Book Review: What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

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Book Review: What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

I tend to be a bit skeptical about devotionals, particularly devotionals aimed at women. They are so often shallow and trite and wholly uninspiring. So I was a bit dubious about What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days by Holley Gerth when I started. I expected fluff and niceness and everything bright and shiny. Instead I found a deep breath. For instance:

“We’re funny as humans. We tend to think in terms of all or nothing. Se we insist that life is great when we’re breaking apart inside. Because to do otherwise would be to discount all of God’s goodness in our lives, right? Not so, friend. We always live with both blessings and brokenness. Challenges and victories. sorrow and joy. They’re all mixed up together. Acknowledging the hard parts of our lives doesn’t mean that we’re not grateful for the gifts God has given. … We can wonder at how many blessings fill our lives while at the same time sensing an aching emptiness that comes from desires unfulfilled.”

I mean seriously. That is so completely where I live: incredibly blessed and yet longing for more and filled with the guilt that comes from thinking it means I am not properly grateful. The whole book is like that. While I read I turned down the pages (avert your eyes, pristine book owners) that I wanted to remember and share, by the end I had something like half the book marked.

In my life, lately, things are hard. Not nearly as hard as others are facing and still filled with ridiculous abundance so I feel guilt about sadness or frustration (see above) but I also wonder, in my western thinking, if this change in circumstances reflects a change in my status with God. I know that’s completely un-scriptural but it’s hard not to feel like a dissatisfying circumstance is a reflection of God’s dissatisfaction with me. Here’s what Holley says about that.

“We will go through difficulties in this life. We will face challenges. We will have questions that don’t get answered until heaven. But we can know that even in all that, God wants us to thrive. He delights in seeing us enjoy our lives. He wants what’s best for us.”

Seriously, I could just type quote after quote but instead, I really think you should read this book! There are 52 entries so you can read them daily, weekly or whenever you choose. Each chapter begins with a verse from the Psalms, includes observations and insights from Holley, and ends with space for the reader (that’s you!) to journal and record their thoughts and prayers.

One last newsy tidbit for today: Holley has a facebook group for this devotional. You can join for free. Just click here for all the details.

And because I love you, I have a copy to give away! Just enter your comment below before Wednesday. We’ll pick a winner and put this beauty in the mail!

{Next Month: Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley}

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3 responses »

  1. Dear Nancy, this is a great blog. I think we all can relate to times of difficult challenges. Certainly, this past year has been one of those for me.

    I just want to say, “thanks” for this sweet, short and yet deep post. My heart truly connected with yours.
    Missing you lots.
    Dorota

    Ps. I totally agree on the devotionals, especially the ones for women… Ha!

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