Summer Reading Bucket List

I enjoy reading. It is something that brain fog effects for me, but has not been able to completely take away from me. Reading is a great way to take a miniature mental vacation, escaping the burdens of the spoonie life and complications. Not only is reading a great way to learn, but it can also provide us with inspiration, strength, and support.

I am finally done with school for the summer. This summer I am working through a few excellent books and I would love to share them with you. I tend to read about four books at a time. Switching helps me to stay focused and each offers me something unique.

  • Seamless by Angie Smith is a book I am currently reading with Proverbs 31 ministries online Bible study. If you haven’t read this book you absolutely need to put it on your book bucket list! In a few short weeks Angie teaches though the entire Bible! It is pretty amazing how she does this. I simply love how she has you take out your Bible. The book really makes the Bible less intimidating.  CBD.com has this description of this Bible study book: “In seven sessions, Seamless covers the people, places, and promises of the Bible, showing participants how the entire Bible – from Genesis through Revelation – connects as one beautiful, seamless thread. Each week of study features key information that ties all of scripture together into the seamless truth of the gospel message and is accompanied by maps, general Bible facts, and word studies.” Make sure to check out the Proverbs 31 ministries study blog.
  • Breathe: Making Room For Sabbath By Priscilla Shirer

This book comes with a workbook basically within it. I love the questions within the book. Once again I simply adore that she makes you take out your Bible. I have not begun this book yet but I am so excited to begin.

Who better to tell you all about the book other than Priscilla Shirer

  • Embraced: 100 Devotions To Know God Is Holding You Close by: Lysa TerKeurst is the devotional I am currently reading. It gets five starts out of five in my option. The devotionals are a bit on the longer side but so worth reading. Lysa has an amazing gift of assisting other to grow closer to the Lord. This is one of the very few devotionals I would do again.
  • Sunset Lullaby is a book in the Christy and Today The Baby Years which is an extension of the Christy Miller series. Robin Jones Gunn is one of my favorite fiction authors. Life changing fiction can bring one closer to the Lord.

CBD product description reads Christy’s life with Todd and their two little ones in their cozy Newport Beach cottage is everything she ever hoped for.

So why is it she can’t find balance and a sense of worth in this new season? Is it the crazy mood swings and self-image dips that keep taking her down? Or is it that Todd is about to leave and take a group of students to Kenya for three weeks? Christy would love to go with him and see her best friend, Katie.

As she tries to figure out what’s next, Christy’s brother asks for confidential advice on his love life. Christy is happy to help out. But as things go awry and Aunt Marti becomes involved, it leads Christy to evaluate her own marriage—for better or worse.

The friendship that sprouts with her neighbor Jennalyn becomes a lifeline. Their heart-to-heart conversations and play dates bring about some significant changes as Christy is approaching her thirtieth birthday.

On a very special night as the sun dips into the ocean, heaven seems to touch the earth. An unexpected Peculiar Treasure reaches for Christy’s hand, and in that moment, all her summer promises come full circle.

Lastly, the two books of the Bible I am reading are John and Psalms. Proverbs 31 has a five five app which allows one to spend the first five minutes of their day with Jesus.

Share a book you are reading, would like to read, or is your favorite. 

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Why Her?

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Comparison is the heartbeat of feeling like one does not measure up. It is a timeless issue.  Additionally, it is a struggle most encounter at an extremely young age. This struggle plagues women in a unique way. We compare ourselves to the woman who “has it all together” or to the media. Regardless of how hard we try we just do not measure up. At times, we allow ourselves to ask, why does she have God’s favor and I don’t?

The enemy desires to separate us from Christ and embed doubt into our minds.  Comparison is one of the battles in the war fought for a woman’s heart. This struggle is found in women in all walks of life, but today I want to focus a little on the woman battling chronic illness.

Having a “broken” or “malfunctioning” body causes one to feel inadequate. When you are drained from the pain, symptoms, emotional break downs, changes in your physical appearance, dealing with insurance, and doctors it is easy to into a comparison trap. It may be tempting at times to run away from God. One might become angry with Him question what she did to deserve this.

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We look at the healthy woman. It must be nice to get out of bed in the morning rested. It must be nice living pain free. It must be nice to have a job and be independent. It must be nice to go out on a whim without planning according to your symptoms and not be stuck in bed for a week after. It must be nice eating whatever you want when you want to. It must be nice brushing your hair without chunks falling out. It must be nice…

Perhaps, at times you have envied other women with chronic illness. The woman who has a prestige medical team, a husband who supports her, friends who check in, or has made substantial progress. Other times, maybe you envy your old healthy self.

Because of chronic illness your dreams have been shattered. You lost the woman you were before this illness plagued your body. It has altered every relationship in your life.

Why does she get to live the life you always dreamed? Why are you trapped in your own body? How do you move forward in a way that honors God?

You were made to bring honor and glory to Christ. You were created, precious friend to live an abundant life. You were crafted for thanksgiving not for comparison.

It is possible to overcome comparison one moment at a time through the strength of Christ. Being rooted in Christ is vital to survive life with a chronic illness. Drinking in His presence while resting in His arms. Allowing His Word to consume you until you overflow is essential.

Let’s leave comparison in the past and begin living in a way that honors God. I want to invite you to join in a Bible study about overcoming comparison. We will dig into God’s Word in inspiring ways as we study Rachael and Leah. Click here for additional information. Online Bible study is an essential tool if you are chronically ill.

“In her new book, Why Her?, Nicki Koziarz uncovers six truths we need to hear when trying to measure up leaves you falling behind. Because truth, like always, will set us free. And free women don’t have to measure up to anybody. Not even her.

In this 6-week study of Why Her?, we will use Nicki’s powerful message to help you:

  • Conquer what comparison can do to your self-esteem by applying six powerful truths to your everyday life.
  • Start thriving in your own skin again as you battle the ever-present “must be nice” syndrome.
  • Apply what the Bible says about comparison to your own situation as we learn from two important women in Scripture.” Proverbs 31 Ministries

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A note from Nicki:

“Yes, #WhyHerBook is a book on how to battle comparison with Truth. And we all need Truth. But there’s so much we can learn from the story of Rachel & Leah.

Maybe you’ve studied the story of Rachel & Leah before but perhaps not like this. One of the things I’m most looking forward to with the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies is to study Genesis 29-35 in depth through the teaching series.

You’ll meet Jacob, Laban, Rachel & Leah in a new way. You’ll learn about how Jacob wrestled with God and how that led to the resting place with God.

We’ll discover how to discern if something someone says about God in the Bible is true or not. And what to do when comparison tries to compromise the wellness of your soul.

 

I hope you’re signed up for the totally free Online Study beginning April 9th!”

 

What I’m Reading Wednesday

At any given moment, I am reading an abundance of books. Typically, I have two books for online Bible Study, a book for personal Bible study and/or Christian living book, one fiction book, and two textbooks. In addition, I read an Old Testament and New Testament book of the Bible. I have been eager to write this post for you.

Currently, for the first term of my semester, I am reading Caring for People God’s Way. Additionally, I am reading Theories of Personality.

The past several weeks, I have been reading the Armor of God by  Priscilla Shirer in my one online Bible Study. Then, in a few short days, I will begin assisting with my other online Bible Study using the book Discovering Hope: Beginning the Journey Towards Hope in Chronic Illness by Cindee Snider Re.

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Recently, I finished reading Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible: Flawed Women Loved by a Flawless God. I was amazed at how well Liz taught with humor, clips of fiction writing, personal stories, and emphasis on the Bible in a unique way. I am a zealous fan of Wendy Blight’s writing and her teaching. Liz used a similar format in her book, which captivated my attention.I would recommend this book to any women. This book examines the lives of Sari, Haggar, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel. Be prepared to see these women as well as their stories in a new light.

Product Description From CBD.com is as follows, “Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible is the latest of Liz Curtis Higgs’ “girlfriend theology” Bible study. Combining contemporary fiction with a verse-by-verse commentary, she explores the “slightly bad” lives of a few Old Testament women. Far from evil, yet slightly bad, these women from the book of Genesis stubbed their toes along the rocky path of righteousness. Sound familiar? These ancient sisters aren’t a whole lot different from us. Laced with humor and built on solid research, this book will bring you to the realization that God loves you just the way you are. Flaws and all!”

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Fiction Book. The biggest downside to this book is in the fact that it is the final book in the Bailey Flanigan Series. This is a sweet ending to the series. I simply adore how Karen Kingsbury includes the characters struggles as well as their time with God. Even though it is fiction she has a way of not only pulling the reader into the story but also challenging and strengthening their faith as well. You feel as though you have become friends with the characters. Beautiful tear-jerking wedding was included. Without a doubt, her books are life changing fiction.

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This is my personal Bible Study book. I began it a few short days ago so I don’t have much yet to say about it. Book description from CBD.com, “The book of Philippians calls you to see beyond your present circumstances and discover the authentic joy awaiting you in Christ. Get ready to explore this uplifting book through the tried-and-tested inductive study method – with an added writing step to help you treasure each word!”

 

Uninvited Devotional

Worry sits shotgun barking endless commands. Like weeds the to-do list grows. Anxiety suffocates us. Yet it was never meant to accompany our DNA it is merely learned behavior another aspect of our fallen world.

As we process pass rejection, worry and doubt are front and center. We try to blend in by dressing like those around us. Perhaps even fixing our hair and makeup just so before heading out the door. In addition, we go to extra lengths to please others, whether that is compromising our standards or acting a certain way to fit in.

I love that Lysa includes Matthew 6: 26-27 in the study guide as well as the video for section one of the Uninvited Study.  “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not store food for winter. They don’t plant gardens. They do not sow or reap—and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird. If He looks after them, of course He will look after you. Worrying does not do any good; who here can claim to add even an hour to his life by worrying?” (The Voice Translation). These two short verses are treasure packed with love. Reread the verses. Allow them to sink in. Jesus is gently whispering to you, darling daughter, I’ve got this, there is no need for you to worry. With Him you are safe, provide for, and always invited in. 

Jesus knows the depths of your heart. Who you really are. You don’t need to try to fit in or to be someone you are not there is no pressure. He loves you more than you can understand even with your flaws.

Jehovah Jireh (God Our Provider),

We praise you for the blessings in our lives. Thank you for this time to grow closer to you, to study your word, and to heal from our past. We surrender our past rejections and hurts to you. We surrender every anxiety to you. Provide for and bless each woman in a personal way this week. Amen

 

Uninvited

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Less than. Left out. Lonely. Rejection wasn’t new, yet this time, it would be less painful to rip my heart right out of my chest. I poured out the emotions, “God they promised they wouldn’t leave me. How could they?”I had spent plenty of time wandering the playground alone or reading my Bible in silence at lunch. I figured shedding the shell of shyness was key to overcoming rejection, to leave behind those times I was uninvited.

Entering into college I felt like I was on top of the world socially. I had my youth group, the teens from the retreat I passionately poured into my high school years, and the girls on my floor. (Of course, finding a guy friend in order to get a ring by spring couldn’t hurt. Just Kidding! If you don’t get that joke go find a kid who goes to a Christian college.)

I was hopeful that even though I had chronic pain I would soon have solid answers to it and a treatment plan. Steroids don’t make life as a college girl easy. Emotions explode pretty much everywhere in a confused mess. Nothing was going as planned but it could only get better, or so I thought. Thanksgiving weekend I found out I had a triple (Yes I have three kidney’s) kidney infection that was severe lasting a total of four months.

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I had always reached out to a particular group of friends checking in on everyone. I figured if no one heard from me someone would check to see if I was alive. I desperately wanted to just have a conversation about anything. Once someone reached out it wasn’t in a loving manner, leaving me in tears. From that conversation steamed rejection from a group of Christian friends. I felt unwanted, isolated, and brokenhearted.

It is a few years later as I sit on my bed writing this. My life is anything but typical.  God is on the move in my life providing me with a small group of friends who I cherish dearly and like a weirdo I do point it out to them that I am thankful they are in my life. The Lord is providing me with women to pour into through online Bible study, which I am forever grateful for. He has blessed me with the stability and faithfulness of my mom who has refused to walk out or give up. There are many days- even in those ‘safe’ places where I feel less than, left out, and lonely. Rejection is a knife leaving a deep scar regardless the colorful story attached.

Past rejections impact daily life more than we are aware of. Making us self-conscious. We throw up walls and harsh words out of fear. It seems at times we girls take things to heart a bit more.

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I would like to personally invite you to an online Bible study featuring Lysa TerKeurst new books Uninvited.

“In Uninvited, Lysa shares honestly from her own struggles with rejection and gives readers concrete truths to combat the lies our old Enemy hurls our way. You can stop feeling left out, because even when you are overlooked by others, you are handpicked by God. You can change your tendencies to either fall apart or control the actions of others by adopting healthy ways to process your hurt. You are designed for a love without limits, a love that will never let go.

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With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers:

  • Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt.
  • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence.
  • Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.
  • Stop feeling left out and start believing that “set apart” does not mean “set aside.”
  • End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue.”

This Women’s online study will dig deep into God’s word, build lasting friendships, pray with one another, in addition to reading and discussing the book.

Even when you’re overlooked by others, you are handpicked by God.
This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited Book Blog Tour which I am delighted, excited, and honored to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. Make sure to check out http://www.uninvitedbook.com.
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To RSVP: Please e-mail: hopefulspoonie@gmail.com
I will be assisting in leading two studies with the book. The first is God-Living Girls. God-Living girls is for women God-Living Girls is for women with chronic illness and/or pain. The book will be completed alongside Proverbs 31 Ministries from September 6th- October 14th. I highly encourage all teen girls and women to check out God-Living Girls even if you aren’t interested in the study, the group has a lot of excellent resources.
The second group also meets  in a private Facebook Group, which you will be able to join starting August 15th. We will begin September 6nd as well, but we will be doing the study at a slower pace for about ten weeks. Feel free to ask questions!
Please share!