Thursday, November 21, 2013

Still Lolo by Lauren Scruggs

Despite all the media exposure, I had not heard of Lauren Scruggs until reading her book, Still Lolo. A few years ago Lauren lost her left eye and hand through contact with an airplane propeller.  This book is a family's testimony to the faithfulness of God through this accident and various other challenges.

The story is written from several different viewpoints including Lauren, her mother, her father, and her twin sister.  After reading the back cover, I assumed the book was primarily written by Lauren, and mostly about her recovery and the issues she had to overcome.  I had assumed wrong.  Over half of the book is about events before the accident.  Her parents write about their marriage issues and Lauren shares a lot about life leading up to the accident.  While some back story is important, I had expected less "before" and more "after".

The Scruggs family has a powerful testimony to share.  Lauren writes, "I saw that if I chose to let the accident ruin me, it would....I came to see how there was so much more to my life than being worried about how I looked....Most of all, I want to be a living testimony to the truth that suffering may strip a lot from you and me, but it doesn't need to steal our hope."  Lauren is a beautiful girl with a sweet spirit and a strong faith.  She is a fighter. Teen girls would benefit greatly from her message and example.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Sun Stand Still Devotional

cover (125×182)
I had read Steven Furtick's book Sun Stand Still when it was published a few years ago.  So when I saw this devotional I wondered if and how it related to the book.  This review is for people like me who might wonder "Hmm..I already have the book...should I buy the devotional too?"

The devotional contains 40 short readings that will allow you to examine your faith and hopefully give it a boost!  Each reading contains a key verse, a suggested Bible reading, a page or two of text, and a prayer focus.

Several (roughly half) of the devotional titles are also titles from the Sun Stand Still book chapters.  These devotions are basically excerpts from the chapter.  I tend to like the book chapters for the additional examples and stories. But for someone who just wants the main point, or who wants a short reminder of what the book chapter was about, these devotions are perfect.  By using the same titles, someone can easily find where the content overlaps.  The other devotions follow the same train of thought but are not taken directly from the book....they are newly published material.

If you are looking for a series of short devotional readings focused on faith - this book is a good choice.  The brief stories and insight into Scripture are easy to read and relate to.  For those who don't like to read (like my husband) and want to hear Steven's message without all the commentary of the book - this is a good choice.  But for those who already own the book and enjoy reading, like myself, I would not spend more money on a book that repeats some of the same information.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 1, 2013

One Light Still Shines by Marie Monville

I remember hearing about the Amish schoolhouse shooting that happened in 2006.  I heard about how the Amish were quick to offer forgiveness and it warmed my heart.  But I never thought much about Marie, the wife of the shooter, and how this event would have changed her life forever. 

I absolutely loved this book!  Marie is quick to share in the beginning that this book is not about sharing all the details of what happened in the schoolhouse that day.  She was not there.  The story that she has to share is the story of hope and redemption that arose from the ashes of this terrible tragedy.  She shares of the heartache and worries that she and her children had to face.  But she also beautifully identifies that ways that God was at work through circumstances and the kindness of others that reminded her of His presence and plan for redemption.  Be sure to have some tissues'll need them!

Marie shares her story to help others going through hard times.  She says "On this side of heaven, for all of us, God doesn't always spare us the loneliness, remove the pain, or still the storm.  So I ask you: How often do we miss the light because we fail to look for it?  How many times do we turn away from the tiny flicker that reveals his presence because we shut our eyes tight, insisting that he remove the darkness? ... No matter how tragic your circumstances, your life is not a tragedy.  It is a love story.  And in your love story, when you think all the lights have gone out, one light still shines.  Step into my story and I'll show you how to see that light."

The other thing I like about this book is that it presents tangible ways that we can love others through their pain.  I can't help but be inspired by the many ways Marie and her family were blessed through the kindness of the Amish, friends, and even strangers.  God can and will use us to shine his light into the lives of others.  I highly recommend this book. 

Thank you, Marie, for sharing your story.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.