Review by Rayna: How’s Your Soul?

Review by Rayna: How’s Your Soul?

 

How’s your soul? Is a question most of us avoid not Judah Smith.  In fact, he asks his friends this often and this book is a book about how he explored the answer to this question for himself.

The book challenges you to look deep.  Even though vulnerability is scary and it feels much saver to be superficial and not allow others to see if you are really OK on the inside.  Outward indicators are usually how we judge how things are going in our life but success is not how we know if we are OK on the inside.

To examine if you are satisfied, stable and healthy to determine how your soul is doing.

Our health and wellness moves from the inside out.  Most of the time when we struggle with inner peace we double down on the work on the outside, sadly that doesn’t bring peace.  You can’t make all the outside things go the way you want and you can’t escape what is not going well.

Our souls must learn to lean on and into God, the giver of our souls.

Relating to God from a place of forgiveness and acceptance from Jesus helps us find deeper fulfillment in God on a soul level will change everything.

Jonah challenges us to find a nurturing environment as God created it for us in the beginning.  A place of rest, responsibility, restraint and relationships rooted in God only.  He takes a closer look at each of this things in the light of God’s design for us.

One of the most powerful parts of this book for me was when Jonah examined how we often deal with emotions today.  Most of us allow our emotions to rule our world.  We have even gotten to a place that if we feel something is true then decide it must be.  Facts are evaluated in the light of our feelings.

Fulfillment, peace, joy, health on the inside, are often found by doing the exact opposite of what we feel like doing in the moment.  Our feelings can’t rule our lives.  How much different would your life be today if you were to step out of the place where you trust your feelings so much?

Another section that spoke to me was about control.  “We all struggle with viewing ourselves as god of our own lives.”  My first reaction was probably like yours, no way.  But Jonah goes on to say we have responsibilities but we are not in charge of our own fates.  You can’t live like it is all up to you.  If you do you are being a god of your life.  If you want a calm quiet soul you have to recognize, I am not in control.  The Lord has your best interest in mind.  “External control does not give us inner peace.”  God has both external control and the ability to give us internal peace.  We must let God be god of all.

I am sure you will find this book one that causes sore toes and a more contented heart.  So How’s Your Soul? If you’re not sure or if you want to ponder it a little deeper this is a good read for you.

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Review by Rayna: No Easy Jesus

No Easy Jesus:  How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life

No Easy Jesus is an honest look at the Jesus we have made Him out to be.  Many of us got to know Jesus and were excited about our relationship with Him years ago.  Things were great but then life happened and things did not go the way we expected so we began to feel a deep disappointment.

Eventually we reach a place where we began to feel that there must be more than this to the Christian life. 

Jason lays it out in what a life of a true follower of Christ looks like.  The true Jesus follower doesn’t do the easy stuff but rather the tough stuff that makes the best life possible.  Jesus held out the promise of a rich and satisfying life.

Discouragement, frustration and boredom are common among those who are serving the easy Jesus.  You do not have to be spiritually elite to experience a different life.

No Easy Jesus challenges you to take your faith to the next level.

Chapter 10 was my favorite.  Jason talks about how difficult it is to love others.  He sheds light on how our love often turns into demands.  He reminds us that love does not demand things of others.  When love has demands then resentment often follows.  Love can only exist in freedom.  Challenging words and something I’m still processing to be honest.

I recommend this somewhat quick read.  It will challenge you and help you better understand why you might be experiencing boredom or disappointment in your relationship with Jesus.

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Finding HOPE While Living with Loss

Finding HOPE While Living with Loss   

 Loss has visited close to home recently.  From a good friend who lost her mom to a dear friend who lost her battle with cancer.  Loss is difficult for everyone.

How do we find hope in the midst of loss is a difficult question to struggle with?  I have experienced hope during loss in a couple of different ways.

Sometimes there is hope even after loss when there is also new life.

The birth of my grandkids brought some hope even in the season of grieving the loss of my own children through miscarriage.

Their little lives brought joy and laughter even through the time of sadness.  I have also had a new a new dog bring hope and comfort when I have lost my best dog friend.

Most often I have experienced hope after loss through encounters with my Loving Father.  Some of the greatest losses in my life have been followed by hope filled experiences with God’s love.

When my mom passed away, though she had been sick for 12 years, it seemed like a shock.  I was not ready to let her go.

She died on a Saturday evening and the next morning while worshiping and grieving during church service, God blessed me with the reminder that Mom was worshiping that morning too.

She had been nonverbal for at least the last 8 years of her life (due to Alzheimer’s disease) so the thought of her standing at the feet of Jesus singing praises to Him face to face brought amazing comfort and joy.

The grief was made more bearable with the reminder of where she was that morning and for eternity yet to come.

The second time I experienced God’s great comfort was just a couple of years ago, when I was still struggling with the grief of losing my only children by miscarriage.

It was a difficult struggle for years, there were so many unanswered questions.  Why would the Lord let me get pregnant only to lose my children before they ever got to take their first breath and experience my love for them.

I had so many hopes and dreams.  Being a mom had been the desire of my heart for as long as I could remember.

Again, the Lord graciously reminded me that their death was not the end of their life.  They were safe with Him and my Mom in heaven.  When that truth came to me the overwhelming peace that followed was beyond description.

I had struggled for so long with questions and confusion regarding this loss but all of that became unimportant.  They were ok and I would meet them someday, peace & hope replaced all the anger and confusion that had just been there.

Today as I grieve the passing of my friend and grieve the disappearing of my dad, I find hope in the character of God.  I know that God is Good.

I know that God loves me no matter what happens in this life, and that truth motivates me to hold on to HOPE today and the many days to come.

 

How do you find Hope, even in the midst of grief?  

She Believes

she-believes-rrShe Believes challenges us to understand that what we believe affects every area of our lives.

She Believes is full of the most basic things of our faith and what God says about them. Debbie does a great job of breaking down the things of faith into everyday life. This faith thing is real and it impacts everything.

I appreciate Debbie’s transparency about life, relationships, marriage, failures, success, church and her walk with God. By being upfront and honest about life’s struggles her words bring a bigger impact on my heart.
The chapters are short and full of truth. I enjoyed reading a chapter each day to soak in all the wisdom in each chapter.
Some of my favorite chapters included:

Chapter 2: Your Reflection is beautiful. It is so hard to wrap our minds around how beautiful we are in the eyes of our God. The truth of this chapter resonated with me.

Chapter 6: Prayer a Difference Maker. This was a very encouraging chapter to me. Matthew 21:22. “Prayer, open honest, expectant conversation with God.” I love this definition of prayer.
Debbie’s reminder that God is waiting to have a personal and real relationship with us was very encouraging. I loved the way she broke down what prayer means and how to go about it.

Chapter 12: Big Girls Do Cry. Psalm 56:8 “There are some words only tears can speak.” Sometimes we just need to cry. I enjoyed her imaginary walk with God to review the warehouse full of our tears. He is such a personal God, I often don’t keep this in mind enough.

 

She Believes is a book that will help anyone both grow in their faith and firm it up without a doubt .

Take the time to read it and you will be encouraged and stronger!


 

How does what you believe change your everyday life?

How does what you believe change your everyday life?

Do you believe in Santa Claus?   Do you believe in happily ever after?   Do you believe in God’s word?

How you answer each of these questions will change the way you live. 

If you believe in Santa you will get better gifts, or so I hear.  If you believe in happily ever after you might work harder to invest your marriage so it is happy.  If you believe in God’s word you will know His character and how He feels about you and that will change everything.

Believe has two different definitions: one means to accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of something the second on is to hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose. Even how you believe something will change your life.

Believing something is truth versus an opinion are worlds apart. 

Sometimes experiencing hard times can mess with your believing.  Things have been difficult with Dad lately.

He is experiencing some new physical issues that have left him very tired and often even more confused.  Sadly, with those feelings he is very agitated and can be unkind.  My dad has always been a gentleman, kind and respectful.  It is very difficult to see him like this, not to mention being the person he is unkind to.

My heart has been saddened and heavy.  As I spilled my heart out to God about how hard this season with Dad is, He asked me, “Rayna, do you still believe I am good?”

This was a question I struggled with years ago when my first marriage came to an end.  It was so hard to understand how I could be experiencing this when it was the last thing I wanted.

How could God let this happen?Psalm 33:4-5

With this question came some exploring of God’s character.  Was it about Him letting this happen or was it really, could God still be good if this is His will for my life?

Struggling with this core belief has changed how I live.

Being rooted in the truth that God is Good helps me to respond to hard times with hope and peace.

When our house burned down, God is Good.

When my dog dies, God is Good.

When I get an, “I love you, Graham.” from Owen, God is Good.

When the harvest is abundant, God is Good.

When the crops are destroyed by flood, God is Good.

When my Dad is struggling and not nice, God is still Good.

What are you believing about God that needs a closer look?  How can you move your belief from opinion to truth?


If you are not sure where to start, I can help.  Coaching might be just what you need to make that shift.   Learn more about coaching here or contact me to talk about what coaching with me would look like for you!

 


“If you wish to know God, you must know his Word. If you wish to perceive His power, you must see how He works by his Word. If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by His Word.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

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