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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Beach Reading

Earlier this month, my husband and I had the opportunity to spend a week long vacation at Bald Head Island thanks to the generosity of the man he works for who let us stay at his beach house. This was the same beach and house we honeymooned at two years ago, and this was our first week long vacation since then. 

It was such a blessing to spend a week at my favorite sandy spot watching the waves roll in. Not to mention a week of uninterrupted time with my husband. My perfect vacation is just sitting under a beach umbrella with a good book and the ocean just a few yards in front of me. (Though I realize that after this beach trip the rest will be filled with much less reading and a lot more scheduling around nap times, toting tiny beach toys, and keeping baby out of the direct sun. And I'm perfectly excited about our impending change of vacation pace.)

I'd love to share with you the books I read during that week. They encouraged me, challenged me, and refreshed my heart and soul...

"Sometimes I want to spend hours talking with my best friends about boys and fashion and school and life. I want to go to the gym; I want my hair to look nice; I want to be allowed to wear jeans. I want to be a normal young woman living in America, sometimes.
But I want other things more. All the time. I want to be spiritually and emotionally filled every day. I want to be loved and cuddled by a hundred children and never go a day without laughing. I want to wake up to a rooster's crow and open my eyes to see lush green trees that seem to pulse with life against a piercing blue sky and the rust red soil of Uganda. I want to be challenged endlessly. I want to be taught by those I teach, and I want to share God's love with people who otherwise might not know it. I want to work so hard that I end every day filthy and too tired to move. I want to make some kind of difference, no matter how small, and I want to follow the calling God has placed on my heart. I want to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath. At the end of the day, no matter how hard, I want to be right here in Uganda."

- Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis with Beth Clark

"Our toughest battles will invariably concern matters of faith- times when we're tempted to think God's Word and His ways won't work for us, that He had abandoned us, let us down, or failed to come through for us. If Satan can get us to drop our shield of faith, he knows we can't remain standing for very long. Do you know the first recorded words that ever came from the serpent's mouth?
'Did God really say...?' (Gen. 3:1)
He used the spade of deceit to sow doubt. Satan, posing as the serpent, couldn't keep Eve from believing in God, so he did the next best thing. He baited her, tempting Eve not to believe God or trust His motives. Her walk was crippled, her doubt was contagious, and the couple lost the land God had placed under their feet. You see, when Eve dropped her shield of faith, every other piece of spiritual armor became vulnerable. Satan knew she wouldn't remain standing for long. 
Above all, you and I need to take up our shield of faith. We also desperately need to know the Word of God and wield the Sword of the Spirit so that when the enemy slyly suggests 'Did God really say...?', we can know the answer emphatically. When we respond to attacks of doubt, distortion, and deceit with the truth of God's word, the fiery dart is extinguished and the enemy takes another hit."

"Without trust in the good news of Jesus, without trust in the good news of God's saving work even in this moment, without an active, moment-by-moment trust in the good news of an all-sovereign, all-good God, how can we claim to fully believe? This is the trust I lack: to know that if disaster strikes, He carries me even there. Trust in the wholeness of the gospel- including this moment...I've just begun to feel around the outside edges of it, here in crumbling economics, the fretfulness of parenting, the dizziness of the twenty-first-century spin. Just begun to realize it, and it catches in the throat: 
If authentic saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief...atheism. 
Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism. 
I wince. Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear. To lack faith perhaps isn't as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God as fear and distrust that there is a good God."


Madison's Mommy said...

You have sold me on all 3 Summer reading list has found purposeful reading thanks to you! As soon as I get back to the States I will be headed to the nearest bookstore!


Aileen said...

I love beach reading! It's the absolute best. Hope you had a great time relaxing and soaking up the sun. I can't wait to read more about your trip. Crazy to think that next time will be with a little one! Hope you're feeling better these days.

Cathy said...

I did the Believing God Bible study at my church and it was excellent! Glad you enjoyed the book.
Visiting from over at 'Women living well' blog hop. :)

Laura said...

These sound like great recommendations--I can't wait to check out the one by Beth Moore--she is such an inspiration!

Bethany said...

Madison's Mommy- I'm so glad I could contribute to your summer reading list, enjoy these amazing books!!

Aileen- definitely, I'll be blogging more about it. I'm still nauseous these days, but God is teaching me to rest, and I know this journey is worth the sickness!

Cathy- thanks for stopping by, come back and visit again.

Laura- Beth Moore is indeed an inspiration, such scriptural richness in her books.

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