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.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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: Choose to THRIVE

Choose to THRIVE is a challenging book written for high-achieving women.  Debbie’s style of direct and to the point communication style is refreshing.  She openly shares her challenges and life experience in order to encourage her reader to address her own issues.

In the book Debbie shares 9 character qualities most high-achieving women possess and how they can cause problems in our lives.  I found myself relating to many of the qualities as I am sure you will too.

I enjoyed the style of Debbie’s book.  She points out the qualities, how they can cause a problem when unbalanced and then shares how she found balance in her own life.  Each chapter ends with questions to help you examine yourself and begin the process of working on finding your balance.

The chapter that impacted me the most was the one one perfectionism.  I have known that I have this character quality all my life and I have worked hard to put people  before perfection but I often still find myself struggling it and not even realizing I’m doing it.  Here is an excerpt from Debbie’s chapter addressing perfectionism.

It takes a conscious effort to step back and look at what we are asking for. Does it leave room for people, including ourselves, to do what they do best? Or does it pigeonhole them into doing things the way we think is best? Do people believe they have the latitude to take calculated risks without harsh repercussions? Do you give yourself grace when you mess up? Do you give your child grace when they don’t do as well as you think they should have?  Are we leaving room for God to work?

Perfectionism is something I have been aware of in my life for a long time.  I was challenged and encouraged by the way Debbie addressed her struggle with perfectionism.  If you consider yourself a high-achiever I’m sure that you will benefit from reading Choose to THRIVE and examining some of the inner conflicts you face.

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?