Girls’ Club (a review)

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Thanks to Tyndale House for this book – all opinions are my own.

Growing up, I lived among family as my neighbors.  I had a tight group of friends in high school.  But, I loved being known by everyone.  In college, those friendships faded away because we weren’t together all the time anymore.  In college and seminary I felt that friendships were built mostly on what classes we had and if we had to study together.

Once I graduated seminary, I have felt that it has been hard to make friends – even though I made two of my friends after graduation.  But, those numbers are few.  Even now, as we have moved several times, changed jobs and states, had children, friendships are hard.

What do you base friendship on? Is it primarily proximity?  I think proximity helps but so does social media.  But, in our days of busy schedules, family and ministry priority, soccer and dance schedules, friendships are hard to keep on the front burner.

Enter: the Girls’ Club.  The Clarkson girls do a great job of storytelling, helping their friends and readers absorb biblical truth about friendship, literary clues about friendships, and shares how the gospel should shape us.  I find myself wanting to travel as I read their book.  I’ve been to Prince Edward Island, but not to Oxford, so that’s all I want to do.

I think the writers do a great job of sharing their joys and their struggles with friendship.  Even having friends can make for a lonely winter.  Social media can help and hurt.  We must use it wisely.  And not let that be all our friendships concist of – as best we can.

This book will not be for everyone but I think they do a great job of sticking with their main audience.  LIterary, travelers, scholarly, conservative.  It is a winsome book.  I’ve also enjoyed the podcasts that they’ve done on it – especially with Ruth Simons and Sarah MacKenzie.


The Life-Giving Parent

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One thing that I’ve appreciated more (now that I am older – 41 – and have young kids) is older women.  Titus 2 instructs the older women to instruct, mentor, disciple, love on, help the younger women.

And in parenting, I think it is crucial.  Yes, we can learn from those younger than us, and even in the same boat as us, but it is so helpful to have older women in your life to pour into you and teach you.

I have a few moms of adult children that I learn from and listen to and hang on their words of encouragement.  I also have a few moms who are actually younger than me but have kids who are older than mine.  I want to know how they survived these little years!

Yes, women my age can have lots of wisdom.  And I want to listen to them and share with them and have community and friendship with them.

But I want older women to pour into my life and my home and my parenting.  That is one of the reasons I love Sally Clarkson.  She is in her 60s, all of her children are grown, and they still have a great relationship and love and serve Jesus.  God has blessed their parenting.  It is evident, not perfect, but evident.

The Life-Giving Parent, written with her husband, Clay, is so rich with biblical principle (taken mostly from the Proverbs), practical tips in living out these principles, and anecdotal stories of their parenting.  In some parenting books you just get the truths.  But, what I love in each of these chapters is humble lessons learned from years of practice and trusting in God’s Word.

Definitely a book I want to read time and time again – and continue marking it up.  I may not know Sally personally, but her books have mentored me over the years.

All thoughts are my own.  I was given this book by Tyndale Publishers and was asked for my honest opinion. #ad

Still Waiting (a review)

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Do you often feel like your whole life is one entire lesson in patience?

You wait in your mommy’s belly to be born.

You wait to take your first steps, to go potty all by yourself, to have your first day of school, to ride your bike without training wheels.

My big can’t wait to turn 5 because he wants to chew gum.

You wait for the day you get your driver’s license.  Till you graduate.  Till you turn 21.  Until you get married.  Until you have kids.  Until you buy a house.  Until you are an empty-nester.

My life has definitely been a long waiting period.  Let’s just speed things up till my 30s.  I had gotten my dream admin job.  Then I got my dream writing/creative job.  Then, shortly into my dream job, I met my husband.  I was 34.  Most of my friends were married.  I still wasn’t.  And I’d quit praying those prayers about finding my spouse.  I was enjoying being single.

Thankfully, we didn’t need to wait long to get married or to have kids.  But, already, I want them to be older so we can travel more, to be potty trained, or to be in school – without losing the swing time at the local park.

We are also in a time of waiting for restoration and news on a job.  I’ve learned a lot in waiting.  I can’t speed it up.  I can’t do anything by worrying about it.  Some would say I’ve gotten cynical and jaded, and may be I’ve in some ways about some things.  But, I also know that life is out of my hands, and God has bigger, perfect hands.

Ann Swindell, in her book Still Waiting, does a masterful job of sharing with us not only her journey in waiting for healing, but also uses her sanctified imagination to bring the story of the bleeding woman (in the gospels) to life.  I will never read that short narrative about her the same again.

When I was telling my husband about her book I was crying by the time I finished telling him of all the inner turmoil that the woman must have known.  How her life was eaten up with shame and loneliness.

So, let me encourage you, no matter what stage of waiting you are in, you can learn truths about others and the gospel and yourself in this book.  Ann is a skilled writer and storyteller and is authentic and real about boasting in the Gospel.

Thanks Tyndale for the book.  All opinions are my own.