“Finding Beautiful,” by Rebecca Friedlander

“If we could catch one glimpse of how amazing we are in His eyes, we would never struggle with self-confidence again.” Rebecca Friedlander, “Finding Beautiful”

“Finding Beautiful” is a wonderful trek through twelve different lives, strung together by one common truth: the beauty of Christ’s love. Friedlander’s creativity is impressive and inspiring. The lesson for her reader’s is to embrace who they are in Christ, and each story highlights a specific characteristic of what makes every person beautiful. Readers will be inspired by Friedlander’s obedience and courage to use the gifts God has given her to follow Him one faithful step at a time. 

Each chapter of this book begins with a woman’s story. The twelve women she chose to spotlight each carry a heavy story attached to a powerful lesson of God’s love. With each account the author gives readers a sneak peak into the before and after photo shoots, part of the documentary which inspired this book. Friedlander then adds her story, followed by “God’s Story,” a section highlighting a passage(s) of Scripture. The “True Beauty Tip” at the end of each chapter challenges us to look at beauty from a greater perspective …that of our Creator. “Questions for Reflection” finish each of the twelve accounts, challenging readers to apply the stories of the women, the author, and Scripture to their own lives and current soul states. 

I highly recommend this book. Personally, its easy for me to get caught up in the challenges of my everyday life, which sometimes attempt to stomp out opportunities to follow God into uncharted waters and to the fulfillment of big dreams and plans He has for my life. These pages were a loving reminder to let go of my task list and expectations, and let Him work through my life. To simply be who He has made us to be, content in the beauty He’s blessed each life with, is a wonderful gift. 

“Even in the midst of chaos beyond our control, Christ calmly stands in the middle of the waves, unmoved by the drama.” Rebecca Friedlander, “Finding Beautiful”

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

Click here to purchase a copy of “Finding Beautiful.”

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“The Next Right Thing,” by Emily Freeman

“We make better decisions by making decisions, not by thinking about making decisions.” Emily P. Freeman, “The Next Right Thing.”

This book will cause readers to fall in love with author, and the position from which she meets readers to encourage us all as we swim though the ever-nagging doubt of each day’s decisions. From beginning to end, Freeman’s passion to help us break chains of indecision shine through her spectacular way of talking to her readers. Her prose feels like talking to a friend on a breezy summer day at the beach, in full confidentiality with a life-long friend. She is easy to relate to and kind with her convictions. “God is less interested in where we end up,” Freeman writes, “than he is in who we are becoming.”

Though the book is lengthy, with 24 chapters and closing in on 250 pages, it is an easy read that flows gracefully from chapter to chapter. Each starts with a quote that is more than just inspirational, but rather gut-checking, and ends with two sections to help us remember the lessons at hand: “A Prayer,” and “A Practice.” Praying specifically is very powerful, and putting what we absorb into immediate practice cements the shifted perspective readers gain from these pages. 

I highly recommend this book to those who struggle with making decisions, carry regret from ones previously made, or fear what they cannot see in the future. “Our choices shape our lives,” Freeman writes, “and they shape us. But we remain in God’s hand no matter what.” 

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

Click here to purchase a copy of “The Next Right Thing.”

“The Path of a Peacemaker,” by P. Brian Noble

“Humility requires a Christ-based attitude, not a cultural-based attitude.” P. Brian Noble, “The Path of a Peacemaker.”

In “The Path of a Peacemaker,” Noble meets his readers in an inevitable place we often find ourselves in …tension. With practical perspective and Biblical knowledge, he tackles a topic we all deal with in our daily lives. “Tension,” Noble writes, “can pull us away from the things that matter or push us toward those very things.” Throughout the book, readers are challenged to consider the stories of others. The entire book introduces a shift and broadening of our perspective on peace. Readers are challenged to consider the call to be peacekeepers, what that means and delve deeper into understanding the character of our great God who loves us and issues that call. 

Over twenty chapters are divided into six sections packed with Biblically sound and life-applicable instruction on how to seek peace with others. Humility and forgiveness are woven into Gospel truths in an approachable, yet convicting, way. We all wish to be peace keepers, and most of us feel warranted to withhold peace in places and with people in our lives. But Christ challenges us to love above all else. How do we accomplish peace, His way, with borders and boundaries in our lives? “The Path of a Peacemaker” helps us to see how to be at peace with everyone to the best of our ability, while still guarding our hearts. 

This book challenged me in my personal life and relationships, and in the way I lead and teach others. I found this advice to be relevant in my journey as a parent of two approaching the teen years, as well. It’s a quick read but one worth referencing again and again. I highly recommend it to readers in all walks of life, seeking more peace in life.

“How amazing when a relationship that was once lost is ultimately found.” -P. Brian Noble, “The Path of a Peacemaker.”

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

Click here to purchase a copy of “The Path of a Peacemaker.”

“Loving My Actual Neighbor,” by Alexandra Kuykendall

“To really understand and love our neighbor, we must be willing to tread into common ground.” -Alexandra Kuykendall, “Loving My Actual Neighbor.”

Many of us are familiar with God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves, but actually living it out in our everyday lives is difficult. “Loving My Actual Neighbor,” is a simple and practical approach to loving the people God places in our lives. In seven simple and quick-to-read chapters, Kuykendall gives her readers real life experience to connect with. Each chapter wraps up with three sections to help us retain the over-arching message: “A Call to Saturday Living,” “Questions for Reflection,” and “Scripture to Digest.”

“Saturday Living,” as the author cleverly coined, frames the natural ebb and flow of life’s down-time, and challenges us to look around and leverage that time to honor God’s command to “love our neighbor.” “Questions for Reflection” push readers to dig into this rich command God has given us and challenge our hearts to grow into it a little more. “Scripture to Digest” offers poignant verses to pray over our lives as we learn more about what it means to love our neighbors.

This book is enlightening and encouraging. It meets readers in the midst of busy schedules and  provides practical ways to love each other better. Personally, it pushed me out of my limited understanding of how much time I think I have, and convicted me to pray for specific moments to love the people that border my life better. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about God’s love, and our place in His plan to become channels of it.

“We likely aren’t going to find many people (or any, for that matter) who agree with us on every detail of every issue, so maybe it’s time to let go of that expectation.” -Alexandra Kuykendall, “Loving My Actual Neighbor.”

Click here to purchase “Loving My Actual Neighbor.

“Relational Reset,” by Dr. Laurel Shaler

“We all need friends who are willing and able to look at all sides of a situation prayerfully and thoughtfully instead of jumping to our defense.” Dr. Laurel Shaler, “Relational Reset”

Dr. Shaler meets her readers with answers to some poignant relationship questions, and matter-of-fact Biblical answers. Her knowledge, expertise, and experience as a counselor provides a confident stance on common relational problems. Broken up into twelve, easy to read chapters, each contains a “Working on Myself” section at the end. Through these questions, readers are able to immediately apply the knowledge they have gained to their current situations. This book is practical, on point, and incredibly relevant. 

This book not only met me in the middle of some of my own relational questions, but has allowed me to relay encouragement to my children and friends applicably. In a world where everyone has their opinion of what justice is and how it should be served, Dr. Shaler takes an educated and trained stance on the realities of these issues according to God’s truth. Her advice is timeless, and applicable to everyone. I recommend this book to everyone. There is something to be learned for all walks and stages of life. 

“It’s okay to desire justice. It’s even okay to expect and demand justice. In fact, Isaiah 1:7 tells us to seek justice. However, the reality is that justice in a fallen world will never be perfect. But God’s justice is.” Dr. Laurel Shaler, “Relational Reset”

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Click here to purchase your copy of Relational Reset.