Seeing the Wolf

Sometimes I plod through the mundane routines of life with my eyes half closed, assuming without contemplating, surviving without experiencing, skimming the surface without searching the depths.

Years ago, I displayed a stereogram picture in my office – one of those two-dimensional kind that if you stare at it just right, it turns into a completely different scene.  Co-workers would stop and stare at the multiple images of a wolf in rows, a rather uninteresting picture on the surface.  After staring for a few moments, they would suddenly exclaim when the repeating wolf heads changed into a completely different scene - a wolf standing on a cliff (or howling, or something, I don't recall).  I never could see it, no matter how hard they tried to explain it or outline it for me.  I would stare at it for hours hoping to see what everyone else could see, but I never could.

I don’t want to skim along the shallow surface and miss reality.  God wants us to open our eyes, search the depths, look beyond preconceived notions and live beyond a limited faith packed neatly in a tight little box.  I want to live surrounded by “aha” moments.  I want to see the link between His Word and the circumstances around me, to hear Him speaking into my heart, like those “aha” moments when my co-workers suddenly saw something completely different from a changed perspective.  I want to live like I am seeing the wolf standing on a cliff, perceiving beyond the obvious.

Hearing God's Voice in the Struggles of Life - Book Review

Sometimes it seems like what God promises doesn’t quite line up with our own personal reality.  On the spiritual battleground, we expect attacks from Satan through people and circumstances.  But sometimes things can suddenly get crazy and flipped completely upside down, and our life’s dreams get crushed, stripping our faith bare to the point that we can’t make sense of what is happening and we find ourselves wrestling with God instead.  In Leighann McCoy’s book A Woman’s Guide to Hearing God’s Voice: Finding Direction and Peace through the Struggles of Life, she shows us how to take hold of Truth and refuse to let Him go.

God speaks most often through the Bible, and when He speaks to us in other ways, it never contradicts His Word.  Early in the book, Leighann McCoy gives us eight general rules of hearing His voice - ways that God speaks into our lives and hearts and what it takes for us to be able to hear and recognize Him speaking.  The remainder of the book is about how God communicates with us in the darkness, when it feels like God has failed us or left us or not kept His promise.  

The book is divided into four parts.  In the first part, she shares how Jacob’s journey and Abraham’s disappointments led them to wrestle with God, and the tremendous blessing that resulted.  In the second part, she addresses the question “where was God when…” and shows the answer through familiar stories like Joseph in the pit and the disciples in the storm.  In the third part about letting God define what is good, she shares stories of women she knows who grew in life’s disappointments, crises, and tragedies. She ends the book with how to live in expectation of the new thing God is doing in your life.  She even shows how to tell your life story so you can minister to others.

Leighann McCoy writes both as if she were your close friend but with authority, godly and wise insight, and biblically sound theology.  She shares her own personal stories of disappointments through her daughter’s life choices as well as her own struggles with cancer, and how through the darkness and craziness, God revealed much more of His power and love.  She gives a fresh perspective to familiar Bible stories, especially the intimacy that Jacob encounters in his wrestling with God and how God is honored when we wrestle with Him through prayer.

Embrace the opportunity God gave you to pull back the curtain on the stage of your life and let God reveal Himself to those watching you, because they long to see God as He truly is, perfect in love and powerful in presence (page 15). If I can remember to live this, then I would like to think that I am willing to let God define ‘good’ for my life, whatever it may be, to accomplish this purpose.

I absolutely LOVED this book! I highly recommend it to every woman who wants to hear the voice of God in her life, whether or not she finds herself in a desert season of darkness.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Raising Boys by Design - Book Review

Boys are such different creatures.  My son’s voice has deepened and he has a little hair growing above his lip, and I am in awe at the sudden changes since he turned 13.  He likes to stand close to me and see if he is taller. We currently stand eye-to-eye.  And I wonder, what does this evolving man-creature need from me to become all God designed him to be?  It was because of this that I chose to read Raising Boys by Design: What the Bible and Brain Science Reveal about What You Son Needs to Thrive, by Gregory L. Jantz and Michael Gurian.

Dr. Jantz is a certified psychologist with a doctorate in counseling, and Michael Gurain is a clinician and counselor who claims expertise in brain science.  Through research and experience, they show how boys develop differently from girls, the roles that mothers and fathers play in development, and what boys need.  Without trying to fit every boy (or girl) into a box, they are able to bring insight into how boys generally think and learn while noting exceptions.  They discuss issues we may encounter in the education system that may be difficult for many boys.  After providing the information, they then help you design the path for your son’s journey to manhood. 

This book is not just information, but includes strategies to help you design a plan of action in raising your son that takes into account his own unique design from a biblical perspective.  At the end of each chapter, the author provides bullet lists of “next steps” to consider and put into practice.

My favorite parts of the book were chapters dealing with measuring the impact of technology in your son’s life, a big issue we are still trying to wrap our heads around how to handle.  I also found the chapter on the journey of faith and how to grow boys spiritually extremely enlightening and practical.

Whether you are a new parent or have a teenage boy, you too may find this book both informative and practical in providing additional tools to your parenting toolbox.  Click on the following links for additional information:

 I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for my honest review.