Review by Rayna: No More Faking Fine

No More Faking Fine:  Ending the Pretending

The title itself is one we all relate to I think.  We have all faked it during seasons of life and frankly I’m not sure there is any other way to make it  in public and on the job but the one time we NEVER have to fake it is with God.

Esther Fleece shares the story of her heartbreaking childhood and how the message to “suck it up” and do what she needed to do affected her life and relationship with the Lord.  She writes “Just because you picked yourself up again and keep moving doesn’t mean you are healed.  And if you keep moving with a wound that needs attention, you will only make it worse.”(58)

 

Esther’s journey to finding true healing is beautiful.  She has much to share with us about her experience but greater than that she challenges us to experience healing as well “Ignoring our past can rob us of the opportunity to encounter God when we need it most.  But lament opens our eyes to see He was there then and He is here now. “ (59) .  Life is painful and learning to experience lament can make all the difference in your healing.

Learning a new way to pray through the most difficult questions:  Why, How Long? Don’t Forget Me! and Forgive me brought hope to Esther and will bring hope to your life as well.

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Get Real with God through Lament

Get Real with God through Lament

Ending the Pretending

 

It’s Sunday morning and you like me are headed into church.  Each person passed offers a courteous greeting like, “Good Morning!”  “Hi!  How are you?”  “Good thanks and you?”  or “Fine, thanks!”

The truth is you just had a fight with your spouse or you recently found out about another friend who is diagnosed with cancer.  You are not fine but what else are you going to say.

Life is hard and it is filled with many disappointments and heartaches.  Telling acquaintances about our stuff is not likely to happen.

So what about family?  How often do you share the real stuff with friends and family?  Many of us even struggle with this as well.

What about God?  Do you get real with him?  Many people don’t.Ecc 7:33 Sorrow is better than laughter,

To be honest, I am more likely to get real with God than I am with anyone else.  I think this is one reason for the deep and many people have said, unusual walk I have with my Lord.

Through the many heartaches of life I have had great friends and family to support me but my number one go to is the Lord.  From an early age I started reading a Psalm a day.  From those readings I found a God who could handle anything I had to say to him, so I did.

When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I poured out the heartache of losing her while I was still a teenager. 

When my husband was unfaithful, I called out to the God who knows what it is like to love a people who are unfaithful over and over again.

When I miscarried my precious babies, He was the one who I cried more tears to than I thought I had.

Like David, in the Psalms, my prayers are often a journey to the place of heartache, disappointment, confusion and even anger.

Have you ever prayed like this?  Have you learned to bear your heartache and questions to the Lord?

I was excited to find a book that talks about how to bring an ending to the pretending with God.   I think this is such a great resource I want you to join me in a Book Chat.

Do you ever struggle with how to get real with God?  Do you find yourself staying busy just so you don’t have to think about past heartaches and disappointments?

No More Faking Fine  by Esther Fleece is a call to end the pretending.  It is Esther’s journey to healing through the prayer of lament.  Lament is the gut-level, honest prayer that God never ignores, never silences, and never wastes. 

As I look at my prayer life I realize the times that I have been able to embrace God’s will even when I didn’t understand the what or the why of something or it was not at all what I wanted I was praying laments. 

I would love for you to join me in learning more about the prayer of lament.

A Book Chat is just the opportunity to read through a book together.  Discussing what the Lord is doing in your life with the new realizations you are experiencing through the book through an online community.

Click here to learn more:

Review by Rayna: The Kindness Challenge

The Kindness Challenge:  30 Days to Improve Any Relationship

 


I am a big fan of Shaunti Feldhahn’s books.  I love the way research helps us understand ourselves and others better.  The Kindness Challenge is no different!

One of the most interesting facts Shaunti’s researched revealed has to so a common fact people who thrive possess.  “Whether we thrive depends far more on how we choose to treat others than on how we ourselves are treated.” “The place to our happy place starts with one choice, Werther or not to be kind.  Especially when we really don’t want to.”  (p. 1)

 

 

This finding really struck me.  Much is said about the good old days and one of the things I have noticed is that common courtesy seems to be a thing of the past.  People don’t seem to do much of what they don’t feel like it.

This book challenges us to go back to this practice in very small ways.  Think about focusing on the best in those around us.  Think about how we can offer kindness each and everyday.

 

The Kindness Challenge was written after 10 years of challenging people to do 3 simple, as in not complex, items.  The 3 things they were challenged to do were 1.  Say nothing negative, either to your person or about them to someone else.  2.  Every day, find one positive thing that you can sincerely praise or affirm about your person and tell them, and tell someone else.  3.   Every day, do a small act of kindness or generosity for your person.

 

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?  The research shows that there is amazing impact on our relationships when we are more kind.

 

Shaunti found that we are more unkind than we realize.  Being unkind is much more acceptable in our world than being mean is.  Unkindness can take on many different forms.   I found the list of 7 negative habits we don’t even realize we have was very helpful.  There is no doubt that practicing these 7 things can definitely make us more focused on the negatives in our lives.  Do you do any of these 7?  1.  The knee jerk reaction that things will be hard.  2.  Exasperation, Irritation, & Pointing out mistakes 3.  Sarcasm.  4.  Grumble, Grumble.  5.  You Hurt Me, I Hurt You.  6.  Suspicion.  7.  Catastrophizing.  Some of these are habits I need to pay more attention to, others are not as hard for me.

I am joining the Kindness Challenge, will you join me?

I would love to have you join me on Take Heart Transitions Facebook page in sharing your experience on the 30 Day Kindness Challenge.  There are lots of great resources available at http://www.jointhekindnesschallenge.com/

Sign up today & then share on FB.

Review by Rayna: Necessary Endings

Necessary Endings:  The employees, businesses, and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward

 

From the subtitle you can tell that this book addresses both business and personal relationships.  Though it has many business examples and much wisdom to offer those in leadership it has many valuable principles and truth for everyone concerning relationships.

This is one of those books I wish I had read many years ago.  I had so many favorite parts it is hard to share just a few.

 

The principle of pruning is covered in the beginning of the book is such a practical way that it helps us to understand that it is a teaching we all need to implement in life.  I’m not a gardener but I understood the truth of how caring for plants applies to our lives.  I can see God’s hand doing this in my life at times as well.

Dr. Cloud defines pruning for us as “A function of cutting away to reduce the extent or reach of something by taking away unwanted of superfluous parts. “   Pruning is the intentional step of bringing something to a necessary ending.  There are 3 reasons to bring necessary endings to our lives:

  1. The first reason is if something is stealing resources that could be spent somewhere else that is more valuable.  Even healthy stuff can stop us from growing if there is too much of it.  We can only give some many things our time and attention.  Be sure that all the things you are focusing on are the most important to you.
  2. Secondly, if something is sick and is not likely to heal. Some relationships both at work and in your life need constant attention and nurturing.  It is ok to give them what is needed to help them heal and become a contributing part but if sick is what they want to be then a necessary ending is called from.
  3. The reason is if it is clear that something is already dead, there is no life left.  It is amazing how desperately we can hold onto things that are clearly dead sometimes.  Dr. Could encourages us to take the time to evaluate the health of relationships, this will make it harder not to identify those that are dead.

Necessary endings are required in order for us to stay healthy and to keep growing.  Dr. Cloud gives great examples of each of these in the book.

Another section of the book which I found very helpful was when Dr. Cloud laid out the 3 Kinds of people as well as their styles of behavior in chapter 7.  The way he approached this section seemed a bit harsh at first but the more I thought about the 3 behaviors the more examples from my life I could think of that affirmed his descriptions.

The 3 people are the wise, the foolish and the evil.  Dr. Cloud goes on to tell us how to determine the kind of person is we are dealing with and what to do with them.  If you are trying to figure out if an ending is necessary for a relationship you will definitely find this chapter helpful.

Dr. Cloud goes on to layout how to accomplish a necessary ending and how to process in order to move forward.


I am confident this will be a book I come back to time and time again.  I hope you will take the time to read it and then share your thoughts me with me below.

Review by Rayna: Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

Sara is an eloquent wordsmith who invites you into her life and journey of faith.  She lays her heart out for us to see and helps us to be willing to look at things in our own heart to find the truth of God and His love.

I loved how she so openly shared the growth and depth of her marriage relationship Nate.  The beautiful picture of their growth through the years was both encouraging and challenging.  So many times we expect our marriage to be easy and our husbands to just get us.  Sara’s willingness to express these things was encouraging to me and I’m sure it would be for you as well.

The part of Sara’s story which spoke to me most was her barrenness.  Her willingness to share how broke she felt and how deeply she desired the blessing of children was healing oil to my heart.  Since I have lived my own journey of infertility and miscarriage it was amazingly sweet to read of her journey to motherhood.

I appreciated her vulnerability in discussing how even as she became a mom.  As her heart and arms were filled with children meant to be hers she still longed for her womb to be full of life.  The Lord is so faithful to bless us even as we are still growing in understanding of His imaginable love and mercy.

There was a part of Sara’s story which I did not relate to.  Though I have struggled with barrenness and losing 2 children to miscarriage I never struggled with it being my fault or punishment from God.  Though the loneliness and heartache was a part of my story I am thankful I did not experience the feelings of brokenness she did.  I was very saddened by her expression of this struggle.  I hope that if you have felt this way Sara’s story will bless you and help you move from this lie to healing and wholeness.