Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review - Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy by Larry Crabb

Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy by Larry Crabb  was recommended to me a several years ago by one of our church shepherds (elders). This was after, and I suppose during, our long battle with my health after having been in the hospital. I was in a different place then, but struggling to be in a better one: emotionally, physically, mentally, all the rest. I read Shattered Dreams and liked it, but didn't really soak it in. Like I said, I was in a different place.

Back then, my 'shattered dream' was that my appendix had ruptured while 34 weeks pregnant, I spent more than three months in the hospital missing out on that time in my son's life, and I had to have many major surgeries due to the infection that took over my body. In my life, that was a pretty big shattered dream. I was not, nor would I ever be, the same person exactly. I had been broken in many ways. But I didn't know that one of my biggest fears was looming around the corner, the one in which my husband and I could not conceive a child on our own. Only in vitro fertilization was the answer, and not a 100% answer.

We've been living with this newer shattered dream, which stems from the old one because they are tied together, for nearly three years now. Reading Larry Crabb's book this time around, and at this particular time in my life, has meant so many new things. I have been trying to pray a couple of prayers that Casey shared with me: "God, I cannot do this without you" and "Your love is better than life." That second, though, I changed for myself to "Your love is better than another baby."

Sounds like it comes out of my mouth so easily, right? Wrong. I choke on the words, no matter how true in my head I know they are...my heart struggles mightily with knowing how much better God's love is than Him fixing my shattered dream.

What Larry Crabb brings to the table is this: what our hearts long for more than anything is an encounter with God, and the only real way to that encounter is through our dreams shattering. He puts it like this:

...the mother of all shattered dreams is the pursuit of shatterproof hope in the here and now. (Author's Note, IX)

Let's face it: dreams in our lives are going to shatter. The problem that Christians today face is trying constantly to fix and make better and feel better, when in fact God is waiting to meet us in that brokenness and do some of His most amazing work yet. But we don't want to suffer or hurt or anything remotely related to that. I know I don't!

Larry Crabb is not saying that God wants us not to enjoy His blessings. God is a good God, and if you believe that, then you can also believe that He wants to work in the bad times as well as the good. Do I believe that God is pointing a finger down at me and saying, "Okay, shatter that dream now!" No. But I know that He has worked in me in the past five years in ways I don't think He could have if everything had gone as it 'should have.'

I love the chapters in which Crabb talks about Naomi and Ruth -- but he's focusing on Naomi. Boy, can I relate to that woman's bitterness. I don't think I feel that bitterness now as I did before. But I love to see him talk about her through all she went through, how raw she made her grief without caring that those around her just wanted her to be better. No...she was a bitter old woman and wanted to be called so, even changing her name to 'Mara' which means bitter! I've joked with Casey that I've wanted to do that as well.

The timing of my reading this book was planned. I knew I didn't want to hear Larry Crabb's words again, but I knew it would really make a difference and it really has. I wish that every Christian would read this book, before and after their dreams have shattered. Because they will. They have. But God is there waiting.

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.*

Friday, February 11, 2011

Who crushed a Red Nail and is now on the Roster? This guy!

When you're proud of a family member...you just gotta show it. Remember in my last post when you saw my brother Trevor crushing that Red Nail? He's on the official Red Nail Roster now -- first one in 2011!

IronMind, who made the certification, also posted a short article featuring Trevor. I love the picture of him -- he is standing in front of a Rhodesian flag. Too cool.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Watch my brother get his Red Nail Certification!

For those of you you might remember, I posted back in July '09 about my (haha) nail-bending abilities. The coolest part of the post was getting to talk about my brother Trevor and his red nail bending abilities.

There exists a 'Red Nail Roster' on which Trevor's name will appear in the next few days. He certified this past Saturday at 10 a.m. in Fort Worth, TX on his first attempt in less than 30 seconds. The person attempting is given one minute and up to three attempts. Nope, first time and in half the time for Trev.

Here is a picture of a Red Nail (piece of Cold Rolled Steel which measures 5/16" in diameter and is 7" long. It takes 500 lbs. of force to bend this piece of steel (this is not the nail Trev used):


Trevor is the 65th person in the world to certify in this feat of strength.
Here is the official video that his friend Malachi made:

video

I also wanted to share something that Trev emailed to me just three days before his certification. It will give you an insight into what he does...more than just a 'feat of strength' but something related to his faith in God:
There are many things that have inspired me to bend the Red Nail.  One of those reasons are all those people in the world who would never even have the opportunity.  So many people suffer from physical pain, injury, disease, sickness – even if they wanted to make that roster with all their might, they would have no chance.  And here I am, healthy and able to push myself with no restraint…I’ve often reminded myself that I am partly doing this for them.  Why should I sit on my couch and waste the opportunity? Many of those people would at least be happy to see someone rise up to the challenge out of the masses and conquer the impossible.  I want to give them something to celebrate.  I have endured many aches and pains and am actually in tremendous pain...I remember teaching the college class about claiming things in faith and how you cannot speak against what you claim by faith, no matter how long or difficult the path may seem.  Many if not all of them have now long forgotten what I claimed about the Red Nail.  But I haven’t and God hasn’t.  And when I certify, I will remind them that mountains can indeed be moved.  I never gave up.  And I had many odds stacked against me.  But my God is bigger than any mountain.  We have to learn to stop telling God how big our mountains are and start telling our mountains how big or God is!  I actually speak to each Red Nail now, I say, “Red Nail, you will bend to under 2 inches in under 30 seconds in Jesus’ name.”  And they do.  That’s bending by faith.  Jesus said, “If you say to this mountain, ‘move’, and believe with all your heart and do not doubt, then what you say will happen and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Saturday, February 05, 2011

"What happens after dying?"

The other night Miles began talking with me about dying.

"What happens after dying?" was his out-of-left-field question.

"Who were you talking with about dying?" I asked, to which he told me Daddy (who was conveniently no where in sight).

Still, these are the conversations I love. I long to hear what is inside my little boy's mind, what he thinks about when he's not focused on Wii games, wrestling, Oz the kitten or -- the most important thing -- FOOD.

"What happens after dying? Do we come back?" A thought of reincarnation flashed through my mind.

"Well, if we love God and do what he says, we get to go and live with him forever," I answered as best I could.

"Do we get to see him?"

"Yes!"

"That's cool!"

I don't remember how the conversation went from there, but it seemed to be all Miles wanted to know for now. Left me with a warm feeling from the glimpse I had into my baby's heart.
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