Book Review | Unreasonable Hope

Unreasonable Hope: Finding Faith in the God Who Brings Purpose to Your Pain
by Chad Veach

In Unreasonable Hope, Chad Veach shares his own family’s personal story of choosing hope and continually looking forward to God’s goodness despite tough circumstances.  When he and his wife learned that their precious first-born daughter had lissencephaly (or “smooth brain”) and would not develop mentally beyond about 3 months, they had to find ways to continue to hope in God. unreasonable-hope

Much of the book reads like a memoir as he shares about the pregnancy, birth, diagnosis and continual care of their daughter Georgie.  As he tells his story, he reminds the reader to build a community, to refuse bitterness, to remember what God has already done, to share testimony of God’s goodness, and to pray with faith.  He manages to walk that very difficult balance-beam of believing God can do anything and knowing that sometimes He chooses not to heal or perform a miracle.

Veach divides the book up into four parts:  The Struggle, The Remedy, The Rest, The Better, and each of these sections includes a final chapter that focuses on the practical.  He tells his story and offers encouragement for a few chapters and then he gives you several points on what these lessons might look like when lived out in your own circumstances and your own life. I loved that he did this because it helped the book move beyond just “someone else’s story” and nudged the reader into application and personal growth.

At the end of the book, he reminds us that 1 Corinthians 13 says, “And now abides faith, hope, and love…”  We talk a lot about faith.  We focus a lot on love.  But sometimes we forget the necessity of hope, and yet hope is what  helps us rest in God’s love, trust Him for the future, and not give up when things go horribly wrong.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

The Grand Reveal—Summer Reading At Its Best!!

There’s something innately satisfying to me about list-making.  Everything in my life can be a chaotic jumble, but setting pen to paper and filling lines of a simple spiral notebook eases my tension.

I’ve always been a list-maker.  List of books I’m reading and another list of books to read.  List of classes to take.  List of cleaning projects and a list for writing projects.  List of summer plans (typed up in Excel and charted out with space for recurring activities, day-trips and special events).  Grocery shopping lists.  To-do lists.  Song lists.

My brain essentially exists on paper.

It’s little surprise then that one of my favorite activities is making a summer reading list.  It’s something I enjoy almost as much as actually reading the books!!  Some of you shared with me your top choices, so here is our joint compilation of book recommendations.  I’ve already read some, but others are sitting on my shelf waiting for their turn.

You can always click on the Bookshelf page on the blog for a list of what I’ve been reading and for book reviews.

You can also comment on this post with your own summer reading ideas.  It’s never too late to add to the collection and it is one of my great joys to hear from you!!!!

Bible Studies:  Looking for a study to do over the summer?  Consider one of these!

Non-Fiction–Christian Living:

Non-Fiction–Books on Marriage:

  • Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs: Hands-down, no contest my favorite book on marriage.  I’ve recommended it to so many struggling couples because it so accurately identifies two huge pitfalls in most relationships, and (no surprise) it comes straight from Scripture.
  • The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller: This is the best marriage book I’ve ever read for singles.  As a tool for those already married, it offers a few practical insights to address problems.  But, the majority of Keller’s time is spent talking about marriage theory—as a covenant relationship—and why God’s ideas about marriage are so good, so it’s a fantastic tool for those deciding how to behave before marriage, why to get married, and what to expect when you say, “I do.”
  • The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Martian: I love praying through these prayers for my husband.  My copy is worn to pieces!
  • The Power of Prayer to Change your Marriage by Stormie O’Martian: For marriages that are struggling, this is my go-to recommendation for prayer ideas.  This book specifically prays through 14 major threats to lasting marriages.

Biography:

  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas: This biography of the famous German theologian who led the German church in a resistance to Hitler does more than just tell facts about his life.  It completely altered my perspective and understanding of the Christian fight against the Nazi regime and informed my theology.
  • Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce by John Piper: This is another biography that can change how you live by reading how someone else lived.  William Wilberforce, the great English politician who led the nation’s fight to abolish slavery also influenced the British church’s involvement in issues of social justice and showed how you can serve God wherever he has placed you, not just by entering into full-time ministry.

Fiction:

  • Safely Home by Randy Alcorn: I’m not normally a Christian fiction connoisseur, but this one came at your recommendation and I’m excited to read it.  I looked up the reviews on Christianbook.com and people were saying it was a “life-changing” read.  Even Jesus believed in the power of story to change lives!
  • If you’re looking for some classic literature to dig into over the summer, can I recommend one of my most favorites (I have so many!!)?  I’m a Dickens fan and my favorite had always been Bleak House.  A few years ago, though, I read Little Dorrit and it is now a rival for my top spot.  With all of Dickens’s normal satire on class politics and social injustice, it’s more importantly a book about imprisonment and how even when we are physically free, we can be chained by our past and destroyed by shame and the incessant worry that others might discover the truth about us.

So, whether you’re reading in the car on vacation trips and traveling, kicked back by the pool or the beach with a good book, or flopped on your sofa during a summer storm, I hope there’s a book or two in here you can enjoy this summer!

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Weekend Walk: 10/15/2011

Welcome to the weekend readers!  Don’t forget we’ve got a giveaway going on to celebrate the 150th post.  To find out all about it, just click here for yesterday’s devotional.  Entering is easy and the winner will get some real goodies!

Hiding the Word:

There are seasons when the prayer requests you hear in small group are heavy and cumbersome.  They weigh down your heart because of the vastness of the need and the depth of the hurt they represent.

There are seasons when you feel the bruises on your soul from where God has been busy shaping your character or you feel pulled and stretched like taffy almost to our breaking point.

There are seasons when stress and annoyances, broken things and unexpected expenses, and the plain out yuckiness of life can fatigue even the strongest soul.

And there are seasons when one overarching trial breaks you down and sends you to your knees.

This week, the verse I’m meditating on reminds me of how God can bring us through anything and even strengthen us along the way.

I’m posting this on an index card on my stove and bathroom mirror to meditate on all week.  I hope you’ll do the same with the verse of your choice!

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10)

Several months ago, I heard Mandisa in an interview on the radio and she quoted this verse before singing her song, Stronger.  So, here’s a song to bless you this week also!  You can view the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emgv-VRtMEU or by clicking below from the blog.

Book Reviews:

Normally on the weekend I rerun an old post for the newer blog readers to enjoy, but this weekend I have two book reviews for you!

Whole: An Honest Look at the Holes in Your Life and How to Let God Fill Them

by Lisa Whittle

When I picked up Lisa Whittle’s book, I expected a “yeah, yeah, yeah” read.  You know the kind where every page tells you things you’ve heard a million times. I think the subtitle tricked me into thinking this book would rattle off the familiar mantra: we have a God-shaped hole in our lives that only He can fill.  But I was wrong.

The beginning chapters didn’t rock my world.  Her personal story spoke volumes about the way churches sometimes fail the people in them, especially those in leadership.  Still, she didn’t give a clear, practical picture of what she meant by loving the church and yet not suffering from religious addiction.

Her chapters on the Hole of Roles and the Hole of Experiences, however, were real, vulnerable, and challenging.  If you’ve ever wrapped up your identity in the roles you fill or allowed it to depend on your past experiences, this book will walk you through laying that down, as well as dealing with both failure and loss.

Lisa Whittle shares personal stories with more openness and honesty than most authors do, which makes this read compelling and personally relevant.  While she undergirds her thoughts with an occasional Scripture verse, mostly the book is driven by her own story.  I’d have liked a little more grounding in Bible study, but that doesn’t negate the powerful reminder to find freedom and wholeness in God’s presence.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Love & Respect Experience:
A Husband-Friendly Devotional That Wives Truly Love

By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

I’ve heard it before.  Wives telling me that they “accidentally” left a book on marriage where their husband would see it, hopefully read it, and miraculously make all the changes the book prescribes.  What I’ve never heard is a single time that actually worked.  So, I’m not certain that the claim that this is a “husband-friendly devotional” works.  Some husbands will love it and may be open to reading it together as a couple; others won’t.

Still, the baseline concept in this book is absolutely the best marriage principle I have ever heard taught.  Period.  End of story.

Based on Ephesians 5, wives are reminded to respect their husbands and husbands to  love their wives.  Eggerichs is careful not to make generalizations about women and men in marriage and doesn’t define submission as wives serving as mindless automatons or tolerating abuse.  But, he does challenge wives to accept their husbands’ choices, stop nagging, choose not to speak badly about their husbands and not to mock them, joke about them, imply ineptitude, or make comparisons with other men.

This is the same material in the regular book Love & Respect only broken into 52 “devotional” segments with both prayers and action points to finish off each section.  It’s accessible, practical, and full of some good advice for couples.  For a more comprehensive discussion of each topic, though, you may want to read the original book.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King