When I ordered the DVD and study book for Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts I threw in another book just because. I had heard a lot about it and the title totally jumped out at me. The book is “Undaunted” by Christine Caine

There is nothing about this book that is what I thought it would be.

I’ll hopefully do a more “formal” review of this book when I’m completely done with it…although the opposite is happening to me. I’m becoming undone.

My word for this year is unrelenting. I long to be unrelenting in so many aspects of my life, but ultimately I long to be confident. I feel like this space here, while a good space for me, becomes just a repeat. Every post speaks of how I am honestly stuck.

And to be honest, I’m not stuck. I just don’t want to move.

The chapter I read today in this book reminded me of the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. People walked by the wounded. Good people walked past him. But only one chose to cross the road. Only one chose to interrupt where he was going to help this person. And more than that, only one chose to not only give of his time, but also his resources.

It’s almost like this story woke me up. Startled me really.
God has created so much space in my life right now. And while I do know that some of this space is for me to create a business with the work of my hands, I also feel like He is creating space for something else.
This book scares me. It scares me because it wakes me up (rise O sleeper! as Paul writes in Ephesians).
I started this book and got about half way through it thinking how great this woman was and how this was just an encouraging sort of book.
But it’s more than that. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t just sit and read about others doing.
I have to answer that call too.
Not to fill up the space that God has created with so many things, but to use the time that God has given for Him.
So with great hesitation I walked this morning and prayed for God to give me courage to listen and respond to Him.
To reveal to me the interruptions I need to answer to in my life.
Counting on Him to uphold me every step of the way.

As Christine Cain says so beautifully:
God doesn’t ask us ‘are you capable?’, He asks us ‘are you willing?;”

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a new beginning

Today is the last day of 2012. I’ve been praying that God would reveal a word for me to focus on and live out this next year. Instead of a list of 20 resolutions, I wanted one word to encapsulate this next year for me. This morning it hit me like a brick.

unrelenting.

Through a host of books I’ve finished and one that I just started (reviews to follow in the coming weeks) this word truly brings out what God has been teaching me and revealing in me.

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Unrelenting is a way of saying never ceasing and this is the year of being unrelenting in…

my quest to be freed from the bondage that is holding my heart captive to trusting
my desire to daily pursue gratitude and thankfulness for everything in my vision
my pursuit of God and the hearts of my husband, children, family and friends.

I do not give up easily in life on 99% of things…except Jesus.
I give up on Jesus all the time because “I know better.” (ha!)

This year I long to be 99% unrelenting in my pursuit of Him. Irregardless of where it might lead me.
For where He leads me will be 150% more amazing than anywhere I might have imagined.

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book review {soul talk}

 

 

 

 

 

I am reading through a host of chosen books by a group of women (most of whom are strangers to me, which makes it all the more interesting) all regarding discipleship and mentoring others.

It’s odd to read books about discipleship and mentoring because I am still often in that mindset that I’m the one that desperately needs to BE discipled and BE mentored…not the other way around. That’s why this book is so good for me.

Soultalk is by Larry Crabb and honestly I’m still processing through the first few chapters even though I just finished the book. It’s one of those books that makes total sense, but when you think about the practice of it in your daily life you think it’s impossible. But that’s really what the essence of this book is about. It is about living relationally with others without always striving for an answer. It’s about not just jumping in with a solution to their problem, or worries, or concerns. But really just listening to them and then listening to the Spirit that is within us. And ultimately it’s about striving for our first thing: to be in the Spirit and knowing God better and knowing that all the second things: such as the redemption of a failing marriage might occur. In us striving to know God better in our lives, when we are listening to our friends and neighbors share their hurts and worries, we are longing for nothing more than for them to know God better too.

All of that sounds so trite when written in a paragraph. “Know God better and your life will all fall into place.” That is so not true. But knowing and communing more in step with the Spirit leads us to a place where when our world is still falling apart, we know we are going to be ok.

If this book does anything for me, it encourages me to just be with others. To stop talking. To stop figuring out when I can share my struggles, but to just listen. I’m a horrible listener. I’m always five steps ahead of the conversation and have a horrible habit of interrupting. My friends all show me such grace in that area. And this book also encourages me that I have the power within me to speak grace to my friends, when I stop and listen and “think beneath.”

Crabb gives five areas of response when we hear from others about things going on in their lives:

THINK BENEATH: Don’t speak too quickly. Ask yourself, is this person more aware of his/her desire for blessings or desire for God? Is this a battle of religion (if I get it right, life will go reasonably well) or true Christianity (which is an utter and complete dependence on God…for everything)

THINK VISION: reflect on how this person would be talking about their life if they wanted God more than blessings. (looking for and receiving blessings so often can be the ruling factor in our walk with Christ…they are merely a second thing)

THINK PASSION: how are you (how am I) right now self obsessed as I’m listening to this friend? Feel it, confess it to God and let brokenness put you in touch with your true desire to love this person. (how am I looking for a way to impress this friend with my “wisdom” versus impacting them with God?) I can’t speak life into another person (fully) until I’ve seen my brokenness. Then the Life can flow freely out of me.

THINK STORY: Listen for the hidden story of fear and shame and to hear shaping events that directed this person away from God in order to find life. Don’t try to give advice and “fix it”, but just listen.

THINK MOVEMENT: Pay attention to any movement toward brokenness. Put words to repentance, encourage specific acts of trust, share your confidence in God and celebrate release of the person’s true self. When I speak, let it be words flowing out of my own brokenness…words flowing from the River of Life within me.

 

Overall this is a great book. It is a transforming book that honestly I probably need to reread every couple of months, or at the very least go back over my journal and highlights. I pray it leads me to a place of brokenness where I can speak less and listen more to those the Lord puts around me.

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