Before we jump into part two of Beautiful Battle by Mary DeMuth, I wanted to let you know that my book Looming Transitions came out in audiobook last Thursday. I have a special page where you can buy it for $5, either for yourself or as a gift until January 20th. If you go to my Gumroad page, it will look like it is $10, so use the promo code and save $5. And you can read the back story of how it was recorded here. Books are fun. Turns out audiobooks are fun too!
I wanted to share two more brief thoughts before we dive in to discussing being proactive and looking at how we participate in the Beautiful Battle. First of all, if you have become more aware of spiritual warfare around you and even feel like it might have amped up a degree or two after you started reading this, me too. Last Wednesday I sent out an update to supporters to be praying for me and us (Velvet Ashes) after a few pieces fell in place and I realized that we might be under more attack that I realized. I asked people to hit reply if they felt like it and let me know if they were praying.
Can I tell you how loved and supported I felt? My inbox is now flooded with people from all over the world praying for us. I specifically asked them to pray for our time here at the book club as we read this book. I wanted you to know I’ve upped the prayer coverage and I hope you can sense it as we read this book together.
Second, I was lovingly confronted by a friend last week after we skyped. She asked me what I was going to cut-back on in the next month and I just stared at her. If anything, I see how this next month is just going to gear up. We talked about a couple of areas and after we finished chatting I picked up Beautiful Battle to finish the last two chapters of today’s section. Um, when I saw that the chapter I was on was entitled “Embracing Rest” I knew God was speaking.
Not just rest mind you, but embracing rest. Embracing. You don’t embrace with one arm, that’s a side hug. You embrace with both arms. So, in the name of how books we read come to life, I’m looking for four of you to help with Have You Seen. I think if we have a trained team of four, then if illness or travel or life comes up, we can help each other.
Part of embracing, at least for me, means publicly asking and not “just” praying (as code for “I’m happy chatting with God about it, as long as I don’t have to chat with others.”)
People, we are at 586 words typed and I haven’t even begun discussing this rich section! But you know what? Sometimes in a club we come prepared (I have read and taken notes on all the sections) and what you really need is something else. Maybe what we need are the real ways that this book has intersected with each of our lives this week.
That being said, I do have two pages of notes, lots of Kindle reference points marked, and stars all over my notes. I’m going to give a brief thought for each chapter and want to continue the discussion in the comments.
Chapter 6: Breathing Prayer—“Freedom comes in moving from a request-based prayer life to a relationally-based one.” (1423). Love this.
Chapter 7: Loving Truth—Like Mary, I had not noticed how communal the passages she referenced were. Not if I confess, but if we confess. Makes me wonder what freedom we are missing out on in our marriages, families, teams, and organization. Oh and the whole “I tell you the truth” being mentioned 78 times in the Bible!
Chapter 8: Practicing Risk—The part about boredom stood out to me. I wondered (if you’re honest) how many of you fell bored because you are “trapped” with young children in a small apartment or home? What could practicing risk look like for you?
Chapter 9: Slaying Idols—I found the list of possible idols (2159) helpful. It got me thinking about the idols of the cross-cultural worker. I’d like to write a post about “Idols for the Cross-Cultural Worker” and wondered what you’d put on the list. One I’d put on is “busy.” We love being busy because it looks more valid than when we rest. (Um, see above. Trying to slay this idol.)
Chapter 10: Worshipping God—Mark Buchanan’s quote stood out to me: “The opposite of a slave is not a free man. It’s a worshipper.” What did you think of this quote?
Chapter 11: Living the Bible—This book was written before the “Word for the year” craze (of which I love, so I’m not casting stones. Just found it interesting how long it has existed.). My word for the year is verily. What’s yours?
Chapter 12: Embracing Rest—I think we know what I thought of that chapter :).
Chapter 13: Chasing Healing—She had me at Dun Cow. Anyone else read that as a teen and just love it? I mean LOVE it? I’m going to have to re-read that next summer as part of my summer reading challenge. I love the passage she quoted.
Whew!! She covered a lot of ground. What stood out to you or you’d like to discuss? What questions would you like for me to ask Mary in preparation for her being with us when we discuss part 4?
P.S. Next week we’ll read part 3, and finish up the following week with part 4 and Mary visiting with us.
February 7th: Kimberlee Conway Ireton continuing with Circle of Seasons.
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.