This is a review of Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God when Life’s Not Okay; all opinions expressed are mine.
We all walk through difficult seasons in life, and If you aren’t going through a tough time yourself right now, you probably have friends or family who are. Could these words have been written or spoken by you or someone you know?
My tasks outnumbered my time, and worry outweighed my ability to focus and get things done…
My world came to a standstill the day my friend died…
In my twelfth year as a journalist, I hit a big bump in my career. When the dust settled, I didn’t have a job…
Nighttime was the hardest after my husband left…
In three months I’ll turn fifty…. Shouldn’t I have achieved more by now? Why haven’t I accomplished my goals? What is God’s purpose for my life?
In the new book by the (in)courage community of writers, Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay, you’ll find honest, hard, and very relatable stories about challenging times these women have gone through. They also share that despite the hardships, the pain, and the difficulties, they found comfort as they saw God working in their circumstances. And even when they couldn’t understand how God was working, they held on to hope, knowing that He was with them through it all.
Their stories bring so much encouragement, reminding us that God is always with us and always working things out for our good in every situation we go through. They show how the darkness and lies of the enemy never win in the battles we face because God is on our side. We’re reminded of the words of Jesus in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble…. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” Each devotional points to the hope we have as followers of Jesus, and a Scripture and prayer are also included for each day.
Because these devotionals are so honest and conversational, they’re easy to relate to. They’re written by women who are going through the same types of experiences you and I are. Doing the hard parts of life is easier when you know others have gone through similar things and have made it through undefeated, stronger because of it, and closer than ever to God.
Here are some excerpts I found encouraging:
- When you start to feel anxiety rising in your body and your heart, stop and recognize this moment as an opportunity to let God love you. Don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, be gentle with yourself because God’s love is gentle. —BONNIE GRAY, Be Gentle with Yourself
- We are designed to flourish in community. God brings beauty from our brokenness when we share our stories and bear one another’s burdens. —DORINA LAZO GILMORE, Flourishing in Community
- God is always at work, and He wants me to live out my kingdom purpose in every season. He promises something new, even now. He always makes a way. And He wants me to live with eyes wide open. —ROBIN DANCE, The Start of Something Beautiful
- At first, I couldn’t see any good in the bad. Most of us can’t. But today, if you’re smack in the middle of one of life’s curveballs, catch it…. Know, as Joseph did…that what life intends for evil, God will turn into good. —PATRICIA RAYBON, Learning from Job Loss
- There’s only one place to restore our soul and find comfort, and that’s in the quiet place at Jesus’ feet, where it’s okay to not be okay. Because one day He will make everything okay. —KRISTEN WELCH, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
- Your time in the wilderness is not a punishment or a mistake, but is a holy and needed time for you to be empowered for God’s calling. — STEPHANIE BRYANT, The Reason You’re in the Wilderness
- When we let our own limited perspective get in our way, we miss Him in the midst. When we dwell on the outcome, we miss what He is doing in the now. —JENNIFER UECKERT, It’s All About Perspective
- This isn’t what I expected my right-now life to look like, but I trust the Author. I have to believe this is exactly what I would choose for myself if I could see the entire storyline. He is a good God, a loving Father who gives good gifts to His children.—KAITLYN BOUCHILLON, If Life Doesn’t Look Like What You Hoped For
So take heart, have hope, and be encouraged in whatever you’re facing. I thought this particular passage by Mary Carver, in her devo God Will Give You Strength, was especially comforting: No matter what kind of trouble you are facing in your life, God will give you the strength to endure. Some seasons and situations are truly unbearable. But when you cannot stand on your own, when your faith and strength fail you, God will be right there to prop you up and propel you forward. He promises to help us and to hold us, and He will.