Becoming Gertrude

Becoming Gertrude - Parenting Like HannahYou probably had lots of friends at one time. Or maybe you had one or two really close friends. Then in the flurry of dating, marriage, pregnancy and kids, you just didn’t have the time to put into those friendships like you used to do. Suddenly, you look up and your definition of a close friend is another parent you exchange pleasantries with at school events.

Yet to grow as people and as Christians, we really need a different kind of friend. One who will care about us, accept us, serve us when we need it, open her home to us and encourage us. In Becoming Gertrude, author Janice Peterson tells us not just how to find our “Gertrude”, but to be that sort of friend for others.

Gertrude played an important role in the life of Peterson. She lived behind the author and was the caring, listening ear the Peterson needed as she was growing through her teens. The author has come to realize that there are often other “Gertrude” type people in our lives who help us grow through good and bad times. Peterson believes those people are an essential part of helping us strengthen our faith.

After thinking about the people who had been a “Gertrude” for her, the author realized they all had the same five characteristics in how they interacted with others. She spends the book exploring how caring, acceptance, service, hospitality and encouragement from our friends can help us grow – and how we in turn can be that person for the people in our lives.

The style of this book is what I would call gentle. The author tells stories from her life to show how God worked – often by using others. She talks about the characteristic from the story and how we both need it and need to be that for others. Peterson ends each chapter by encouraging us to be the godly friend to others who helps them grow spiritually.

The only issue I had with the book was that from time to time she would mention things like “The Silence”. I could guess what she probably meant by that, but I’m sure there is probably something more than the surface understanding because of the capitalization. It may refer to something she has done earlier or a part of her denominational lingo, but for those who aren’t in the author’s circle, it slows us down for a minute. It’s not often enough to be truly annoying, but something they should edit if there is a later edition.

This book isn’t earth shattering. It won’t encourage you to ponder deep theological questions and that’s okay. What it will do is encourage you gently to look for friends who will help you grow spiritually and be that friend to others. It’s worth taking the time to enjoy this rather quick read.



A copy of this book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.


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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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