The Way of Letting Go – Book Review

The Way of Letting Go

By:  Wilma Derksen

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

First Person • NonFiction • Narrative Style • 240 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Maybe it was the sting of remarks from a relative or friend. Maybe a miscarriage ended your hopes for a family. For all of your heartbreaks, maybe you wished there was someone to help you through. For Wilma Derksen, letting go of the 15 misconceptions about grief led her back to hope. In this book she tells how you can do the same.

Wilma’s world collapsed when her teenage daughter, Candace, was taken hostage and murdered. Wilma now shares her choices to “let go” of heartbreak, which gave her the courage to navigate through the dark waters of sorrow. Like Wilma, maybe your heartbreak forced you to retreat from happy expectations, of believing that life is fair, of finding closure for every circumstance. She encourages patiently: let go of the happy ending, let go of perfect justice, let go of fear, and let go of closure. Wilma’s wisdom will help you overcome your broken heart, and her advice will enable you to break free of pain to live a life of true joy.

Why I Choose this Book:

I don’t even remember why I requested this book for review, but I’m glad I did.

What I Thought about this Book:

It was beautiful. The message, the writing, the ideas presented, all of it was beautiful. I was amazed the whole book through how the tone of each page was so peaceful and forgiving, and yes, full of letting go. The author’s daughter was murdered. By human standards the author has every right to rant and rage, yet she knew she was held to a higher standard – God’s standard. And, even though she wasn’t always triumphant, she knew forgiveness was the best way.

The book was very eye-opening to me. I hadn’t realized how drastically someone’s life changes when their child is murdered. With the author, it had been a very publicized crime because first the daughter was missing, so they needed everyone to help look for her. That meant that when they eventually found her body, the news didn’t die down – instead they continued being in the news, and that would have to have been really hard. Also, the fact that it took many years to find the murderer meant that there wasn’t closure. I can’t even imagine what they had to go through, and to continue to have forgiveness and grace through it all? Very powerful.

The author goes through the Sermon on the Mount, point by point, as she goes through her story. The way she fit everything together, and goes back and forth speaks of impressive writing skills. She’s honed her writing craft very well.

At the beginning of each chapter there were quotes, and the quotes by Corrie ten Boom were my favorite. I’m very thankful that the author, like Corrie, was able to take the hardest thing in her life, and turn it around to use it for God’s glory. I had never heard about the author before reading this book, but apparently she’s traveled around speaking about forgiveness, and she has a blog. (Although, I don’t know if her blog is about forgiveness or not.) The author shows that even horrible and painful things in life can end up being used for good if they are handled the correct way.

Conclusion:

There are some details in the book that make it unsuitable for ages 16 and under or so, but overall I think the author did a good job of not getting too detailed.

There were also several things I didn’t agree with all of the way, but for the most part I really appreciated everything in the book.

Rating: 

I’m giving The Way of Letting Go 4 out of 5 stars, and 7 out of 10.

*I received this book from BookLook

Leading KidMin – Book Review

Leading KidMin

By:  Pat Cimo and Matt Markins

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

First Person • NonFiction • Narrative Style • 192 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Want to see your church’s kids transformed for Jesus? Struggling to get the whole church on board? Know what you want to see happen, but not how to make it happen?

Leading KidMin is about what it takes to achieve big-time change. Moving past the “why” and getting straight to the “how,” Leading Kidmin provides tools and strategies for actually leading, influencing, and implementing change on a local church level—all from the vantage point of the children’s ministry director.

The mission of Leading KidMin is to create a movement of change-agents who don’t just know that change is needed, but are equipped to make it happen, leading their churches in becoming more aligned, effective, and geared for growth.

Pat Cimo and Matt Markins, veterans of KidMin, are prepared to make you the change-agent you want to be—and that your church needs you to be. Are you ready?

Why I Choose this Book:

I help out with the children’s ministry at church, and therefore I thought it would be helpful to read about the subject.

What I Thought about this Book:

Currently I’m not at the place where the information was incredibly helpful – I don’t do enough with the kids ministry, and our church is rather small when compared to mega churches. At the same time I’m glad I read the book. It gave me a broader view of children’s ministry in churches around the USA, as well as giving me ideas of things that I can avoid in the future if/when I do get more involved with the ministry.

Despite being sick and rather apathetic about words in general as I read Leading KidMin, I found it interesting and enlightening, so that’s a big shout-out for the book. It was a bit confusing trying to keep track of which one of the authors was writing, but other than that, the writing was fairly straight-forward and easy to understand. It also struck me as being practical which is always a great thing, but then again, I’m not exactly in the correct position to state that with authority.

I appreciated the spirit of the book – the authors shared triumphant as well as trials, sharing humbly where they’d messed up and what they had learned from their mistakes.

There were pie charts and surveys throughout the book, and despite not being into math in the least bit, pie charts, surveys, and percentages make my little heart happy. The book was also pleasing to look at altogether – some of the information was in orange-shaded boxes, there were pie charts as I mentioned, headers that helped me stay focused, and several other small things like that which added to the ambience of the book.

Conclusion:

This probably isn’t a book I’ll be re-reading for a long time – simply because it’s not where I am in life. I would recommend it to people who are very involved in kid’s ministry.

Rating: 

I’m giving Leading KidMin 4 out of 5 stars, and 6 out of 10.

*I received this book from Moody Press

Getting Jesus Wrong – Book Review

Getting Jesus Wrong

By:  Matt Johnson

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

First Person • NonFiction • Narrative Style • 160 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Jesus is not a life coach, a movement leader, a cultural visionary, or a blessing dispenser but you might not know that by listening to many Christians talk about their faith. Feel-good slogans promote a caricatured Jesus made in our own image who cannot save us and leave us feeling guilty for not saving ourselves. Following the wrong Jesus disappoints us and produces anxiety, pride, and despair.

The first half of Getting Jesus Wrong recounts pastor and author Matt Johnson s personal encounters with a string of false saviors false saviors that many, especially young adults, will recognize. Johnson s humor and transparency in recounting his own painful experiences will appeal to those who have tried a brand of Christianity and found it lacking.

The truth is, we all want something from Jesus. Some are just hoping for a little help to get through life a new direction, a purpose that will get us up in the morning, an exercise plan, a way to get organized. But that approach to Jesus doesn t result in real faith or love.

Whether we’ve followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. Getting Jesus Wrong shows that the message of the Bible is about Jesus coming to us as we are which is good news for exhausted and disillusioned disciples. It shows us that getting Jesus right means a whole new way of thinking (the way up is down) and a whole new way of life (daily dependence on the one who knows the beginning from the end). Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.

Why I Choose this Book:

I didn’t have a huge reason for requesting this book for review – mostly that it looked like a unique perspective I could learn from.

What I Thought about this Book:

That is a good question, and I spent the entire book trying to figure that out. Getting Jesus Wrong wasn’t what I had expected, and that’s not necessarily a good thing in this case. The author had a way of narrating in a way that left me feeling a bit disheartened.

I really like it when authors are honest and real, and yay for that in this book. But, at the same time, I didn’t exactly feel blessed, inspired, encouraged, or even convicted or spurred on by this book. Instead I had a really hard time connecting. It’s obvious that the author does a lot of introspection with his life, and not something I do naturally. I do introspection because I know (a balanced amount) is good to help me grow. So, to read a book from the perspective of someone who’s naturally introspective? Well, it was really hard to relate to. (Just a note: I’m not saying being introspective is bad, I’m simply pointing out a difference in personalities.)

There were a lot of Bible verses in Getting Jesus Wrong – something I always appreciate in books, so I was thankful for that. The author also used examples from his own life, another thing that makes me happy when I’m reading. And, there were bits here and there of good information. Overall though, I didn’t connect with the book or get a lot out of it.

Conclusion:

 

There were various things I didn’t agree with in the book – theologically and such. I’m not recommending the book, but I don’t un-recommend it.

Rating: 

I’m giving Getting Jesus Wrong 2 out of 5 stars, and 3 out of 10.

*I received this book from Litfuse

Discipline that Connects – Book Review

Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart

By Jim Jackson & Lynne Jackson

Find it on:

Goodreads 

First Person • Non-Fiction • Two Points of View • 311 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Did you know that the way we deal (or don’t deal) with our kids’ misbehavior shapes their beliefs about themselves, the world, and God? Therefore it’s vital to connect with their hearts–not just their minds–amid the daily behavior battles.

With warmth and grace, Jim and Lynne Jackson, founders of Connected Families, offer four tried-and-true keys to handling any behavioral issues with love, truth, and authority. You will learn practical ways to communicate messages of grace and truth, how to discipline in a way that motivates your child, and how to keep your relationship strong, not antagonistic. Discipline is more than just a short-term attempt to modify your child’s actions–it’s a long-term investment to help them build faith, wisdom, and character for life. When you discover a better path to discipline, you’ll find a more well-behaved–and well-believed–kid.

 

Why I Choose this Book:

I am incredibly interested in the reasoning behind why people think or do things. I ask “why?” all the time. I also find it fascinating to study personalities, read about studies done with people, and occasionally parenting books. Not only do I generally find books like this interesting, but they can also be helpful even in non-parenting situations – such as when I help out with the kids at Sunday School. Plus, I figure that if I ever do have kids one day (which I would love to) having studied the information now will be helpful. So, that’s the reason I choose this book even though I’m not a parent.

What I Thought about this Book:

It was intriguing, and at times enlightening. There were some lightbulb moments which were pretty cool. In fact, one of them helped me change my mindset toward one of the kids that I get to hang out with on a regular basis. So yay!

There were quite a fews of the things in the book I did agree with, but there was also a fair amount that I didn’t agree with. For one thing I felt like the balance was off. I don’t think parents should be control freaks, but there is also the other side of the spectrum where the parents give the kids too much control. From my viewpoint the book advocated giving the kids too much control. I think that their approach is a great idea to practice some of the time because it is really important for kids to learn to think through things on their own and learn how to make good decisions, but I also think it is important for kids to learn to obey their parents cheerfully even when they don’t understand or want to.

I totally agree that parents should make sure their kids feel safe, loved, and secure, and I’m glad that this book addressed that.

Conclusion:

I’m not a parent so I’m not fully qualified to recommend or not recommend this book, but I will say that I learned from it, and it gave me some good food for thought.

Rating: 

I’m giving “Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart” 3 out of 5 stars, and 5 out of 10.

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers

Waiting for Wonder – Book Review

Waiting for Wonder

By Marlo Schalesky

Find it on:

First Person • Non-Fiction • 193 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

It’s easy to believe God when a promise is new. It’s hard when the years pass and nothing changes. It’s even harder when desperation strikes, your plans backfire, and still God does not fill the emptiness. But what if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more?

Join author Marlo Schalesky on a unique, contemplative journey to reveal the wonder that is often missed when we find ourselves struggling to wait well. Walking through the life of the biblical character Sarah, one who knows what it means to wait, you will discover a glimpse of God’s character that will give you strength to keep hoping and praying for the desires of your heart.

Waiting for Wonder is a journey into the heart of God where you will wrestle with personal questions, think deeply about God’s true character, and learn to appreciate His divine work as you discover your own path to the promised land. Recapture your hope, restore your soul, and renew your vision of a wondrous Savior when you learn to live on God’s time.

 

Why I Choose this Book:

Simply enough because the cover is so peaceful-looking.  I was also intrigued by the title and the promise it held. I’m working on learning to be still and wait, so this book seemed perfect.

 

What I Thought about this Book:

 

This book holds an aura of calmness. It’s a restful, evenly paced book that goes through the account of Abram and Sarai (aka Abraham and Sarah) from Genesis. We get to peek inside of Sarai’s mind each chapter and see the world through her eyes – that was probably my favorite part about the book.

The author does a good job of gleaning a bucketload of life lessons from watching Sarai live out her life. We explore the reasoning, the culture, and the outcome that surrounded the choices Sarai made throughout her life. We get to learn and grow from her mistakes, and apply her difficulties to our own lives.

It was especially interesting when the author pulled in stories from her own life to illustrate a point. Knowing that she struggled with some of the same things Sarai did helped drive the book home, and made it make more sense.

Conclusion:

I’m actually a bit unsure why this book is only receiving 3 stars from me. I enjoyed the writing, the lessons, the research, and the interesting perspectives, yet for some reason it didn’t resonate with me like a 4 star book has to. All that to say, in all likelihood y’all would probably enjoy this book immensely, so go for it!

Rating: 

I’m giving Waiting for Wonder 3 out of 5 stars, and 6 out of 10.

*I received this book from Litfuse

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“Counterfeit Comforts” {Book Review}

Counterfeit Comforts

By Robia Scott

Find it on:

First Person • Non-Fiction • 208 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb) 

How do we overcome what we are being overcome by–whether depression, anxiety, overeating, a negative view of ourselves or any other stronghold–in order to experience the freedom that is available to us in Christ?

When the pressures of life become overwhelming, we often find ourselves turning to food, shopping, alcohol, television or whatever our “counterfeit” might be in search of the relief, release and peace we are longing for. These choices are not necessarily bad, but the satisfaction is merely temporary. Before we know it, we can find ourselves enslaved by addictive and destructive behaviors, but there is a way out.

With grace and warmth, author Robia Scott shows how true healing and lasting satisfaction can be found only as we learn to transfer our dependence from counterfeit comforts onto our one true Comforter: the Holy Spirit. Drawing from the experience of battling her own counterfeits–primarily her tumultuous relationship with food and obsession with dieting, weight and body image–Robia leads you step by step through the process of transformation. It is through learning how to experience and connect with the Person, the presence and the power of God that we discover who we truly are, and acquire freedom to live the life of purpose that we were created for.

Why I Choose this Book: 

It’s a subject I’ve thought about for a while. Even though I haven’t had to deal with a lot of the stuff the book talks about, I do know I have the habit of turning to the wrong things for comfort.

What I Thought about this Book:

Wow. There were some really amazing chapters in this book. The author writes in an easy to understand way while being open, practical, and willing to draw upon her own life for stories without bogging the book down. I appreciated seeing how her life was transformed through God and His Word, and then reading the hope that she’s passing on to others. I can only imagine how many people have been blessed through this book.

There was one point where I thought “Oh, well I wish she would have added this to what she’s saying” and sure enough, the next paragraph added it. The book was well thought-out, encouraging, based on Scripture, and extremely practical. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m big when it comes to practicality.)

Along with all the great stuff there were some things I didn’t agree with 100%, but it was mostly that she stated those things more strongly than I would agree with, not that I utterly disagreed with her.

Conclusion 

I’m pretty sure I’ll be re-reading at least some of these chapters from time to time because they were incredibly helpful, spot-on, and full of God’s truth. I recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves turning to counterfeit comforts.

Rating 

I’m giving Counterfeit Comforts 4 out of 5 stars, and 8 out of 10.

*I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers*

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