This is such a deep and beautiful book! Friends, I highly recommend Secrets of the Happy Soul by Katie Orr. It is well worth the read, the ending even leaving me in tears. So good.
When I first saw the simple, pretty cover and read the title of this book I thought it might be kind of a fluffy read, if you know what I mean. People are always trying to give us a number of steps and things to do and attitudes to adopt to make us happy … but their advice often ends up being shallow and short-reaching. Not so with Secrets of the Happy Soul. Katie Orr truly seems to understand what a happy soul is. She constantly points to Christ and the focus is on living a life centered on Him. “The Happy Soul is attached to God’s Word.” “The Happy Soul is dependent on God’s provision.” “The Happy Soul is surrendered to her King.”
The Happy Soul presents her doubts and questions to God, then sermonizes her soul toward the truth of His character.~ Secrets of the Happy Soul by Katie Orr
This is the advice we need. Solid, Biblical advice that urges us to keep our eyes fixed on our Lord Jesus. Katie Orr is a pastor’s wife and she goes pretty deep with theology, and the Greek meaning of words, and different things. I get the feeling that she really studies her Bible and seeks God. She doesn’t just have a surface level relationship with God. This is beautiful and I feel like it gives her the credibility to write a book like Secrets of the Happy Soul.
… consider the views you hold: your actions and speech, the way you spend your time and money, what you believe about parenting, marriage, and sexuality. … Examine the conversations you hear and the teachings you have received through the lens of what the Bible says.~ Secrets of the Happy Soul by Katie Orr
It’s not all shallow, self-focused, fluffy, and feel-good, but it is richly moving and deeply good. We’re reminded that we’re here for the glory of the King of Kings. And that we are happy souls, and how to claim that truth.
The key to realizing “success” in the Christian life is not in trying harder. Intimacy with God is found as we believe better. As our view of God grows, our actions naturally follow suit. Our desires change.~ Secrets of the Happy Soul by Katie Orr
This book shares a lot of Scripture. It also has “soul searching” sections, questions, and prayers at the end of each chapter. It doesn’t gloss over the hard things. It digs deep. Katie Orr writes in an engaging, authentic way and keeps the reader interested. I did a lot of underlining, and like I said, teared up at the end of the book. Such a perfect book to read during confusing, dark times of struggle.
We need to be steeped in a continual communion with Him, because we can never be truly sweet on our own. We need the presence of God to permeate every part of us.~ Secrets of the Happy Soul by Katie Orr
As always, I like to remind my readers that books are written by imperfect humans! They’re not going to be one-hundred amazing and accurate. But I think it’s wonderful and important to read books (testimonies, in a way) from our brothers and sisters in Christ and learn from them, and grow, and glorify God! I believe that Katie Orr is a mature, humble sister in Christ, and Secrets of the Happy Soul a truly helpful and Biblically-based read.
I received a complimentary copy of Secrets of the Happy Soul from Bethany House Publishers. This review is honest and completely my own.
Good evening, my dear readers. It’s been awhile. I wonder how you all are doing … ? This is a strange time we’re going through right now. Indeed, when I envisioned 2020 I certainly did not picture a pandemic and America just slowly shutting down. It can be a little scary, and overwhelming, and frustrating, and depressing if you ponder on it, so I wanted to take time today to help us refocus our minds.
We all talk about fixing our eyes on Jesus, but are we really doing that? Are we remembering to cast all our cares on Him and rejoice? Are we recalling that the joy of the Lord is our strength? Are we internalizing the truth that God is our provider and protector? Are we finding rest for our souls in Him?
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
We preach a whole lot about these things, but what does the world see while it watches us react to covid-19? (And life stuff in general).
I was listening to a sermon called Releasing Anxiety by Ben Stuart (great guy) this morning and I was really struck and convicted by something he said. “The world is not impressed when we sing about the Prince of Peace, yet are living lives of stress.”
So what are we telling the world through our emotions and reactions and actions? Are we exuding the fruits of the Spirit:
Read those – no, really read them – and think about how they’re manifesting themselves in your life. Are they?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
We go around calling ourselves Christians … Christ-followers … Christ’s ambassadors here on earth … God’s children … and then we turn around and start freaking out about everything we can possibly find to freak out about. (Oh boy, am I preaching to myself right now.)
We’re afraid of coronavirus. We’re afraid of government control. We’re afraid of the economy collapsing. We’re afraid of persecution. We’re afraid of the end times. We’re afraid of being alone. We’re afraid of losing jobs or not having enough money. We’re afraid of losing loved ones. We fear death, disease, loneliness, change in plans, and the unknown.
And we go running around in a panicked frenzy trying to act like we can fix this if we try hard enough. We research and study to try to feel like we’re in control. We rail against certain people and come up with conspiracy theories and scare other people.
There is a serious disconnect in what we say and how we live.
If we as Christians believe what we say then we should conclude that there is nothing to fear but the wrath of God. And, in Christ, we are free from the wrath of God!
3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?
8 You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? 9 When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. 10 In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), 11 In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
I know, I know, I know … it’s hard. It’s difficult to digest this truth. And I think some of us have it harder than others – we’re just so naturally prone toward anxiety and depression.
Friends, I know. This is all coming from a girl who has struggled with anxiety and depression for years. It’s a normal part of my day. I wrestled through it this very morning.
And you know what? I don’t think the answer to being fearless and happy is trying harder.
Rather, I think the answer comes through uncovering and rejecting lies from Satan that we believe.
Through intentionally resting in God’s presence.
Through bravely confessing our faults, fears, and sin to God and other believers.
Through boldly proclaiming truth over ourselves even when we are drowning in deep, dark fear or feel nothing at all.
Through consistently soaking in Scripture.
Through praying fervently and honestly – laying our hearts bare before the Lord.
“If youabide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.32 And you shall know thetruth, andthe truth shall make you free.”
Read the Word. Read it! And meditate on it. Do you believe it’s true? Like gut-level believe? You’re assured in your heart and convinced in your mind? Do you believe God’s promise that as you are anxious for nothing, and let your requests be known to Him, and worship, He WILL guard your heart and mind with peace that passes understanding? Do you believe that? Or do you carelessly recite this well-known passage and then go on worrying all the day long as you did before?
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And think about this. How often do you confess your deep, dark fears to God? How often do you confess your deep, dark fears to your brothers and sisters in Christ? How often do you confess your sin to God? To other believers? There is something radically, unimaginably freeing about confession. About speaking those nasty, dark things that linger always in the back of our minds.
Secret sin. Secret fears. Secret struggles. They isolate us. And that is perhaps the most fearful thing of all. To feel isolated from people – most particularly our family in Christ. And even worse, to feel isolated from God.
Sometimes my thoughts are so dark and troubled that I come to the verge of panic, the brink of despair. But when I speak those supposedly unmentionable things aloud to God and cry out for His mercy, suddenly a light shines onto my trembling heart.
I realize that I am not alone and irredeemable. It is only what Satan wanted me to believe. God is, indeed, here. Only when I feed anxiety and hopelessness and fear and despair I block His presence.
As a human I struggle with all sorts of outrageous and deceptive and terrible feelings. Sometimes I feel nothing at all. I struggle with sin and distorted desires.
But at the same time, as God’s child I am held securely within His hand. And nothing can snatch me from it. Not my terrible fears and feelings and despair. Nothing. He already knows what I’m feeling. And thinking. He already knows my struggles. And I don’t think He turns away from my weakness. Instead He invites me to cast it all on Him and let Him fill me with His strength.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.
Indeed, I am a mess and sometimes feel I am a hopeless case. But with God, all things are possible.
So confess to God daily. Every time a new fear or anxiety pops into your head, immediately, intentionally reveal it to God. He already knows. But maybe you need to really, really know that He knows! Oftentimes we are unconsciously believing that He does not know … we certainly act like it! So tell Him. Confess it. Out with it.
And confess to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Just speaking those fears that have such a deep hold on you out loud can be a such a magnificent release! Like the sun busting through gloomy clouds, you realize that you are not the only one. And you realize you have an army around you ready to fight for you. The rest of the Body of Christ!
25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
If you are deeply struggling, I encourage you to ask people to pray with and over you. Get counsel from a godly pastor. Find a spiritual mentor and meet with them often (over zoom during this time, perhaps!) Be raw and honest about what you’re dealing with. And pray for a heart of humility. And that the Spirit would be at work within you. And listen. And let yourself be comforted. And rebuked. And encouraged. And sharpened. And lifted. And spurred on toward Christ.
Seek rest in Christ. Don’t miss what God is trying to tell the Church during this pandemic! Don’t let fear crowd out His voice. Come to Jesus for He is gentle and He will teach you and you will find rest for your soul.
28 Come toMe, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon youand learn from Me, for I amgentle andlowly in heart,and you will find rest for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Lastly I want to give a few practical tips to embracing rest and ingesting truth. First, be sure to be reading the Bible daily. Maybe while you eat breakfast each morning. You could rotate reading a chapter from the New Testament (why not start in Matthew?) and then Psalms every other day.
Pray daily! I pray aloud on my 20-minute drive to work each day. It is such a beautiful part of my day. Even though I tend to feel numb and disillusioned in the morning, praying aloud in the car really works for me. I find myself earnestly pouring my heart out to God and trusting His provision and guidance for the day. My heart is calmed.
Do your best to make time for rest and stillness on the Sabbath. Read your Bible. Pray. Fellowship with close friends and family. Color in an adult coloring book. Go for a walk. Soak in the sunshine.
Unplug from social media for awhile. Give yourself a break from Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, the news, or all of them. Sometimes there’s just too much negative news and scary headlines and tragic happenings and temptation to feel discontent.
Go out amidst nature often! Glory in God’s creation. What beauty! What magnificence! Oh that we would stop a moment and soak it all in. He is such a masterful designer. Also, getting exercise out in the fresh air is a good way to lift your heart.
Seek out good conversations. Talk deeply. Share your heart. Be vulnerable. Laugh. Share what God’s doing in your life. If you’re like me, sometimes a nice, long talk is just what the soul needs.
Worship in the waiting. Stirring music. Amazing lyrics. Songs can be so powerful so I encourage you to listen and worship more! Worship when you’re happy. Worship when you’re sad. Worship when you’re waiting. Worship when your prayers are answered. Worship when you rejoice. Worship when you grieve. Worship when you’re fearful. Worship when you’re confused. Worship when you’re numb. Here is my worship playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLV7fB-3In6dqLodOhgVD-ISlBKkNqApC
So there are some thoughts and ideas! Until next time!
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for twocopper coins? Andnot one of them is forgotten before God.7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you,do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; andGod feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?26 If you then are not able to do the least, whyare you anxious for the rest?27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, evenSolomon in all his glory was notarrayed like one of these.28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you oflittle faith?
29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Fatherknows that you need these things.31 But seekthe kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
32 “Do not fear, little flock, forit is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Words of Hope for Women by Carolyn Larsen is a sweet, little devotional from Revell Publishers. When I first saw the simple loveliness of the book cover, I knew I wanted to read it.
In typical devotional format, this small tome has a passage of Scripture for each day, as well as a paragraph or two from the author talking about the hope these Bible verses present to us. Some of the headings for each day are: Hope of Heaven // Promised Refuge // Hope in Weakness // Hope for Victory Over Death // Hope When All Seems Hopeless // True Love // Hope in Grace-Filled Speech // & Hope in God’s Power.
Words of Hope for Women has been encouraging and to the point. And I feel like Carolyn Larsen has done a good job of sticking to the truth of the Word, and not just filling the pages with flowery, feel-good quotes. I’m now on Day 25, and look forward to finishing this devotional!
I received a complimentary copy of Words of Hope for Women from Revell Publishers. This review is honest and all my own.
A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully. was a really great read! I’d seen it around on social media – from Jinger Vuolo, “Marriage After God”, and Dale & Veronica Partridge, I think – and became intrigued. Although I’ve never watched the TV reality show that Jeremy Roloff is a part of (Little People, Big World), I thoroughly enjoyed his and Audrey’s book! It was an easy read; interesting, fun, and thoughtful.
So basically it tells the story of Jeremy and Audrey. Little bits of their individual lives, and a lot of how they became friends, fell in love, and eventually joined lives in marriage! I thought it was awesome how they emphasized the importance of friendship first, and also being intentional and faithful about getting to know, understanding, and caring for one another. There were some hot topics discussed! Such as physical purity and close friendships with the opposite sex after you’re married. I appreciated how honest Jeremy and Audrey were about their relationship, purity, and where they failed … and the fact that they wrote it as a warning: Make boundaries! Have accountability partners. Don’t make the same mistakes that we did.
I loved the few pages of pictures near the center of the book. It’s so fun to see snippets of what you’re reading about! Absolutely lovely.
And the love letters they wrote each other? Absolutely precious! I love this idea – especially for dating couples! ^_^
This romance definitely wasn’t perfect. It had it’s ups and downs. It’s bumps and break-ups. But no love story is perfect. What makes the difference is how you pursue. How intentional you are. How faithful you are. Are you willing to fight for this person, despite the setbacks? And, once married, are you willing to cling to each other until death parts you … regardless if you “fall out of love” someday? Most importantly, are you actively putting Christ at the center? It’s wonderful to see a fun couple like Jeremy and Audrey pursuing God’s design for a man and his wife. Fighting for each other. Promoting a healthy marriage relationship that doesn’t give up.
This book talks about how to creatively love your special person, work through baggage from the past and/or generational sin, understand each other’s personality, respect each other, be intentional in a long distance relationship, and so on.
Jeremy and Audrey have a sweet story of coming together, and, overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book! I recommend to those who like learning about the real-life romances of Christian couples!
I received a copy ofA Love Letter Life from Book Look Boggers Program. This review is honest and all my own.
Another phenomenal read and awesome resource from sisters, Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal! I had the privilege of being on the launch team for Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, and let me tell you, it is not a book that you want to miss! I was stunned and blessed. This is a message I’m so excited for! It is simply, beautifully another tool in helping us women discover the freedom of living out our sexuality God’s way.
I think one of the reasons I was so excited to read Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is because we as the Church don’t talk much about lust being a girl’s problem … or about our sexuality in general! And as a result, I believe Satan has a foothold in many a woman’s life. Our idea of sex is twisted and we struggle with fear, shame, and secret sexual sin.
Kristen and Bethany don’t shy away from the raw, tough questions and shameful topics. They dive right in. They share their own stories of sexual sin and of finding forgiveness and freedom. They share hope. They get to the heart of the issue, and give practical tips to avoid temptation.
Reading this book could seriously be life-changing for some girl. I read a book that tackled the topic of sexual sin (Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge) when I was a young teen, and it changed the course of my life. And I believe Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is an even more precious book on this topic because it is so centered on Christ, and it is so personal, honest, hopeful, and empathetic.
And holistic, if that’s the right word. We’re not just talking about how to avoid sexual sin. We’re talking about our design as human beings … how God created us as sexual beings in the beginning. And how that sexuality is good! How our sexual design can point us to God. Yes, sexual intimacy was created exclusively for marriage, but we are sexual beings whether we’re married or not, and so understanding God’s design for our sexuality is vital. It is an intricate part of our lives!
Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart talks about the universal sexual brokenness. It talks about same-sex attraction, and the truth that male, female, and marriage were created specifically and purposefully by God. It speaks on being made for intimacy, imperfect purity, battling temptation, and real freedom. Again and again, we are reminded that our sexual longings point to an even deeper need – the need for Jesus Christ. He can truly satisfy our souls.
Something that I enjoyed about this book was how it quoted renowned Christian authors and speakers such as John Piper, Dannah Gresh, Dr. Juli Slattery, Jackie Hill Perry, Joshua Harris, and more. And, of course, the Holy Bible! Scripture is what we must always line up our ideas against and see if they match. Because God’s Word is our absolute truth.
I love reading about God’s design for marriage and sex. It is truly beautiful! And the way it points to Christ and the Church … the Creator and our relationship with Him … is magnificent. When we realize the amazing design and purpose of sex, we dare not tarnish its beauty. It is too good to fool around with!
I hope you all will give this book a chance, even if you don’t normally read nonfiction. It flows along well and is easy to read. Kristen and Bethany help us to recognize God’s awesome design for sex and intimacy as laid out in the holy Scriptures. They show that the hold that sexual sin has on you can be broken! You can find forgiveness, new beginnings, and glorious beauty as you turn to Him and use your sexuality as God designed!
Our brilliant, loving Creator’s plan for sexuality is obviously the very best. It was His design in the first place! We can trust that. We don’t have to live in sexual brokenness and depravity. By His strength, we can rise up to beautiful heights of purity, holiness, blissful joy, and freedom.
I’m so glad this book was written! Dear women, read this book. I think it will help you to understand your sexuality and the desires that come with that. It will help you to honor marriage and sexual intimacy. And find your deepest satisfaction and hope in Christ!
This book includes discussion questions at the back of the book for each chapter. I can’t wait to go through it with a group of women!
I received a complimentary copy of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart from Baker Books Publishers and the authors. This review is honest and all my own.
So, this book is releasing the 30th of this month, April! I’m so excited! I’m praying for God to work mightily in the lives of the women who read this book. I’m part of the launch team, so I received an early copy of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. It has been phenomenal! Look for my personal book review soon! And watch my unboxing video on Youtube!
If you pre-order by the 29th, you will receive some FREE, special bonuses such as an adult coloring book, an audiobook, and a private Q&A with the authors + their husbands!
I hope you all will give this book a chance … even if you don’t normally read nonfiction. Kristen and Bethany help us to recognize God’s awesome design for sex and intimacy as laid out in the holy Scriptures. They show that you can truly find freedom from sexual sin! You can find forgiveness, new beginnings, and glorious beauty as you turn to Him and use your sexuality as God designed!
Kristen and Bethany don’t shy away from the tough questions and shameful topics. They get to the heart of the issue.
Our brilliant, loving Creator designed us all as sexual beings, and obviously, His plan for that sexuality is the very best. We don’t have to live in sexual immorality. By His strength we can rise up to beautiful heights of purity and holiness and freedom. Our sexuality has very intricate purpose in our lives.
Read this book. Do a book study on it with your girl friends. We are all sexually broken. But we can find wholeness in Christ. Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is simply, beautifully another tool to help us discover that … and the beauty of living out our sexuality God’s way.
This was a super fabulous read! Grown-Up Faith: The Big Picture for a Bigger Life by Kevin Myers is one of those books that I feel like giving out to everyone. It talks about the basics of Christianity and the Bible, faith, and going deeper with God. All in all, I just feel like it’s a great read for Christ-followers, and also those who are young in the faith, struggling, or unsure if they believe at all. So yes, I very much recommend this book!
Spiritual maturity comes not from merely knowing about God, but rather from experiencing God with an intimacy that has emotion and affection. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 18)
Mature followers of Christ seek to be holy as He is holy. That require obedience to Him. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 20)
Grown-Up Faith is engaging, clear, and informative. Overall, an easy read … even though I took a little longer to finish it. I really enjoyed it. There were discussions that I’m already familiar with, and profound thoughts that deepened my understanding.
This is not merely a punishment; it’s a principle. When we disobey God’s life principles, the consequence is death. Why? Because by doing so, we disconnect ourselves from the source of life. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 53)
Everyone grows old, but not everyone grows up. Those who don’t grow up get stuck blaming others. They get stuck being a victim. Or worse, they become blind to their chosen victimhood … (Grown-Up Faith pg. 58)
Kevin Myers talks about reading and understanding the Bible correctly. It is one big story that points to Jesus Christ! He quotes a few great Christian authors and speakers. He talks about some of the tough questions that people ask about God, and shares thought-provoking scenarios to help bring understanding. He discusses our real purpose as Christians. He shares poignant and humorous stories and snippets from his own life. It was all very interesting, and I left this book feeling more passionate about living for God! Knowing Him and doing all for His glory is what I’m made for.
It’s less about being reformed and more about being transformed. This needs to occur from the inside out. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 175)
By obeying God, we become more like Christ and less like everyone else in the world. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 190)
If you are a Christian, this is a great book for you to read. If you are not a Christian, this is also a great book for you to read! I’m so glad I picked up Grown-Up Faith and am excited it’s now part of my Christian Living book collection.
I received a complimentary copy of Grown-Up Faith through BookLookBloggers program. This review is honest and all my own.
I picked up Freedom!: The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and the Life Beyond It by Jennifer Renee Watson because I’m tired of me telling myself that I’m broken and I can’t move beyond it. (And, to be honest, the cover is quite gorgeous!) I enjoyed it, and, overall, feel like it had a truly great message!
God is not the voice in your head shaming you, saying you are not enough. God is telling you that He is enough. That He is the great I AM. Who He is inside of you is more than enough to take care of whatever you are facing today or what you will face in the future. Jesus is not tired of you. Jesus is waiting and unafraid of your questions.(Freedom! pg. 66)
For real, a lot of us Christians … perhaps especially women … willingly live in brokenness. We take on the victim mentality and try to survive each day and do the right thing and please all the people. Freedom! is here to tell you that it’s time to pursue freedom! In Christ, we can move into deeper freedom than we ever thought possible. We can stop listening to that negative, nagging, dark voice in our head that tells us we’ll never be good enough.This book hit on some important topics and gave me another boost in my journey of freedom & wholeness in Christ.
A couple things. For some reason or another, this book wasn’t as easy of a read as some. Some chapters took me awhile to get through. Also, there was just a bit of that You Deserve It!, You’re a Strong, Kick-Butt Heroine stuff mixed into the message. And that tends to rub me a little wrong. But it wasn’t overpowering, because the biggest thing I got from this book was that I don’t have to stay broken, and Jesus Christ is my everything – He will help me break through.
Your safe person is always Jesus. He alone can mend and do what no person or soul sister can do.(Freedom! pg. 96)
Your grateful soul was what motivated you to service. You were too busy pleasing God to concern yourself with pleasing others. (Freedom! pg. 151)
So, Freedom! wasn’t a five-star read for me. But it still had some really, really good points in it. Paragraphs and prayers that brought just a little more healing to my heart. God is so good. Thank you, Jennifer Renee Watson, for writing this book. I look forward to growing in freedom and grace together, even though we may never meet. God bless you!
I received a complimentary copy of Freedom! from Bethany House Publishers. This review is honest and completely my own.
If we are image-bearers and adopted children of an absolutely pure God, how should purity manifest itself in our own hearts and lives?
We all know that pornography is a major issue for men … and increasingly so even within the Church. Something we may not realize is how big of an issue it is for women. Lately, it seems I’ve been coming across a lot of women giving testimonies of their struggle with porn and lust.
And it’s opening my eyes to the impurity that we as Christians have slowly allowed to saturate our lives.
I’m here to discuss entertainment and social media. Movies. TV shows. Books. Magazines. Blogs. Instagram. Particularly, faith-based entertainment. Christian movies aren’t as much of a problem, but women’s Christian literature is too often filled with sensuality.
It’s just a romance novel, you may say, It’s not pornography! It’s not like I’m looking at inappropriate images.
But if that scene is bringing up images in your head that you’re fantasizing over, how is it different from visiting a porn site? (And I know some women visit porn sites as well. But I just want to focus mostly on books in this post.)
There’s a different between reading about a sweet love story, and consuming a scene saturated with sensual imagery that stimulates a sexual reaction.
Christian authors, since when is it okay to write in a way that stirs up feelings that are only meant to be experienced between a husband and wife?
Married or unmarried, you should not be watching movies or reading books that awaken sexual feelings in you … That should come exclusively from your spouse! Not from peering into the private relationship of an imaginary couple on a screen or within the pages of a book. Why has this become acceptable?
Even if the books you read aren’t graphic or extremely explicit (most Christian books aren’t), would you watch your neighbor do what this fictional couple is doing? Why do we need to feel what she’s feeling when he kisses her? I know we want to feel like we are the character when we read a novel, but some things are better experienced in real life with the person you marry (married)!
7 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.
If you are going to romance books, Christian or otherwise, to awaken that type of sexual feelings, you have an unhealthy addiction. A sin problem. And even if you aren’t searching for that type of content, if you keep coming across books that are exposing you to an intimacy and awakening of feelings reserved for a different time, I would caution you.
And I caution authors. Be careful of what you write and send out to the public!
Dear sisters in Christ, your purity is precious and valuable. Guard it. Go above and beyond to honor God with your body. Think of how beautiful and exciting it would be to come to your husband as a new bride and let him awaken true and pure love in you … unencumbered by worldly expectations, confusion, shame, guilt, impure experience, and addiction!
18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
I am increasingly bewildered and upset by what Christian authors are selling us. Some of it is none other than a trap for young women. An endangerment to purity. An unexpectedly captivating luring into sexual temptation and sin.
An intriguing adventure and rich historical setting. Flawless writing and authentic characters. …And a scene of our main characters making out that goes on for pages. They never actually go all the way. Of course not. That would never do for a Christian novel! But I think I’m correct in saying that pages of describing sexual feelings and scenes is inappropriate and bound to cause many a Christian woman to struggle.
God created us as sexual beings. But it was not meant for us to be exposed to some of the things that we are. Like when a man is bombarded with sexy, half-dressed women on billboards, it naturally awakens feelings and causes a reaction. But this is not acting on one’s sexuality purely, and such feelings & following thoughts must be taken captive and made obedient to Christ.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
The Bible says that marriage is honorable among all. And the marriage bed is undefiled. It is a devastating thing that Christian literature may be defiling the sexual relationship that you have, or will have, with your spouse.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
I want us to take note of this. Seriously consider it.
More and more Christian authors are coming out with books whose covers portray a sexy woman with a low neckline and sensual gaze. And many have scenes I feel are wholly inappropriate and uncalled for. Most of the novels in the Christian market have kissing scenes. “Scene” meaning it’s described in some detail. I’m not trying to make too big of a deal over kissing. Romance is a beautiful thing, and my heart always flutters when I watch a genuine, godly relationship unfold. But Christian authors, I just want to implore you to be careful. Crossing the line when it comes to sexual impurity is sometimes a very easy thing to do.
9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. 12 Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. 13 With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth.
Why, writers and readers … Christians in general … has sensuality become so normal that we have Christian women flaunting their bodies on Instagram and even in church, reading edgy romance novels, and watching sex scenes in movies like it’s no big deal? Normal and acceptable?
What happened to the call to holiness? And let’s be practical about this. We are called to be different from the world. And we can be. We have the power of Christ at work in us. We can be holy – set apart.
There is no such thing as sexy Christians.
We are called to absolute purity – no room for compromise!
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
So be careful about the books you’re reading, the movies you’re watching, the songs you’re listening to … all the things you’re filling your mind with. As an unmarried, Christian person, there is no room to be indulging in sexual gratification. And as a married, Christian person, there is only room to experience sexual gratification with your spouse. No exceptions. God created sexual feelings and such for a man and his wife. The end.
To experience sexual pleasure anywhere else is to pervert God’s beautiful, flawless design. And it is a grievous thing, indeed.
Now, this is not to say that young women mustn’t know anything about sexuality, or romance, or read books on this subject. In fact, I think it is important to get a healthy view of God’s design for sex before the world exposes you to its twisted, yucky version.
With that, here are a few Christian books on sexuality & romance that I recommend:
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Truly an exceptional read. I’m not even sure how to put this book into words. The Whole Christ is a nonfiction book that I highly recommend that every Christian read! I didn’t expect to love this book so much, but it was fascinating! Packed with truth and hope, it really dug deep, and took apart and explored the idea of grace. There was some history concerning Thomas Boston, the Marrow Controversy, and other theologians. There were some startling truths revealed about legalism. There were Biblical truths presented that I hadn’t quite grasped before. It is a study on the gospel – and that cannot be studied enough!
For it [the gospel] reveals that behind and manifested in the coming of Christ and His death for us is the love of a Father who gives us everything He has; first His Son to die for us and then His Spirit to live within us.~ The Whole Christ by Sinclair B. Ferguson
It’s a bit of a deep read … some paragraphs I had to reread a couple times … but still, so good, it kept me reading. Even if you aren’t a big reader, I would give it a try. Maybe listen to it on audiobook. It is such a needful message for the Church. Why? Because I think we all, as Christians, struggle with understanding grace – and accepting that there is nothing we can do to earn it. It’s is all Christ. And the love of God! Understanding the love of God! Ah, The Whole Christ presented such precious truths.
It was interesting, deep, informational, compassionate, heartfelt, and soul-stirring. A great book for all of us Christ-followers to add to our collection … especially pastors! The Whole Christ is geared, somewhat, toward pastors. It speaks very plainly, but also with gentleness and great encouragement.
A truly worthwhile read! I’m so glad I picked it up, even though I was nervous about reading such a intimidating-looking book. (I’ve not read many deep, theological books). The Whole Christ made me marvel about the greatness of my God. It encouraged me. And it helped open my eyes even more to the basic, fundamental truths about the Christian faith – about Jesus Christ, grace, and truth.
There is only one genuine cure for legalism. It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ Himself. This leads to a new love for and obedience to the law of God, which He now mediates to us in the gospel.~ The Whole Christ by Sinclair B. Ferguson