Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Review: My Heart

My Heart. Julie Manning. 2017. B&H. 224 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

Julie Manning's My Heart is a mother's memoir. (Though one doesn't have to be a mother--or a nurse--to appreciate it.) Manning shares her story--her testimony. During the birth of her second child--a son--her heart stops working. Further tests reveal that her heart is in failure, and, that it could stop beating at any time, without much warning. Her life will never be the same. She's a wife, a mother--a mother of two young boys--and a Christian. This is her testimony of how she found Christ in the midst of her suffering. Of how she's able to hold onto joy and hope and peace despite all of her health issues.

Throughout the book she shares her story. But she also shares some of her journal entries and some letters she's written to her sons. These letters to her sons are by necessity emotional masterpieces. How could you read them and not be touched?!

This book may not be theology proper, but, I'd argue that it is theology lived out. Readers need both.

Favorite quotes:
  • "We do not need to die in order to experience Jesus; we just need to stop, pause, and cease striving long enough to need Him, love Him, and rest in Him." 
  • "Our sufferings do not produce belief or unbelief of the Lord in our lives; rather our sufferings will reveal our belief or unbelief in Jesus."
  • "What would our lives look like if we really did live with our life’s brevity at the forefront of our mind? Would we pursue the temporary, or would we pursue the eternal?"
  • "When you fail to take all of the emotions and heartaches and fears of your present circumstances to the Lord, just for the sake of numbing yourself, you are telling God that you believe He messed up and that He did not know what He was doing."
  • "Yes, the risk of vulnerability can be scary. It is true that the Holy Spirit often leads us into areas where we feel vulnerable. But we can go there because in God we have eternal security. Though it feels “dangerous” to walk in this direction, we are already safe in the embrace of God’s powerful love—so no place is truly dangerous for us. And, when the Holy Spirit leads us to be vulnerable, God shows up and blesses us through it with His peace and freedom."
  • " In the midst of suffering, we will look one of two places. We will either look at the suffering, and we will doubt God; or we will look at God and read the promises of His Word, and it will cause us to cry out to Him in utter desperation, leaning on Him as the One who is able to see us through our circumstances."
  • "I absolutely believe it is not only possible for us to experience hope and joy in the midst of suffering but that God desires to show us that He alone is our only hope and our only source of fulfilling joy."
  • "Do I believe that God being in control is better than me being in control? Do I believe that following God’s leading is better than my own comfort?"
  • "Our sufferings do not negate God’s call on our life to love Him and love others." 
  • "We share our stories to remember God’s faithfulness. We share our stories to direct our hearts back to what is important in this life as we feel the tug to drift away from a surrendered posture unto the Lord to a life of selfsufficiency. This life is not about us. Rather, this life is about Jesus. This life is not about our individual lives but about the day when the entire big “C” Church body is in the same place at the same time for eternity surrounding the throne of God, proclaiming “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty” (Rev. 4:8). We are not yet home, but rest assured, we WILL be home one day. Until then we must battle against complacency and against comfort and against taking things into our own hands of control. Even when we seek Jesus fervently. Even when we rely on the Lord for every ounce of energy and sustaining breath. "
  • "We can only view this life through the lens of the gospel of Jesus to the extent in which we know and believe the gospel itself."
  • "The more time we spend putting God’s Word into our minds, the more His Word will become our thoughts. The more Scriptures we study, the more we will learn about our God’s character. The more times we read through God’s redemption story for His people, which is you and me, the more our hearts will humbly rejoice in the grace poured out upon our souls. The Lord has much work to do in our lives. He accomplishes this work through His Word, the working of His Holy Spirit, and the presence of other believers in our lives. The more time we spend reading about Jesus, the more we will view this life and all of this life’s circumstances with the perspective that this place is not our forever home."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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