Author Archives: Ana

A Light on the Hill Book Review

How many hidden and untold stories are between the pages of the Bible stories? How many beautiful lives that never got the spotlight, only seen as one collective people, actually have their own unrevealed narrative? There must be thousands, maybe even millions. In this story, Biblical fiction writer Connilyn Cossette tells us Moriyah’s tale. She brings to life the account that could have been, one that is surly similar to many true narratives. Biblical fiction brings out in us a desire to truly know the backstory of the stories we have read and heard hundreds of times. It sparks our interest in the Bible in a new and different way. It makes us think that maybe we aren’t too different than those who were present for some of the biggest events in history, and surly the biggest in our faith’s history.

One of the greatest things reading this novel did in me was crave the Bible in a way I never had before. As a result of reading this book, I also went through Joshua. In between the pages of Connilyn’s first book in her “Cities of Refuge” series, I felt a spark of interest in the old testament that I had never experienced before. I love how detailed her historical research was. Every reference made me crave to learn exactly where I could find more about it in the Word. You will not regret digging into this story of love, loss, and redemption. You will no doubt relate to Moriyah’s battle with feeling as if God has walked away from her because of the events in her life, as well as her struggle against guilt and longing for love and true acceptance. It is ultimately a story of the Father’s redemption that will bring out in you so many different and even foreign emotions. For any lover of historical, biblical, or romance fiction, this book is for you. For any lover of the Bible stories, the Israelites rich history, or the old testament, this is for you. This book truly has it all and I can’t think of a person who would not eat away at every single word.  I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of this review.Processed with VSCO with p5 preset


The Anxious Christian Book Review

The anxious Christian offers an honest in depth overview of what a life with anxiety looks like. Rhett takes us through the ups and down of struggling through anxiety all his life, the triggers, forms, and the history of it. He offers us hope through his story that we can use our anxiety for good and God glorifying purposes.
The anxious Christian changes the game. It is the book that shifts what we have been told about anxiety all our lives, what the church believes about it, and makes it a tool instead of a shame. This book will teach you how to use what most would say we are better off without as a catalyst to follow God to the fullest. As someone who struggles with anxiety on a daily basis, someone who has grown up in the church and knows the stigmas attached, this book was a breath of fresh air. It will open your mind and shift your views in order to look at something as difficult as anxiety as a way to follow Jesus more fully.

28575617_1851093568242518_33676810067770520_n I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers for the purpose of this review.

The Formula for the Heavy Heart

I sat down at my laptop today without a plan. I usually have bullet points, notes, or unfinished writing to help me begin to write a piece that is well rounded and beautiful. Important and relevant. But today, as I scrolled through my writing prompts that I collect in the day to day, I decided I didn’t want a plan. I just want to share my heart.
Friendship multiples the good of life and divides the evil.

I called one of my best friends the other day with a very heavy heart. It is typically very hard for us to talk on the phone. We text daily, but we end up having to plan days in advance and even then sometimes end up cancelling and letting weeks go by with more phone call planning. But I felt like God put her on my heart in that moment for prayer, so I called. She stepped outside of the building she was serving in – already taking care of people – to talk. I asked her to pray for me, so she did. She didn’t push me for prayer prompts, or ask me to explain, she just prayed.
This is the height of community, fellowship, godly friendship, sisterhood. No matter what name you give it, this is what it looks like: the formula to fix a heavy heart.
That encounter was just one of many to follow. I decided to take my heavy heart and place it aside, so I made some more calls to other sisters. One’s I haven’t talked to in weeks, or months even. And I asked them about themselves. I laughed and I rejoiced with them. I advised where I was asked to. I shared all the good in my own life, since there is so much of it. And somehow, that made my heavy heart lighter. After that, it was a progression of more and more experiences where being in the presence of God-filled, pure-intentioned, and kind-hearted sisters began to lift my own heart. Not once did I feel the need to dive into my own heaviness or talk through my real or exaggerated pains, not then. There is a time for this, for advice and to share in order to let go, but sometimes what we really need most is to sit with those who love us and care for each other. Not in a fake way, but in a way that knows there is more than just our own pain. When we sit with others, we realize there is a whole world outside of our own. Our thoughts and views are challenged. We realize that in the grand scheme of things, nothing is that heavy because half of the weight can be carried by another.

There is more to you than what you are currently dealing with. There is more to you than what your pain looks or feels like right now. You may know this in your head, but your heart needs constant reminding. I know mine sure does. Discomfort, pain, frustration, and any other struggle we face can easily cause us to run. To run from community, to run from the comfort of fellowship, to run from those who love us most. Please don’t let it. Lean into those around you who desperately want to wrap their arms tight around all of you. Don’t let the thought that you’ll have to share everything keep you from others. Don’t let a hard place where you need people keep you isolated. Sit with your friends, sit with your mentors, sit with your loved ones, and learn to rest in those relationships. We will always be struggling in one way or another, but it does not define us and we cannot let it hold us back from people. Don’t give any struggle that power.

Saturday Night Supper Club *Book Review*

The Saturday Night Supper Club is a novel you’ll want to sink your teeth into. It is always interesting when an author is able to combine their passion and skill for writing with another love. In Carla’s case, this is the art of food making. The Christian themes are subtle and underlying in the lives of our characters, but they are very much there throughout the storyline. Once we get into the last chapters, we see just how intertwined God’s presence is in the lives of our characters. You are able to experience skilled character development and fall in love with main characters Rachel, Alex, and their loved ones on this journey. You will see what it looks like when the walls come down and vulnerability seeps through the cracks. The story will resonate with you and will give you plenty of moments where you stop and reevaluate your own motivation and direction. unpredictable and heart stirring, this is a hard one to put down. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of this review.Saturday Night Supper Club

Enter the Ring Book Review

Enter The Ring is a game changer. This book will cover practical and spiritual issues that are currently occurring in your marriage. The wisdom of seasoned believers who are in a marriage that did not always look as healthy or God centered as it currently does in invaluable. D.A. and Elicia are getting in deep and sharing stories that not many people would be open to sharing. They encourage and advice with God centered truth about all real life issues in marriage that are just hard to get through on your own.

We need to hear that we are not alone in the fight. That those who have gone before us have gotten through and over time, found healthy ways and fruitful paths to take in communication, intimacy, decision making, and so much more. I know I benefit immensely from hearing what other couples who don’t have all the answers but have the vulnerability to share the one thing they do have: their stories. Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

New Year, New…?

It seems that the biggest New Years Resolve among most Christians is typically found in wanting to deepen their relationships with God. We all want a fresh start with him. We want our habits to change so that they will grow us deeper with Him instead of put a wedge between us. The New Year is exciting for all the ways it gives us fresh beginnings. It allows a chance to try again, to start over, to make changes. But it can be even more daunting because of these things as well. The possibility of failure dangles over our heads. We want to make changes, but what if we just end up the same way every year in the past has? We want to try new ways of living intentionally with God, but we are creatures of habit and falling back into the same old patterns seems inevitable.
I get it. It seems hopeless & discouraging at times.

Netflix may trump Bible reading.
Calling a friend for advice & comfort may trump prayer.
Laziness may trump intentional fellowship.
Social media my trump living intentionally.
Pride may trump repentance.
Busyness may trump serving.
Fear may trump courage.

I think the reason picturing our desired relationship with God is so daunting is because we feel as though we need to cultivate a whole new routine and become a new person who enjoys the conventional ways we have been taught of being close to God alone. But what if connecting with God was actually different than we thought it was?

Generally we know three ways to get close to God: Bible reading, prayer, and church going. While these three things are indeed the cornerstone practices of our faith, and we should desire to practice them regularly, God also longs to get close to us in so many other ways. What if the things you enjoyed as an individual could somehow bring you close to Jesus while you participate in them? What if there was a way to truly ENJOY God deeper based on how you were created as an individual?
Some people can’t sit down and read for 3 hours like others can, but they can be out in nature or practice an instrument for that long. Others have a hard time speaking their prayers to God. They get distracted easily and find themselves lost. But they may find in journaling their prayers, they come alive and become focused through written expression. Not everyone is a singer who can join the worship team, but worship can be expressed to God through a million different avenues from painting to planting.
There are so many unexplored ways to connect with Jesus. We are taught a ridged narrative where you have to love to read for hours on end or you’re doing it wrong, or listening to a sermon once a week is what will make spiritual growth happen. These things are simply not true. God made us with a love for learning(in many different styles), for serving, for creating, for adventure, and ultimately, for enjoyment of Him. These things are wasted when we don’t dive deeper into them and use them to get closer to Jesus. Your passions, your interests, they can all glorify and connect you to God.
Just like a close friend, we are meant to look forward to spending time with the God of the universe because we know the conversations and activities we engage in during that time will connect us and grow us. There is a whole world to think up outside of the box. I pray you do!

Long Before Luther

Long Before Luther is the perfect book if you are interested in church history or in giving a response to anyone who argues that Luther’s ideas did not exist before him. This book leads you through the back story of the reformation. And by back story, I mean the gospel. This huge spark that lit a fire in the world in the 1500’s only happened because of what took place 2,000 years ago. The Sola’s are beautiful and well stated reminders, but their origin is in the Word of God. Long Before Luther will make all of these things and more so clear and will broaden the readers understanding. Not only will it bring head knowledge on the authority in which we believe what we do, but it will also deepen your love for a God who loves his children endlessly. Luther is a must read for anyone who wants to dig further into church history and the reformation.I received a copy of Included in Christ from Moody Publishers for the purpose of this review.

Long before luther