Books in Review: Not Part of the Plan
Although I have enjoyed and been inspired by all of the books released by Kristen and Bethany, I believe that this book is by far their best yet. In certain respects, I feel like this book was both written for me and could have been written by me with my life stories inserted into it. I don’t know if I have ever experienced that while reading any book written by other authors. The challenge of trusting God with the twists and turns of your story is a message that will resonate with every reader that chooses to take its message to heart. Being a part of the launch team and helping plan the launch of the book has just been the icing on the cake. This is a book I cannot recommend enough ~ Bethel
Change. Disappointment. Rejection. Worry. All of us have experienced these detours from the narratives we had planned for our lives. No matter how well we plan things out or how good our intentions may be, life is bound to throw us some curveballs. Knowing how to navigate these changes is hard and often painful, especially when we are dealing with major life changes. We want to believe that God is good, but it can be hard to understand His plan or feel His presence when we feel the rug ripped out from under us again and again. It makes us ask the question: How can I learn to fully trust God when life doesn’t go the way I expected?
In their book Not Part of the Plan, authors Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal dive deep into helping their readers navigate the twists and turns of their story while trusting God fully. Kristen and Bethany open up in a way they never have before about their stories not going according to plan. Through Bethany’s years of unfulfilling longings for marriage and Kristen’s years of struggling with infertility, they discovered that even when life doesn’t go according to plan, God is good, ever-present, and can bring us hope and peace amid heartache and disappointment. Pairing their stories with Scriptural and practical truth, this book is designed to help young women to work through past and present detours in their stories. Each chapter includes prayers, reflection questions, and challenges to help them dive deeper. This book is honest and real in a time in history when everyone has faced challenges due to changes from a worldwide pandemic. This is a book that every young woman needs to read. Get your copy today!
*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review
Note: This is an affiliate link, which will allow me to earn a small commission from every sale made at no cost to you
Check out my reviews of Kristen and Bethany's other books:
Sex, Purity, and the Longings of A Girl's Heart
To learn more about my next book, Redeeming the Beast, click here
This book has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time. I think my mom found this book on sale years ago and gave it to me. But I wasn’t familiar with Nancy’s work at the time and didn’t think too much of it. When I finally got into Nancy’s writing over this last year, I finally was interested in reading it. I found that this book was so helpful in more ways than one. As a single young woman who has gone through a lot of difficult circumstances over the last few years, I needed a reminder of how important and significant daily gratitude is to the Christian life. It’s also another great example of Nancy’s incredible ability to break down spiritual disciplines from Scripture and make it clear about what God is calling you to do. This is one of those books I would recommend to practically anyone ~ Bethel
“Thank you” is a phrase that is often unappreciated in our culture. We say without thinking about it or actually meaning what we say. We struggle with being thankful when many of us are in general ungrateful. We complain about every little thing and we get overwhelmed when we face difficult circumstances. This seems to be especially true for Christians, and we get frustrated when we are told that that we are to “give thanks in all circumstances”, because we often don’t even know where to start. We want the joy found in an abundant life in Christ, but we don’t know how in the middle of all the difficult circumstances that life brings our way. It makes us ask the question: How can we live grateful and joyful lives in our world today?
In her book, Choosing Gratitude, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth [published under her maiden name, Nancy Leigh DeMoss] helps her audience find the more abundant life that comes when our gratitude is as abundant as the grace that redeems us. When looking at the circumstances, Nancy says we have two options: “I can whine OR I can worship.” We learn what it means to worship and give thanks in everything, not just despite our difficult circumstances, but for our difficult circumstances. Giving examples from Scriptures and from the lives of others, Nancy helps us see that living a life of gratitude is possible in hope of our salvation in Christ Jesus. There is no promise that it’s going to be easy, but we will find peace and hope if we trust and obey. This book is compelling and relevant to all of us, regardless of our age or phase of life. This is a book that every Christian should read. Get your copy today!
Don't forget to check out my other reviews of Nancy's books in the Book Review Archive
When I heard that Nancy and her husband were co-authoring a book, I was so excited. I already loved the video that explained their love story on YouTube (see video below), but I really wanted to hear a more in-depth version of that story. I claimed a review copy* as soon as I could. When I finally sat down to read it, it was not quite what I was expecting, but I was not disappointed with the content. If anything, I loved the content even more than I thought I would. Not everything in this book is about their story, and that’s what I loved about it so much. They shared stories from people they knew (including one of my favorite authors, Bethany Beal, co-author of Girl Defined) and they also shared stories from stories in the Biblical narrative. That’s a huge part of what make the book work so well. It totally spoke to me in the season that I’m currently in, and I believe it will for you too ~ Bethel
The stories of our lives are filled with twists and turns. Some of those twists are happy, while many of those twists are difficult and painful in endure in the moment. Many of us have heard that God is the Master Storyteller. Those of us that have read Hebrews 12 know that Jesus is the “author and perfecter of our faith”, but we have a very hard time holding onto this truth in confidence that that God will work all things out for our good. Sometimes all we can see is the pain, and we push back, trying to find ways to write our own story, which often doesn’t work out very well. He sometimes reject His plan for us, and often end hurting those we love. It makes us ask the question: How can we embrace the story that God is writing?
In their first shared project, You Can Trust God to Write Your Story, couple Nancy and Robert Wolgemuth help us see that we can trust the Master Storyteller by embracing the mysteries of providence. It was originally intended to be the story of how Robert, a widower after forty-five years of marriage, and Nancy, a woman who have never been married in her fifties, fell in love and were married. But it became so much more than that. They found they didn’t want this book to be just about them. So although they share their personal stories throughout, there is only one chapter dedicated to that part of their story. The rest is meant to use the stories of others to illustrate the same lesson that they learned: God can be trusted to write our stories, even in the most difficult of chapters of our lives. Many of the stories shared are people they knew personally. But there are also many stories from the Biblical narrative that so clearly demonstrate God’s hand at work. Through all of this, we are reminded that even in the mist of the most difficult chapters of our lives, God is with us and for us, using the narrative you’re in for your redemption and His glory. It both part of the smaller story you’re in and the eternal story that He is writing, one of which you should feel blessed to be a part. What we need to do, like the old hymn tells us, is trust and obey. This book is incredible. The stories, both personal and biblical, were well-chosen and well-written. Powerful, compelling, and hope-filled, this is a book I recommend to practically anything. Get your copy today!
*I recieved a copy from the publisher for the purpose of this review
Check out some of my other reviews of Nancy's books by going to the Book Review Tab
Books in Review: Adorned
Having already read a few books by Nancy, I was already interested and curious about the book. But when I heard a local church was doing a women’s Bible study on this book, I was excited to have an excuse to read it. It was hard to find time to read this book this summer even during the first part of the Bible study, but I was determined to finish it before we started part 2 of the study. I read the majority of the book in about 3 days-time. It was so incredible rich with sound teaching and inspiring challenges. This book has furthered my belief that Nancy is in many ways a kindred spirit to myself, for so many of her books and writing speak so directly to me. The challenges to mentor younger women and be mentored by older women is something that can apply to any of us, regardless of what season of life you are in. I highly recommend this book ~ Bethel
Mentorship has become a lost concept in the church today. When we do think about it, we imagine a rigid relationship all about rule keeping and meeting for coffee weekly. That doesn’t really appeal to most of us, especially in the millennial generation. As a result of this picture in our heads, we often tend to stick with deeper friendships only with those who have similar life situations to our own, all the while neglecting the benefits of relationships with generations older and younger than us. Meanwhile, we struggle with facing everyday challenges in our spiritual lives but feel that we have no way to navigate them. This often leaves us feeling so alone in our struggles or turning to peers that don’t have the experience to help us through our struggles.
In her book, Adorned, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shares through teachings from Titus 2 about the importance of women living out the gospel together by creating a culture of older women mentoring younger women. Beginning with the challenge of finding the courage to pursue both finding younger women to invest in as well as finding older women to invest in you, she begins to break down the heart of the doctrine of Titus 2, eventually breaking down each concept in the passage about what women, young and old, are supposed to be learning from each other. From reverence and abstaining from slander, to purity and self-control, Nancy spends individual chapters getting to heart of each concept and applying it to older and younger women alike. All the while, Nancy paints a powerful picture of how much better our lives would be and how much stronger the church would be if more women would take the challenge of living out the beauty of the gospel together. Her teaching is so theologically strong, but is understandable and accessible to everyone. This book is one that all adult women in the church need to read. This book is also an excellent Bible study option with a study guide and video curriculum available, one that I personally participated in. Get your copy today!
Singles Friendly Rating. Since Nancy was single until her mid-50’s, she is always intentional about including single in her writings. Even though topics related to marriage and motherhood sometimes seem irrelevant or far-off, Nancy writes in such a way as to inspire you where you are now, or to give you future knowledge for a future season of life.
If you like this book sounds like a good book for you, check out my reviews on some of Nancy's other books:
Lies Women Believe
Lies Young Women Believe (co-authored with Dannah Gresh)
As I was a part of the launch for their last book a year ago (Love Defined), I heard they were planning on releasing another book this year. But I admit I was surprised when I heard about the topic. Not because I didn’t think they would do a great job, but because it was very closely related to the subject of their last book. Not to mention that I have read many books on the subject over the years, I was curious if they would be able to provide a newer perspective for a generation of young women who don’t want to do when it comes to the subject of biblical sexuality. But in the end, I was not disappointed. What I found I liked the best about the book is that it doesn’t feel like some purity books that are written by older women that give lists of do’s and don’ts. This was written in a friendly tone by sisters who feel like they are your big sisters, trying to help you understand what to do with this confusing topic in an honest and vulnerable way. I am so grateful that that Kristen and Bethany were willing to address this topic, and that they remind us that even though we have all experienced some form of sexual brokenness, God can and will redeem all of it in His time for His glory. If a girl is the right age (see my ratings at the end of the review), this is a book I would definitely recommend ~ Bethel
Purity. It’s made to feel like a dirty word in our culture, because it is something that our culture refuses to honor. And even those of us that try to honor it eventually come to realize that the impurity of the culture around us has seeped into our hearts and minds. We have a hard trying to wrap our minds around the topics of purity and sexuality in a God-honoring way, but we are afraid to ask the questions that will help us find answers and freedom. We are scared that we are the only one that has questions or struggles, so we clam up and are left in fear. It makes us ask the question: how can I learn the truth about God-defined sexuality?
In their newest book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girls Heart, sisters Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal help us find the beauty and freedom that comes from choosing to pursue God-honoring sexuality. Helping us see that we all have experienced sexual brokenness and struggles with lust, they help us identify where our culture has steered us wrong by identifying four lies about our sexual design and challenging us to replace them with truths from God’s word about the way He designed our sexuality. They offer tools for combating temptations and the battles within your mind and take time to address many specific questions about “hush hush” topics and questions that they asked their readers during a survey. And finally, they help us see that God has help us walk the path of freedom from past and present struggles with our sexuality, helping all of us see that God can redeem anything in His time, including our sexuality, if we choose to walk in faith and surrender to Him. This book is much needed and powerful. It’s the kind of book I wished I had as a teenager. Kristen and Bethany are honest and relevant in their writing style, and have a genuine heart to help girls and women get back to the women God intended them to be. This is a book that I recommend to women and girls about 16 and older. Get your copy today!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of my involvement in the book's launch team and for the purpose of this review
Teen Rating. Although the topics in this book are well addressed, I would struggle to recommend this book to a younger teenager. I think that some of the topics discussed could cause a loss of some innocence if she is not to that level of maturity (I am not mentioning these topics by name for concern about teens that may read this review). But at the same time, I do recognize that these topics are completely and totally necessary to discuss. I would recommend it for girls about 16 or older. For teens 15 or younger, I would recommend Bethany and Kristen's last book, Love Defined, as a better starting point for their age
To check out my review of Kristen and Bethany's first book, Girl Defined, click here
To check out my review of their second book, Love Defined, click here
Lion's Eyes Reviews is a blog dedicated to reviews of Christian books, most of which are non-fiction, but may also occasionally review movies and musicals. It will also feature the work Bethel does to help launch and promote the works of Christian authors.
The name is derived from one of Bethel's favorite books, Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko. Through these reviews, Bethel hope to give Christians the tools they need to look at the world "through the eyes of a lion" so they can find the courage to "run toward the roar".
To find the detailed archives of these reviews, you can check them out here:
Books In Review
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Bethel Grove is a Christian young woman who loves to read and write, eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards, and disciple teen girls as a youth leader. What started as a hobby of writing book reviews and doing deep biblical studies eventually led her down the path of self-publishing and helping other Christian authors launch their books. She hopes to someday be a vocational youth minister and well-known author.
Lion Eyes Reviews
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