Review by Rayna: Stronger Than the Struggle

AnchorStronger than the Struggle: Uncomplicating Your Spiritual Battle is a great resource.

I have reviewed other books on prayer in the past but I think this one has become my favorite in the category of the theology of prayer.

Havilah Cunnington is a popular Bible teacher and Bethel Church pastor.  She uses a down’-to earth style to address an important and sometimes complicated topic of prayer.

Havilah reminds us that whether we talk about it or not, every follower of God is in a war against a very real enemy, one who wants to steal, kill, and destroy.

In Stronger than the Struggle,  you will appreciate Havilah’s style of addressing the origins of our struggles: God, us or the enemy.  She helps you learn to ask the right questions to help you gain a better understanding of the struggles and what it will take to get victory over them.

 

https://amzn.to/2MRLRp2One of my favorite parts is where Havilah discusses the truth of how the enemy twists things to get us on unsteady ground.  Most of the time when God tells us what to do the enemy will ask questions to undermine what God has clearly said.

Havilah states:  “The enemy will always change God’s periods into question marks.”

You know when God says, “You are clean, washed white as snow.” and the enemy says, “You are pure, really?”

If we allow God’s statements to us to change into questions about us we will lack confidence in God, His character and what we know about God.

One final thought I really liked was this quote.  “We are amid a life or death fight but it won’t last forever. There will come a time whether it’s in heaven when we arrive or on earth when Christ returns when the battle will end.  Christ will have his reward and this is what we fix our eyes on as we continue in our daily struggles.  The hope of the future.”

If you struggle with prayer or have found yourself not believing in it as you once did, I encourage you to enjoy this read.

Review by Rayna: Creating Calm in the Center of Crazy

Creating Calm in the Center of Crazy

Creating Calm in the Center of Crazy: Making room for your soul in an overcrowded life is a refreshingly honest look at how you can make choices to move to a place of calm for yourself. 

A life of crazy usually doesn’t just show up one day but rather it grows slowly and gradually. We don’t realize how crazy it has become until there is a big event that brings the shift into focus. 

Now that we see the crazy what do we do?

Nicole shares her recipe for crazy was 1.) Distraction- using it to distract others from their unmet needs to distracting ourselves from ours.  2.)  Overcommitment- using the word no became a memory.  3.) Multitasking- “the illusion that we can successfully handle multiple tasks simultaneously.”  4.) Comparison- taking our comparisons and using them as measuring sticks for our worth. 5.) Pressure- everyone experiences it and can even handle different amounts without a problem.  The issue is when you finally realize it is all too much it too late, everything explodes.Once in this place of crazy we often seek out new tips or tricks to managing our time better but honestly, that usually isn’t the fix we need when crazy has overtaken our world.  Nicole’s book shares her story and how she explored new practices to find a true refuge of calm both inside and out.

Some of those practices were creating a room of her own, setting and keeping boundaries with technology, as well as experiencing quiet and still to find true refreshment.

I found so many great ideas in this book I have started a Pinterest board with some of my favorite quotes.  You can visit them here:

I would love to have you add your favorites to my board!

 

It has been great in this season of life to focus back on finding my calm both inside and out.  I hope you find it helpful as well.

 

 

How Are You Being Made Perfect?

 

I often say God gave me curly hair to remind me every morning how little control I really have in life.

 

I love my curly hair, I really do.  I just want it to curl perfectly the same on both sides.  Is that asking for too much?  Yep, yep it is.  (So I decided if I make both sides of my hair different it wouldn’t bug me so much and I love it this way.}

I like my eyeliner to be perfect too.  Oh, and the fit of my clothes and the style of my jewelry with each outfit.

 

Perfect, that’s how I like it.

 

How do you define perfect?

When we really stop and think about it perfect is very subjective.  Your idea of perfect and my idea of perfect are not the same.

In fact, my husband would say that my hair looks exactly the same every day.  I’m sure he would think it is styled it perfectly each day.  For me most days it is just as good as it is going to get.

Perfect is an interesting word, it can be used as a noun, verb or adjective.  Perfect as a verb is an act of making something free from faults and defects, or as close to such a condition as possible while the adjective has two meanings having all the desirable elements, qualities, and characteristics, as good as it is able to be or absolute, complete.  (per the online dictionary)

I don’t know about you, but I was surprised to see in the definition any reference to as good or as close as it can get.  In my mind, things are either perfect (flawless) or they are not.  I’m settling when I am accepting something that is as close as possible.

 

There is a very fine line between trying our best and being a perfectionist. 

 

Because perfection is subjective, I dare to say most of us struggle with perfectionism more than we realize.  Listening to our self-talk will probably help us to identify how real the struggle is for us.

Some woman dress perfectly each day and still aren’t happy with how they look.  Criticizing their reflection in the mirror every time they see it.

Some keep a spotless house but still worry that others are judging how long it has been since they have washed the windows.

Others avoid talking about family because they don’t want others to realize how heartbroken they are over a parodical child or addicted sibling.

The search for perfection is a discouraging and pointless pursuit.

 

The best news is the Lord actually took care of our greatest need per Hebrews 10:14

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 

(The Message)

 

I’m so thankful He is making me holy through His sacrifice.  It is a process for sure though. 

 

 

When we invite the Lord into our areas of perfectionism He helps us see things differently.

When looking in the mirror we see a beautiful woman created in His image with unique and special physical features.

When looking around her home she sees the blessing of the roof over here head, the people he has placed in her family, and the many special memories created there.

When thinking of your wayward loved one you remember to lift them up in prayer and ask your friends to join you in praying.

In what ways is the Lord perfecting you in this area of perfectionism?

 

Join me in next months Book Chat and Facebook Community as we explore Kathi and Cheri's book and how we can stop trying harder and start living braver.

Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory wrote a book called The Cure for the Perfect Life where they examine what Try-Harder Living has done to rob us of our joy and made nothing in life quite good enough.  They point out that there are 4 bullies that are the main culprits:  Perfectionism, People-Pleasing, Performancism and Procrastination.

Does rest make it on your to-do list?

To do List Rest

Does rest make it on your to-do list?

Today

There are so many things to do just to keep our worlds spinning these days it can be difficult to remember what rest is much less to be intentional about pursuing it.

In the Past

Benjamin Franklin said, “He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.”  I would venture to say rest is not valued the same today as it once was.

The Importance of Rest is well known.

Research is showing us over and over again how important rest is to our lives.  Healthier bodies, less stress, deeper relationships, the opportunity for reflection, balance, increased production and reserve for life’s emergencies are just some of the benefits Joshua Becker shared in an article, The Lost Practice of Resting One Day Each Week. https://www.becomingminimalist.com/resting/

If you were to put rest on your to-do list what would that look like to you?

When I asked my Facebook friends I got a variety of different answers, here are just a few…

Rest can look like many different ways no doubt.

Ways to embrace rest.

There are many resources to learn how to embrace rest in your life.  Try breaking it down into manageable steps. You can think in seasons, Spring is here and Summer is on its way, how can you plan to embrace rest at the change of your routine.   Find rest for your brain take up a new hobby, maybe even take a class to learn something new, find rest for your soul by going on a retreat, or find rest for your body by getting outside and enjoy the sun. Need a smaller step?  Take a daybreak.  Plan a day of rest.  Focus on the areas of your life that need it most. Can’t fit in a full day?  Set aside minutes here and there throughout the day.  Find a way to keep the kids busy so you can enjoy a good book.  Call a friend, enjoy a wonderful conversation or even a coffee date.  Go to bed early, it might be just what your body needs.

Seek Rest in the Lord.

Finally, jump into the scriptures and see what God has to say about rest can give you great insight. 

One of my favorite verses about rest isBefore I love the thought of Jesus displacing worry in my life with peace.

This scripture has been true in my life over and over again.  Whether it be walking through a divorce, buying a business and moving to a town where I knew no one, or marrying again even after a failed marriage the peace of Christ always drives out fear.

 

In what ways have you experienced rest through the Peace of Christ?  I would love for you to comment below!

Review by Rayna: Daring to Hope

Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and Beautiful is an amazing and encouraging read.  I was so blessed by Katie Majors’ amazing commitment and obedience to the Lord.

 

As a teenager, Katie went on a mission trip to Uganda which changed her life forever.  When she returned to the states her desire to follow the dreams she had before she went we completely gone.  She decided to make the move to Uganda permanently rather than to head to college.

 

In Uganda, she started a nonprofit called Amazima Ministries.  Her mission is Helping to educate and empower the people of Uganda with God’s love.

 

She is passionate about helping people, in this book she shares how she works with woman and families to find the love of the Lord and improve their lives in any way she can.

 

She is active in fostering orphans, providing lay health care, helping families be united after the death as well as adoption. This book is filled with stories of raising those beautiful girls and the challenges of loving and losing.

 

I was so encouraged and blessed by her open heart and home.  She shares how looking for blessings in even the small ways helped to heal her broken heart when one of her girls has to be returned to her mom after 4 years of being hers.

 

The wisdom shared in this book will bless and challenge you as you look to live out your life loving and serving as God has called you to, in your life, right where you are!

How to Settle In During a Hard Transition

How to Settle In During a Hard Transition…

According to Bella

Just 4 months ago Bella joined our Neises pack.  Bella is an 8-year-old pug.  I am a pug lover and had been looking for a female black pug to adopt for a couple of years.  Life had gotten too busy for her former family and they decided it was best for her to find a new home.  R Farm was just the right retirement home for her.

Moving to a new home is a BIG transition for anyone, even a dog.

This transition has been a challenging one for Miss Bella.  Since her move was something she couldn’t prepare for or even understand I think it was especially hard on her.

After Bella came home to live on the farm she became very frantic.  The panic got even worse when she couldn’t see me.

It took over a month before she would even stay in a room when I walked out of it.   It is hard to even describe how upset she became when I had to leave her.

Today she is doing much better.  She loves to relax on the back of the couch and look out the window.  She still sticks rather close, but she is even willing to go on short adventures around the farm.

I am still her favorite safe place, but trust is growing, and she seems to be embracing life as a Neises and all that entails.

As I sit in my prayer chair with Bella snuggled in my lap the Lord shared some special things with me about our relationship.  He brought this verse to mind and then shared with me how life with Bella has shown me this verse in a very real way.

Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Making big transitions in life is so much easier when you know the Lord.  When we make transitions, we can often be stressed by all the changes.

Like Bella, we can run around searching for anything that makes us feel safe.  Make sure you run to Him.  He is the only one who is always there, and He always knows what is going on in our lives.

 Be strong and courageous.

Learning to stand strong in your faith and courageous in the midst of change is an important habit to develop.

Find your comfy couch….Learn to rest and relax in Him.

Just because we can’t see Him doesn’t mean He isn’t there providing and protecting us.  Remember even in the difficult times we can rest in the confidence of His love.  As Bella has learned to enjoy lap time with me and time alone on the couch we need both too.

Time just sitting with the Lord, listening to His loving words and singing praises to Him is a must to grow in faith and trust in Him.  This faith and trust bring the courage to not be afraid even when we don’t understand what is happening in our lives.

Do not be afraid,

With fear behind you like Bella, it is ok to explore and to try new things.  If everything you have known has changed then I know you aren’t feeling much like exploring, you are actually longing to settle into a new safe routine.

Try a mindset shift, it will help you embrace the change.  Keeping in mind the Lord is everywhere.  There is nothing to fear.  These truths can help you make that shift so you can leave fear behind.

For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I love how the Lord helps me learn in the most personal ways. I hope you find the lessons Bella has helped me remember have blessed you as well.


I would really like to hear how you have experienced peace in the midst of change in your life.  Please Share below.

 

If you find yourself in transition without peace I would love to talk with you about how coaching can help you learn that there is hope when life stinks! Let’s Talk.  Contact Me

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