Monday, May 13, 2013

Days Like These ~ Book Review

Kristian Anderson fought a brave battle with bowel cancer.  He began a blog to keep family and friends updated on his condition.  Days Like These includes the blog of his journey along with passages written by his wife, Rachel.  Kristian had a strong faith and believed in his heart he was going to beat cancer.  At times I became extremely emotional as I already knew that he died from cancer.  However, this book is also inspiring.  It encouraged me in my faith journey as Kristian shares his heart with complete honesty. 
He says:
"And always in the back of my mind is the thought, 'What if?...'  What if I don't make it?  What if I croak and let everybody down?  Some might say that's not having faith, that I shouldn't think that kind of thing.  I don't know.  I'm a human being, and my mortality is something that I have become acutely aware of.  Ignoring the medical point of view as presented by my oncologist is not exercising faith;  it's being irresponsible.  Exercising faith would be trusting God's promises even when the statistics lean in cancer's favor.  I tend to believe that faith is not psyching yourself up or the power of positive suggestion.  I tend to see it as something far deeper and far less tangible, something not of the mind but of the soul  That place inside you that you know exists but you can't quite put your finger on.  I feel like faith comes from my belly, not my head.  It's something planted deep within me, and it has deep roots.  So when my humanity kicks in and I worry that maybe I won't be able to go the distance, my faith is there to reassure me that not only will I go the distance but  Iwill do it well.  I won't limp over the finish line.  I will finish strong."

There are many other passages that struck me but as I read, I just thought, this is true faith.  It is believing that God will keep His promises in spite of your circumstances.  It is facing that uncertainty knowing who holds your future in the palm of His hands.  Even when the miracle doesn't come, or when God doesn't answer our prayers in the way we hope, we have hope in Him. 

This is an amazing story of an amazing, godly man.  Kristian Anderson became famous when a youtube video he posted for wife's birthday went viral.  He and his wife appeared on Oprah after she became aware of the video and his story. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I am not obligated to give this book a positive review. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Freefall to Fly ~ A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning

Freefall to Fly: The Breathtaking Journey to a Life of Meaning  -     
        By: Rebekah Lyons
I was excited to receive "Freefall to Fly" because it sounded like a book I could relate to.  Rebekah Lyons did not disappiont.  Lyons describes her journey as a woman, a wife and a mother and the struggles and triumphs that go along with it.  I appreciate her transparency and honesty as life didn't turn out the way she thought it would.  Isn't that true of so many of us?  We have big fairy tale dreams as young women, we want to have it all, we think we can have it all and yet the very things we thought we wanted, don't make us happy.  Why is that?

Lyons suffered with debilitating panic attacks and depression and couldn't figure out why or how to make it all stop.  She would think she had it under control for a while, but when she least expected it, she would have another panic attack.  Many of the points she brought up, I find interesting:

"Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression.  One in four women will suffer some form of depression in her lifetime...We aren't depressed because we are getting old; we are depressed in the prime of our lives.  During the years when we ought to be making some of our greatest contributions to others and to the world, we are stuck.  Caught in the quagmire of confusion, hardly able to put one foot in front of the other.."

"I'm no medical doctor, and I have no degrees in psychology, but I do love to listen to the stories of women.  Women who are in the sweet spot of this demographic who are fighting to make sense of their lives.  I hear the stories, unpack their pain, and consistently flind a common perpetrator.  We don't know who we are.  We all feel this self-doubt.  The nagging sense that we don't quite have what it takes.  The loss of clarity over why on earth we exist.  The demands of life are piled on us from every direction - from ambitious husbands with amped-up libidos to screaming kids wanting the crusts cut off their PB and J sandwiches to in-laws demanding their fair share of holiday celebrations. Each of these things in isolation, no big deal.  All combined, the weight is too much to bear. 

This is the story many of us live with.  But it's not the life we want to live or the legacy we want to follow us for generations.  In the still moments we cling to the hope that there must be a better way.  A way to live out the purposes God has for each of us.  Yet that way is lost on us."

While I haven't been clinically depressed, I do struggle with knowing who I am and what God is calling me to do. I do struggle with those outside pressures and with wanting things to be just so.  I want to make everyone happy and at times make myself miserable in the process.  This book was validation for me that we are all in the same boat.  Even though women put on a happy face and may look like they have it all together, we share in the same struggles. 

I found Lyons' honesty refreshing and enjoyed this book so incredibly much.  I highly recommend this to any woman who needs to stop trying to control all of the details in her life and give up that control to the God who loves us and has plans of each of us. 

I received this book free from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  I don't have to give it a favorable review, but I am because I really liked it!