The following reading group guide was created to enhance your group’s discussion of That Faith, That Trust, That Love by Jamellah Ellis, the story of one woman’s spiritual awakening and journey to life with God.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. The contrast between Marley’s relationships with Gerrard and Lazarus is unmistakable. What is the key difference between the two? Even be-fore she knew of Gerrard’s infidelity, Marley knew there was something wrong with their relationship. Why couldn’t she do anything about it? Why didn’t Marley trust her instincts?
2. Ma Grand prides herself on speaking the truth, but it is her pride that hinders her ability to see the truth about herself. Why? Has pride kept her away from the truth of God?
3. In Pam’s eyes, her daughter has a chance to have the successful marriage and love she never had in her own life. As a result, Pam is almost more excited about Marley’s engagement than she is. Why is Pam living through her daughter? What does she realize in the end that enables her to let go of her disappointments with her own life?
4. One theme of That Faith, That Trust, That Love is making a decision to accept God into one’s life. How does each of the characters reach such a decision? What makes them resist?
5. Marley thinks church is a good idea but is usually disappointed by the messenger or the message when she does attend. How common is this among young people today? What is the difference between Gilead’s Balm and her previous experiences with churches?
6. Marley’s spiritual awakening leads to greater peace in other aspects of her life–in her work and in her relationships with her family and friends. Why does this happen? How does a relationship with God affect one’s relationships with others?
7. When Marley begins to attend church at Gilead’s Balm she feels as if the sermons are meant directly for her. Why does this happen here and not elsewhere? What allows her to open her ears and heart?
8. The verse from Luke 12:27 that opens That Faith, That Trust, That Love talks of how God’s power and the promise of faith are evident everywhere in life, even in the smallest things. How do we see this in each of the characters in the book?
9. Among the three friends, Ashley is the most secure in her relationship with God and her idea of what she wants in a man. Yet she remains single while Marley and Deanna eventually marry. Why is this?
10. Pam blames her mother for not showing her enough love as a child. Is she right in placing this blame on her mother? Is her mother’s disapproval the reason her failed marriage haunts Pam’s life? How much do parents affect their children’s choices or lives?