Category Archives: Read

books I’m reading and the thoughts and ideas they inspire

Book Review: Girl Meets Change

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Book Review: Girl Meets Change

I just finished reading Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You Through Life’s Transitions, by Kristen Strong. It feels kind of like the last three years of my life have been non-stop transition so this book was perfect for me.

This is a good book. The writing is well-done without being stuffy, conversational without being fluffy. Each chapter addresses an aspect of change with thoughtful encouragement and scriptural examples. While none of it was earth-shatteringly new, it was filled with sweet reminders and pointed me back to faith and trust and building altars to mark God’s presence in my life. Who can’t use a little bit more of that? For example:

“The point of our breaking points? They are the perfect place for Christ to come and be what we cannot. They are the perfect place for us to remember we have a Savior who identifies without weaknesses. He is not unfamiliar with what makes us wring our hands with worry.”

Her writing is so read-able that each chapter moves quickly. Each time they end with a prayer so this would be a perfect book for a devotional.

Here’s another quote:

“Jesus knows weakness. He’s felt weakness. And He isn’t turned off by our weakness.”

Yep. The older I get the more I am struck by the remarkable kindness of a God-that-came-down.

A dear friend of mine is facing a particularly challenging and un-wanted change so this book will go next to her. I love thinking of these words of courage and comfort going to her as she faces the unknown of her future.

Another favorite quote:

“He [God] stopped my downward spiral with plain truth: gratitude is the way of hope, especially during seasons of difficult change. When change wipes all the natural light from the rooms of my heart, being thankful is the way to usher it back in.”

Kristen Strong’s sweet spirit comes through clearly in her words of encouragement. She challenges us to be women of God–strong, brave, determined, though broken, scared and flawed. Yes and amen.

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Book Review: Wild in the Hollow

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Book Review: Wild in the Hollow

Hi Friends,

It’s officially been 597 years since my last post. But today seems like a good day to tell you about a book I read. In the interest of full disclosure I feel like I should tell you that I received my copy free from Revell Publishing with the agreement that I would post a review here.

So.

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home, by Amber C. Haines

Amber’s writing is, well, lovely. It’s like a sigh – all airy and spacious and full of images. Quite lovely indeed. In the book she describes her love for the language and everything about the book backs her up. I love that.

Now the hard part…I have been torn about writing this review: I have personally committed to only putting good stuff out there. There are plenty of haters and arguers and critics without me joining the fight. I don’t believe this is the right place for it. Outside of relationship, negativity loses its value, often becoming acidic harpy-ness or angry rants. Not for me. And at first, I didn’t love this book. But I had agreed to write this before they sent me the book. And right next to my personal commitment to put good stuff out there is my commitment to honor my word. Oh dear.

Insert days of stewing over this,
conversations about it with my sister,
deliberating and just plain procrastinating and here we are.

What I didn’t love is this: in her beautiful writing she describes a broken church. Kind of critically. And it seems too easy. We can all criticize God’s saved sinners. I mean, come on. How is that hard? If you’ve ever been to an American church, ever met a believer, you can already tell me what she said. And that doesn’t feel good to me. Her points are completely fair and valid, and likely they are pretty accurate too but I want to read a book about how the church is redeemed, how we-worked-through-the-hard-stuff-and-this-is-where-we-landed. But that’s not this book.

What this book is, is about her personal story and I’m not sure she could have told it without being critical first since that comes the closest to explaining how she got the to the redemption at the end. Which means, if you, like me, find the beginning of the book frustrating because you can find critical descriptions of the Bride of Christ any day of the week, (on your Facebook page for crying out loud!) then I would encourage you to stick with it to the end. Somewhere in chapter 12 it turned a corner for me and became not about what-is-wrong-with-the-church but what-your-life-in-Christ can be. And that made all the difference for me. What I thought was a negative, take-the-easy-way, criticism, became a book about redemption and hope and healing. I finally saw myself in her honest descriptions and quit feeling as though it was my job to defend the whole community of faith.

As a whole, the book is engaging, easy to read, lyric in its prose but challenging in its subject matter. At the end of the day, it’s not my favorite but I applaud her honesty and remarkable vulnerability that revealed a pretty awesome and strong woman of God.

What about you…what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts or responses in the comments.51eMabthipL._SX342_BO1204203200_-276x400