Outrageous Courage: What God Can Do with Raw Obedience and Radical Faith by Kris Vallotton & Jason Vallotton

The title of the book certainly lives up to how Tracy Evan’s has lived her life after becoming a Christian. The courage she displays in her Christian walk is the kind that all of us would love to have. Nothing held back, no doubts or fears entertained, no questioning His plan, just totally trusting and obeying God in all ways. I would love to have that kind of courage.
Having had a rough start in life, you wouldn’t think Tracy would have come to such a place of total commitment and service to God. Her story is proof God can use anyone, no matter what their back ground, if only they are willing. He will polish the rough edges in His time and way.
Growing up in a dysfunctional family and her father in prison, Tracy took the path of most youth in that situation; one of rebellion, anger, hatred, and violence. She ran away and joined the army where she found Christ through a fellow solider. She then obtained her degree as a physician’s assistant and trained at Stanford University. She has served in 64 nations over the past 30 years and is serving to this day.
Her “radical faith” and “outrageous courage” have brought her face to face with death, unbelievable hardship, debilitating illnesses in a shack in the Philippines, heart wrenching suffering of those she worked to minister to. In all of this she did not panic or turn away from what she believed was her calling. Through these frightening situations or only thought was reaching others for Christ and following the Lord’s direction.
While Tracy and I do not share the same beliefs, and I found myself questioning the legitimacy some of her accounts, there is no questioning the testimony of her zeal and commitment to following Christ and spreading the Gospel. Something we could all use more of. This is a very interesting book.
I received this book free from Baker Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

One Glorious Ambition The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix By Jane Kirkpatrick

Dorothea is a true life example that it doesn’t matter what your childhood was or your past, you can still do great things. As in her life, many times those difficulties you face are a preparation for what God has for you to do in the future. She is also an excellent example that no matter what obstacles you face in pursuing your purpose, they will not hold you back if you endure and trust God.
Dorothea’s childhood was one of abuse, poverty, and neglect. Her father was an alcoholic and although she did not realize it as a child, her mother was mentally ill. She just saw her as always being sick. Her young life was spent protecting and looking out for her younger brothers. Even at such a tender age she showed sacrifice and compassion.
Her grandmother took interest in her plight and had her come live with her. She desired to make Dorothea into a sophisticated lady thus preparing her to find a husband to provide for her. Dorothea wasn’t interested; she wanted to do something with her life that would have an impact on others. Even as a young girl she had her own ideas. She had no desire have a husband and her boldness in speaking her mind was not a desired trait during the 1800’s. Therefore she had no trouble spurning unwanted suitors. This tenacity and trueness to her convictions were simply more character qualities that would make her a success her future endeavors.
With each path she took, doors would shut and God would redirect her. She faced many hardships such as the rejection of those she thought her only true friends and most of all her health. Throughout her entire life she struggled with poor health and times of great sickness. I saw a pattern in her life that when she had a need or someone to care for her God always provided. While she was discouraged during these times she never gave up, and focused on getting well so she could continue her work. Much of her life was filled with great loneliness but she didn’t allow self-pity consume her.
God eventually guided her into what would be her greatest and her life work, changing the cruel and inhuman treatment of the mentally will. She realized that had been her mother’s problem all along and shuddered at the thought of her loved one being in one of the appalling prisons for the mentally ill. She not only visited the prisons, but actually went into the cells, talked to the victims, showed them affection and brought them gifts.
She then began the very difficult journey of helping those who could not help themselves. She tirelessly, at her own expense and often the expense of her health, advocated changes through financial backing to build new hospitals; doggedly fighting local and federal governments to pass laws that these people might be treated with kindness, respect and have a quality of life, and educating the public at the horrors she saw.
Our mental health hospitals and treatment of the mentally ill are the quality they are today because of one woman who answered God’s calling and didn’t give up. She laid the foundation for modern mental health care. You would not have known it was fiction biography because of the way the author skillfully wove the abundance of facts. Ms. Kirkpatrick has a flair for that! A book worth reading!

Transformed By Tough Times by Steve Reed

I was immediately drawn to the title of this book. We all go through hard times. We want to know that something positive will come from our suffering and it is not all in vain. It is easy for our faith to waver and for us go get our eyes off Christ and on our circumstances. While we know what God’s Word says and we truly believe it, we yearn for extra encouragement. That’s what I found in this book, and the reminder that the Lord is with me every step of the way and has only my good in mind. The author did a wonderful job of making his story very personal to the reader. Although our experiences were not the same, I was able to relate to his feelings and struggles. The entire book was very easy to read and understand.
In the first part of the book Mr. Reed shares his story and trials. He also introduces what he calls, “The Suffering Clause”. What he refers to as “the fine print” we tend to overlook as a Christian, that as a believer in Christ we WILL face problems, not when or if.
I found great reassurance through the many testimonies and scriptures he shared that I will make it through whatever I am facing, and my greatest tool in persevering is prayer! He also helped me see the many purposes in whatever adversity I may experience. I need to guard against doubting God and seek to trust Him and understand what He wants me to learn.
I like the many, many scriptures he shares that directly apply to each idea and concept. In addition to his experiences, he shares the stories of other believers and how they met their trials with courage and faith. I found these very uplifting! His approach to understanding suffering shed new light on accepting what comes my way. Mr. Reed not only gave me a new perspective to my tough times, but also new spiritual and scriptural tools help in cope.
Even if you are not experiencing tough times right now this book can definitely prepare you. If you are in the midst of them, this book is a road map and guide in your journey. A wonderful, very helpful book!
I received this book free from Christian Speaker Services. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.