Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions” as Want to Read:
When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  3,457 ratings  ·  298 reviews
I stood at the window watching the cocoon, which hung in the winter air like an upside–down question mark. That was the moment... I understood. Really understood. Crisis, change, all the myriad upheavals that blister the spirit and leave us groping– they aren't voices simply of pain but also of creativity. And if we would only listen, we might hear such times beckoning us ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 1990)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,457 ratings  ·  298 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jackie Law
Dec 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
M.B. Gibson
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
A must read for every woman.
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Mike-sibil Kuruvilla
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think that this book is a great read for anyone who is in a season of waiting as I am in or if you work in counseling others in times of crisis. I love how the author shares her story without speaking as if her way is the only way. She tells her story as if you are right there listening to her tell you about a hard season of life.
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Jacqueline Snider
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Lynette Caulkins
I love Kidd's novels, but this just is not my cup of tea. I realized that from the start, but thought it would be interesting to see what makes one of my favorite authors tick. However, at the halfway mark I'm calling it quits.

There are a couple of thoughts worth considering, like the value of waiting, or being still and processing and feeling the spirit, and the concepts of "I" and "They" and taking action to help yourself (like: why didn't Rapunzel chop her own hair off to make a ladder to ge
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful... absolutely wonderful! I have my best friend from high school to thank for sending this to me almost three years ago. I have not been led to read it until now, and I am glad I... waited. Sue Monk Kidd is a truly gifted writer and describes my experience of mid-life spiritual transformation through the use of the main metaphor of butterfly metamorphosis. From resisting, crawling along in a diapause holding onto the old self, to being in a cocoon for the past 3 years... feeling the dar ...more
Anita Zinn
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I wish we could give half-stars to books! :) This was a lovely little book, just not one that I felt super jazzed about by the time I finished it. For some reason, some of the anecdotes almost felt forced, and even some of the Bible quotes. It didn't always feel like an organic flow.

My favorite parts, however, were the parts about the false selves and later, how she met and dismantled those false selves.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Sue Monk Kidd's way of writing. She is winsome and thoughtful and inspires me to think much more deeply about the world around me.

This book, in particular, compelled me into a greater appreciation of waiting. Waiting is a spiritual practice in so many ways, and it's necessary to a robust life.

I quoted many excerpts from this book in my small group on John Ortberg's book Soul Keeping. Believe it or not, the two books dovetailed beautifully!
Rendi Hahn
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This fall I re-read this wonderful book - it's even more powerful the second time. Sue Monk Kidd traces her journey through a mid-life crisis of spirituality using the caterpillar-to-butterfly metamorphosis to tie it together. She is so transparent about her struggles. I highly recommend it!
Jennifer  Blau
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After seeing Sue on Super Soul Sunday, I picked up this book. Maybe back at the end of 2015, early 2016. Her words & writing really urged me forward in owning my truth and being okay with changing my life path after age 40. ...more
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Snippets That Ins...: How Do You Change Like a Butterfly? 1 2 Dec 16, 2017 12:57PM  
Snippets That Ins...: Scientific Spirituality? 1 2 Sep 03, 2016 05:14AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Everything Is Spiritual: Who We Are and What We're Doing Here
  • Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You
  • The Enneagram of Belonging: A Compassionate Journey of Self-Acceptance
  • The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth
  • The Complete Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue
  • Untamed
  • The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
  • Learning to Walk in the Dark
  • Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir
  • To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
  • Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
  • Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive
  • More Myself: A Journey
  • When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple, and Good
  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World
  • Like Brothers
  • Self to Lose, Self to Find: Using the Enneagram to Uncover Your True, God-Gifted Self
See similar books…

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, 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 1996 Poets & Writers

Related Articles

    Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
50 likes · 18 comments
“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.” 14 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.” 13 likes
More quotes…