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Monday, September 25, 2017

Book Review: Even This by Emily Belle Freeman

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Book Description:

Even This invites readers to make room for daily personal experiences with God. From the very first page readers will walk down a spiritual path meant to remind each of us that God will meet us in the unexpected, bringing His goodness, giving us cause to trust, reminding us of His capacity. Filled with deeply personal stories about holding onto belief, daring to trust, and longing for understanding, Even This chronicles one woman's quest to find God in the everyday moments-with one of the most powerful experiences taking place as she searches for sea shells while walking on the beach-and provides many opportunities for individual introspection. -Yes, God is good and He can be trusted, - Freeman concludes, -and it is the daily discovery of these truths that has the potential to become the greatest journey of a life and lead us closer to Him.-

Ultimately, the author hopes Even This will encourage and motivate readers to:

  • Stop letting fear dictate the depth of your belief through simple daily reflections that will restore your confidence in God.
  • Let go of your need to control by discovering what is holding you back from being completely vulnerable in your relationship with God.
  • Diminish the power of doubt by coming to understand why the place of deepest asking is where the believing begins.
  • Learn how to trust that God may have something entirely different in mind than you could ever anticipate--something better.

Rorie's Review:

With non-fiction books, it's a sign of how well I liked it by how many pages I have turned down by the time I finish. This book has a lot. :) This book isn't the typical "self-help" book that I've read in the past, where the author has a concrete beginning, middle and ending and you finish the book with the grand conclusion of how the author got to be in a better place (or how you as the reader should be in a better place if you've followed the steps outlined in the book.) This book was more like rambling thoughts of the author. There didn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to each chapter, and to be honest, some of them left me feeling kind of depressed.

But (and this is a big but) that's OK. Because life is not one happy package, tied up in a bow where if you do a, b and c, you will be totally happy and have no more trials or problems. No. Life is messy. You can do all in your power to do everything right, and you might continue to get trial after trial. Or, you might not. Instead of having big, noticeable trials, you might have smaller ones that aren't visible to anyone but you. But the wonderful thing about this book is that the author has been there, and she gets it. She understands how someone feels when horrible things happen and they start to wonder where God is in all of this. She understands how easy it is to try to dictate to God how you want your life to go, and then you get disappointed when His plan is so much different than yours is.

I love how the author points out that instead of giving God a to-do list, maybe we should ask Him what He would have us do. And then wait for the answers, and when you get them - do them. I also love how she points out that even though it may seem to us like nothing is happening, that doesn't mean that God isn't working for us. It may take days, weeks, months, even years for us to see His hand in certain situations, but that doesn't mean that He's abandoned us. Because He will never do that.

Like just about any non-fiction book I've read, this book is one that you take in small doses. You read a bit, ponder it for awhile, and then come and read some more. But this book, even though almost feeling hopeless in some places, is a very good read and offers the reader a lot of hope, if only they will completely turn their lives over to God.

Andrea's Review:

I must preface my review by saying that I don't read very much non-fiction. I prefer a lovely escape when I read-usually mind candy. But something about Even This called to me when I was given the chance to review it. It took me awhile to get started though (as is my usual hesitation with non-fiction), but I was really drawn in by what the author had to say. That doesn't mean that I read it all non-stop. I'd read a bit here and there, but that worked well with how the book was put together. It is a bit jumbled, but her experiences were relatable (and somewhat heartbreaking).

In the first section there is a chapter called "Tethered" and I liked how when the author was talking about Moses that she repeated "But, one experience with God's goodness doesn't tie you to Him forever" several times. It's so true. You can have an amazing, miraculous experience, but then life happens and time passes and you can stumble. In that same section she also mentions that along with the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea that God also took care of "the mud, the sludge, the mess". I hadn't thought about that before-so eye opening. Then she talks about the manna and how God sent it every day for 40 years, and how the people came to hate it. I really hadn't thought about that. Am I taking the time to recognize the daily miracles and blessings I get from God? I know I can do much better at that!

Along with the scriptural insights, I was touched by the author's personal stories. She definitely had some hard times in her life where she doubted and struggled. It was touching to see how she made it through and past those experiences. I appreciate her being willing to share those things in order for all of us to see and appreciate God's hand in our lives. He is always there for us. We just need to look and accept his help.

Tarah's Review:

Even This is not my typical want-to-read book. However, when I read the description, I thought, "Yes, that is something that would be good for me." And you know, it really was.

I did struggle with her almost poetic way of telling a story, and how we never get ending details. But, the meat of what she was saying really got me thinking, and I found myself saying, "Yes, I agree with that" or "Wow, I've never thought of it that way before."

My favorite parts of this book are when she looks at scripture stories in just a little different way. She points to things that even though I have read them multiple times before, I've never seen it that way.

I will be recommending this book to my reader friends, and hopefully I'll have the courage to start on my own journey. 

 
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71pb4o5ZQoL.jpg Title: Even This
Author: Emily Belle Freeman
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: Sept 2017
ISBN:  162972338X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book