Thursday, December 18, 2014

Unplanned by Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson's story presents a unique perspective on the pro-life v. pro-choice debate.  She has been on both sides.  Abby was once the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic that performed abortions, until witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion that opened her eyes.  She has since continued to support women - but this time from a different viewpoint.  This story takes you behind the scenes of Planned Parenthood and the Coalition for Life and will make you evaluate your stand on this important issue.

One thing I appreciated about this book is that it presents a well-rounded view of both sides of the debate.  Abby writes," We all long for a story that shows that our side is right and good, and their side is wrong and bad, don't we?  But I testify that there is good and right and wrong on both sides of the fence.  And even more shocking - we have far more in common with the other side than we might imagine."  Reading about this experience helps me to be more understanding and compassionate.  Both sides have good intentions - they both truly want to help women!  However, beliefs cause us to disagree on how that is best done.

Abby's story demonstrates that love and prayer are powerful.  It took many years for God to change her heart.  But once He did, He used her to make a real impact in the world!  Many people prayed for and patiently loved Abby while she was working at the clinic.  It's really neat to see how those efforts paid off and how God orchestrated her journey.

The only thing I didn't like about the book is that it seemed very repetitive.  I wanted to know her thoughts, feelings, and motivations....but once or twice is enough.  Instead the book consistently reminds the reader of thoughts already written about, which to me was slightly annoying.

Overall - great insight into an important issue.  I know her story has made a difference, and will continue to make a difference, in the lives of women.

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

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

This book was first published 14 years ago.  Even though I knew it was popular, I am just now getting around to reading it!  The topic is one I believe every Christian woman has struggled to find intimacy with God in the busyness of life.  How do we balance work and worship?  Joanna uses the biblical story of Mary & Martha, as well as her own experiences, to shed light on this difficult question.

My biggest take-away from this book is perspective.  Even though Martha got her priorities mixed up at times, she had something of great value - a teachable heart.  Joanna writes, "Martha thought she had value because she was productive.  Jesus wanted her to learn she had value simply because she was his.  I'm sure Martha's feelings must have smarted at Jesus' rebuke.  After all, no one enjoys the exposure of his or her blunders.  I wouldn't be surprised if there was a moment when Martha was tempted to pack up her bruised ego and stomp out of the room....But instead, Martha stuck around and heard Jesus out.  And if we want to be his disciples, we must be willing to do the same.  Even when his words cross our will."  We are all works in progress. If we maintain a teachable heart, we can learn from our mistakes and slowly be transformed.  I like that Joanna was transparent in sharing her own transformational journey.

The only thing I didn't care for is the overlap of information between this book and the future books written in this series.  I had read Lazarus Awakening previously...which I now know is an expanded form of Chapter 8 from this book. 

The Study Guide included in the back of the book makes it a great choice for a Women's Group.  It is a 12-week study, with 8 discussion questions per chapter.  Discussing in a group would help with life application and accountability.

If you would like to shift your focus away from your busyness, and dwell on some ways to connect with God and find balance in your life - this book is for you!

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