When you just need some encouragement to keep trusting… {Book Review}

Do you ever read something from an author that just breaks you and yet leaves you wanting more of his or her words?  Where you just can’t get enough?  Whose book leaves you longing to meet in real life, to sit down and chat over coffee… to just listen to the wisdom that seems to always be spilled out in every word they write.

Katie Davis Majors is one of those authors for me.  After I read her first book Kisses from Katie, my heart broke for orphans in deeper ways.  But it also was challenged to surrender to my Savior in deeper ways.  So when the opportunity arose for me to apply to be a part of the launch team for Katie’s new book, Daring to Hope, I jumped at the chance.  And boy, did I celebrate when I found out I was chosen.

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I devoured this book from the day it arrived.  Its words were a treasure for me that I savored long after I put it down.  And yes, when I was finished, I longed even more to meet Katie in person someday.   Her words were raw, honest and vulnerable.   And as that’s been what I’ve been craving more of in my relationships these days, they ministered to me in ways that a single blog post can’t fully describe.

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Katie Davis Majors would say she is just a young woman from Tennessee who answered God’s call to uproot her life to Uganda.  Who just said a simple “yes” to what she knew her Savior was leading her to.  But most see her differently.  This amazing woman has become a mother to thirteen precious girls.  She works for a ministry called Amazima that helps to educate children in Uganda, provide medical care in their communities, and empower women to help provide for their families.

In her new book, Katie shares her continuing story of surrender, with her honest struggle to keep trusting God through the difficult days of striving to serve Him faithfully through grief and loss.  Of course, this was something I could identify with as well.  This inward struggle of constantly believing that He can heal, but choosing to trust His plan is best when He doesn’t heal here on earth.  This struggle to continually dig into His Word, pray it back to Him and believe it to be enough, when everything else in us fights to believe what we cannot yet see.

Katie says in the book, “He was growing in me a fervent, all-surpassing desire for quiet, secret places with Him.  He met me in my mess and even in my doubt and assured me that He still desired my obedience and a relationship with me.  I learned anew that He loved me truly, not because of who I was or what I did, but because of Christ and who He was.  

‘I will give you treasured in the darkness,’ He whispered, ‘riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel who summons you by name.’  He summoned me.  He called me to come and find rest in Him alone.”

Over and over, Katie has put her wavering, fragile heart in His hands, and He has proved, as He always does, to be faithful.  And when the storms had passed… beauty.  Such rich beauty, displayed through the ways He has worked in her life and woven such a beautiful story that only He could write – so that everyone reading this book can only say, “Wow.  That had to be God.”

I won’t give away any of the ending, because you must go get a copy of this book and read it for yourself.  You will be challenged, encouraged, and be left with a sense of awe over what God is doing in Katie’s life, and what He can do through yours.

All through a simple – yet not so simple – “yes.” 

christydsiggy2013

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Dear Tim Tebow…

Dear Tim Tebow,

I’m writing this not because I think you’ll ever read it, but because I’m finally starting to convince myself that I’m a writer – and sometimes the only way I process things well is to get them out on paper.  Or a screen, of course.  This blog is a little outlet that helps me record thoughts and reflections so that they are hopefully preserved to look back on for years to come.  And I have had some thoughts rolling around in my head over the last few days regarding you that I’d like to remember.

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Last weekend, I took my kids to watch you play baseball here in our area.  I knew it would be a little crazy because the news of you coming to town had been in the media, but I wasn’t fully prepared for what we would find there at that game.  There’s been a lot of talk lately of “Tebow haters” and the question keeps being asked of what there is about you to dislike.  I’m sure there sadly are plenty of those people out there, but what I saw at this game wasn’t haters.  It was thousands of crazed people obsessed with the idea of being close to a celebrity.   I realized I haven’t been anywhere near too many true celebrities, and it honestly made me a bit sad for what they have to go through every single day.

We got there pretty early because my boys have grown to really admire you, and have even been blessed with some shirts and hats representing your name that they love to wear proudly.  They thought maybe, just maybe, they might get to say “hi” to you.  But we definitely weren’t early enough.  The front of the stadium was filled with people just waiting to see if you would come near them and sign something of theirs before the game began.  Most had Gators memorabilia.  A few Broncos.  Not much Mets at all.  People love to relive their glory days, for sure.

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We waited for a long time as more and more people pushed their way in to the crowd, as finally some of your team members began to run on to the field.  Then, at long last, you ran out to join them.  And the crowd erupted with cheers.  I wondered what your team mates thought about that.  I wondered what you thought about that.  I wondered if it made you cringe inside that no one was cheering for anyone on your team but you.   Baseball’s a team sport, and I’m well aware that you have always been defined by your humility.

But you definitely have also learned how to ignore the fans and focus on your warm up, keeping your attention where it should be.  You managed to make time for a few autographs after warm ups before running to take your place in line right as the first notes of the national anthem began, reminding even all those annoyed people who didn’t get an autograph of what’s truly important.  And it was from that point on that night that I became even more inspired by you.

When I purchased our seats a few weeks back, I let my son pick them, and he had wanted to sit by first base that night.  That means we were away from all the crazy fans in the section near the guest team’s dugout.  It also meant that we got to watch you from across the field as you made your way on and off the field, and as you interacted with your team in the dugout.  We got to see you give “high fives” to awaiting kids in the stands every single time you ran on and off the field.  We got to see you kneel down at the end of the dugout to greet the teen boy sitting on the other side of the wall.  And of course, we got to see you run out to stand on the field with the beautiful young lady with cerebral palsy, who asked for you before she sang “God Bless America” to the crowd in the seventh inning stretch.

And at the end of the game, I had received what I call a very clear lesson in intentionality.  That choice to make every moment that you’re given on the field count not only to do your very best as an athlete, but as a conduit to spread God’s love to people around you.  Not because you are trying to make a name for yourself or gain status among all those fair-weather fans, but because you know without a doubt Whose you are and Who you’ve chosen to live for.

I’ve never played baseball before but I love to watch it, and left field doesn’t look like all that exciting of a position to me.  Not too many balls came your way, but you had to spend a lot of time just standing there waiting, just in case one did.  But the time in between innings – in your conversations and high fives and smiles with fans –  showed that this journey of yours is about way more than baseball.   And now I see more clearly what you wrote about in your book I read not all that long ago, on how you can survive life’s letdowns and challenges.  Because football and baseball careers don’t last forever for even the best of players.  But relationships, both with Christ and others, do.

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Plumb has a song with a line in it that I love – “We do not exist for us, but to share Your grace and love…” Truer words have never been spoken, when it comes right down to it.  So… thank you for showing me a living example of that as I watched you play this past weekend.

Thank you, with your local games going on at the same time as these terrible race riots around our country, for reminding all of us that love always wins.

Thank you, for giving me the opportunity to remind my kids that we can survive any season in life when we live for more than just that season, but for eternity.

Thank you, for giving my rising young men, one of them with his dream of higher level sports someday, the powerful message through your actions, not words, that their love for God and for others will always be way more important in the end than any career successes.

Thank you, for leaving me with the challenge that’s still in my head long after the last ball of the game was thrown and I left the “adoring” fans – to live every moment of every day with a Kingdom mindset and purposeful intentionality.    No regrets.

christydsiggy2013

 

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Never enough…

I get asked this one question all the time… How do you do it all?  Working three part-time jobs… homeschooling my kids a couple days a week… trying to care for a house that seems to always have some issue that needs fixing (that I usually don’t know how to fix)… trying to be physically and emotionally healthy myself… and most importantly – making sure my kids are well taken care of, nurtured, and loved.  … {…Read More}

When we just can’t wait…

I’ve been finding myself really fascinated – and somewhat annoyed – by how impatient of a culture we live in nowadays.  Seriously, it seems like I can’t drive anywhere any more without at least one driver cutting me off and almost causing an accident.  Some of the most foul language I’ve heard has come from people waiting in line behind me, frustrated about how long something is taking.  When did we, as a culture, become … {…Read More}

Book Review – Under a Summer Sky

Ever heard of Melody Carlson?  She is a well accomplished fiction writer with many published books, and when I saw that she had a new book out for review, I snagged the opportunity to get a copy and be one of the first to read it.  I’ve reviewed other books of hers and have found them to be sweet and lighthearted.  Under a Summer Sky was much of the same. In this book, art teacher … {…Read More}

Waiting for Rain…

You all, we need rain.  Badly.  You can see the results of the lack of rain on most people’s lawns around here… especially mine.  It’s not pretty, you guys.  April has now passed and there was sadly no such thing as “April showers” this year.    Occasionally, we get a tiny little shower.  But most of the time, the rain they supposedly predict on weather forecasts never seems to come.  Meanwhile, I have friends in other … {…Read More}

Laying aside the weights…

So, I still feel like I need to pinch myself when I say this out loud… but I ran a half marathon a little over a month ago.  It doesn’t seem possible that first, it was over a month ago. (Who else feels like this year is just flying?)  But more importantly, that I ran that many miles.  13.1 to be exact.   You see, last summer I got this crazy idea to run Disney’s Princess … {…Read More}

Book Review – Redeeming Grace (Ruth’s Story)

I recently had the opportunity to read and review the new book Redeeming Grace, by Jill Eileen Smith.  This is a biblical fiction book based on the life and story of Ruth.  I have read other books in this series based on other women in the Bible, and was excited to see another book out based on one of my favorite Bible characters. Smith tells the story of Ruth’s marriage to Naomi’s son Mahlon, and … {…Read More}

Rediscovering my “why”…

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I have a big place in my heart for Compassion International, and the work they are doing around the world to offer sponsorships for children in need.  I am happy to blog for Compassion and share its mission with others because I think it’s important.  It’s been awhile though, since I’ve mentioned anything about Compassion.  Lately, it’s been easy to go through the motions a little … {…Read More}

New Year, New Word… or Not.

We’ve all just turned the page on another calendar year, and the wave of opportunity and fresh starts has hit us once again.  No matter how bad or how good 2016 turned out, it’s over – and we each have been blessed with a blank slate of another year to write on.  I know that at least for me, the realization that it’s once again the time of the year to reevaluate my life and … {…Read More}