Your Chance to Win Laura Story’s new CD “Open Hands” (ends 3/22)

Are you a fan of worship music?  If you are, you’ll love Laura Story’s new CD, Open Hands.  Flyby/Propeller Promotions sent me a copy of this lovely new music to review…plus one to give away to a reader!

 

 

Laura Story…

Do you know Laura Story?  Sometimes, you can hear and love songs but have no idea whom they’ve come from.  This is my experience with Laura—until Open Hands, anyway!  You probably know the song “Indescribable,” it was recorded by both Chris Tomlin and Laura Story.  What about “Mighty to Save”–that’s another of my faves.  Her song “Blessings” won song of the year in 2012.  So obviously, Laura is a talented songwriter.  But, that’s not all that she has done!  Laura has led worship at Perimeter Church in Atlanta for 12 years.  She has won a Grammy Award; a Billboard Music Award; several Dove Awards; and even an RIAA Gold certification!  All this since 2008, when she published her first album.  She is even the author of a couple of books, about navigating life through hard moments or seasons while hanging on to God’s hand.

These are her, admittedly, impressive public accomplishments.  In her private life, she’s the wife of Martin Elvington, and they’ve had three kiddos together.  But the struggles they’ve experienced since her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor have provided the inspiration for the songs of her two most recent albums.  How do you live when God doesn’t fix things?  Laura has learned that keeping “open hands” — translated as keeping a loose hold on things & trusting that God’s got it, not holding them tightly and seeking to control them, are just what God may be asking of us.  She says, “I wanted to make an album so that each song I write would be just that seed of hope or that lifeline that someone listens to during that tough moment and thinks, ‘I’m going to choose to trust God, even during this.’”

 

What you’ll find in the songs

Open Hands contains 11 beautiful, thoughtful songs.  Some of them are familiar hymns with new bridges or choruses added, like “Awake My Soul (A 1000 Tongues)” or “For the Love of My King,” which takes from and adds to the old hymn “My Jesus, I Love Thee.”  Reimagined for a new audience, both of these take the vital truths and compositions of the original words and music and add personal vignettes of praise and struggle.  They’re just as beautiful and worshipful as the originals, and I truly enjoyed the new versions.

Story shares the hopes of motherhood in “Give You Faith.”  What do we wish for our children?  What would we desire most to give them?  That they will have faith, and hope, but most of all the love that God has for them, that will never let them go.

In this most contentious of post-election years, Story’s “Grace Abounds” reminds us that in the darkness, in the trials, when we see hatred or terror in news stories; when it seems that there is no hope at all, that God IS there.

I have several favorites on this album; I love the songs I mentioned above.  But one of my best-loved is the song the CD starts with:  “Death Was Arrested.”  You might not imagine that this song is about the Prodigal Son, but it is…even as it’s about us as well!  I am so moved by these words (and the music is perfectly suited to them):

“Ash was redeemed only beauty remains…
My mourning grew quiet my feet rose to dance
When death was arrested and my life began…”

You’ll also find these songs:

  • The song from the title, “Open Hands”
  • “You Came Running,” the story of what God does when our dreams crash down around us
  • “Whisper,” where Story talks about how we can wait to hear His voice
  • “Every Word You Breathe:” we’ll cling to Him and His word, not our experiences or things we’re familiar with
  • “Majesty” reminds us all that God really is
  • “Extraordinary,” about God’s extraordinary love for us

My thoughts

Open Hands is a rich, beautiful, worshipful experience.  We’ve listened to it many times as a family; during morning times when we’re preparing for the day and getting breakfast made and eaten.  We’ve played it in the afternoons when school is over; and in the evenings during quiet moments.  I can honestly say that each time we’ve heard it I’ve loved it more.  The music and words are both contemplative; Story’s not trying to write the next top-10 worship hit.  Rather, she’s writing about the God that she sees showing up over and over in her life (and others’ lives); the God whose grace really is big enough; and the worship He deserves from us all.

Open Hands will bless you; encourage you; and help you to see God in all the portions of our lives.  Get a copy of this CD.  Play it during your quiet times; when you take your children to appointments; as you move through your daily life and tasks.  It will really speak to your heart!

And, you can enter this giveaway to win Open Hands below!

FlyBy/Propeller Promotions has generously provided a CD of Open Hands for one of our readers!  Just click on the pink “Enter here” to go to the Giveaway Tools form to enter.  Giveaway closes on 3/22/17.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

Check out more on Open Hands via social media:

Buy Link: http://smarturl.it/OpenHandsiTunes

http://laurastorymusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/laurastory
https://www.instagram.com/laurastorymusic/
Video links:
Open Hands (Official Lyric Video) – https://youtu.be/AABE–YR1No
Open Hands (Song Devotional) – https://youtu.be/NWWiyFlXdi0

Enjoy!  –Wren

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

 

Kari Jobe’s “The Garden” CD ~ Review & Giveaway (Ends 2/15/17)

Recently my family had the pleasure of enjoying Kari Jobe’s newest worship CD entitled The Garden.  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions provided a copy of the CD for us to review, and also one copy to give away to one of you!

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Where do you go for help, for relief, when you’re in a time of struggle or suffering?  Of course, we know that we need to go to God.  You can look at the Bible’s book of Psalms and know that crying out to God is one of the first things that David and the other psalmists did.  (They’re also extremely honest about what they’re feeling, but I think that’s another post!)

Sometimes, though, the struggle or the suffering goes on after, sometimes long after, we have cried out.  How do we hang onto God when the loss is still there, when our circumstances are still challenging our hearts and lives, when the hope we’d like to feel isn’t really there?

Worship

Those psalmists amaze me.  How many times do they cry out to God about the struggle, but then they end with, “But I will worship the Lord.”  “I will wait patiently for Him.”  What an encouragement that can be–that He is still God even as we are trying to hang onto Him in troubles.

I’ve found that worship music can be another incredible encouragement to me; not only in times of struggle, but in times of joy, happiness, or just normal life.  Kari Jobe’s new CD The Garden is a beautiful and meditative collection of songs (written or co-written by and all sung by Kari) about reaching out to God.  About desiring Him, about our cry for hope and His love in the midst of sorrow, about His presence.  The Garden contains 14 songs that will encourage your soul; comfort your heart; and help you focus on the Lord.

 

the-garden-1The Songs

Kari Jobe’s family underwent a great loss.  When Kari and her sister were both pregnant, her sister’s pregnancy ended in the stillbirth of her baby girl, James Ivy.  In the grieving and heartache Kari and her family went through, she learned that God is there.  That He never left.  That His love is with us always.  And these songs were born out of the pain and the struggle they walked.  In the home Kari and her husband (and son) bought and moved into, the garden was overgrown and they’d been advised to just let it grow for a year.  And one day she walked outside and looked at the messy growth.  And she saw ivy; full, lush, fresh growth.  She remembered immediately her precious niece, James Ivy.  Kari said, “Ivy is the most resilient plant there is. It can grow in the harshest of climates; it can grow in the harshest of situations,” Jobe explains, adding, “I’m standing in this garden. There’s ivy growing, and I just started to realize, ‘God, You’re moving in a way that is different than what I asked for, but You are moving.’ He’s at work and doing things we can’t see.”

The Garden contains 14 beautiful songs, including:

  • “The Garden”
  • “Let Your Glory Fall”
  • “Lover of My Soul”
  • “Closer To Your Heart”
  • “The Cause of Christ”
  • “Here As In Heaven”
  • and more

How our family enjoyed this

We’ve enjoyed Kari Jobe’s singing and her worship songs for some time.  We were so excited to hear this new album!  My husband has listened to it in his car, and we’ve played the CD in our home during family worship and just on our regular homeschool days, at mealtimes or when we’ve finished school.  We’ve all enjoyed it so much.

There is so much in the lyrics that speaks to our hearts.  Kari’s singing is both peaceful and beautiful, as are the musical arrangements.  It is a wonderful reminder that God is there.  That He is loving us, shepherding us through our troubles and sorrows; but also through the good times.  That He is faithful.  And that He is worthy.

Here’s one particular portion of the first song, The Garden, that is so sweet and meaningful to me:

“Then I saw the garden, hope had come to me
To sweep away the ashes
And wake me from my sleep

I realized You never left
And for this moment You planned ahead
That I would see
Your faithfulness in all of the green…”

Because we’ve all been there, haven’t we?  In the times of suffering and sorrow.  Wondering if God was there; if He heard us; if He was listening.  We just can’t always see it…but He’s never left us to face things alone.

 

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There’s much more beauty and encouragement in the rest of this album.

I so recommend it.  If you’d like a beautiful new worship CD; if you need the reminder that God loves you and is there; if you need comfort in your struggles.  You can click through the social media links below to purchase it.

And, you can enter my giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of The Garden!  Just enter below at the pink link, which will take you to the Giveaway Tools entry page.  Giveaway ends February 15, 2017.  Blessings!

 

Enter here!

 

The Garden on social media:

Enjoy!  –Wren
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Max Davis’ Unusually Titled Cool New Book ~ My Thoughts & Review & Your Chance To Win

Recently, I had the opportunity to receive a most unusually-titled book:  Max Davis’ When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette.  Now, isn’t that an intriguing title?  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions not only was kind enough to send me a copy to read and review, they’re providing one for one of my readers!  Stay tuned to the end for your chance to enter.

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I am a sucker for a good book.  And if it’s funny…heartwarming…meaningful…and inspirational?  Even better.  There are several things that draw me toward a particular book.  Is it written by a favorite author?  Does it have amazing cover art?  Or, could it be the subject matter?  It may even be the title.  I have to admit, this time, it was a combination of those!

When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette definitely sounded most unusual.  And it was!

Gifted storyteller Max Davis tells his own story of redemption and the way he came to Christ, after seeing Jesus so vividly in the life of a green-eyed brunette at his high school.  He begins the book with a Bible verse you’re probably familiar with, which defines the stories and experiences he is about to share:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us
in triumph in Christ,
and through us diffuses the fragrance
of His knowledge in every place.”
–I Corinthians 2:14

Max’s life was impacted for eternity when he met a young lady in high school, the green-eyed brunette of the title.  He was living the high life as a popular football player.  But actually, he was garnering Fs in his classes, accumulating speeding tickets, partying.  His grandmother even said he was “going up Fool’s Hill.”  He looked carefree on the outside; but on the inside, he was terrified of what God thought of him, and of hell.

Into his life walked the green-eyed brunette.  She loved God and clearly, He lived in her.  Max was so drawn to her yet flabbergasted by her at the same time (she’d never heard of the group Boston???).  And she lived a beautiful life of holiness without legalism.  Seeing this in her, and experiencing the love and life in her church and family, Max came to Christ.

And this is just a few of the chapters!  Throughout the rest of When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette, Max tells the stories of men and women who are hugely impacted, and transformed, by the way Jesus is living through others.  Here are a few of them, just to whet your appetite:

  • Max’s call from “The Voice” to become a writer
  • The “Iron Butt” guy–and the cool ways God has moved in others through him
  • How God carried an abused child through terrible danger and to Himself
  • Moments of believers passing from life to death that illustrated that there really is something…and Someone…on the other side
  • A man rescued from a real-life fiery furnace; and another man who was not, yet God was tangibly with them both
  • A Christian imprisoned in the Far East for his faith in the worst of conditions, who saw that he was not left alone by God
  • And more!

This book isn’t just about telling stories–amazing and wonderful though they are (and even documented, so that Max is telling things that really happened, not that somebody just made up).  No, it’s about addressing the questions so many of us have about life and about God.  Will following God steal freedom and joy from me, and make me follow a never-ending list of dos and don’ts?  Do I have to be “religious” to follow God?  Where IS God, anyway, in the midst of suffering?  Why do tragedies happen?  Does God have a plan for me that is good?  And does He really love me?

Many of us (I would venture to say ALL of us, at some time or another during our lives) struggle with those questions.  And clearly, these are questions to which there are no easy answers…or sometimes, no answers at all for us in this life (though I believe from God’s perspective, there ARE answers).  And while Max doesn’t share all the answers in this book (although he does share some), the stories he tells will minister to the hearts that are aching with these questions; the hearts which have suffered loss of some sort; or those even undergoing challenge or trial.

I was so encouraged by this book.  I decided to use it during my morning devotional times and read parts of or entire chapters along with my Bible reading.  That was so encouraging and just perfect for me (although really, you could certainly enjoy this book at any time of the day)!  Max Davis is a fantastic storyteller with a journalist’s eye to accuracy and fact-checking.  He tells these astonishing stories of ways God impacted people’s lives, then shares truths that will bless and encourage the reader.  You must pick up a copy of this book.  It will remind you of the goodness of God, His desire to care for His people, and His great love for us all–and for you–Individually!

And now, you can enter to win your own copy!  (U.S. entries only, please.)  Giveaway closes 12/26.  Best wishes!

Now, you can enter here to win your own copy!

Just click on the pink “Enter here” below!

Enter here!

 

And, if you’re not the winner of this book, you can find it for purchase via this link at Worthy Publishing, at When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette,  for $15.99.

More on Max Davis:

Max Davis is the author of over 20 published books and has been featured in USA Today and Publishers Weekly and has appeared on The Today Show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in Journalism and Biblical Studies and is a much sought-after speaker for churches and organizations worldwide. He and his wife, Alanna, live on 50 beautiful acres in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.

Enjoy!  –Wren

**********************************

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Make Your Bible Journaling Amazing with this Bible Journaling Kit~A Review and Giveaway (Ends 12/7)

**Congratulations to Ken O, selected as the winner of the Bible Journaling Kit!”

I have just had the opportunity to be creative with the neatest product!  FlyBy/Propeller Consulting, LLC sent me this Bible Journaling Kit from Ellie Claire to review.  It has been so fun to integrate into my Bible journaling and has really inspired me!  Best yet, you have two ways to enter for a chance to win your own kit!

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What is Bible journaling?

I believe that there has been a true resurgence of the creative arts lately in America.  You can see this even at the grocery store, where you can see neat coloring books with incredible drawings just waiting for you to fill in with color.  This creative expression has found its way into Bible study and devotional times, as individuals have taken art into the white spaces of their Bibles.  Lettering, drawing, painting, and stickers all bring verses or ideas to life with vibrant color.

Publishing houses are even creating Bibles that have margins or pages especially made for Bible journaling.  I am blessed to own several Bibles for my own reading and Bible study; but I was given a Journaling Bible (published by Crossway) which I use for journaling.  You can also use a plain journal.  All you need are colored pencils, ink, and whatever else you might like to use to color and illuminate verses.

And why would you want to write or draw in your Bible anyway?  To make special note of meaningful verses.  To help you remember those verses.  To express creativity with the words of life that the Bible contains.  To use art time to create something that inspires your spirit.  I’m sure there are more reasons…those are just a few that I came up with!

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What is in this Bible Journaling Kit?

This kit has everything you need to get started with Bible journaling!  (Except your own Bible or a journal.  You’ll need to provide that.)  All of these art supplies are neatly boxed in a sturdy blue slipcase:

  • 8 colored pencils which twist to advance
  • A felt-tip archival pen
  • 3 sheets of 24 sticker tabs
  • Alphabet stickers (4 sheets of two different fonts)
  • Clear stickers with inspirational phrases and symbols (4 sheets of these, too)
  • A plastic protector mat with 8-inch ruled lines on one side, and wavy borders on the other
  • A lime green zippered case to keep all your supplies (it even has a strap to slip around the cover of your Bible)

bible-journaling-2How I used the kit and art tools

I am pretty new to Bible journaling.  I have a Pinterest board that is devoted to Bible journaling ideas.  And I have that Bible that’s made just for journaling.   I also have a TON of art supplies (we love doing art in homeschool and I teach an art class at our local coop).  But somehow, prior to receiving this Bible Journaling Kit, I just hadn’t quite been able to make the jump INTO Bible journaling.

It turns out that having the right supplies can make all the difference!

One of my favorite verses, Psalm 20:7, reminds me of a special time I spent in Russia.  So my first experience with this neat Bible Journaling Kit was to illustrate that.  I chose the famous Russian landmark, St. Basil’s Cathedral, for my drawing.  I pulled up a picture of the cathedral online and drew it free-hand (in pencil, of course!).  Then I used the twisty colored pencils from my kit to draw it in.  I was pretty excited that I had all the colors I needed!  After I colored everything in, I used the felt-tip pen to highlight and outline.  Last, I wrote in a phrase from the verse.  (I clearly need to work on my lettering some more!)

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Next, I was reading my Bible one day and ran across this verse:  “But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy and her people to be a gladness.” –Isaiah 65:18.  I loved that!  There are many places which are wonderful to visit, but how many of them were actually created to be a joy?  I knew I’d found my next verse.

I didn’t freehand this one but used outlines from a coloring book that I own, that I thought really communicated the idea of an Israeli city.  Again, first I used pencil, then the twisty coloring pencils, then outlined with the felt-tip pen.  (I still need to work on my lettering!)  Then I wrote a phrase from the verse and, at the bottom of the page, the verse address.

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Wren’s Ideas for Bible Journaling:

First of all, don’t be discouraged if you think you’re not creative or you don’t know where to start!  ANYONE can do this.  Do an online search for “Bible Journaling.”  Browse Pinterest.  There are some amazing ideas out there to get you started!  Then, get (or win!) your supplies.  Then, jump in!  You can see below that I’m doing a heart for my next journaling project.  It’s coming along, slowly but surely.  🙂

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Here’s a process which has worked for me that you can try, if this is new or seems overwhelming to you:

  1. Think of a verse that you love or that is meaningful to you.
  2. Brainstorm; what images do you think of when you meditate on this verse?
  3. Practice.  Draw those images on printer paper.
  4. Trace or draw in your Bible or journal with pencil.  (Unless you’re a super-confident artist, in which case, you can just draw already!)
  5. Color in your drawing.
  6. Find a font you like to letter a phrase or the address for your verse.  Print it out, place it under your page, and trace.  Color it in!
  7. For interesting definition, highlight your colored drawing with a black felt-tip pen.  It really makes things pop!
  8. Now—enter my giveaway.  Maybe you’ll win this cool set of Bible journaling supplies!

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Enter here for a chance to win–two ways!

First, you can enter here via my Giveaway Tools entry form.  Just click on the pink link below, which will take you to my Giveaway Tools form:

Entry Form for Bible Journaling Kit

In addition, the publisher is also giving away 5 Bible Journaling Kits!  Just enter via this link for your chance to win:

http://bit.ly/BibleJournalingKitGiveaway

Where can you purchase your own Bible Journaling Kit?

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/BNBibleJournaling
Amazon: http://bit.ly/BibleJournaling
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/BAMBibleJournaling
Christian Book Distributors: http://bit.ly/CBDBibleJournaling

Enjoy!  –Wren

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

My Most Meaningful Read of the Week: “The Life We Never Expected” ~ review & giveaway!

My most meaningful read of the week was a book I almost didn’t read.

 

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Historically, I just haven’t been much of a nonfiction reader.  But for some reason, I have read more of them in the past year than I have since I HAD to read them in college.  I’ve been so fortunate to read these, and for many of them, host a giveaway on finchnwren.com for someone else to be blessed with a copy.  These books have encouraged me, strengthened me in my walk with God, shown me things that I hadn’t yet learned on my own.

Andrew and Rachel Wilson’s honest, moving and intelligently written The Life We Never Expected, has been so powerful for me.  The story of their own family, and their journey, as they received regressive autism diagnoses for both their very young children, is the most incredible account of a couple who refused to give up…on loving and believing God when He promised in His Word that He loved them, and that His purposes for them were good.  In finding a way through suffering, in preserving their own marriage, in hanging on to hope when no hope seemed visible, they’ve held on to Him. Here’s a line from their Introduction:

“This is a book about surviving, and thriving, spiritually when something goes terribly wrong.”

How does a person hang onto his or her faith when unexpected, lengthy, and painful suffering is what they encounter on a daily basis?

The Wilsons have asked that question.  And it’s not that they don’t deeply love their children.  It’s just a life they couldn’t have prepared for; one in which every day requires everything from them; where research for social services, therapies, and possibilities for the things which just might help their children consume their days and their nights.  Where children who have acquired certain abilities lose them due to the nature of regressive autism.  Where each day starts at 4:30 a.m. when their son awakens; where their days’ work is all-consuming and requires all that is in them.  As they walked down the paths before them following first their elder son’s diagnosis, and then their daughter’s, they weren’t just desperate for physical assistance or emotional assistance.  They needed on the very deepest level, words that could come alongside them to keep them anchored in God and the hope He has for each of us.  They didn’t find these words, in book form anyway, anywhere.  So they very humbly and transparently, in The Life We Never Expected, share their own experiences, the conclusions they came to, and the truths that sustained their hope in God and their very lives.

Andrew and Rachel Wilson didn’t just write this book for the parents of precious children who have special needs.  In fact, they say they wrote it for three different groups of people:

  • “Parents who have just been thrown a curveball….and need encouragement” (p. 14) to hang on to God;
  • The friends and families of those parents of special needs children
  • Those who are suffering and need to know how to endure…and that God really is at the end of it all, as well as deeply present every step of the way

My thoughts about The Life We Never Expected

I never really expected to read this book.  Yet, the opportunity arose, and I received a free copy to read, and to share my thoughts about it here on finchnwren.com.

WHAT a blessing.  Andrew and Rachel are so thoroughly real, so transparent.  They graciously and openly share their struggles in parenting, with each other, with God, and with people in general who interact with their family.  While I’ve not experienced the challenges they daily live with, I have been in places of suffering and struggle where I wondered where God was in my experiences, how I could find Him, and how I could get past the barren landscape I felt I was living in.  This book has words of life and encouragement (and even humor!) which can, I believe, really point anyone who’s struggling into a place of hope and into the arms of God.

Here are some of the Wilsons’ words which were very special and meaningful to me:

  • “For those of us who are mothers (and fathers), God wants us to esteem the field he’s given us.  It’s not a tiring distraction from the true mission field we should be tilling; these are our people, for us to reach and for us to be trained and transformed as we do….” (p. 39)
  • “I love my kids most not by loving them the most but by first loving God.”  (p. 43)
  • “Of the one hundred million sentences I have read or heard in my life, the one that has probably impacted me the most is from George Muller’s diary: “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day…was to have my soul happy in the Lord.”” (p. 57)
  • “Why? What is the Father doing?  The answer is obvious, and none of us likes it: we don’t know.” (p. 65)
  • “It isn’t because God doesn’t love us.  It isn’t because God doesn’t care….The Lion has tears in his eyes, and although I will never understand all he is doing, I know that he isn’t doing it because he doesn’t love me.”  (p. 81)

I could keep going and going with recounting to you all the underlined passages in this precious and meaningful book.  But I’m going to save some for you to read.  Just know this; this book is probably THE most helpful book on suffering I have read in at least the past 10 years…and maybe longer.  I have finished reading it; and I’m just beginning to read it again for the second time.

The things that Andrew and Rachel have learned as they’ve parented their beloved children are things that have been hard-won, at quite a personal cost.  But they are things that we need to know; and things that they have been willing to share with us in The Life We Never Expected.

Find a copy.  Get it at Amazon, or wherever you buy your books.  It is worth every single penny you’d pay  for it, and then some!

Or…enter my giveaway!  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions have graciously provided one copy of this astounding book for one of my readers.  Enter below in the Giveaway Tools form.  A winner will be selected on July 16, after the giveaway closes on the 15th.  (If you’ve won a FlyBy giveaway in the last 30 days, you won’t be eligible to win this one.)

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Unashamed ~ A Book Review & Giveaway

I’m sure you’re not a fan of shame.

Unashamed BannerWho would be?  That nagging feeling that, despite what we do, we won’t ever be good enough….or even enough.  That our sins are too much to be forgiven.  That we’re not a good enough employee…spouse….or parent.  Maybe the mistakes of the past are what are overflowing the shame cup…sins forgiven, but not forgotten.  Or could it be the post-baby weight you thought you’d be rid of by now…or the comparisons with others, in which you just don’t seem to stack up?

Ugh.  NObody likes to feel those things.  And really, I don’t think that God wants us to walk around in life defined by shame.  That’s why I was so interested to read Heather Davis Nelson’s Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame.  Nelson has a lot to say about what shame is, how it can dog our steps and break our hearts, and how we truly can be freed from its grip.  In Unashamed, she refers frequently to the groundbreaking research and work on shame done by Brene’ Brown, and reframes it with a view to the fact that we have a loving Creator and a Savior who died to free us from it.

Brown’s definition is accurate:  “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” (p. 21)  And she goes on to differentiate for the reader the difference between shame and guilt:  “Guilt = I  did something bad.  Shame = I am bad.”  (p. 21)  That pretty well sums it up, doesn’t it?

So how does one get rid of the shame, which is something that never tells us the truth about ourselves?  Guilt encourages us to change what we’re doing wrong.  But shame never has an antidote.  The Scriptures tell us, however, that Jesus took on our sin and our shame, that we might be freed.  In Unashamed, Nelson explains how we can receive His healing and move beyond that shame, in the following ways:

  • Receiving Jesus’ “Great Shame Exchange”
  • Relationship and community as a point and way of healing
  • Eradicating fear
  • Replacing body shaming with understanding God’s perspective on true beauty
  • Allowing God to interrupt the paths of “performance shame”
  • and more

Nelson also covers shame in marriage and parenting and how God can bring redemption in those places.  Each chapter concludes with some thoughtful questions, which the reader can work through as he or she journeys out of shame into freedom and joy.

Unashamed is not an enormous, thick tome; it’s just less than 200 pages long.  But that makes it even more approachable.  Each chapter is not overwhelming in either length or material, yet each one is just enough to enable the reader to not only be able to work through the topics, but to be ABLE to without the work seeming impossible.

Is shame something you see in your own life…and that you’d like to eradicate?  God may use many tools to help heal you.  But I think that Unashamed is one of those tools that you’ll be glad you found.

How would you like to win your own copy of Unashamed?

Just enter the Giveaway Tools entry form below, for your chance to win!  You’re eligible to enter, if you have not won a FlyBy Promotions/Propeller giveaway during the last 30 days.  Giveaway closes July 8, 2016.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

About the author:

Heather Davis Nelson (MA, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a writer, counselor,
and speaker. Heather writes regularly at HeatherDavisNelson.com and has been a
featured writer at the Gospel Coalition, as well as a contributing author to the Journal of
Biblical Counseling. She and her husband are parents to twin daughters and live in
southeastern Virginia.

Enjoy this book–and the freedom God can bring with it!  Wren

THE Book for Moms of Boys ~ MOTHER & SON. Review & Giveaway!

I have been so fortunate to receive & review the book that’s among the top 5 of all parenting books I’ve read in my years as a mom.  And, if you’re the mother of boys, you’re going to want to read it too!

Mother & Son Banner

Emerson Eggerichs, PhD, is well-known for his Love & Respect series and retreats, in which he discusses what men and women most want in their marriage relationships.  Now, he delves into the mother-son relationship with his newest book, Mother & Son: The Respect Effect.  Its tagline is “What Every Mom Needs to Recognize In Her Son.”

Dr. Eggerichs mentions, and you’ve probably seen in recent years, how much daughters need to know they are loved and valued by their fathers.  Research has shown the detrimental effects the lack of a father’s love and involvement can have on girls and the women they later become.  But there hasn’t been a lot of research or discussion on what boys need from their mamas.  I am so happy that Dr. Eggerichs noticed that…and that he has written this book.  It’s really the book that I didn’t know I needed!

So what is the “respect effect?”

I love the way it’s defined in Mothers and Sons:  “a mother’s respect is her positive regard toward her son, no matter what he does” (page 14).  Whether it’s in discussion and life, or discipline and correction, boys and young men long for the respect of their moms, just as young girls long for their fathers’ love.  But how exactly is a mom to show this respect?

It’s honoring a boy during correction—expressing that even though he has done wrong or made a mistake, HE is not a mistake, and he is worthy of respect.  It’s recognizing that a boy’s needs relationally are different from a girl’s needs; and parenting accordingly.  It’s noticing the way we talk to our boys and being sure that we’re not disrespectful, even if there’s some major correction necessary.  Really, it’s just showing honor to these kiddos as fellow human beings….and speaking their language.

Dr. Eggerichs speaks about what God calls us to do as moms (and gives many helpful ideas and perspectives on these things).  But he also talks about the needs that males (whether young or old) have.  How they are crafted by God with these needs, and how these can be recognized and honored by moms.  These include, among others, authority, insight, strength and conquest, relationships.  Mother & Son takes a chapter on each of these, and explains how a young man or boy will express these, what they mean to him, and how moms can walk alongside and healthily parent their male children in these areas.  There’s also a quick start in the very back for mothers who want to start adding respect into their mom-son relationship but haven’t worked through the entire book yet.  Dr. Eggerichs also deals with the practice of forgiveness, and also discusses objections he’s heard about ideas.

How Mother and Son has affected me and my parenting

This whole “respect effect” thing may not come naturally to a mom.  After all, we moms are all girls!  And women often approach family relationships from the perspective of love, not respect.  I would say that it doesn’t occur naturally in me!  I grew up around women (mom and sister) and was very close to my aunts and female cousins.  And I’ve always been involved in women’s volunteer groups or women’s ministries in some form or fashion. It is very, very natural for me to approach relationships from the perspective of love.

However, I do have a son who’s a teen.  And not that he doesn’t need love—no, of course he does!  But it’s pretty incredible how loving it can seem to him when I’m attempting to communicate respect for him in our interactions.  And I have to say that, in the little amount of time I have been working through this book and attempting to put these principles into practice, I have really seen some wonderful things in our relationship.  It is amazing to see how powerful the use of respect in a mother-son relationship can be…and how beneficial it looks to be for our son.  And not just for him—but for our relationship as parent-child as well!

I haven’t finished Mother & Son yet.  Really, it is such a valuable book, but the ideas are really so new and fresh to me that I am working through each chapter slowly and purposefully.  I am really attempting to use it to help change my behavior and mothering for the better.  I can tell that this is going to be a close-at-hand resource for years to come!  (Along with my highlighter and Post-It tabs for marking important thoughts and ideas in the book!)

And now—a chance for you to win a copy Mother & Son for yourself!

And trust me—you so want to get this book!  If you’re not the winner, go to the bookstore or Amazon and get it!

But, back to the giveaway.  FlyBy Promotions has generously provided a copy of Mother & Son for me to provide for one winner!

***If you have not won a giveaway from FlyBy Promotions/Propeller during the last 30 days, you are eligible to enter this one!***  Just enter the Giveaway Tools entry form below.

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”