Grieving God’s Way: The Path to Lasting Hope and Healing By Margaret Brownley

The recent loss of my mom prompted me to read this book. The title caught my eye as there is in every situation, God’s way and the world’s way. In such a time of brokenness we are very vulnerable emotionally, mentally and even physically. With no direction it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to just numb the pain ourselves, rather than allow God to heal us.
Ms. Brownley writes not only as someone that has been there , but also someone who truly cares. I could tell she understood the mind numbing, devastating feelings I was experiencing. She touched on areas that I was hurting, but couldn’t give them a name, little alone clear my mind to deal with them.
I am so glad I read this book! It is divided into 90 “Healing Days” and those are in four parts: Body, Soul, Heart, and Spirit. This made the book helpful in that grief involves all those areas but usually we just focus on our broken hearts. I liked the fact that the each day’s devotional was short. I wasn’t in a place to take in a lot of information at once. Otherwise it would be just something else to overwhelm me when just dealing with everyday life was too much.
The scripture references anchored me in the storm I was experiencing and helped me draw closer to God. They were just the ones I needed to comfort me and understand God’s love for me. At the end of each devotional there is a section called “Healing Ways” that actually gave me hands on ways to work through my grief. I found these very helpful!
Having this book was like having a very caring and understanding friend to walk by my side and help me through one of life’s most difficult times. This is a book you will want to keep for yourself and buy other copies to share with friends. Thank you Ms. Brownley for a truly wonderful and helpful book.

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Live Free by Kendra Smiley

Live Free is a life and attitude changing book! When we are slapped with painful and unexpected experiences, we have all fallen into the trap of asking ourselves the questions, “what if” and “if only”.

Ms. Smiley does a beautiful job of gently showing us that these two phrases take away our peace, joy, and contentment from the present, and cause us to focus on the past. A past we can do nothing to alter or erase. We waste the beautiful opportunities and blessings of the present.

The bottom line is that we are not putting our full trust and faith in God. Instead, we are refusing to believe He loves us so much that He would only choose what is the very best for us.

The book is divided into the positive attitudes we should choose in response to difficult challenges we handle it with God’s Word and the mind of Christ. Each chapter shares unbelievable trials a woman has faced and her incredible choice respond with courage and confidence in God. These women were just like us, with families, plans, and bright futures, never expecting the storm that was about to turn their lives upside down. Being able to relate to these women really helped me apply what I learned.

The author shows how each lady decided to focus on Christ and Scripture exclusively rather than their problem. They all could have just as easily given into hopelessness, despair, and fear. Throughout the book are beautiful thought provoking quotes and scriptures that give insight and encouragement into HOW they accomplished this. I looked at them as the stepping stones these ladies used to walk with Christ through such deep valleys.

It was so helpful the way Ms. Smiley showed in detail how each woman used the scriptures to find strength and peace in such horrible circumstances. These women were not perfect and each openly revealed where they faltered and stumbled. They illustrate how instead of laying down where they fell; they turned to the Lord for strength and continued on. I liked all the scriptural references that anchored them to God in their storms. Ones that will help me too.

At the end of each chapter there is a “Choose to Reflect” section with a scripture and a closing thought. Excellent study questions are included that help you apply what you have learned to your life and circumstances.

This book is a keeper, one to read over again and share with friends. Mine is filled with highlights and personal notes! I found this book to be inspiring, encouraging, and comforting. Thank you Ms. Smiley for not only putting my trials into perspective but showing me how to find the “Light” in the darkest hours!

I received this book free from Moody Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Wedded To War by Jocelyn Green

Wedded To War
by Jocelyn Green
I especially like historical Christian novels. I am transported back in time through the author and her characters to experience the emotional and physical challenges of that period. Ms. Green’s research into this era and her attention to details made this an amazing book!
Wedded to War did an excellent job of allowing me to understand and learn about the struggles of women desiring to serve as nurses during the Civil War and also the suffering and sacrifices of those who fought.
Charlotte Waverly was born with a silver spoon in her mouth you might say. She had wealth, beauty and education far beyond young women of her day. She wasn’t caught up in all the frivolous, useless activities of high society in the 1860’s. Her desire and purpose was to serve others and make a difference, not just exist. It was surprising how restricting the social structure was for the wealthy during this era. The “have alls” weren’t free to “do all”.
This brave young woman overcame many obstacles to accomplish her dream of becoming a nurse to the wounded soldiers. Not only did she have to overstep society’s boundaries, and her mother’s objections to her pursuing such a career, but also not meeting the qualifications of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. None of this stopped her and she continued until she was accepted in a training program for Union nurses. She knew this was God’s calling on her life and persisted with faith and determination.
The detail and even graphic accounts of the duties and experiences of Civil War nurses gave me a totally different view of the war. Their day to day work was horrific without the disrespect and ill treatment of doctors who felt they had no place in medicine. I was also shocked at the suffering of the wounded and sick men. Not only from the lack of available medical care but also how was primitive medicine at its best.
The story unfolds as her loyalty and commitment are tested in increasingly difficult ways, not only in the war but likewise in her personal life. Through her faithfulness to God and unselfishness, I saw God protecting and rewarding her as she could never have imagined. This was a reminder that God does the same for us when we trust and follow Him. This was a powerful book!
I received this book free from Moody publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Short-Straw Bride

I have to say I have never read a Christian fiction like this and I loved it!!! There was humor, romance, drama and surprisingly some real romp’n stomp’n action! I read it in 2 days and most of that time was when I was supposed to be sleeping! I couldn’t put it down!
When Meredith was ten years old it was a known fact you never step foot on Archer land or you would be shot on sight. On a school yard dare she stepped on the land and found herself caught in an animal trap. Young Travis Archer found her, rescued her and carried her home. That one meeting and act of kindness spurned a school girl crush that lasted into her young adulthood.
The Archer brothers weren’t bad, just fearful. Having lost both of their parents when they were very young, Travis, the oldest, took on the role of protector and father to his brothers. He had taken that role very seriously. The four brothers had been living as bachelor/hermits their whole lives. Their childhood terror of having someone take their land from them had grown into an all-out war toward those on the outside. The last thing on their minds was a woman.
The Archer land was prime land for the railroad and Meredith over hears a plot to attack them and take their land. With her love for Travis and wanting to repay his good deed 12 years ago, she risks all and goes onto their land at night.
As you can imagine they aren’t overly happy to see her, even with the important news she brings, but most of all the very presence of a woman sends their lives into a tail spin! Through some ill-fated incidents, Meredith ends up staying on the ranch for several days. Being noble men, the brothers are determined to save her reputation. The only plan they can come up with to see who the groom will be is to draw straws. Travis draws the short straw and becomes her husband. Both have a strong relationship with God and desire to please Him in all they do. Will this be the common bond in a relationship that has nothing in common?
This book with all its humor and fun has some very strong lessons in turning our preconceived plans and ideas over to God. Travis and Meredith show how we can be too focused what “we” think we should be doing, and listening to God and letting Him guide.
I would absolutely love to see future books on the lives of each of the brothers. This book is a must read!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255