The last number of months have been tough for me- especially due to the loss of our infant daughter. Although I felt God close during this time, I also felt distant from Him. (Does that make any sense? Such a paradox!) I was really searching for answers to a lot of the questions that come with difficult situations like this. So when I saw that Joanna Weaver had written a third book Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God I was excited and knew that I wanted and needed to read it.
I read Weaver's first book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and loved it. It challenged me and pushed me in good ways. And I found Lazarus Awakens doing the same thing. In fact, this book helped me see that although God allows difficult experiences to come into our lives, He is also right there with us, loving us through them. And so much of how the experience shapes us, for the good or the bad, is in our response.
Weaver starts the book talking about how our view of God affects how we view the circumstances that come into our lives. Then she goes on to talk about what a true relationship with God looks like during difficult times, what hinders that and what we can do to keep that relationship healthy. She reiterates over and over that God wants what is best for us and sometimes he allows "tomb experience" or "death" experiences to come into our lives to actually bring more life. She ends the book by discussing what it looks like to live resurrected- what it means to live free of our "tomb", of our "graveclothes". This by far was my favorite part of the book! I loved the picture of hope she paints and found it so encouraging and helpful.
A few of my favorite quotes:
- Isn't it strange how we humans tend to view God as our servant rather than our Master? Insisting that He do our bidding rather than standing ready to do His?
- If we embrace the process of crucifying our flesh, we'll find the joy that Lazarus found. Because spiritually speaking, nothing frees us more than dying to live.
- It seems that the times we come fact to face with pain and death are the times we're reminded best that this world is just a shadow. A crude drawing and a mere outline of the beauty that awaits us in a world outside this one. An alternate reality so magnificent and incomprehensible that we often forget it's there.
One of the things that I love about this book, is that Weaver includes lots of little helpful sections in each chapter that specifically flesh out what she is writing about. Sections such as "Disciplining your Mind" "Dethroning Lies" and "The Art of Listening". I find these to be very helpful as she gives specific step-by-step instructions on how to do the things she suggests. Or helpful tips that flesh out what she talked about. She also includes a lot of resources as well as a study guide in the back of the book. I always feel like her books are just full of helpfulness!
If you are looking for a book that will help you draw closer to God, especially if you are in a dark time in your life, and if you don't mind your toes getting stepped on a bit, Lazarus Awakening is for you!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Lazarus Awakening for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, however all opinions are mine.