Browsing Category: Faith

Still Waiting {a Review}

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I have to admit something, I wanted to be on the release team for Still Waiting because of it’s cover. That’s right the cover. But this book is so much more than just a gorgeous cover. The book was fantastic, for lack of a better word. Still Waiting chronicles Ann’s own struggles with waiting for a resolution, a healing, that doesn’t seem to come…and maybe never will.Still Waiting by Ann Swindell

Ann parallels her story with that of the Bleeding Woman in the Bible; how her life became turned upside down, how she struggled with shame and being ostracized, and in desperation took a great risk of faith. How her leap of faith resulted in her healing, and how sometimes, healing doesn’t come.

Ann does a beautiful job of personalizing the story of the bleeding woman, who is only briefly mentioned in passing of a greater story. Through the story she shows just how flawed we are, how desperately we needed a savior from ourselves, and still need one now.

It is not our strength which God will work with most, but our weaknesses, and we are at our weakest when we are waiting.

We all know that, but embracing it is an entirely different thing. It’s not socially acceptable to admit that we are weak, that we are failing, that we are less than what we appear to be.

And yet God seems to embrace weakness — value it, even. In fact, in Jesus we see the valuing of our frailty — of our flesh — with heavenly fervor. He became human. (p. 38)

Digging deep into her own pain and struggles and anger and frustration with herself and her still waiting, Ann’s words embrace the scary truth, that it’s hard to wait. Physically painful even. But even there, in the waiting, Jesus is still with us, still caring for us in our pain and need. Even that is hard though, knowing that Jesus is with us in the waiting, when all the waiting would end with just one word from Him. Ann beautifully describes her struggle with God’s unwillingness to end her waiting.

We are all waiting for something.

And honestly once we’re done waiting for one thing, it’s inevitable that something else will soon pop up for us to be waiting for…that’s life. Ann’s words and story can touch and heal all of us in whatever we are waiting for, whether it’s physical healing, a hard situation, infertility, or any number of other things.

For me, the sign of a good (non-fiction) book is the number of pages that end up dog-eared and marked up; this book delivers. Her writing is beautiful and engaging. She strikes the perfect balance between story writing and information, making every page of this book enjoyable to read.

You can order Still Waiting from Amazon.com and any other book retailer.

 


Ann Swindell is an author and a speaker who has written for CT Women, Relevant, Deeply Rooted, Darling, the Gospel Coalition, and (in)courage. She holds an MA in writing and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing, and she makes her home in the Midwest with her husband and daughter. Connect with her online at annswindell.com.

 

***You can read my disclosure policy here. I received the above book for free, to review, but it was honestly so good that I’ve bought several copies to pass along ;-)

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart {a Review}

31 Verse to Write on Your Heart

How often have you said that you really need to start memorizing scripture, because you know that your heart needs the truth burned into it? I have, a lot. I have a few verses that I have memorized, but I’m by no means vast in my knowledge. I can barely remember which books go where in the bible. It’s horrible.31 Verse to Write on Your Heart

The problem for me is that I have no idea where even to begin or with what, so I get easily overwhelmed and do nothing….always the worst choice possible. When I was perusing the books available for review from WaterBrook Multnomah I stumbled upon Liz Curtis Higgs new book “31 verses to Write on Your Heart” and figure, that might just be a great place to start!

There are 31 chapters in the book, each with a verse to memorize and a helpful tip on how to make memorization a bit easier. She goes on to dissect each verse, clarifying its meaning and giving you little tid-bits about it. The best part is that each of these chapters will literally take you just a few minutes to go through, but obviously memorizing it will take a bit longer.

This is such a great place to start at memorizing more scripture, and isn’t starting half the battle.

* I received this book for free through WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program. My opinions are my own. You can read my disclosure policy here.

A Lenten Dare: Finding God’s Gifts in the Everyday

A Lenten Dare Finding God's Gifts in the Everyday

We’re so often concerned with the self denial aspect of Lent, that we completely forget about what the purpose of that self denial is: To draw us closer to God. What if there was a way to draw us closer to God, without our feeling resentful that we’re missing out on caffeine and chocolate? There is.

Intentionally seeking and finding God’s gifts in the everyday.

A Lenten Dare Finding God's Gifts in the EverydaySix years ago, I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousands Gifts. During the reading of it I had decided to take up Ann’s challenge of counting the gifts that I received from my heavenly father. The timing perfectly coinciding with the beginning of Lent. What if, rather than giving something up for Lent, I took something on. Did something that ACTUALLY drew me closer to God, rather than filled me with resentment.

Every day I challenged myself to find 25 things that were gifts from God. Sometimes they were big huge things. Sometimes they were just little mundane things (more me grasping for filling 25 spaces). All were gifts. At the end of Lent I had a list of 1000 gifts.

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

We focus so hard on the denying ourselves part that we completely ignore the later: FOLLOW ME.

All the self denial in the world amounts to nothing, if we don’t follow Him.

That dare took me on a journey: A journey of seeking and seeing God and His gifts to me, in the everyday. I got more out of Lent that year than I ever did before. In the taking of time was the giving from God, showing me just how abundantly He has blessed me.

There were days when it was easy to think of 25 gifts (both good and bad days). There were days when I struggled to think of 5 gifts, praying for God to open my eyes to what I knew was staring me in the face. On those days He knew I was desperate for His presence. That I needed to see His gifts and feel His love; and He was faithful, always revealing His heart for me. I truly believe that if you open your eyes to His gifts you will see them. They are all there, just waiting: Seek and ye shall find!

Our brains have an incredible way of rewiring themselves. The more we seek, the more we will find. We can move from being people who “know” that we are blessed, to people who know just HOW we are blessed. How much greater can our faith be in a loving and caring God, when we are wholly aware of His presence in our lives?! When we’ve trained our minds to seek His gifts not just when everything is “coming up roses”, but also when things aren’t going according to our plan?

This dare is not meant to create a list of favorites or special moments. But to be a conscious recognition of all the ways in which God bestows His gifts during and through ALL circumstances: Reminding us of His constant goodness, grace, and generosity. It’s meant to really make us think, to make us aware of the world around us, to make us aware of God’s His presence and His love.

This Lent I dare you.

Can you find 25 gifts each day of Lent? Or even just 5? Ask the Lord to open your eyes and heart to His goodness. You can following along on Instagram with me as I share my discoveries this Lent (@JessicaM.White)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh
down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
James 1:17

Finding Your Rhythm of Rest

I’m a mom…there’s no rest for moms. We are among the ranks of those who are on duty 24/7/365. While there’s definitely no rest for moms, we are most certainly among those who most desperately need rest. We cannot function in a manner that is glorifying to our God or an example to our children if we DO NOT REST.

Last winter I was burnt out, and it WASN’T from the baby! The triplets had stopped napping, we were homeschooling, we were trying to work through things that had crept up in our lives and needed to be intentionally dealt with. All of it left me feeling drained. I had nothing in me to give, nothing in me to share. Nothing.

I’m still a work in progress. I still fail miserably at getting and giving myself time to rest. BUT there is hope!

For the past few years I’ve been following Shelly Miller of Redemption’s Beauty (she has a beautiful IG feed), when she shared about a book that she had been working on for the past year or so, called Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World.  I could use a little advice on how to find rest amidst the busy.

289793_rhythmsofrest_meme-2Sabbath-keeping not only brings physical refreshment, it restores the soul. God commands us to “remember the Sabbath,” but is it realistic in today’s fast-paced culture? In this warm and helpful book, Shelly Miller dispels legalistic ideas about Sabbath and shows how even busy people can implement a rhythm of rest into their lives–whether for an hour, a morning, or a whole day. With encouraging stories from people in different stages in life, Miller shares practical advice for having peaceful, close times with God. You will learn simple ways to be intentional about rest, ideas for tuning out distractions and tuning in God, and even how meals and other times with friends and family can be Sabbath experiences.

Ultimately, this book is an invitation to those who long for rest but don’t know how to make it a reality. Sabbath is a gift from God to be embraced, not a spiritual hoop to jump through. ~ From Amazon.com

Shelly does a beautiful job of wrapping all of the wisdom of Sabbath living into one package; easily navigable, easily applicable. Through a collection of letters and stories and scripture, alongside Shelly’s own words, she has crafted a beautiful guide to how we can find and create a rhythm of rest in our own world-weary lives.

It’s a wonderful book and it releases TODAY!

I’m hoping that my hard copy arrives in the next day (the digital copy just isn’t so easy to make notes on).
You can order your copy on Amazon (last I checked it was discounted, selling for $8.92!)

 

Pride and Poopie Diapers

Pride and Poopie Diapers How God Convicted Me About My Own Stinkiness @JessicaMWhite.com

Amidst all of the changes we’ve been going through, since vacating our home and moving in with the in-laws one of them is that we are no longer using cloth diapers. My in laws have a front load HE washer and radiant floor heating {making diapers not easy to wash and dry} and, quite frankly, I didn’t want to possibly destroy my diapers or, even more horrific, their machines. It’s been tough. I genuinely LOVE cloth diapering and its kind of been bugging me that I’m not doing it.

Here we are…spending a $100 a month {that we really don’t have} on using ‘sposies on our triplets. It’s killing me. Kill.ing.Me. Not because I feel like a failure or a fraud about this passion for cloth, but because I genuinely love cloth diapering and saving money. Even though I was to the point of being beyond done with the wash-dry-stuff-repeat of diapers times three, and the kids bladders wetting through them in one go, I really did not want to stop. I really do enjoy cloth diapers, but I had to admit to myself that a home renovation warrants some liberties.

See…I have this thing about doing cloth diapers. I clothed diapered 4 kids at once; I really don’t understand when people can’t be bothered to cloth diaper even one kid. I don’t get it when they say it’s just too much work. It seems really ridiculous to me when they just can’t deal with that extra load of laundry.

Pride and Poopie Diapers How God Convicted Me About My Own Stinkiness @JessicaMWhite.com

And that…those feelings and thoughts…are absolutely wrong.

For me, my being able to cloth diaper 4 kids, then 3 kids at once for the past few years, is a huge source of pride. I am proud that we managed to do that. I patted myself on the back when others were impressed when they heard that. I take secret pleasure in having other moms call me supermom.

And that’s wrong.

I wasn’t able to breastfeed my kids exclusively and I tend to get “upset” {on the inside} when someone says that they don’t get why moms can’t breastfeed their kids, that it’s so much better for them, and all those other things that I completely agree with. But then, in my mind, I turn around and make those same comments and have those same prideful thoughts about people who don’t cloth diaper.

I had never really thought of this before, that I was being prideful about cloth diapering my kids, until I entered the rabbit hole of the internet and through a series of links found this post. While reading it, I kept thinking to myself, “This is ridiculous. So what, you had twins, what’s the big deal with cloth diapering 2 at once?”

Throughout the whole piece I kept defending, to myself, the validity of cloth diapering. I wanted to type a ridiculous comment, “I managed to cloth diaper 4 kids at once, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.” But there was absolutely no benefit to posting that comment.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful
for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

Here was a mom saying that she was struggling with PPD and deciding to not continue cloth diapering helped, and all I could think of was a comment that would certainly not be helpful and would be very hurtful. Even hours later, I kept huffily thinking, “Well I managed to do 4!” Because I had been convicted in my own thoughts.

It’s pride. Plain and simple, and boy does that hurt to say.

Pride, which is one of the seven deadly sins, and considered by some to be the worst of them. We are all guilty of it, on some topic, on some level we feel that others should be able to do what we do, simply because we do it, and that they are somehow not on par with us because they don’t.

Pride, is no good. It doesn’t do anyone any good. It makes other’s feel less worthy and makes the prideful put themselves on a pedestal. It’s destructive, it’s hurtful, it pushes others away from us. It’s physically impossible for us to be full of pride and to love and embrace those around us.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4

I don’t think I’ve ever actually said anything hurtful to anyone about cloth diapering. I knew I didn’t want to make someone feel bad, but I know the thoughts were there, and for that I’m sorry. That even though I didn’t say it, I was thinking it: That in my thoughts I am just as guilty as the other moms who champion their mom-battles, thinking less of others, and making others feel less of a mom.

Pride is a tough pill to swallow.

This post was originally published on my other blog on May 5, 2014.