Three Books

I’ve had two books I’ve been working through that I have wanted to mention here for a while. They really go hand in hand for my burdens for ministry.

The first is The Imperfect Disciple by Jared Wilson.  Jared writes in an earthy, accessible style. He hooked me in the early chapters as he looked at Romans 7 and 8 “spooning in a full size bed.” The good that I want to do but don’t do fits right next to the fact I have no condemnation in Christ Jesus. He teaches similar truths with illustrations that flesh them out and settle them in your brain. I highly recommend it.

The second book is Natasha Robinson’s Mentor for Life.  Natasha writes in a clear, pointed way. She lays out a simple framework for mentoring as intentional discipleship and inspires readers to get up and do it. With her practical advice, she helped me get together a plan for several relationships that I want to pursue in an intentional way.

But, then, after setting up times to mentor/disciple, inspired and directed by Scripture applied in both of these books, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Everything I thought I was going to do this semester fell apart. Every last one of my plans crashed to the ground. And I was faced, after just starting to emerge from the last storm of life, with being pushed under the waves once again.

I broke down and bought The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts.  Broke down is the right phrase for it. I did not want to read this book. I did not want to consider my own mortality. Kara, after all, got bad news after bad news with her cancer, ultimately dying in 2015. Since being diagnosed, I have become painfully aware of every person that comes across my path who has died quickly of cancer. The Hawaiian vet on one of my son’s favorite veterinarian shows. Nabeel Qureshi, author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. The young man who sprayed our house for pests. The friend who helped build my front porch. And countless other local friends and former classmates.

I am a single mom of two middle school boys. Seriously, I can’t die right now.

But I haven’t been able to get away from my own mortality. Though it’s looking more and more like this cancer is quite treatable, thoughts of my mortality aren’t going anywhere. It was time to face them head on, and so I literally broke down and bought Kara’s book. I’m pretty sure I was crying as I bought it.

But you know what? Like so many times before this, I found that there is a lot of grace for facing the worst head on. An hour ago, I turned the last page in Kara’s book and shut it for the last time. As I put it down, I thought, “I am SO GLAD I read that.” One of the most beautiful things about suffering is that the things of this world grow a little dimmer. But that is also the thing I always resist most. I don’t want to lose my grip on this world! But whenever parts of life are pried out of my grasping hands whether I like it or not, I find that what I receive in awareness of eternity is so much better.

Kara, Nabeel, and Joey (who built my front porch) stand alongside Paul, Silas, Corrie ten Boom, Jim and Elisabeth Elliott, and a thousand other heroes of the faith, cheering us on from the sidelines in our own perseverance in the marathon of life.

Hebrews 11:32-12:2 (CSB)

32 And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead, raised to life again. Other people were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. 38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.

12 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I love that cloud of witnesses!  Having finished The Hardest Peace, I think of Kara among them, giving testimony of God’s faithfulness as I look to Him in my own suffering.

For my own personal growth, this mishmash of books has been important at this stage of both ministry and suffering. I want to disciple, to mentor others for life, as Jesus sent us out to do in Matthew 28. I am certainly an imperfect disciple, but my Romans 7 inadequacies are hugged tightly by my Romans 8 covering by Christ. I can face the hard of life head on, confident in the grace of God that meets us not outside the hard but in the darkest innermost recesses of pain and suffering. This message that I need at my own lowest points is the same message others I hope to disciple need in theirs.

I have a free copy of The Imperfect Disciple to give away. Comment below if you’d like to enter the drawing.

61 Responses to Three Books

  1. Brandi Huerta September 20, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    I’d love a copy, Wendy. Thanks for the chance. And thank you for being so humble and transparent. I know you don’t know me– I kind of watch you from afar, but you’re definitely one of the women I look up to most. The Lord bless you. I’m praying for you this morning.

    • Kara Bettis September 20, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

      Good recommendations! Jareds book has been on my to-read for a while but didn’t make the purchase cut at the last couple conferences. Would love a free copy, thanks Wendy!

    • Wendy September 21, 2017 at 7:24 am #

      Random generator chose comment #1. Go figure. Brandi, you’ve won the book. Email me your address at theologyforwomen@gmail.com.

  2. Rachelle September 20, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    I keep meaning to read “The Imperfect Disciple”, it looks fantastic.

  3. Amanda September 20, 2017 at 9:45 am #

    I’d like to be entered. Thank you.

  4. Persis September 20, 2017 at 9:47 am #

    Please put my name in the hat. Thanks!

  5. Lauren September 20, 2017 at 10:09 am #

    I’m in line for it at the library, but I’d love to win a copy — sounds like it will be a good lender. Thanks for giving me Scripture this morning, when I felt pulled to read my Bible on the bus but am checking my blogroll instead :/ I’m encouraged by the word “endurance”…after so much frustration with my culture’s church in the past many years, it is encouraging to remember the cloud of faithful witnesses who came first.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

      Amen!

  6. Carrie September 20, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    This sounds like a great read. Prayers for you as you weather this storm.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

      Thanks, Carrie!

  7. Jennifer A W September 20, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    I would love to win a copy of Jared’s book. Thank you. But more importantly, I’m praying for you!! (I also bought Kara’s book, and haven’t had the courage to read it yet. I think you just gave me the push I needed to do so. Thank you.)

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

      I think it will bless you, Jennifer. Glad to give a little nudge. 🙂

  8. Lisa September 20, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    I would like to be entered in the drawing, please. Thanks! And thank you for taking time to share in the midst of your challenges!

  9. MaryAnne Hommel September 20, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    Praying for you! I am so encouraged by your faithfulness to press on through the changes you’re facing. My changes are so much smaller, and you’ve challenges me to look beyond them.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

      Thanks, MaryAnne!

  10. Dawn September 20, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    I’d love to have a copy of Wilson’s The Imperfect Disciple. I’m so glad that facing this hard thing with Tippetts’ book had a little good mixed into the experience for you.

  11. Robyn, S Haralson September 20, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    I’d love to be entered.

    Somehow I missed that you had cancer. I am so sorry. Will be praying for you. Your writings have been and continue to be hugely influential in my life.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

      Thank you, Robyn!

  12. Kristin September 20, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    Please put my name in the drawing. I would love to read this book. You – your life and writing – are such a gift. You continue to encourage me. I thank God for you and am praying for you, Wendy.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

      Thanks, Kristin. That means a lot to me.

  13. Anita September 20, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    What a beautiful post! Hebrews is probably one of my most favorite books in the Bible and that chapter listing the cloud of witnesses continuously encourages me. Thanks for the book recommendations! I would love a copy of the Imperfect Disciple as I am also wrestling with my imperfections.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

      Thanks, Anita!

  14. Debbie September 20, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    I would love these.

  15. Karen Heska September 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    I would love to read that book!

  16. Becky Gonzalez September 20, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    Thanks for the opportunity to read The Imperfect Disciple! I so appreciate the humility and reality you share with. The Hardest Peace broke me in all the right places.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

      “Broke me in all the right places.” That’s a good way to put it, Becky.

  17. Sherry Vanartsdalen September 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    I’d love to win a copy !

  18. Amanda September 20, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    I’d love to be entered in the drawing. Thank you for the opportunity! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on these books & I have learned so much reading through older articles as well (I’m relatively new to your site).

  19. Elizabeth September 20, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    Look great! Count me in!

  20. Laura September 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    I’m an imperfect disciple with a heart to disciple other imperfect disciples. I’d love to receive a copy of this book, Wendy. Thanks for being so vulnerable in this post. Praying for you as you walk through this time of suffering.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

      Thank you, Laura!

  21. Diane Klettke September 20, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    “One of the most beautiful things about suffering is that the things of this world grow a little dimmer. But that is also the thing I always resist most. I don’t want to lose my grip on this world!”

    Isn’t this so true! Our God-given humanity fighting the divine nature that God wants to impart to us. Like Paul, if I had to chose, my flesh will win out most of the time. But relying on the grace of God, I put my hope in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring me to a greater truth, whether through suffering or simple daily grace.

    How nice it would be if a walk down a church aisle to the sounds of “Lord Jesus, I come” or a not-too-uncomfortable dunk in the water would be the end – but it seems only to be the beginning of the birth pangs of being born again into a new life. Like a baby, I cry with the effort and discomfort of it sometimes. Yes, there is peace and joy and hope and love; but there is also struggle and suffering and laying down our flesh driven lives.

    Thanks for your insightful words. You give me words to ponder. Grace and Peace to you.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

      Thank you too, Diane. You understand the struggle well.

  22. Rosalie September 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    I so appreciate how you share and I will be praying about your cancer. Keep us posted. I’d love to read the book you’re giving away.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

      Thank you, Rosalie!

  23. Lori McCool September 20, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    Wendy, thank you for being transparent about your struggles. You are being prayed for, but also praised because so many of us think that we can’t admit our perfect brokenness. I, too, struggle with “the good that I want to do, but don’t do.” I would love a copy of the book. But even more so, I would love to see you continue to share your struggles so that we can pray for you, and your praises so we can sing along!

    Lifting you, your boys and your family to Him with prayers of peace, comfort and healing.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

      Thank you so much, Lori!

  24. Sherri September 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, and your book recommendations – Imperfect Disciple has been on my to-read list since I first heard about it. Thank you for this opportunity!

  25. Christina Labbe September 20, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

    This resonated with my heart. Thank you. I’m on my own journey through diagnosis and find that the very word, cancer, exposes my fear-filled heart these days. Learning to see all of this as an opportunity to turn to the Lord… slowly. Grace and peace to you as you journey.

    • Wendy September 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

      Yep. It’s a terrifying word. God bless you on your journey as well, Christina. Hugs to you and yours.

  26. Melanie Smith September 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    I would enjoy a copy! Thank you. Melanie Smith

  27. Kendall September 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    I will add these three books to my “to read” list. They all sound great. Praying for you to have comfort, peace, courage and wisdom as you fight cancer.

  28. Heather September 20, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    Thank you for your continued vulnerability and faithfulness. It means so much.

  29. Laura September 20, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    I would love a copy!

  30. Kimberly September 20, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    Please add my name to the drawing. Would love to read this; thanks for sharing!

  31. Mindy September 20, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    This imperfect disciple would love a copy!

  32. Marie F Cunningham September 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

    Thanks for your take on some great books to build our faith.

  33. Brandi Woody September 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    I’d love to be entered into the giveaway for Tge Imperfect Disciple. I enjoy your blog and I’m praying for you as you face this diagnosis while holding onto Him.

  34. Donna September 20, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

    Praying for you and your own journey! And I always love a free book!

  35. Jessica Hudson September 20, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

    I’ll put my name in the hat. Thank you for your thoughtful posts!

  36. Connie Johnson September 20, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    Thanks for your inspiring posts and the opportunity to win a copy of this book! Sounds right up my alley! Prayers of healing for you too!

  37. Debbie Parnell September 20, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    Thank you for the opportunity to receive this book. I don’t usually have the time to absorb all the blogs that would bless & inform me, but God had an appointment today for me to read your words. I disciple women & will be enriched & blessed by the reading The Imperfect Disciple. Also, someone close to me has recently been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, so what you shared was very meaningful to me as i come along side her. I am so sorry for the struggle you face & thankful to you for sharing some of your responses. it was through my darkest valley that i traded the gifts of God for the gift of God which has left me so whole, even though i was so broken. As you continue to share the work of grace God is & will do through this rugged season, may many behold God in deeper ways because of you & your writing & sharing!
    Blessings & grace!

  38. Elizabeth O'Brien September 20, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    I’d also love a chance to win a copy.
    You’ve been on my heart since you shared your news. The Lord seems to be bringing suffering theology onto my radar an awful lot lately, and it scares me. But at the same time, it’s his mercy to lead us into deeper graces.
    Praying for you and with you here in Japan!

  39. Joanna September 20, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

    It’s so nice to get book recommendations from you! I’d like to be entered for The Imperfect Disciple. It sounds like a fantastic book to push me into putting my faith in action despite knowing all my flaws.

    And The Hardest Peace IS a good book. I read it when my husband was desperately ill and I wondered what would happen next. He’s made a good recovery, but the lessons in that book and A Severe Mercy dug deep into my heart. Suffering brings us so close to God–from rock bottom to the Rock.

  40. Judy H September 20, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

    Oh Wendy, I am in awe of His immense love that brings you to mind as I pray. He loves us beyond what we can comprehend as to prompt others to pray for us. Amazing love, how can it be?

    I often visit Hebrews 11 and 12. Oh to have a faith that perseveres. I long to finish well and not waste or squander all He has brought across my path…pain, loss, sorrow, suffering. It has been this vehicle that has brought me into a sweeter and deeper communion with Him. Yes, He will meet you inside the hard and will bring you through the other end…All for His glory and our good. Amazing love, how can it be?

  41. Paula Hughes September 20, 2017 at 10:19 pm #

    I did not have the first 2 books on my list, but they are now. The Hardest Peace has been moved up closer to the top, thanks to your story. May God continue to bless your health. Thanks for sharing.

  42. Karen Davis September 20, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! I’d love to be entered.

  43. Angie D September 21, 2017 at 12:30 am #

    I’d love to win the book. Also, damn cancer!😡 I just hate that little thief. I look forward to the day when all will be made new!

  44. Gaby Botha September 21, 2017 at 4:04 am #

    Thank you for sharing, …facing our own mortality, not easy to face truth in this Facebook, make-your-own reality age that we live in.But it is those hard, difficult roads that often lead to the best views and the most amazing adventures in our gracious God and Saviour. And then finding other disciples waiting for us…I am encouraged today, thank you, Wendy. May you continue to be strengthened by Him and may you continue to grow up into all things in Him.

  45. Deb September 21, 2017 at 4:28 am #

    Much love to you in a tough time xx

  46. Wendy September 21, 2017 at 7:24 am #

    Brandi won the book. Thank you all for your responses!