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Number of Pages: 224
|Publication Date: 2017|
Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn't Give You What You WantAnn SwindellTyndale House / 2017 / Trade Paperback$9.49 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 6 Reviews
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Unfriend Yourself: Three Days to Detox, Discern, and Decide About Social MediaKyle TennantMoody Publishers / 2012 / Trade Paperback$4.29 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 4 Reviews
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Every heart longs to be seen and understood. Yet most of our lives is unwitnessed. We spend our days working, driving, parenting. We sometimes spend whole seasons feeling unnoticed and unappreciated. So how do we find contentment when we feel so hidden?
In Unseen, Sara Hagerty suggests that this is exactly what God intended. He is the only One who truly knows us. He is the only One who understands the value of the unseen in our lives. When this truth seeps into our souls, we realize that only when we hide ourselves in God can we give ourselves to others in true freedomand know the joy of a deeper relationship with the God who sees us.
Our culture applauds what we can produce, what we can show, what we can upload to social media. Only when we give all of ourselves to Godunedited, abandoned, apparently wasteful in its lack of productivitycan we live out who God created us to be. As Hagerty writes, "Maybe my seemingly unproductive, looking-up-at-Him life produces awe among the angels."
Through an eloquent exploration of both personal and biblical story, Hagerty calls us to offer every unseen minute of our lives to God. God is in the secret places of our lives that no one else witnesses. But weve not been relegated to these places. Weve been invited.
We may be "wasting" ourselves in a hidden corner today: The cubicle on the fourth floor. The hospital bedside of an elderly parent. The laundry room. But these are the places God uses to meet us with a radical love. These are the places that produce the kind of unhinged love in us that gives everything at His feet, whether or not anyone else ever proclaims our name, whether or not anyone else ever sees.
Gods invitation is not just for a season or a day. It is the question of our lives: "When no one else applauds you, when it makes no sense, when you see no resultswill you waste your love on Me?"
Sara Hagerty is the author of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, a wife to Nate, and a mother of six, including four children adopted from Africa and one toddler whos found his voice amid them all. After almost a decade of Christian life, she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. God met her and moved her when life stopped working for her. His Word and His whisper took on new shape and form to her in the dark. Sara writes regularly about life delays, finding God in the unlikely, motherhood, marriage, and adoption at www.SaraHagertyAuthor.com.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5The Beautiful Hidden LifeOctober 23, 2017Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5When I learned in fifth grade that Helen Keller had graduated from college summa cum laude, I made it my goal to do the same. As it happened, those little Latin words that mean with the highest distinction did actually end up being embossed on the white parchment of my degree, thereby setting me on a course of high expectations for the distinction that was somehow going to be my destiny.
It should come, then, as no surprise to anyone that I packed that philosophy of life into the diaper bag I traded my briefcase in for after our first child was born. (Am I the only one who was surprised to discover you cant get a baby to adhere to a schedule by sheer force of will?) If only Unseen by Sara Hagerty had been written 24 years ago when I embarked upon the ordinary days of unremarkable tasks and (often) mind-numbing routine that go with motherhood.
I am thankful that, somewhere along the way, it became clear to me that there is an unseen and un-celebrated beauty to everyday acts of service, that productivity can not always be measured in the short run, and that there is a chasing after God that happens in the dim light of a rocking chair session with a fussy baby that is completely unavailable in the spotlight of recognition and acclaim.
Unseen is the product of Saras collision course with the beautiful waste of a poured out life that hides behind hardship, disappointment, challenging circumstances, or the simple routine of an obedient following. We will never know the comfort of God as our refuge and strength until we come to a place in our lives in which we need to take refuge. Its clear that our hidden places arent signs of Gods displeasure or punishment, but rather places in which God intends to teach our hearts to sing. (33)
There are innumerable lessons from Scripture presented in Unseen for living in the secret places with the God who sees, but I have teased out five of my favorite insights to carry forward into these mothering years:
1. Productivity is not a pre-requisite for Gods approval.
He values intimate conversation, faithfulness in the repetitive duties, and humility in performing the unappreciated tasks that maintain life. Sara found that she had a harder time trying to imagine what He might be thinking about[her] during the hours of the day when [she] wasnt doing anything tangible for Him. (19) The god news is, Hes already on your side, and theres nothing you can do or produce that will make Him love you more or less.
2. We are made by God to be seen and celebrated.
He has called us by name, and we love the sound of approval, but there comes a dissonance when a misplaced desire for recognition puts us on a path in which acclaim and acknowledgement become the focal point, rather than the glorious by-product of a relationship with God.
Note the intimacy of Psalm 139:1-3:
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
3. When God hides us, His intention is that we will find Him in the hidden-ness.
Saras season of hidden-ness began with a twelve-year journey of infertility. She had never entertained the idea that her life would be anything but fruitful on every front. In her busy ministry years, she saw results with many lives impacted by the gospel. Finding herself in a dead end job with little human contact, she felt sidetracked, sidelined, and walked a completely unfamiliar path. As she stumbled along, she heard the voice of God whisper, This is where you become great on the inside.
4. Pain is a thin place where the glory of God shines through.
Saras pain drove her to a place of finding joy only in God. As she suffered and wondered, she lived her way into a deep belief that the love of God is real and valuable. Like the psalmist, she felt His nearness in her broken heart.
5. What appears to be an absolute waste can translate into a beautiful, extravagant hidden gift to Jesus.
In Matthew 26, Mary of Bethany is criticized for her lavish love gift of scented oil, poured out on Jesus feet.
Why this waste? they asked, with judgment oozing from every pore.
Little did they know that Jesus was going to view this apparent waste as precious, pronouncing that her act would go down in history as the right choice at the right time.
Saras mothering heart has found its home with six children, four of whom were adopted from Africa and two who came to her naturally! Learning to mother children with needs bigger than she can fathom has deepened Saras dependency upon God and heightened her realization that the real need of her heart will be met, not by greater discipline, but in friendship with God. She encourages her readers to cultivate a lifestyle of beautiful waste, poured out in love and chasing the only thing worth being concerned about: Gods deep and abiding pleasure in you.
This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
ChooseWiselyFredericksburg, VAAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Fantastic Must ReadSeptember 19, 2017ChooseWiselyFredericksburg, VAAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0A repost from a friend on Instagram led me to discover Sara Hagerty and her gift with words. I love this book and its holy message. Unseen challenged me in a way that I havent been in a very long time. Hagerty challenges me to waste time on Jesus, and to enjoy all the hidden parts of lie. As the front cover suggests, hiddeness is a gift.
Unseen addresses a heart issue that is truly new to this generation of women: being hidden, in a world that loves to be noticed. Our lives are lived out loud through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Everyones highlight reel plays before our eyes as our thumbs flip through post after post. It becomes difficult to believe that our everyday mundane lives matter. Hagerty challenges us to see that it is in our hidden moments that we develop a relationship with Jesus.
Throughout Unseen, Sara Hagerty focuses on the story of Mary of Bethany in the book of Mark from the Bible. Mary was ridiculed for breaking a bottle of expensive perfume and pouring it on Jesus feet. Throughout Unseen, Sara points back to the story and how what many saw as waste, was truly an expression of love. In chapter one Sara writes,
Mary has eyes for one. Her motives were oriented toward Him. She wasnt driven to His feet by accolades, and she stayed despite criticism. What she cultivated with this man, Jesus, in the quiet and ordinary became her greatest expression. This is radical love, according to Jesus.
After reading Unseen, I feel like I have been given a new perspective. Being seen, noticed, or having a platform are not the goal of this life. A relationship with Jesus, a life oriented toward him is the ultimate gift. I encourage you to put to this book at the top of your list. As soon as I started reading, I instantly thought of friends I wanted to have a copy. I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher. No positive review was required and I have not been compensated.
Debbie from ChristFocusHarrison, ARAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Highly recommend itSeptember 11, 2017Debbie from ChristFocusHarrison, ARAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"Unseen" is part memoir and part Bible study. Her intent is to help draw people into a closer relationship with God. The author looked at how Mary lavishly "wasted" her time (and perfume) on Jesus and was praised for it. Using Mary's story as a jumping off point, she talked about things that happened in her life that illustrated a certain point or that showed how mundane moments drew her closer to God.
As a young adult, she felt that any minute not spent serving God was "wasted," so the overall theme was how God taught her that the ordinary, unseen moments of life also please Him. She talked about how we can deepen our relationship with God and see His greatness in the everyday moments of life, like doing laundry. The author (and her husband) adopted orphans from several foreign countries, so she explained how raising them has given her insights into how we're like these adopted orphans in our relationship with God. Overall, I'd highly recommend this book.
I received this book as an ebook review copy from the publisher through BookLook.
EmP2416Age: 35-44Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Best Read In a Long TimeSeptember 4, 2017EmP2416Age: 35-44Gender: FemaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0To say this book touched me is an understatement. Even all these weeks later, I am still processing the content of "Unseen." We often try so hard to be noticed, to do our best to stand out, to make ourselves known instead of making God known. This book challenges us to do the opposite--to focus on Him and His ways, which often go unnoticed in our world.
To be humble, to minimize ourselves for His glory instead of ours...there's a cost to discipleship. However, I found that this book not only talks about being counter culture, but teaches you the practical and heart fulfilling way to get closer to the Giver of all good things. If He is for us, why should it matter if we are #1 in the world's eyes?
This is a book worth settling in to...taking time to meet with God and seeking His love, attention and plans for your life, whether or not anyone notices. HE sees. HE wants what's best for you.
You will want to get an extra copy for a friend!
* I was given an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion. All comments above are my own .*
VictoriaCanadaAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A Must Read for anyone who's ever felt unseen or left outAugust 29, 2017VictoriaCanadaAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I have been a fan of Sara Hagerty's blog for as long as I can remember. Her writing style, so full of honesty, story, and truth often appeared on my computer screen at opportune times with messages I couldn't help but ponder in subsequent days. When I heard Sara had released a new full length book I was curious to see if the beauty and truth of her messages on line would convey adequately in a different, more drawn out setting.
I love Sara's honesty because she allows herself to be vulnerable with her readers and go to topics that aren't often discussed with the perspective Sara brings.
For years I've listened to my generation asking how does one live their faith during the mundane times,the common days when life simply goes on. Sara re-frames this mundane, unseen reality into a gift of being hidden that is sure to bring about discussion and reflection for those who read the book. I couldn't get over how many times while reading I considered the practicality of these chapters as a devotional aid or group study, the message really is that important and potentially transformational. Sara has a way of bringing thoughts and ideas forward that makes me long for a group of women to discuss this with.
I really believe Sara Hagerty has provided a timely message content wise as well. Sara brings such a wisdom and uniqueness to her approach. Let's face it there are hundreds of books out there on self-help or life growth devotionals or how to grow your faith. Sara, however, has the most clear and concise message I've read yet, keep turning your focus back to God. I love those simple to understand yet fundamentally changing to implement lessons.
By focusing in on the story of Mary pouring out the perfumed oil, Hagerty locks readers into a story that ties her message together with a strong anchor point. Her provision of further reading at the end of each chapter allows readers to take the book further and see just how widespread the message of spending that intimate, hidden time with God is spread throughout scripture. Sara really sets up readers to see the contrast between our social media driven society and it's quest for superficial recognition with the desire to know and be known by the creator.
5 out of 5 stars
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.