Book Reviews, His Word, Soul Relationships

Heart Sisters Book Review – and a GIVEAWAY!

I’m so excited to share with you, my awesome readers, about a book I read…it’s a book about being a good friend…being the kind of friend you want to have. It’s called Heart Sisters and it’s by Natalie Chambers Snapp.

It’s no wonder that in today’s world, women are catty and competitive with one another. What do we expect, when our minds and TV screens are filled with shows such as The Bachelor, in which 20 or more women vie for the love of ONE man…or what about The Real Housewives of wherever, in which women are concerned with materials things or their exterior only?

So, when this book hit my radar, I was ecstatic, to say the least. I mean, who couldn’t use some additional literature on how to walk through conflict in love?

In the introduction, Natalie says that her prayer is that “the pages of this book will encourage you to work hard for the other women around you. To love them. To cry and laugh and genuinely encourage one another instead of being threatened by the “fleshy” feelings of insecurity, jealousy, or comparison.” I have to say, her prayer has been answered.

Throughout the course of this book, I have been challenged to view the women in my life in a different light. After all, we are all on this journey together. We are ALL under the constant barrage of feeling like we are not ‘enough.’ Whether its from our own family {because, let’s face it, we all have family members who, with one look, can make us feel small}, or the media, or our other mom acquaintances; it doesn’t take much for us to feel ‘less than’ in today’s world.

What if, instead of subscribing to our society’s ‘disposable’ view of people and relationships, we actually began to invest in people and our relationships? What kind of lovely world would that leave for our children?

This book offers guidance on how to do just that.

Natalie candidly shares some of the lessons she’s learned in life with her girlfriends – past and present. She offers biblical and world-view perspectives on why, as women, we need girlfriends in our lives. We cannot look to one person, however AWESOME that person is, to fulfill all of our relational needs.

“…the truth of the matter is we need other women in our tribe. We need to lean on each other and hold each other up when it feels like we can’t walk…We need someone to speak up if the dark brown lipstick makes us look like a corpse. Simply put, God knew we would need all kinds of relationships to fulfill the desire He placed in each of our hearts to live in community.”

I have so many favorite things about this book, but I want to share two of them with you today.

First is that Natalie gives excellent insight on five reasons that keep us {women} from embracing authentic female friendships. She coined this neat acronym to help us remember the ‘Fearless Five’

Can’t Ever Imagine Being Friends

Comparison

Envy

Insecurity

Being Prideful

Fear

So many of our issues can be neatly slotted into one of these reasons for shying away from authenticity and transparency in our relationships. Natalie walks through each of these in detail and gives true examples of how these can kill relationships in one fell swoop.

The other thing that truly touched my heart is the list of the Super Seven Sisters. These women are the true heart of you and each one has a different role to fulfill in your life. Now, as she indicates, you may have one friend who fills multiple ‘roles’ or who fits more than one ‘Sister’ relationship. If so, that’s great!

Here are a couple of the Super Seven Sisters that Natalie covers:

* Rahab: This woman is bold and will speak for you when you can’t.

* Ruth: These friends are loyal and unwavering.

* Elizabeth: This friend possesses the gift of encouragement; always lifting you up.

Now, I have one friend who fits all of the above profiles, but I also have others who may only fit one of the above, and that’s ok too.

Ok…now that I’ve shared some of my thoughts on why this book is so awesome and so timely {I have a daughter going to middle school sooner than I’d like and I know she can glean insight from this book}, I want to give one away to one of my faithful readers.

In the comments, please answer this: which of the ‘Fearless Five’ above do you struggle with most? Is comparison your pitfall? Do you find yourself comparing your perceived failures to the successes of others? Or is Being prideful your thing? You don’t think anyone could do ‘X’ as well as you do it?

Whatever your ‘issue’ is {and please be honest ladies, we ALL have issues…that’s the beauty of it!} I would love to have an open discussion on how we can use this book and overcome these snares that the enemy uses to prevent real, true, and authentic relationships.

One of you lucky ladies will be chosen at random to receive a copy of Natalie’s book. For those of you who just can’t wait for the drawing and want to purchase your own copy {and I can’t blame you there!}, you can do so here at Amazon.

Please be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you’re the lucky winner! Also, the contest closes at midnight on May 31. The lucky winner will be notified the week of June 1.

His Word, Series

Catching Fire, the Real Enemy, and Our Weapons

With the release of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ on disk yesterday, I think it’s only fitting to use this movie to illustrate a point.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, and now movie, series, Katniss is the main female character and Peeta is the main male character. They were victors in a modern Gladiator-style ‘game’ in the first move ‘The Hunger Games.’ In the second movie, ‘Catching Fire,’ they are sent back to the game or arena, with the other remaining victors to viciously battle it out. One other important character, played by Woody Harrelson, is Haymitch, their mentor. It is his job to help prepare them, physically, mentally, and emotionally, for the battle.

Ok, now that you’re mostly up to speed, here’s where things get good. In Catching Fire, Haymitch is prepping Katniss for the arena. She is just beside herself that she has to go back, since winning the games has generally bought you a ticket out of future games. In her thinking, she views all of the other contestants as the enemies. She is trying to get herself in the mindset that, in order for her to win again, she will need to kill all of the others.

During one scene, Haymitch tells her, “Katniss, when you’re in the arena…you just remember who the enemy is.”

See, Haymitch wanted her to remember that the other contestants in the ‘game’ are forced to be there, just like she is. They don’t want to kill any more than she does. They are pawns in the government’s game just as she is.

I think that we believers could take a cue from Haymitch to remember who the real enemy is. We need to remember who we are truly fighting against. Recall what Ephesians 6:12 tells us:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

In his commentary, Matthew Henry says that, “The combat is not against ordinary human enemies, not merely against people made up of flesh and blood.” See, most people think that the people we encounter during our daily lives or our arena, are ‘out to get us’ or are being difficult because that’s who they are to their core. But that’s not the truth. The truth is that they are simply pawns in the enemy’s games. He is using them to achieve his purposes.

Matthew Henry goes on to say, “Our enemies fight to prevent our ascent to heaven…because we grapple with spiritual enemies; we also need faith in our Christian work, because we need to draw in supplies of spiritual strength.” The devil wants nothing more than to keep you, yes YOU, out of heaven. He wants to see you suffering an eternal damnation, separated from God.

Because we are fighting this battle, we need to have supplies of our spiritual strength. Which is where Paul further goes on to tell us in verses 13-17 to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand our ground. He instructs us to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, and to take up the shield of faith. Finally, he tells us to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

All of these weapons prepare us for the spiritual warfare that is going on around us and within us.

We, as believers, need to remember the words of our Savior Jesus Christ, found in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

It is not the desire of our loving, heavenly Father that we would perish or that we would fall prey to the enemy. He desires that we would come into a relationship with Him and draw upon His strength, use the weapons we have available to us, and bring others to Him.

Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Fellow believers, lets put on the full armor of God this morning and attack the real enemy and not one another.