Posts tagged BookLook Blogger
When Freedom Writes Our Stories

I recently did exactly what Lauren Daigle sings so beautifully about in her song Trust in You.

I let go of every dream and laid them at His feet.

And I discovered a freedom and a hope I'd truly never experienced before.


A few months ago, I discovered the book I Don't Wait Anymore by Grace Thornton. The question on the back was about the only incentive I needed to pick it up.

Have you been waiting for life to turn out the way you expected?

If I was honest, I had.

In all my years of wrestling with God over my singleness, I hadn't realized just how tightly I was still holding on to my own dreams, ideas, and expectations for my life.

I almost don't even have the words for how good this book is. I've already recommended it to so many of my friends (and not just those who are single). I Don't Wait Anymore is a hope-filled invitation to freedom, an invitation to see just how big and good and wise our God is and just how great a plan He has for us.

In I Don't Wait Anymore, Grace inspires you to seek God more earnestly and to seek Him for Him — not just for the blessings or answers He can bring.

Her words are raw and honest, but also full of poetry and possibility.

 

The section that may have impacted me most was when she asks her readers to consider what unmet desires are hidden in their hearts.

She goes on to encourage them to ask this question: "If [God] never fulfilled that desire, would I be able to be content? If I walk a road where those things never happen, would I be filled with joy knowing I would get Him at the end?"

As I got quiet and good and honest with myself, I realized that while I had been living that yes on the outside, the answer was still a no inside my heart.

But there was hope.

Her next invitation?

To ask myself why God was smaller in my heart than the life I wanted.

And to ask Him to show me who He really was.

This beautiful book is a journey through that process, and I honestly can't recommend it enough. Grace brought me back to who God really is. She shook up the dreams and expectations I've been carrying around and woke me up to the freedom of true surrender.

And it was truly different than anything I'd ever felt before.

Because when God gets in our hearts and replaces our dreams with Himself,  "our hearts become blank canvases where He can paint pictures of His love, fill us up with His Spirit, and change our desires and hurts from the inside out. It feels different. We begin to see Him write a new story. One with a whole lot of freedom."

What I've Been Reading Lately: 40 Days of Decrease, Breaking Busy, and The Bronte Plot

Hello, friends! I'm excited to share a few thoughts on some of my recent readings!

Spiritual disciplines do not transform, they only become relational opportunities to open the heart to the Spirit who transforms." - John H. Coe

40 Days of Decrease was such a thoughtful devotional for the Lenten season. Having read Alicia Britt Chole's other book Anonymous, I knew her writing would go deeper and would challenge my faith in good and meaningful ways. 40 Days of Decrease does just that. It's a book that pushes you to really throw off the hindrances and distractions of the world and focus on Jesus and the incredible sacrifices He made in love for us. I loved the reminder that the season of Lent isn't just about giving something up, but that it's about drawing near to God. "We thin our lives to thicken our communion with God." During my reading of the book, that meant thinning distractions (specifically shopping), but also thinning anything God called me to step away from. I loved the book's format of daily devotional reading, scripture passage for reflection, historical background, and room for notes. I definitely recommend this devotional for the season of Lent, but it's also a wonderful devotional for any time of the year that you want to refocus on Jesus.

5 stars

Breaking Busy is an easy, fun read, but ironically, when life got busy, I had trouble finishing it. The author has an approachable writing voice that's bright with warmth and humor, however, I think I may personally be in a season where reading "how-to" books just isn't the best fit. The last few I've picked up haven't held my attention the way they used to. This is no reflection on the book's quality or content, of course (there was a season of my life where I couldn't get enough of books like this), but recently, I find myself craving more in-depth storytelling, rather than quick, light reads. I will say that even though I would classify this as a quick read, there is some great content within its pages, especially for women who find themselves over-scheduled and overwhelmed. The reminder that we all need to edit our lives is a good one, and even moreso that we need to allow God to be the one guiding that editing work.

3.5 stars

I loved, loved, loved this book!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I shared that this photo is what my evenings have looked like lately — burning my @peripetihome Silver Linings candle (which is an inspiring and hope-filled blend of lemon, lavender, patchouli and other essential oils)... And getting lost in The Bronte Plot.

I think this book found me at the perfect time (so amazing when they do that, yes?!) and I love that the main character is about my age and still figuring out so much about her life (plus, she's single!). There's such hope and possibility between these pages, and for the main character Lucy, and I know I have the same hope and possibility in my own life, especially being in a bit of a season of transition right now myself.

One of my favorite passages was about the questioning times we often find ourselves in.

"That questioning time...All the books have it...that time when you don't know where you'll be, but you can't stay as you are..." - The Bronte Plot

I lingered over those words for quite some time, pondering my own questioning times (and the one I find myself in right now!). God continues to move me forward, and because I've given Him the control over my life's adventures, I suppose I often find myself in questioning times, wondering what's next. I've been learning how to turn those questions into curiosity and wonder, knowing that each time He moves me forward or takes me somewhere new, I am living out the very best possible version of my story.

I love the way we can find pieces of ourselves and our own stories in books and how the stories we read become a part of us as well. I definitely recommend The Bronte Plot! (I've already since read Reay's Dear Mr. Knightley and am currently more than halfway through her third book Lizzy & Jane. I'm going to be so sad when it's finished, and there aren't any more of her books to get lost in! :)

So there you have it!

Do you have any recommendations for me? :)

What I've Been Reading: Life is ___. Forty-Day Experience

Morning quiet times have been a welcome re-addition to my daily schedule. I love brewing a cup of coffee, adding my favorite soy vanilla creamer, and cozying up with a few devotionals and journals.

One of the devotions I've been reading lately is Life Is _____ Forty-Day Experience: A Devotional Journey Through God's Illogical Love by Judah Smith. Smith's focus is to share with readers that "the meaning of life is found in loving and being loved, in enjoying God to the fullest, in trusting Him in every moment, and remaining at peace with God, others, and ourselves."

The book is organized into four sections based on those topics:

  • Life is to Be Loved and to Love
  • Life is to Trust God in Every Moment
  • Life is to Be at Peace With God and Yourself
  • Life is to Enjoy God

While I love the concept of this book, it just didn't grab me the way some of my favorite devotionals have. The content fell a bit flat for me, possibly because the writing style isn't one I normally prefer. I had a hard time engaging and connecting with Smith's reflections. I did like the book's format of scripture, devotional reading, and questions to consider each day, though.

Even though the writing style didn't particularly appeal to me, I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to spend some time meditating on God's immense love for us and how it impacts every aspect of our lives.

My review: 3 stars

*Book for review provided by BookLook