June 7, 2014

Review: Active Spirituality



"Is the Christian life about trying or trusting? Would I describe my relationship to God as running or resting? Is my life more characterized by grace or effort?"

When I read this short summary of Active Spirituality: Grace and Effort in the Christian Life, I was hopeful that it would help me strike a balance between God's work and my work in living in living out holiness in my everyday life. I hoped it would help me think through legalism versus obedience, going through the motions versus living in a spirit-empowered way. This book did -- and will continue to do -- just that.

I tried to do a very quick read (in order to meet my review deadline) but found myself wanting to linger often. Despite the book's casual style, pastor/author Brian Hedges provides a careful handling of deep biblical truths about living a healthy Christian life.



Presented as a series of pastoral letters written "to a struggling young adult trying to find a church, live a chaste life, and walk with Christ." The tone is conversational and application-oriented. Don't be fooled by the friendly letter format; this book packs a substantial doctrinal punch.

Hedges addresses issues faced by his correspondent such as discouragement, depression, and assurance. Teaching from Scripture, Hedges also draws from the writings of authors such as John Bunyan, John Owen, C.S. Lewis, and -- for a more contemporary source -- Tom Schreiner, Michael Horton, and Timothy Keller, among others. (I always enjoy it when reading one book leads me to another book, and another...)

My somewhat quick read will be just a first read. This is a book I'll need to read again, digest more thoroughly, and apply carefully. I'll be glad to recommend this book to the thoughtful new convert and the struggling Christian alike (and don't we all fall into those categories at one time or another?).


Cross Focused Reviews provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review; however, the views stated here are my own. This review has also been posted on Amazon.com and Goodreads. This post contains affiliate links. 

June 4, 2014

Me time, or...



I can’t believe we’ve been homeschooling for 16 years. That’s more than half our marriage. That’s more years than our youngest has been alive.  That’s 2,800 days -- if I count only “official” school days (whatever that means).

Small potatoes compared to the number of days I’ve been a mom: 10,037 or thereabouts.

That’s a lot of days spent feeding children, shopping for children, washing clothes for children, cleaning up after children, teaching children, disciplining children, ferrying children, playing with children.

Of course, our oldest has been on his own for quite a while now. But our second child, our only girl, has been racking up the milestones over the last few months. She turned 18, graduated from our homeschool, earned a scholarship, was admitted to her school of choice, and will be leaving our home within the next couple of months.

This leaves me with one at home, for a few more years at least.

I realized a few days ago that we only have about three years of homeschooling left. Three more years, of having a child in our home. Three more years, potentially, before we are empty nesters. Less than 2,000 days. And it hit me.

Me time is seriously overrated.

Somehow, the realization that my daily, intentional opportunities to train up my children are fleeting at best has made me desire to be with them all the more. Not to stifle them, not to lecture them, not to guilt them or control them.

I want to use this time to enjoy them, to learn more about what they enjoy. I want to listen to them, to hear what they think of the world and other people and our Creator. I want to watch them, to see what God is doing in their hearts and lives. I want to read with them, to pray with them, to worship with them, to play with them.

This season will be gone before I blink again. The next season will be good, as my husband and I live together as two again instead of two plus three or two or one. But until then, I want to enjoy this sweetly bittersweet season which the Lord has prepared for me now, while I can.

Not me time, but we time.