No Need to Wait or Pray: The Next Five Books Are Here {Book Club}

We briefly interrupt our reading of Invitations From God by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun to share the next five books and a bit about why they were chosen.

I love book lists. And I know I’m not alone (hello, I see you!). This is how I choose books for us to read: first, I have to want to read them :). I also factor in price and availability on Kindle, time of year, subject matter, if one of you recommended it, and variety (so, not all fiction or non-fiction). If you want to get a physical copy of the book, I want you to have enough time too.

Without further ado . . . I bring you our next five books (and a chance to win a copy):


May—Seeker (The Shiloh Series Book 2) by Helena Sorensen 

We read Book 1 in February (remember how lovely Helena was?). Even if you haven’t read Book 1 join us. You know I am taken with Eden and Helena said that this book takes us back to beginning. Kindle version very reasonably priced (You can read on the Kindle app on any computer).

June—The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway 

I love memoirs! Last June Kay Bruner recommended a PD Wodehouse we loved, so I asked her for a recommendation. Kay wrote, “She grew up on a sheep farm in Australia, moved to the US, and became the president of Smith College. So lots there about change and transition and also ‘a constrained female destiny’ which might be really interesting to talk about.” I agree!

JulyThe Scavenger’s Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters) by Kay Bratt

Hadassah recommended this book for us to read as a community (I love getting recommendations from you). “Inspired by a true story, and set against the backdrop of a country in transition, The Scavenger’s Daughters is a sweeping present day saga of triumph in the face of hardship, and the unbreakable bonds of family against all odds.” Placed in China, themes of gender and societal value, I have not read this yet and look forward to July.

August—A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman 

Described as “the New York Times bestseller that has taken the world by storm!” I read this book in the spring and LOVED it. So much I wanted to start rereading right away. I laughed, I cringed, I was so annoyed with Ove, I was so moved by him. If you haven’t heard of this novel, get thee to a library or book store or Amazon. I am not kidding when I say it is a must read. Themes of culture, personality, friendship, and aging. I say this about every book, but it is always true: I can’t wait to read this together!

September—The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life by Barnabas Piper 

No matter how long you have been on the field, it is important that we all continue to cultivate curiosity. Described as a “quick read,” September seems an ideal time to help each of us lean into a new season and explore the spiritual discipline of curiosity.

Leave a comment related to the chapters read for today or your plans for the retreat and you’ll be entered to win your choice of the five books listed above (we will draw ten winners)


Back to our regularly scheduled discussion on Chapters 8 and 9 from Invitations From God by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun.

I’m a person of action. My dad dropped us off at high school on his way to work. We lived about two miles from the school and did not take the shortest route. Instead, we took the route with the fewest stops. My dad was known for his love of “vectoring”—instead of stopping, turn and keep going. If you’re headed in the right direction, you will be fine.

I am a fan of vectoring.

I am not a natural fan of waiting.

But as Adele wrote, “Waiting is one of God’s immensely sweeping invitations.”

“To wait expectantly and with open hands requires a relinquishment of control that gets at the roots of our motivations, fears and idolatries. It is where we learn that God isn’t a genie and that happiness is not a matter of God meeting our expectations. While we wait, we can sense the naked vulnerability of trust.”

What poetic truth: the naked vulnerability of trust.

This chapter was chock-full of such truth.

  • The difference between if and when waiting.
  • “Waiting unearths what is in our hearts. It exposes what happens when our expectations go unmet.”
  • Differentiating between expectancy and expectation.
  • Henri Nouwen writes, “Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere.”
  • “Waiting is God’s crucible for transformation. Waiting is how God gets at the idols of our heart. Waiting addresses the things we need besides God to be content: money, comfort, expedience, success or control.”
  • Noticing the waiting space between desire and demand.
  • “Time spent in life’s waiting rooms can seem either like a senseless waiting game or else like waiting in the wings for God’s grace and presence to help me live a very difficult present.”

What a treasure trove. Nouwen nailed one of our greatest fears, didn’t he? The fear of missing out.

The invitation to pray encouraged me. The disciples who were committed Jews—so prayer was nothing new to them—asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus did not ask why they needed to be taught, he simply and beautifully taught them. What would you like Jesus to teach you these days?

I enjoyed how Adele wrote through The Lord’s Prayer, bring fresh insight to it. Because of the length of this post, I’m going to wrap it up here.

We are almost done waiting for the retreat! I can’t wait. Again, leave a comment related to these chapters or your plans for the retreat and you’ll be entered to win your choice of the five books listed above (we will draw ten winners)

See you in the comments!


PS: Next week we finish with Chapters 10 and 11.


  1. Kristi Krauss April 17, 2017

    Kristi here, M from the USA living in Mexico….. I have scheduled the VA retreat with our 3 ladies here. We are going to an ex-hacienda called “San Miguel regla” in Hidalgo for Friday night. We also have a scheduled skype call saturday morning with our 2 staffees in India. They will do the retreat the same weekend, but at a little different schedule. So saturday morning we will do the testimonies videos followed by the discussion with our staffees in India, our morning, their evening. Looking forward to it, and also getting the books for the upcoming months. hope you enter me to win!! 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      Kristi I LOVE, LOVE< LOVE that the connections with India continue :). So fun to hear about your retreat plans!!

      1. Kristi Krauss April 18, 2017

        Thanks Amy!! …and thanks for all your hard work putting this together. I am looking forward to it! 🙂

        1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

          Danielle and Julia have done tons more than me!! We will all reap the benefit of their labor of love 🙂

  2. Michele April 17, 2017

    Thank you for an excuse to re-read Seeker! I couldn’t wait after Shiloh and went right through the trilogy, and for me, each one was more beautiful and moving than the one before! I’m excited about this whole list actually, and hope I can keep up over the summer as I head back to the US to take over babysitting my nieces to give my parents a break.

    I’m also really looking forward to the retreat! Last year it coincided with a visa run/vacation in Kashmir and I have great memories of listening to the downloaded sessions and meeting with Jesus in gorgeous Mughal gardens. This year I plan to just stay home. I have a recently renewed gratitude for my little Kathmandu apartment and the privacy I can enjoy here before a summer of living with family.

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      Michele, it’s fun to think where we were for last year’s retreat, isn’t it :)!!

      And I’m glad you liked Seeker! I’m looking forward to reading it!!!

  3. Sarah Hilkemann April 17, 2017

    The quote you pulled out from Henri Nouwen stuck out to me: “Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere.” It reminded me how I have a tendency to be ungrateful when I’m in a season of waiting. I miss the gifts here and now even in the midst of asking God for more, for Him to answer. God has been teaching me about thanking Him while I’m waiting.

    My teammate and I will set aside a day for the retreat and enjoy AC, some special treats, and going through all the material. God has worked in such special ways through the last two retreats, and I can’t wait to see what He is going to do this year!

    Also, these books look amazing! It will be fun to read along with everyone this summer. 🙂

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      Yay for AC and treats :). and here is to growing together in not thinking we are missing out on the real thing 🙂

  4. Jen April 18, 2017

    I am a M from the US currently working in Mozambique and I’m looking forward to the retreat. I told all of the other women working near us about it but only one was interested so it’s a small group this year. I haven’t done this retreat before but have heard good things about it so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m pretty sure we will be going to our guest house for the day and letting our husbands handle the kids.:)

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      Jen, this year I will be a small group too 🙂 . . . just myself. I’ve lined up to use a small prayer room that has a really comfy chair and window. I love picturing you in a guest how with hubbys and kiddos elsewhere 🙂

    2. Raven April 19, 2017

      I’m an M in Mozambique! Are you located northern, central, or southern? If we are close we could possibly join each other.

  5. Chelsea Bloedorn April 18, 2017

    Hi from Chipepo in the Gwembe Valley, Zambia! I am attempting to host a retreat for my organization is in Livingstone as that is our logistical base in Africa… But I think I am going to have to wait until the end of May to hold it because we have a revival week with guest ministers and it’s a required trip for everyone… I live about 8 hours away and everyone else is scattered as well!

    My sector manager are planning to do the retreat live as a trial run!! Support excited!

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      The great thing about the retreat is it is fun to do it on the same weekend IF it works out . . . if it doesn’t? What is even greater? God will use the material and meet you whenever you are able to do it. Love that you sector manager is going to do a trial run. So fun!!

  6. Cecily April 18, 2017

    One thing about waiting for me is that I find myself questioning myself during the waiting. Am I doing everything right? Did I mess up? What else do I need to do? So I need to learn to rest in God’s favor during the waiting!
    As for the retreat, I am planning to take a day, probably the Friday, to work through the retreat materials. Then, at some point during the weekend, our Facebook Connection Group will have some processing time related to the retreat.
    So, thanks, Velvet Ashes, for making the retreat available!

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      Oh that’s a good point Cecily! Waiting can bring up questions that are unsettling . . . and more often than not based on half-truths so they are confusing!

      I love that your Connection Group is going to process through the retreat together!!

  7. Shelly April 18, 2017

    How exciting to continue the next book in the Shiloh series! I already bought it at Amazon shortly after finishing Shiloh. As for the retreat, my teammate and I will do the retreat together. It comes in the middle of a rather hectic stretch for me, but doing it together will help me “make it happen.” We have already scheduled April 29 as our day, using Friday to wind down, exhale, and be ready to receive what the Lord has for us from the retreat resources. Really looking forward to it.Shell

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      Ah, hectic seasons! I love how meeting in a small group can help create the follow through for things (like the retreat) that are good for us. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, eh?! Glad your team has a plan to prepare and partake in the retreat :). Blessings on you all!

  8. Kelsey April 18, 2017

    It turns out that the retreat is scheduled the weekend before a group of us are traveling for another retreat! So I will be downloading the materials and getting some ladies from our team together later on (maybe sometime in May). Can’t wait to experience my first VA retreat!

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      So glad you can gather the material ahead of time and use it when it works for your schedule! And yay for the other retreat :)!

  9. Hannah April 18, 2017

    So far we have 13 ladies planning on getting together in southern Togo on the 29th. Several of us enjoyed the retreat last year, but more than half our group is new so it’ll be a great time of continuing to build relationships with each other and with our Father.

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      Isn’t it fun to read through these comments and picture people gathering around the world!! And it is also fun that some of you have done the retreat before and for some of you it will be the first time :)!!

  10. T April 18, 2017

    The waiting thing is so interesting! I’m afraid I didn’t read the chapter. After starting a business, I haven’t been very regular on VA lately, so don’t have the book for bookclub, but have read some of the previous posts to see what you all are learning! Anyway, the region where we live has had light bringers for hundreds of years, without a turning that those God-loving men and women were praying for. So, why is it that I can hope that the waiting will end during our time here? Or even worse, how can I stop relishing how wonderful are those few who have already accepted the invitation to the family wedding feast? Those folks who came before would have surely given at least their left arms to see one believe, and we’re in the middle of several and I’m cranky because I have to be sociable with a clean living room?!?!?

    1. Amy Young April 18, 2017

      T! You started a business?! How cool. Can you tell us a bit about it?!

      Per the probably more pertinent part of your comment 🙂 . . . the long view we sometimes need to take. I cannot image working for years and years and not seeing much action (I didn’t see tons, but enough to encourage me). Even though we are made in the image of God, I am reminded how poor a reflection we really are :)!

      1. T April 19, 2017

        You are sweet, Amy! Hand-made goat/sheep milk soaps! My friend and I are making and selling them now, but we look forward to a time when we have saleswomen selling in their villages. Kind of like other beauty sales (read Avon/Christian Lay), but cheap, and with no creepy pyramid scheme in it! So, a great product for a low price that even a poor farm wife can afford every once in a while. no one feeling awful cause they can’t afford to buy a beauty product. That is one dimension of it, anyway. Hoping for great opps with the saleswomen to talk about budgeting, family life, and important stuff! 🙂

        1. Amy Young April 24, 2017

          T, I love reading about this business :). I have so many questions :). Feel no pressure to answer any! Where do you make the soap> Do you have like a day a week or several days? Do they have nice smalls. I am a sucker for good soap, but often don’t buy for the reason you said . . . price :)! And here is to conversations about important stuff!!

  11. Phyllis April 18, 2017

    I enjoyed the list of short points from the chapter. Would someone who has the book and some time to write be able to explain this one a little more for me? “Noticing the waiting space between desire and demand.” What does that mean?

  12. Katie April 18, 2017

    I am new to Velet Ashes but am so thankful a friend introduced me!! I’ve been so encouraged by the recent articles on waiting and forgiveness. Having a physical community overseas is really important but having an online community it a great blessing too especially if you live in a somewhat isolated place like I do. I hope to read some of the upcoming books with you all!

    1. M'Lynn April 19, 2017

      Hi, Katie! Glad you’re here!

  13. Sarah morse April 18, 2017

    I am a serving in Spain, but currently on home assignment to raise funds and have a baby. The comments on the waiting room of God ministered to me deeply as our home time stretches way beyond what we first thought and opportunities seem to be passing us by. I treasure this fresh insight as I seek to be content in the waiting. Thanks.

  14. M'Lynn April 19, 2017

    Am I too late to win? I just read the list of upcoming books and so much good stuff is coming up! I like the Scavenger’s Daughters series and someone just told me about A Man Called Ove and the “constrained female destiny” is definitely a topic I could talk about.

    My plans for the retreat are: 1. Make a plan for the retreat. 2. Execute step 1. Haha…It will probably be a two afternoons during naptime sort of thing

  15. Grace L April 19, 2017

    I have been with VA for several years but this will be my first retreat. I have set aside Thursday, the 27th, and will be leaving our house/factory here and all the busy-ness, and heading over to our guest house where I can spend the day alone with God. Wow, a whole day alone with God and time to work through the retreat materials. I am looking forward to this, but I think I’d better turn off my phone and the wifi on my computer.

  16. Kim McHugh April 19, 2017

    I planned my first personal (all alone) retreat for April 23-26, and began praying about what content I would use on my retreat. Very soon after, the advert for the Velvet Ashes retreat showed up. I am feeling very in need of some time to slow down, reflect and pray, so I am looking forward to this retreat. I haven’t tried the book club but am now considering joining in. I hope I will get my retreat materials in time to use them on my retreat since I am starting a few days early.

  17. Raven April 19, 2017

    “Waiting unearths what is in our hearts. It exposes what happens when our expectations go unmet.”


    Also, that whole section on ‘Do Something or Wait?’ She says, “Doing something feels so much better than doing “nothing”. But waiting is not doing “nothing”…” I think we get caught up with waiting because waiting isn’t necessarily seen as being productive. Not being productive doesn’t allow us to check something off our to-do list. When we don’t have something to check off our to-do list, we don’t feel like we have anything to show for what we’ve been doing.

    Good stuff. This book will be one I definitely pull out and read again in the future.

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