In the Words of Anne:
“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”
Let’s Chat, Beyond the Pages: Is it true, do we all make mistakes? Without question, we all make mistakes, and we will likely make more. The mark of true growth and maturity, however, comes with learning from the mistakes that we have made.
Learning from our mistakes and doing what needs to be done in order to move past them – that takes trust in God. That takes faith in God. And at the end of the day, it all builds character.
This week’s quote caused me to think a lot about Peter. In particular, I thought about his denial regarding Christ. I thought about his immediate response once he realized what he had done, what it took for him to move past his actions, and how he was finally able to go forward, beyond his mistakes.
His story could be ours. We, like him, could make a most regrettable mistake. We could agonize over it. We could try to run away from it, from others or even from ourselves. Thankfully, the LORD knows us, loves us, grants grace to us, and has a no holds barred redemption plan for us. That plan enables us to repent, and it allows us to revise our forward actions, which makes for a better future.
Let’s Chat Question: When you make a mistake, what does it take for you to move past it?
A Beyond the Pages Challenge: Complete a character study on Peter. Make sure to write down all of his mistakes. After you have completed this, make notations beside each identified mistake in terms of what the LORD said or did and Peter’s response thereafter. Apply what you learn to your life.
Have you ever read a book and felt moved beyond words? Yes? No? How about this, have you ever read a book and had to face some aspect of yourself that you did not even realize needed visiting? Well, that is what this book, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, does.
The story and experiences of this young woman, Ivy, are so…familiar. She could be anyone of us. Caught up in a fantasy world of sorts and confused about what trueness of beauty is. Beat up and broken by circumstances and variables so out of her control and yet very much in her control, in a sense. Hurt and lost in such a way that hope feels like a stranger. Shaped by pain. Wanting. Needing. So much.
And then there is Davis. If I leave my remarks at that, would it spur you on to read this story? His story? I hope so. It should. His plight could be ours. The burden of guilt. The struggle with forgiveness. The self-punishment that we often heap upon ourselves because we think it somehow seems justified.
Ganshert is such an incredible writer, all of her books speak to the heart. This one, however, goes even deeper, if that makes any kind of sense. It cuts to the core of one’s being, in my opinion. It causes one to look at self and get real. No hiding, no excuses. No idealistic untruths. No acceptance of false justice. I love the message of redemption. With it, there is love and forgiveness; there is healing and wholeness.
When a book can stir emotions, facilitate self-examination and teach a grace lesson without bashing or ridiculing, it’s all good. There is so much to consider with this book. I have marked it as favorite. I hope you will give it a chance. Perhaps, it will become a favorite for you. It is, indeed, Christian fiction at its best.
Other: Ideal for a book club or women’s class; Excellent reader’s guide
Many thanks to Katie Ganshert for allowing me the privilege of reading this book. A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. The words I have expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for my review.
RESTLESS – Because You Were Made for More by Jennie Allen
Week 2: God’s Story
Your life means something. It is important to God. You may not fully understand the significance of it in this season, but God has a plan and it requires that you be a part of it. His plan requires that your life be used in totality for His glory. If you are wondering what that looks like, what that means, or what that entails, then Week 2′s lesson will be perfect for you.
1) Identify what you have come to believe about your life related to God’s purpose. (Ask yourself how your story connects with His glory.)
2) In your study journal, write down John 17 (The Voice).
3) Memorize John 17:22-23.
4) Complete a word search study on glory/glory of God.
This week’s challenge will be to complete the following tasks:
- Review Hebrews 11. Email yourself and a friend the faith walk messages that you find associated with each of the listed “heroes of faith.”
- If you have the study video or access to the video, please watch the session entitled God’s Story.
“Something deep down inside us is made to live for a story bigger than ourselves – the story of the one who made us. Any other version of this story will consistently feel shallow and empty. ”
(SG, p. 33)
Who do you want to be today? A simple question, but does it have a simple answer?
Do you want to be a believer or a doubter?
Do you want to be someone filled with faith or someone characterized by being unfaithful?
Do you want to stand confidently with boldness and power or do you want to tremble in fear and be afraid?
Do you want to be someone who seeks and finds answers or do you want to be someone who lives filled with questions, being paralyzed and frozen in a state of complacency?
Do you want to overcome or do you want to be overwhelmed?
Do you want to pray your way through life’s challenges or do you want to play your way through them?
Do you want to be someone who forgives and is forgiven or do you want to be someone who lives shrouded in resentment and bitterness?
Do you want to live alive or do you want to be the walking dead?
Do you want to be someone who looks up when circumstances bring you down or do you want to be someone who looks down and lives as if all things in life are “up and all good,” even when they are not?
Do you want to be saved – from the world, from others, from yourself?
Do you want to be made whole and healed?
Do you want to be someone who proclaims the Good News and accepts its truth?
Who do YOU want to be today? A simple question…
- Psalm 139:13-16
The spiritual camper’s dream come true… Luke 6.
Spiritual Life Fitness
In the Words of Anne:
“…living so that you beautify your name, even if it wasn’t beautiful to begin with, making it stand in people’s thoughts for something so lovely and pleasant that they never think of it by itself…”
Let’s Chat, Beyond the Pages: Isn’t this such a delightfully transforming thought – living so that you beautify your name? I love it! It speaks and has meaning beyond the obvious. At least it does for me.
As I reflected upon it, in the way that I do, I could not help but consider how the words impacted my heart and touched my spirit. It made me think not of the name of my birth, no, rather it caused me to think of the name that came with my new birth. The name that was always meant to be mine…and yours. What do I mean? The name that we were given when we purposely chose to follow and walk with Jesus Christ – the name Christian (emphasis on Christ).
We must live so that we beatify His name. Would you agree?
Even from there at Anne’s first thought, she goes on to say, “even if it wasn’t beautiful to begin with.” Was that ever you? It certainly was me. Not beautiful in that I was not holy, not peculiar, not set apart. Before Christ, before the wearing of His name, I was sinful, broken, without hope, and in a sense ignorant of grace. But now, I am something altogether different. I am something altogether new. I am beautiful in the purest sense and so are you. We are now altogether lovely. And you know what? When people see us at present, they should see Christ in us. They should see something so pleasant and beautiful that it lets them know, as the Bible says, “they had been with Jesus.”
Let’s Chat Question: How do Anne’s words speak to your heart?
A Beyond the Pages Challenge: Complete a Scripture study on Acts 4:13. Next, reflect on how others might see or know that you belong to or have been with Jesus.
RESTLESS – Because You Were Made for More by Jennie Allen
Week 1: Are You Restless?
Restless can be defined in a number of ways. It may refer to being uneasy, fidgety, edgy, tense, or anxious. It may also refer to being disturbed, troubled, broken, or unsettled. Ultimately, however, it points to a life, a heart, and/or a mind that is unquiet and unable to rest. Does that sound like you in any way?
Have you found that your life is on fast forward? Anything and everything is happening and you just can’t seem to get a handle on it. Or perhaps, your life is going in the extreme opposite direction and you find yourself going in slow motion mode. Mayhap, your life may be neither of these and it exists in a steady state of humdrum, where you find yourself to be listless and unresponsive but you just don’t know why.
If you exist in any of the aforementioned states, then I want to urge you to take part in this study series.
1) Identify your vision.
2) Clarify your life purpose.
3) Activate your dreams.
4) Find your God-story (the place where your story connects with God’s).
This week’s challenge will be to complete the following tasks.
- Read, rehearse and recite Hebrews 12:1-3.
- Journal your thoughts and feelings about where you are right now in your life – content and comfortable, thirsty and hungry, lost and found at the same time, etc. Consider what particular things are hindering you from grabbing hold of your vision and realizing your dreams.
- Begin studying the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-50).
- Pray to God, asking Him to clarify your life purpose. Reveal to Him your secret fears and doubts related to your dreams, as well as His vision for your life.
- Consider securing a copy of this book. It will be well worth it.
“The story of God through Scripture + An understanding of myself and my resources + Taking inventory of the need around me + The mystery of following the Holy Spirit’s leading = Obediently living my purpose”
(SG, p. 28)