I was first drawn to this book by the recommendation of Jefferson Bethke, one of my favorite YouTubers. When he referenced it in one of his teaching videos last year, I knew I wanted to read it. When I finally sat down to read it, I couldn’t put it down. It only took me three days to finish. I was encouraged, inspired, and challenged by this powerful message, for I found it to be such a fresh approach and understanding of the concepts of pain and suffering than is usually taken in Christian books. As I reflect on the trials of my life, most specifically when I’ve lost loved ones, I found that much of what Lusko said gave better articulation to thoughts I’d already had during these trials. Because of the weight of the themes and certain events described in this book, I would recommend reading this book to adults and teens only. It’s probably not for someone much younger than 12. If you have any questions about it, just ask ~ Bethel
Pain. Most of us think of this as an ugly word with bad connotations. No matter what type of pain (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.), we will do anything we can to avoid it. Then, when the situation comes that we are forced to face pain, we have a difficult time coping. Many will use their pain as an excuse to shut others out, especially God. Some allow the pain to consume their hearts and lives until they lose themselves to it. But no matter what type of pain or how severe it is, most everyone will face some sort of pain. The real question is how we will respond to it. The way that most people respond often leaves them in worst shape than when they started. It makes us look at the pain and suffering and ask “How am I supposed to face unbearable pain? Is there a better way to deal with it?”
In his first book, Through the Eyes of a Lion, author Levi Lusko takes us on a powerful personal journey, and invites you to glean from the lessons he learned through his own personal tragedy – losing his 5 year old daughter Lenya to an asthma attack 5 days before Christmas in 2012. But he goes beyond just recounting the story of that horrible night or reliving the painful days that followed. He chose to use the difficulties and the pain as an opportunity to draw closer to God and find incredible power through his pain. Most people would not think of pain as having a positive power, but that is the choice Lusko has made. He refers to it as “running toward the roar.” He also helps give us a perspective that is anchored in hope, and is more focused on the things of eternity, not the problems of this world. These approaches to the concepts of pain and suffering are fresh and much needed, as everyone will inevitably face suffering at some point in their lifetime, probably several things throughout their lives. The honesty and vulnerability with which Lusko writes makes this one the best books I’ve read, especially on this particular subject. This book can be a powerful tool, whether you are currently facing a trial in your life, or if you want to better prepare yourself for when you do. I know that you will find inspiration and encouragement in this book if you take the opportunity to read it, so get your hands on a copy today!
I was so excited to discover that Alyssa Bethke, wife of one of my favorite YouTubers, Jeff Bethke, co-authored her first book with Robin Gunn, for I grew up reading some of Robin’s children’s books. This book spoke directly to me as I looked back on my struggle to understand my worth through my high school and college years. Although I came to finally understand my own value prior to reading this book, I think that the message of this book has the ability to help other young women discover the same truth for themselves. I wish I had read a book like this when I was a teen. I hope that by writing this review, I can encourage other young women to pursue the discovery of the truths contained in this powerful book. If you want to know more about it, just ask ~ Bethel
Most women in our culture today, especially teens and young adult women, struggle with knowing or understanding their own value. We struggle with discerning the truth about our worth and our identity when Satan and the culture around us feeds us so many lies about where they should be found, especially when you’re single. Many young women turn to the wrong source to find their value, whether it be the love of men, their dress size, the approval of others, or other invalid sources. When they don’t get it from these sources, they are dissatisfied with their own reflections and often turn to methods of self-harm just to cope with life. Too many women are stuck in this cycle in our world today. It makes us ask: is there something better? And how do we find it?
In their book Spoken For, authors Robin Gunn and Alyssa Bethke set out to help us women understand the place where we find our value – at the feet of Jesus. They help give us a much needed perspective on the value we have in God’s eyes through our identity in Christ. We are spoken for because we belong to Him. Robin and Alyssa describe how we are wanted, pursued, cherished, and valued, and how our lives can change if we live like we believe all this to be true. This is done both with the explanation of biblical promises as well as personal stories from both authors, written in each of their voices for every chapter. You come to enjoy Robin’s and Alyssa’s life journeys as they reveal their struggles to believe these truths in their own lives and dating relationships, including Robin’s break up of her first engagement and Alyssa’s struggle with an eating disorder. Although she is young, Alyssa has been mentored by Robin, and has just has much wisdom to share in her story. The two generations of experiences and honesty shared between them would be valuable to any young women that takes the time to read it. This book also includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter, which can be used for group discussion or personal reflection. This is all done with the intention of helping us understand that we are not up for grabs. “You are spoken for.”
This book is a must read for teens and young adult women seeking to understanding their value and their purpose. This would also be a great resource to older women that want to minister or mentor younger women. It’s available through most major book distributors, so girls, get your copy today!
[Below is essential a trailer to the book by Alyssa, uploaded to her husband Jeff's YouTube channel]