Whispers and Wildflowers

30 Days to Slow Your Pace,
Savor Scripture
& Draw Closer to God

By Sarah Beth Marr

About the Book

Do you feel constantly busy but, deep down, constantly soul-weary? In this inspiring and practical book, Sarah Beth Marr helps you develop a regular practice of withdrawing from busyness to realign and refresh your heart, mind and soul.

If you feel distracted, burnt out, depleted, or overwhelmed, let Sarah Beth be your gentle and uplifting guide to greater personal peace and simplicity.

My Thoughts

My very first thought was, “This book is gorgeous!” Isn’t the cover just beautiful. I was so attracted to the book because of the cover. Then I opened it and found beautiful biblically based devotionals that were both encouraging and challenging. Sarah Beth draws from scripture, her personal life experiences, others’ experiences etc to weave a beautiful text that is easy to read and understand. I found myself wanting to spend time quietly with the Lord and let him into the garden of my heart. The prayers are great and the reflection questions are perfectly paired with the devotionals. They help the reader connect with the Lord on an intimate level. I did feel the devotionals were a little long. They could have been shortened a bit and not lose any effectiveness. Other than that I loved this book.

I received a copy from the publisher. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

For more information about the author, visit her website at http://sarahbethmarr.com/ or her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sarahbethmarr/

Indivisible

Indivisible by Robert Noland

Indivisible is a book of 50 devotionals for couples on various topics geared towards strengthening marriage. Each day starts with a verse, a devotional, a “Creating Connection” section, and ends with questions for couples to discuss together. I loved the Creating Connection section. It was something to do. Go on a date, ideas for creating connection in various ways, challenges, fun school day love ideas like writing your names all over the place with ‘n’ between, etc. They are so helpful to apply what you read in the devotional. Everything is based on scripture and encourages building a God centered marriage. This book is great for newlyweds, couples who are 10, 20, 30 years in, as well as couples married for 40, 50+ years. It’s for everyone. The devotionals don’t take long to read through and the questions at the end can go as deep/lengthy as you like. The topics cover a variety of bases and are well thought out and well written. They are relational and easy to read and understand. I love this book! I think you will too. Check it out!

I received a copy of this book from Booklookblogger program. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Renewed by Leigh Powers

About the Book

 

Book Title: Renewed

Author: Leigh Powers

Genre: Devotional

Release date: November, 2017

Ministry is a privilege, but it can also be a painful experience. Unrealistic expectations, church conflict, forced resignations, and our own struggles with burnout, loneliness, and insecurity can make church feel more like a place of wounding than a place of healing. How can wounded leaders find the courage to reject bitterness and keep loving the church?

Renewed is a forty-day devotional for women in ministry, ministry wives, and lay leaders who have been wounded by their congregations. You are not alone. God sees your pain. He knows your hurts. And he is waiting to bind up your broken heart. This forty-day journey into the healing love of Jesus will help you find the courage to stop hiding and start loving the church again.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Woah! Have you ever read a book and thought, this was written just for me? You can totally connect with the author and what they’re saying. It resonates on a deep level. She put words where you didn’t have any. This book was like that for me. Growing up as a pastors kid, being the wife of a worship leader, and being on church staff myself means I experienced many of the same things the author writes about in this book. She speaks truth with love and grace. She doesn’t sugar coat it. It comes out raw and ugly at times and many of us are afraid to say such things… we think them but who can we trust to hear our hearts? So we don’t dare say anything out loud! I love that Powers sends the reader to scripture and prayer. She encourages reflection and further contemplation through scripture. It’s not a self-help book. It’s based in the Bible; where all answers can be found! It doesn’t belittle or demean those who think or experience the things written in the book but it encourages full dependence on the Lord to grow and develop as a follower of Christ. It doesn’t encourage one to wallow in the hurt but to see victory through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is a book I will read and reread. I love the detailed table of contents for the times when I need to read something specific. I can easily find the devotional for that particular thing and go right to it. I’m thankful for the author’s willingness to go there. This book is a blessing.

I received a copy of this book as a participant in the Celebrate Lit blogger team. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Leigh Powers is passionate about helping women find hope and healing in God’s Word. A pastor’s wife and mother of three with fifteen years of full-time ministry experience, she is a freelance writer, Bible study and devotional author, and a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She blogs regularly at www.leighpowers.com. You can usually find her with either a book or knitting needles in her hand—and sometimes both.

Guest Post from Leigh

I love ministry life. Several years ago, a young woman from Southeast Asia came to my English as a Second Language class for a year. Her English wasn’t very good, and I had to tug to get a word out of her. She came every week, but I wondered how much she was getting from the Bible stories we did during each class. At the end of the semester, I asked our class to share what they wanted to tell their friends and family when they went home. She looked up at me with big brown eyes. “I want to tell people about Jesus.”

Those are the ministry moments that thrill us. It is a privilege to help people find freedom in Christ, teach God’s word, worship with the congregation, and walk alongside people in their moments of joy or sorrow. On those days I can’t imagine choosing another life. Then there are days that make me want to hang it all up and go work at Wal-Mart. Days when anonymous letters get slipped under the office door. Days when you’re the brunt of gossip, when loneliness is like an ache in your bones, or when you start sending out resumes for new positions because you aren’t sure how much longer you’ll have the one you’ve got.

Ministry can be tough. Over the years I’ve met many women who have experienced the painful side of ministry. Church conflicts, forced resignations, depression, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, and our own struggles with faith can take a toll. That painful side of ministry can make us start looking for an escape hatch.

I wrote Renewed in the middle of a difficult ministry season. It was a hard season, but it was also a season where Jesus showed up for me in an almost tangible way. At the same time, I was also hearing stories from other ministry wives and women in ministry that sounded all too familiar. I started putting words on the page, hoping that somehow God would use them to bring healing to other women in the same way he had brought healing to me. That outpouring of hurt, healing, and hope eventually became Renewed.

Some of you reading this are nodding along right now because you’ve been there too. You love the church, but you’ve seen how ugly it can be when we get it wrong. You’ve got wounds of your own, and sometimes you wonder if you can ever risk your heart again. If that’s you, I want you to know that there is hope. God has not abandoned you. God sees your hurt, he knows your pain, and he is waiting to bind up your broken spirit. He’s waiting. Turn to him, and may you find your spirit renewed.

Blog Stops

Bibliophile Reviews, October 6

amandainpaOctober 7

A Baker’s Perspective, October 7

The Becca Files, October 8

Mary Hake, October 8

Living Life Free In Christ, October 9

Genesis 5020, October 10

A Reader’s Brain, October 11

More Of Him, October 12

proud to be an autism mom, October 12

Godly Book Reviews, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Carpe Diem, October 14

Kelly Harrel, October 15

Texas Book-aholic, October 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 17

Janices book reviews, October 18

Real World Bible Study, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Leigh is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ee/renewed-celebration-tour-giveaway

Jesus Calling for Christmas

Jesus Calling for Christmas
By Sarah Young

 

Are your holidays too hectic? Take a few minutes to savor the season with this beautiful Christmas edition of Jesus Calling®devotions, a perfect gift that includes 50 short selections along with festive and breathtaking imagery.

Jesus Calling® for Christmas is a compilation of 50 seasonally appropriate devotions from Sarah Young’s bestselling brand. In addition to the heartwarming devotions, enjoy the Christmas story from the Bible, Old Testament prophecies about the birth of Jesus, and exquisite images.

Whether a self-purchase to enhance your observation of Advent and the birth of the Christ child or a natural gift for friends and loved ones, Jesus Calling® for Christmas will prove an annual treasure for celebrating the season.

My Thoughts

I have been reading the Jesus Calling book for a long time so I was excited to see a Christmas themed book. I am excited to add it to my advent reading. My very first thoughts about this book upon opening it up was how beautiful the images were. They are all Christmas/Winter in theme and are gorgeous. The book is very appealing to the eye.  The devotionals are the perfect length for a quick read. They leave you pondering the content for the rest of the day. The verses are perfectly matched. My only issue with the book is the layout. It’s not consistent. This was very distracting as I wasn’t sure what went with what. The days reading wasn’t clearly defined. This in my mind makes it more of a coffee table book than a devotional. I still love the content but I wish it was a little better structured inside. Overall the book is beautiful both speaking of images and of the writing. I enjoyed reading this book and will definitely put it out on a coffee table during the Christmas season.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

To purchase a copy click here:

*Affiliate Link. I receive a few cents from purchases made from these links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog. 

am i enough?

am i enough?
By Grace Valentine

Do you ever feel like you just can’t keep on? Feel like you can’t meet expectations? Want to be someone different? Feel defeated and want to hide? As women, I’m sure we have all felt these things at one time or another. We believe lies about ourselves and about God even. This book is for you!

Synopsis

Young women today are constantly told they are not enough for this world — not pretty enough, not smart enough, not exciting enough, not spiritual enough, and just plain not good enough. The barrage is constant. The consequences are real. The damage often feels permanent.

As a young woman herself, Grace Valentino has felt the pressure of trying to survive in a toxic culture, let alone thrive. But she’s had enough. With an engaging combination of honesty and humor, Grace uses her story to confront the lies the world tells us every day — lies such as:

  • You are beautiful because a guy told you so
  • Love must be earned
  • You should forget your past
  • You will never be enough, and more.

Am I Enough? is a line in the sand. It is a declaration that we will never be enough for this world because we were not created for this world. Instead, Grace reminds us that we were created by Someone better for something better. We can choose the One who has chosen us — the One who says: “You are enough for Me, My child. Come as you are.”

About the Author

Grace Valentine is a popular blogger who founded the Enough Movement. Her readers love the fact that she is young, ordinary, and relatable — they say her fresh voice helps them navigate their own faith and life. Grace’s mission is to help those who have struggled like she has to find their worth in Someone who truly is worth following. Grace graduated from Baylor University in 2018 with a degree in Journalism, and she is currently the Content and Curriculum Coordinator for the student ministry of First Baptist Orlando in Orlando, Florida.

(From the Back of the book)

My Thoughts

I love the cover of this book. It is appealing and draws you in, making you want to read what’s inside. When I opened the book I found Grace to be genuine and relatable. She tells her stories throughout the book and uses them to illustrate her points. The audience of this book is girls in high school, college and in their twenties, however, all women can glean some valuable lessons from this book. The stories center around the ages of college and below, which may make them a little far away from some readers but I’m sure we can all remember times in our lives where we had similar experiences. The book is divided into sections based on lies that we tell ourselves or hear from others, and believe. Each chapter in the section deals with related topics that combat the specific lies we believe. I love the included synopsis of Bible characters and how the author uses them to further illustrate her points. I did find a little less use of actual scripture and the actual word God/Jesus than I expected. For example, on the back cover even, she uses “Someone” instead of being specific. There seems to be a lot of commentary which out balances the Scriptures and what God says. But this might be an easier way to understand the topics for a younger woman who may be a less mature believer. I do love how relatable she is. Her writing style is quick and easy. She’s encouraging but not enabling. It seems she truly believes what she is writing and it’s encouraging to see how she has combatted these lies in her life with God’s help. Overall I give this book 3.5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers and the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

To purchase a copy click here:

*Affiliate Link. I receive a few cents from purchases made through this link at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my blog. 

For more information about Grace Valentine and her ministry visit her blog Enough

Finding Strength & Hope in God’s Word

Finding Strength & Hope in God’s Word
A Devotional for a Mother’s Heart

At the beginning of the year I decided to do a Chronological Bible reading plan. I’ve tried them in the past and got to like Numbers 3 and called it quits. I thought I would try it again and said to myself “This is my year! I’m not quitting after I’ve read about how so and so begat so and so!” I chose to do it so I could have a more linear understanding of the Bible. I started to see what a relational God we have. I was seeing God and Jesus in every corner of the Bible! He wants us to know him and have an intimate relationship with him. God revealed to me during my reading in Psalm 119 that we are strengthened according to his word and we can find hope in his word! By being in his word more consistently my understanding of who God is and how much he delights in his children when they live abiding lives of obedience has grown exponentially.

I have experienced such sweet times of worship at my kitchen table where the Lord meets me in his word and jumps off the page and I see him in my life. I see him in the way the sky looks painted by his finger, or when I spot a new tomato in my garden, when I think about how the events of my life are being orchestrated by a loving and caring father, or when I see him sending friends knocking at my door at just the right moment. Even as my kids are running around playing and it’s chaotic, I have these sweet moments of worship after he reveals himself as I read.

As we grow in the knowledge of God’s character through the study of his word, we can’t help but be strengthened in our love for him. We cannot love what we don’t know. Just like when we fell in love with our husbands. You had to get to know him first. God wants you to fall in love with him.

When we know God we can trust him with our kids, we can trust him with our husbands, we can trust him with our hearts and lives and have hope for the future because we know he is trustworthy, steadfast, just, faithful, merciful, loving, kind and patient.

After 4 years of homeschooling, we decided to send our kids to school and through the whole process I’ve heard the Lord over and over whisper to me “trust me!” Left to my own devices, I become overwhelmed and afraid. Knowing who God is strengthens my resolve and helps me to trust in him because I know he’s got it! My fear can’t stand at the feet of Jesus.

Give the Lord what you can and trust that he will honor your faithfulness in the small things. He can take 2 minutes of interrupted reading and turn it into a huge learning experience. Pray that he will open your eyes and reveal himself to you! Pray that he will give you the time! There are plenty of ways to spend time in the word while your kids are running around. Include them in it and read a kid’s devotional together or read the bible together and talk about it. Post scripture around your home. Listen to sermons or podcasts while cooking or in the car. It is ok if your kids don’t get their kiddy music all the time.

There’s eternal value in spending time reading the word and growing in knowledge and understanding of who God is through his word. Take the time, even if it’s just a few minutes, even if it’s full of interruptions and even if it’s not what you hoped in terms of depth or time. God can use anything!