Ever bought books for other people only to realize you are the one that needed them the most? These three books on my nightstand right now. I’ve finished the first two and am about half-way through Fit to Burst. One might wonder if I am going through some difficult time of unforgiveness, discouragement, and discontentment as a wife and mother. Thanks be to God, I am not right now. But a few Sundays ago, our pastor read this quote on forgiveness that captured my attention and stirred my heart: “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free only to realize that the prisoner was you.” As I wrote the quote down, I missed the source. When I got home, I looked the quote up and found that it was originally said Lewis B. Smedes. I’d never heard of him, so I looked him up to find that Lewis Bendictus Smedes (1921 — December 19, 2002) was a renowned Christian author, ethicist, and Reformed theologian.
What is my point telling this? Well, several years ago I was hurt by a dear, dear friend. Thankfully, the Lord has healed the hurt, but it took years for this healing to come. During that time, I never really thought about the fact that the reason the hurt wasn’t being healed was because I wasn’t really forgiving the person that hurt me. The hurt led to bitterness. And bitterness to bondage.
Ironically, I actually bought Forgive and Forget for a dear sister-in-Christ who was going through a difficult time. In God’s good providence she called the day after I had heard the sermon and the quote on forgiveness. I do not like to give books away that I have never read, so I read the book before I gave it to her. Forgive and Forget changed my understanding of forgiveness. I am pretty sure that the person who needed to read the book was me more than my friend. Forgive and Forget is a must-read for anyone who needs to forgive someone who has hurt them.
Several years ago our son gave us some books by Lou Priolo and they were a tremendous help to us. Louis Paul Priolo is the director of the Center for Biblical Counseling at Eastwood Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Alabama. A graduate of Calvary Bible College and Liberty University, he is the author of several books, including The Heart of Anger, The Complete Husband, Teach Them Diligently and Pleasing People.
He is a Fellow in the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors and instructor at the Birmingham Theological Seminary. He travels frequently throughout the United States and abroad teaching at Christian marriage, family and counseling conferences.
A sister-in-Christ was telling me about a crisis in her life, so I immediately went to Lou’s website to see if he had any counsel. I never really thought about looking for this particular book, but as I read the first few pages I realized that this book was just the one that would bring the help she needed. I ordered it for my friend, but before I gave it to her I read it. After reading the book, I realized that I, too, was struggling with discontentment. I have been discontent because I want our house to sell, so we can move closer to my husband’s work and calling, my daughter’s family, and my church family. After reading the book, I was convicted that I needed to confess my discontentment to the Lord as sin. After thirty-three years of marriage and after selling many houses, you’d think that I would remember and recall that the Lord will provide all my needs– even a buyer for our home in the country and a home for us near my husband’s work. So, once again, the book I bought for someone else was convicting me.
Philippians 4: 4-13
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
And in I Timothy 6:6-8:
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
Why has it taken me three months of discontentment to recall these passages? I should be and am ashamed.
Last, but not least, Fit to Burst, was just released after Christmas and has already sold out on Amazon.com. How wonderful! I am so thankful I placed an order before the book sold out!
From Canon Press:
Fit to Burst is a follow-up to Loving the Little Years, Rachel Jankovic pushes her parenting “field notes” out onto the skinny branches of motherhood. Fit to Burst is chock-full of humorous examples and fresh advice covering issues familiar to every mom such as guilt cycles, temptations to be ungrateful or bitter, and learning how to honor Jesus in the mundane things. But this book also addresses less familiar topics, including the impact that moms have on the relationships between dads and kids, the importance of knowing when to laugh at kid-sized sin, and more.
Fit to Burst will help us be moms who parent with the story in mind rather than the snapshot, who know how to both give and require much from their children in the everyday mayhem, and who understand the importance of biscuits.
Rachel Jankovic’s first work was Loving the Little Years. Rachel said she wrote the book because: Encouragement, challenge, support, and strength are all things that you can bestow on someone else. My desire to share the things we have learned along the way about having a houseful of little kids was simply the desire to pass on some of the same kind of support to other women that I was given by those around me.
Rachel’s also written a number of articles on motherhood as a calling for Desiring God.
I rejoice that my daughter and daughter-in-law are reading the book and learning from this godly young mom. As an older woman, and a grandmother, there is always an opportunity to regret the way I did things when I was raising my children. I wish I could go back and start all over again, but I can’t. A good friend of mine always says, “Love trumps dumb” and I truly believe this. Since motherhood never comes to an end, (our calling stays the same, but just takes on different roles as we age), I am still learning and serving and growing in grace. My hope in reading this book is to relate with and be a support and encouragement to my daughter and daughter-in-law as they love and serve their husbands and children. Fit to Burst (in my opinion) gets five stars!