle that I couldn't contain. They seemed to explode the boundaries of my existence. I know now that they were the clamor of a new self struggling to be born.” 13 likes
“That's the sacred intent of life, of God--to move us continuously toward growth, toward recovering all that is lost and orphaned within us and restoring the divine image imprinted on our soul.” 12 likes
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