We come to the end of January’s book today. In part one of Beautiful Battle by Mary DeMuth, she laid the foundations for spiritual warfare; in part two she looked at how we participate in the beautiful battle; in part three she writes about what do to in the midst of the beautiful battle. And here in part four she shares how we can live with hope when the beautiful battle rages.
Isn’t that lovely? Live with hope. I am grateful she didn’t wrap it up with a tidy bow and say we can “live with victory.” Though, we know Jesus is the victor! Somehow, “with hope” meets us where we are—whether obvious victory or not. Regardless, we can have hope.
I loved the way Chapter 21 opens:
“You will not overcome the Enemy’s attacks all by yourself—you need the body of Christ. Why? Because the Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation. In isolation, we keep secrets so dark they consume us. In isolation, we convince ourselves of things that aren’t true. In isolation, we have no balance. In isolation, we grovel in shame.”
In part, this is why Velvet Ashes exists: to connect us. To share our lives. To meet others who are facing similar challenges and joys.
In chapter 22, the only part I might push back on is when Mary wrote, “But the folks in 1400s didn’t wait for the water to come to them from behemoth mountains. They dug. They labored. And so should we. If we feel distant from God, devoid of his available presence, it is up to us to pursue the heart of the Almighty, laboring to dig a bisse for His presence to flow through.”
When I read this I thought of my friend Tanya. In this video interview (it is worthy of 40 minutes of your time!) she spoke about how she grew up hearing that God will meet you in your suffering so it was a shock to her that God seemed to go radio silent. It wasn’t that Tanya wasn’t digging, laboring, or pursuing. Sometimes, God is silent. It is a mystery and I don’t know why He is super close to some and what seems to be so distant from others.
Here’s a short bit from her talk:
11:37-13:36 How do you keep believing in God when He’s silent in your suffering?
“There is a narrative that when the worst happens God will be the most close to you”
13:36-14:40 Were you ever tempted to lose your faith?
Don’t you love how reading reminds you of other things you’ve read (or watched)? One of my favorite parts of reading, for sure.
Later in the same chapter I had to laugh at myself. I thought “cowbells” was a kind of flower I wasn’t familiar with. HA. No, Mary was referring to actual bells on cows. Makes sense that farmers would only put bells on the smartest cows. If I was a cow, apparently I wouldn’t have one. Wink!
Chapter 23 showed how abundance and perspective often go hand-in-hand. It isn’t about being glass-half full or -half empty, that is tied too much to personality. Instead, abundance is tied to seeing the world the way God does.
Chapter 24 has a helpful list of 10 “Satan loves to see a woman who . . .” and 20 “Satan hates to see a woman who.” I didn’t find the lists to be inflammatory and the focus was very much on God. If you are wondering if you should get the book, this section would be good to go over with your team (even men).
And thus we came to the end of the book.
I asked Mary a few additional questions:
I already changed the cover. (See attached) I received the rights back, so I had a chance to redesign. In terms of the writing, I might have changed a few situations/names to further protect stories.
What has surprised you about Beautiful Battle after it was published?
I was so surprised it didn’t sell well and went out of print. I knew it hit a felt need, so it was very disappointing to have it “fail.”
What are you working on now?
I am between contracts (an optimistic way to say I don’t have a book contract currently). I’m working on helping people who want to launch their book and doing a lot of speaking.
Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments!
P.S. Next week Kimberlee Conway Ireton continuing with Circle of Seasons. Read the section on Ordinary Time in preparation.
February 14th, 21st, and 28th: Shiloh by Helena Sorensen and recommended by Elizabeth Trotter. Free on kindle! You can get the app and read on your computer or device.