Book Review: Open to the Spirit

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A quote toward the beginning of this book summed up why I am so excited to have read Open to the Spirit by Scot McKnight.

“To put all our nervous-about-the-Spirit rationalizations into one tight bundle, we reduced the Spirit by resorting to reason, to intellect, to the mind, to the Bible.  In doing so, we relegated the Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity, to an idea that our superior logic and careful theology made irrelevant.”  – page 6-7

I have long noticed how the evangelical church tends to downplay the Holy Spirit. We talk a lot about God, a good amount about Jesus, but little about the Holy Spirit.

It is a rare thing for a nonfiction book to be a page-turner for me, but this book was definitely that.  McKnight starts out writing about the Holy Spirit as we see in Scripture.  I think most conservatives hear a phrase like “open to the Spirit” and immediately think of speaking in tongues, rolling in aisles, etc.  While he does address similar issues briefly, this is not a book about why one should embrace a “charismatic” lifestyle.  It is a book about the Holy Spirit of the Bible and how we can and should be allowing Him and seeing Him in our lives.

Being raised a Baptist, there were several parts where I said, “wait, really?  Does the Bible really say that?”  And when I looked up the references in context, sure enough….the Bible does say that!  I appreciated how this book drew me deeper into the Bible on such an important topic.

I loved how the author talked about walking in the Holy Spirit as just that….walking.  It is not adhering to any rules.  It is an active thing.

Another good quote…

“At the end of our frustrating conversation, he dropped the mic.  ‘If the Holy Spirit ever left planet Earth, you Baptists would never know because all you’ve got is the Bible.’  He had a point: our Holy Spirit was containd and confined by the Bible.  For us, the Holy Spirit’s role was limited to unleashing what was in the Bible.”  pg 28

All-in-all it was very thought-provoking, very convicting, and very inspiring.

Read more about the author here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.




2018 – The Year of Growth


Here we are, a month into the year, and I am finally sitting down to write this post that has been sitting in my drafts for, well, about a month.


The past few years have been incredibly difficult.  I used to always have a word of the year.  A goal word.  Usually that word chose me.  I would just be sitting there, contemplating the year, and a single word would clearly pop into my mind.  Not these past few years.  Unless the word was just “survive.”

So I was a little surprised this year when I sat down to contemplate the year.  First of all, I purchased a Bloom daily planner and I love it.  There are spots for yearly and monthly goals.  They also included a vision board of sorts for the year.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I decided to at least give it a try.  It took a while, to be honest, of just sitting and thinking and wondering about the year.

But finally a few goals came to mind.  A few words inspired me.  I sat in those words until one word seemed to sum them all up.  Nothing super specific.  It’s actually pretty vague.  But it sums it up well.


This year I want to grow.  I want to take steps forward.  I don’t want to just survive anymore.

I ended up creating a “vision board” in which I included all the words that were swirling in my mind.  This is my vision for 2018…

…Give grace

For a few more specific goals, I knew I wanted to grow in my family relationships, specifically toward my husband and kids.  I also knew I wanted to continue to work toward having a clean, peaceful, organized home.

And as I get closer to another big change coming up in our family, I know I will need to really hold on to a lot of the above words.

I am 27 weeks pregnant with our 5th baby.  While we are very excited, the trauma of what we have been through with our last three children has greatly affected my husband, living son, and me.  I knew I needed to grow this year.  Grow in grief, grow in healing, grow in release, grow in moving forward fearlessly, having courage, etc.

2018 is going to be a huge year of growth.  I am scared, apprehensive, hopeful, and ready.



Book Review: Death at Thorburn Hall

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Death at Thorburn Hall is the latest book in the Drew Farthering series by Julianna Deering.

A few years ago I read another one of her mysteries, Murder at the Mikado, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I must say I did not love this one quite as much.  It was a bit hard for me to get into.  Once the plot started developing, I did enjoy it more, but was not at all surprised as to “who dun it” when I got to the end.  There was not much of a sense of a mystery for the reader, and some random plot inclusions that to me did not flow well.

There was also quite a bit of male and female caricaturing, which was hard to read.  A few dozen too many references to the frail female constitution and the emotional inability to cope with personal tragedy or even the crimes taking place around them.  I understand that a good deal of that was accurate perception during the era the story takes place in.  But it was still difficult and annoying to read.

If you want a light read, it’s not bad.  But definitely will not make my Top 10 list.

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.


Book List: October – December

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Here is my October-December book list.  Grand total for the year: 32 books.  Not as many as I originally planned, but at the same time I am pleased.  2017 was the first year in a while where I was able to intentionally read and work through a decent sized list.  Hoping to keep it up in 2018!  My goal for this year is 48 books.

October –

Forgotten God by  Francis Chan

Spirit of Loveliness, The by Emilie Barnes

November –

You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan

You Are Not Alone: Love Letters from Loss Mom to Loss Mom by Emily R. Long

Selection, The by Kiera Cass

December –

Celebrating Pregnancy Again: Restoring the Lost Joys of Pregnancy after the Loss of a Child by Franchesca Cox


Do Miscarried Babies Go to Heaven?

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After my first miscarriage, I came face to face with an awful question.  Did my child go to heaven or go to hell?  I have spent much time thinking and reading on this topic, trying to grasp the Biblical scene on this as best as I can.

Do miscarried babies go to heaven_

Of course, my immediate and emotional answer is….of course they went to heaven!!  It seriously breaks my heart like nothing else to think of my children in hell for all of eternity.

But I knew that I needed a better answer than just an emotional one.  So I went on a search.

I did end up arriving at the same conclusion…yes, they are in heaven.  Here are a few things that make me believe that this is so.

  1.  Unborn babies do not know good or bad.  Deuteronomy 1:39 talks about children who “have no knowledge of good or evil.”  Babies are unaware of right and wrong, and thus do not have the ability yet to accept or reject God.
  2. In a similar vein, we see throughout the Bible that people are under condemnation and receive punishment for choosing to reject God and for making deliberate choices to sin.  (2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Rev. 20:11-12).  Unborn babies are not capable of that.
  3. I am not saying that I believe that babies are not conceived under sin and under the curse.  The Bible is clear that all people are sinners from the womb (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:3).  But, in the same way that adults are saved by grace through faith, I believe that it is by God’s grace that He saves unborn babies who are unable to consciously understand salvation.
  4. R.A. Webb, in a book on infants and salvation, wrote this, “If a dead infant were sent to hell on no other account than that of original sin, there would be a good reason to the divine mind for the judgment because sin is a reality. But the child’s mind would be a perfect blank as to the reason of its suffering. Under such circumstances it would know suffering but it would have no understanding of the reason for its suffering. It could not tell itself why it was so awfully smitten and consequently the whole meaning and significance of its sufferings being to it a conscious enigma, the very essence of the penalty would be absent and justice would be disappointed, cheated of its validation.”

It is a difficult and painful question to address.  But at this point, this is where I have ended up.

A year or so ago I found this song.  It is one of my favorite songs about losing a child in the womb.  You might need a tissue…I always cry buckets when I hear this one!



8 Things I was Unprepared for with my Early Miscarriages

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Early miscarriages are unfortunately very common, yet they are very stigmatized.

  • “They are so common, so it’s not that big of deal.”
  • “At least you weren’t too far along.”
  • “At least the baby hadn’t developed much.”
  • “It will just be like a period.”
  • “It’s too early to see any tissue.”
  • “You didn’t even know the gender yet.”
  • “There will be more chances.”
  • “It happened for a reason.”
  • “At least it wasn’t a real baby yet.”
  • “At least you can get pregnant.”
  • “You should be over this by now.”
  • “Time heals all wounds.”

For various reasons (I believe in large part due to the abortion culture that minimizes unborn life….yes, that even hugely permeates Christian circles), early losses are not seen as that big of a deal.

People somehow think that with a miscarriage…you were pregnant….and now you’re just not.  This begs the question….where then does the baby go?  It doesn’t just vanish.  It’s not simply “Oh I’m not pregnant anymore.”  It’s not a simple period that comes and goes right on schedule.  It is an actual physical process.

I recognize that there is a spectrum of experiences, and mine may not have been the same as yours.  But here are 8 things I personally was unprepared for with my early miscarriages.

8 Things I was Unprepared for With Early Miscarriage

  1. Pregnancy symptoms might continue after your baby has died, and even after the baby has passed from your body.  I remember experiencing nausea after our baby was gone and it was utterly heartbreaking.  It will take a while for your body’s hormones to go back down and for a while your body will continue to act as if it is pregnant, due to the presence of HCG in your system.
  2. It was like a labor.  The labor process was most easily seen in my late miscarriage (post pending on that), but even with my two 6 week losses, my body followed a labor pattern.  The cramping began, it intensified, and shortly after the most intense cramps/contractions, I could feel the baby and sac coming out.  A miscarriage is not just a period….it is your body giving birth to a baby.  Yes, a very tiny baby.  But it is still a process.
  3. You might be able to see your baby.  I was, of course, hoping that I would be able to see the baby, but being so early, I was assuming it would not be possible.  With my first loss, I might have been able to identify it, but I am not sure.  With my second, I was fairly certain, and after looking at images online, it did seem to confirm that what I was seeing was the sac with my tiny child inside.  Here is a web site that shows pictures of babies born at every gestational week.
  4. You might feel like you let your babies down.  I analyzed everything.  Was it the time I was wearing heels and stepped down too hard on a step?  Was it when I ran for a brief second in the parking lot?  Was it because of my sin?  Was it because I was doing such a terrible job with my living son?  The questions plagued me and it was difficult working through a lot of that.
  5. You might receive insensitive comments.  I began this post with a number of examples.  I was unprepared for the insensitive and even callous comments that I heard.  After becoming part of miscarriage circles, I have realized that the comments I heard were just the tip of the iceberg.  Friends of mine were told outrageously offensive things.  I can’t count the number of times I thought, “Would you say this if my 2 year old died?  Would you say this if a parent died?  How in the world do you think this is an ok thing to say??” It is important to give grace to people who might not understand what it is like to lose a baby, but it is ok for it to hurt.
  6. You might hear a lot of Christianese.  This is similar to the above, but there were a lot of comments of “Just trust God,” “Everything happens for a reason,” “Rejoice always,” etc.  I know that people mean well and truly wanted to point us to the Lord, but it has taken a lot to extend grace.  Christianese, Biblical platitudes, and quoted Bible verses might have a place, but they do not enter into the struggle, come alongside, or get us walking actively toward the Lord.
  7. You might become a different person.  I was not prepared for how I changed.  Not only did my physical life change, as I suddenly became the mother of a child on earth as well as children in heaven, but I became a different person on the inside.  In some ways, it was for the better.  I became more grateful, more empathetic, more willing to enter other’s struggles.  I wrestled with theological questions I had previously always accepted but never had to grapple with personally.  In other ways, it was for the worse.  I became at times cynical and angry.  And in yet other ways, it wasn’t good or bad, it was just…different.  I was a different person after experiencing the trauma of early loss.
  8. People will move on.  Your world will stop spinning, but other people’s worlds will continue.  Most people, even in Christian circles, do not count children lost in early pregnancy as children.  They were just pregnancies.  You just might be the only person who remembers your loss dates, your due dates, even your children’s very existence.  It will hurt like crazy.  But remember that you were the only one who knew your child.  You and God are the only ones who have carried your child, who have felt and known the affects of their existence.  It sucks that no one remembers, but you do not ever have to feel guilty for remembering and loving your children.  Because they were indeed children.  Human people created in the very image of God.

Book List – July through September

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I almost didn’t even post this list.  😉  It’s pretty pitiful.  Hopefully I can pull it together for the last three months of the year and get a bunch more read!



High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

Bookends of the Christian Life, The by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington


The Heist by Chris Durso (book review here)