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.

 

 

Review by Rayna: Why her?

Why Her?  :6 Truths We Need to Hear When Measuring Up Leaves Us Falling Behind

Comparison seems to be a natural state for us.  We often find ourselves comparing ourselves to others without even realizing that is what we are doing.  Questions like, “Why Her, Lord?” “Must be nice!” “Why Never ME!” as well as more settle questions are “What so wrong with us?  Questioning our worth, evening doubting God”  are at the root questions of comparison.

Nicki Kuziri, the author, states, “we love to shout our success but seldom share own secret sorrows.  But the more honest we can become about the areas that threaten our souls the most the sooner we will feel empowered enough to escape the comparison chase.”

Nicki shares 6 truths we need to hear when measuring up leaves us falling behind using the stories of her own life and that of Leah and Rachel in the Genesis to illustrate.  The 6 truths are:  1) You Need to be Honest 2) See It Like It Really Is 3) You Don’t Have to be Okay 4) You Didn’t Do Anything Wrong 5) Her Gain is Not Your Loss 6) Let the Success of Others Encourage, Not Discourage You.

Throughout this book, Nicki explores how comparison affects our lives but most importantly our relationship with the Lord.  She states “this isn’t just a me struggle, it is a God struggle.”  Further explaining a God struggle as a struggle that goes against the grain of who He created you to be.

Nicki’s goal is for the reader to move toward becoming transparent about what causes us to compare ourselves with others for it will keep us from needing to compare ourselves to others at all.  Oh that we all might get to this place.

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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.

Review by Rayna: Find Rest

Find Rest:  A women’s devotional for lasting peace in a busy life

 

Find Rest is a beautiful devotional written by one of my favorite authors, Shaunti Feldhahn.  This is a departure from her typical books.

Shaunti is a social researcher who has found the common struggle in woman trying to do it all only to find themselves feeling frazzled and frenzied due to the crazy business of life.

This  60-day devotional is packed with great insights and encouragement.

Some days we juggle all the balls of life well but many we wish we could just have a do-over.  Shaunti reminds us of the words of our savior, ”  Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your soul.”  Matthew 11:28-29
Through daily devotions, reflection questions and room to journal a little she walks with us to a place for finding rest.

(Not to mention the book is beautiful.  The illustrations are joyful and peacefilled too.)

There are 8 elements Shaunti shares that will help you Find Rest

  1. Build Only on Rock
  2. Love According to Your Design
  3. Set Aside Supermom
  4. Connect with God
  5. Shift Your Perspective
  6. Create Life=Giving Relationships
  7. Walk in Obedience
  8. Have No Fear

Each of the elements is the theme of the daily devotions and definitely help you discover lasting peace in a busy life.

I enjoyed this devotional so much my friend Nancy Booth and I will be using it as a support resource for our new group coaching opportunity, BE Peacefilled.  You receive the beautiful hardcover edition of this devotional when you sign up to be a part of the class. (Want to know more, don’t miss out on the chance to join us  LEARN MORE.)

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