Book Review: The Promise Is His Presence

When I saw that Glenna Marshall was going to have a launch team for her book The Promise Is His Presence: Why God Is Always Enough, I jumped at the chance to be a member. Not only do I know Glenna personally (we attended the same college), but I have long admired her writing. Glenna is a faithful follower of the Lord who has seen some incredibly difficult seasons of suffering, but through them God has given her quite the story to tell.

The Promise Is His Presence (don’t you just love the title?!) is an excellent encouragement for those Christians who are suffering, wondering if God is present and active in their lives, or who just feel stagnant in their walk with the Lord. Marshall writes with clarity and conviction, showing how the theme of the presence of God is woven into the fabric of Scripture from beginning to end. I love how she personalized the book by sharing with the reader her own personal dark nights of the soul, and I related to much of what she wrote, though our struggles are different. There are so many passages I wanted to highlight that I feel like every page would be yellow! I highly recommend this book.

A few favorite quotes:

“Remembering God’s past faithfulness helps us to believe in His future faithfulness.”

“When we make the mistake of equating God’s inherent goodness with what seems good to us, we limit our belief in His ability to be good.”

“The weight of your heart’s satisfaction can’t be laid on another human being or a particular outcome. Only the giver of gifts can stand up to the heart’s relentless desire to be satisfied.”

Order your copy of The Promise Is His Presence at Amazon or other online retailers!

Never Unfriended: A Book Review and Giveaway!

This past month I had the opportunity to be on my very first book launch team to help promote the release of Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker. Lisa-Jo is the community manager for (in)courage, a website that I love and that has encouraged me greatly over the years. When I saw that Lisa-Jo’s book was going to be about friendship, I jumped at the chance to review it.

NU_OrderNow-1_1024x683Friendship is something that I have struggled with ever since I graduated college and realized that friendships don’t come as naturally when you’re not constantly surrounded by peers in the same stage of life. I actually wrote a little about my difficulty with friendships on my blog back in 2009 (holy cow, I have been blogging for a long time), and reading that post again made me thankful that 1) so many people in the comments echoed my sentiments and 2) I have come a long way in my pursuit of friendships since that post. Nevertheless, I still feel that I have a lot to learn in this area, and so I was eager to read Never Unfriended and see what it had to say.

The book did not disappoint. I found myself caught up in the book’s opening pages and put my trusty pink pen to work highlighting sentence after sentence.  I took my time with this book so I could stop and think about each chapter and what it said about friendships. I loved Lisa-Jo’s confessional, relatable tone and found so many parts of this book that resonated with me and challenged me to think about the way I approach friendships. Some of my favorite quotes:

“While we might have defined friendship our whole lives by what others do to us, in the end it’s what we do for others that will define us as friends or not.”

“We have worshiped at the altar of inclusion when we were built to worship at the altar of the only living God.”

“Latching in to a friend with the hope that they will give us God-sized affirmation will always disappoint.”

“When we are convinced that our lives bring delight to a God who views us with such an all-consuming passion that He would choose to woo us, love us, die for us, sing over us, and celebrate us, then we are women who can give other the gift of guilt-free friendship.”

“Perfect will leave you lonely. But friendship teaches us that perfect is rarely as interesting and never as satisfying as real.”

“God is wildly in love with even the people who might make us the craziest. The people who are difficult and the people who are grumpy and unhelpful and hard to understand. And sometimes those people are us.”

I wish I could quote all of chapter 10, the chapter titled, “Live Like the Kingdom of God is a Co-Op, Not a Competition.” It talks about jealousy and comparison and how those things can eat away at us and our relationships. It is the chapter that convicted me the most, as I am the queen of comparison and everyone comes out a loser in that game.

The few nitpicks I have are related to the writing style, which uses a lot of choppy, fragmented sentences. She also quotes a lot from secondary sources, and I thought some of the integration of those quotes into her writing could have been smoother. Neither of these things detracts from the book’s message, however.

Bottom line: If you’re someone who has struggled with friendships, this book is for you. If you’re someone who wants more out of your friendships, this book is for you. If you’re someone who loves the friendships you have but want to be a better friend, this book is for you. I definitely recommend it, and the good news is, I want to give away the copy I pre-ordered!

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY, just leave a comment on the post answering this question: What is one quality you value in your friends? 

The giveaway will remain open until Thursday at midnight. I’ll announce a winner this Friday, April 7. Good luck!

*Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*