A few weeks ago, the author of the blog Practical Theology for Women wrote about a new book she had written - a Bible study for women through the book of Ephesians. The author, Wendy Horger Alsup, wrote that she had a few copies to give away to people interested in reading her book and reviewing it on their blogs. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity to a) get a free book and b) get a Bible study for women, for which I had been looking. The book, By His Wounds You Are Healed, came in the mail last week and I'm just now sitting down to start it.
I'm really excited to delve into the book deeper, especially because not only did Ms. Alsup provide space for taking notes, but she also provided questions in the back of the book to provoke further thinking and discussion. I just love me some good discussion questions (wish I had someone to discuss them with).
I read through the introduction today (I want to take this book chapter by chapter, one day at a time) and it wasn't until I got to the last paragraph that it became clear to me why I was meant to "win" this book. I hope Ms. Alsup doesn't mind my quoting her here, but I really just have to share this with you all:
This book is not about supernatural spiritual power to change your circumstances... This is about hope that God has done something on the cross that changes how we think about our circumstances! This is about responding to grace when we used to choose anger. This is about learning to endure in peace when we used to fret with impatience. This is about getting a vision for what God has done and is continuing to do for us in the heavenly realm and letting that vision make a real, radical difference in how we approach our struggles daily.
[bold emphasis mine]
God only knows that I am probably one of the most impatient people on the face of the Earth, especially when it comes to things I can't control. And unfortunately, the past several weeks have been chock-full of things I can't control. I'm always wishing I can control everything, get everything done right away, have everything taken care of as soon as possible. But life is not like that and I constantly struggle with just letting go, being patient and saying, "Okay, God. It's in your hands."
I've tried a mantra from author Florence Scovel Shinn: "I place this burden on the Christ within and I go free." Saying this is apparently supposed to change your mindset and calm you down, but I haven't really found it to be that freeing. I guess I don't know what calm feels like. I kind of want to feel God's hands on my shoulders or hear God say, "Calm down now. It's okay." (Though I suppose God could be speaking to me through my husband.)
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that now my excitement is not merely, "Oo I get a book and I get to review it" but more "Oo I think this Bible study could be just the thing I need. How did God know?" Oh, He always knows.
If any of this intrigues you, I encourage you to check out Ms. Alsup's website and keep following along on my blog to hear more of my thoughts on the book. You can also purchase the book, if you are so inclined, by clicking here. (For 15% off the book, use coupon code FR7S5NDB. The code is good through June 1.)