Lean On Me by Anne Marie Miller :: A Review

LeanOnMeBook{Disclaimer: This is a review of Lean on Me, by Anne Marie Miller. I received this book for free to read and review as part of the BookLook blogger program. All opinions are mine. This post also contains affiliate links.}

I chose this book to read and review because of it’s subtitle: “Finding Intentional, Vulnerable, and Consistent Community.”

God has placed a desire within us to connect with others in relationship. Many of my “friendships” are more surfacy-type acquaintances. However, I love getting to really know people; to hear their stories; to listen to their opinions; to build bonds of trust and camaraderie.

Friends and confidants are very important when a big life event happens. The relationships we can count on to stand strong in the storms and stand the test of time are of utmost importance.

This book chronicles Anne Marie Miller’s journey from her marriage falling apart, going through divorce, and a time of healing afterward. Though I have not been through divorce, I have had miscarriages and other devastating circumstances that leave a person’s heart numb and wounded. Each of us can relate in some way.

Anne Marie had a wise friend who advised her to intentionally ask people to create a “team” or community around her as she moved through the stages of grief. Even if at times she didn’t feel like it, she needed the support of consistent community that she could be vulnerable in, yet be safe and given room for grace.

This book takes a look at four categories of relationships:

  1. Not vulnerable and not committed
  2. Vulnerable and not committed
  3. Committed and not vulnerable
  4. Committed and vulnerable

Lean On Me explores questions such as, “What makes someone a friend? How vulnerable should we be with our small groups? The mom we meet in the line to pick up the kids at school? On our blogs? What do our interactions with others demonstrate?”

Anne Marie asks, “I think that everyone feels the need to belong. Do you? Are you caught fighting the contradiction of needing others, being needed, and wanting to be on your own? Does fear keep you from reaching out to others? Do you want to know how to strengthen the community where you live and love?”

These questions strike at my heart and resound deep. Questions about adult friendships, vulnerability and wanting to belong, yet being fiercely independent are things I have wrestled with, muddying up the waters of relationships. I wish there were clear-cut answers.

This book at least addresses these issues and takes a gut-honest approach at showing how a community can come together in a time of tragedy to pour out love on someone. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 ESV.

Anne Marie wraps up the book’s premise neatly in this quote:

“…we’re not called to be perfect or to have perfect relationships. We’re urged to seek the kingdom and live holy lives fully dependent on God and in relationship with others. It is first in this dependence on God, and then in our interdependence with other believers as the Spirit unites us, where we can experience a truly joyful and abundant community here on earth as it is in heaven.”

The book provided thought-provoking questions about relationships; a vulnerable story of needing community after a tragedy; and a model of intentionality that leads to friendships. There is a study guide in the back that can be used for small group discussions or to think/journal on your own. It’s a very insightful and valuable book, reflecting some of our deepest needs.

Ephesians Chapters 1 & 2