Thursday, March 3, 2016

One More Step (Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up) By: Rachel Wojo


 

I have been reading Rachel "Wojo" Wojnarowski's blog for years now. She is so inspirational and encouraging in her writing. She knows God and loves Him very much. It shows throughout everything I have ever read from her. Her new book One More Step is about finding hope in the midst of pain and struggle. Having lived through a failing marriage and her daughter's heartbreaking diagnosis, she knows a thing or two about rising from the ashes. I suffer from chronic pain (due to four illnesses that contribute and different sense of pain). That is why I chose to review this particular book.

Rachel Wojo uses a different hymn for each chapter of the book. She grew up learning them with her family and they hold a special place in her heart. She sang them in her childhood and she sang them after her divorce. Hymns have such deep meaning and she shares what each one means to her and why she chose that one. I teach my children hymns and have a deep love for them as well.

Here is a list of some of the hymns she includes in her book:
  • "It Is Well With My Soul" -Horatio G. Spafford (His testimony is so powerful)
  • "Love Lifted Me" -James Rowe
  • "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" -Louisa M. R. Stead
  • "Amazing Grace" -John Newton
  • "Open My Eyes, That I May See" -Clara H. Scott
  • "Take My Life, And Let It Be" -Frances R. Havergal
  • "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross" -Isaac Watts
That isn't all of them but those are a few that stood out to me as I was reading One More Step.

The author goes through all of the emotions we have had during a time of trial and hardship. We must recognize these feelings so that we can get through it. God equipped us with the Bible for everything we may go through in this life. The first step is recognizing we want to give up. You will then understand the depth of the pit that you are in. No matter what you are going through always pray. God WANTS to hear from you no matter how your day has gone.

"God understands human emotion
because He created human emotion;
you will never experience an emotion
that He doesn't understand."
 
When we place our hope in Jesus we become delivered from earthly things. He is our Rescuer, our Redeemer, our Shelter. Only Jesus can understand everything you are going through. Placing your hope and trust in people or things or ourselves only leaves us wanting and disappointed. I have been there...many times.
 
No matter what kind of pain we may be suffering, God's love never fails. He IS love. Lean on Him for support and "pain relief". He will lift you up. Even if you feel like your life is out of control, God is always in control. Knowing that comforts my soul. When we believe God, we believe he will do what He says He will do. He makes many promises in the Bible. He will not fail us.
 
Sometimes God tells us to wait. Wait on Him. Wait on healing. Wait on what He has in store for us. He will deliver us from that waiting when He feels that we are ready for His plan. No matter what answer you think God will give, He only wants to give us Himself. He is all we need to sustain any trial in this world.
 
We often ask "God, where are you in this situation?" But, when you start asking "God, will you reveal yourself to me?" supernatural things start to happen. Things beyond our comprehension. God will show up. He will be there with you throughout every single moment of your life. How can we trust God for our eternal salvation but not trust Him for everyday solutions?
 
"The God who is taking us to heaven
wants to use us on this earth."
 
God's grace is the most wonderful gift to us. It takes many shapes but it is one size fits all. God gave His only Son to take away the sin of the world. That is the greatest form of grace in history.
 
Sometimes when God doesn't remove a situation from our lives, He is trying to teach us to rely on Him more. He wants to bring us through the struggle so we can see the joy and really experience His presence like never before. He is changing our hearts in this process by making us more dependent upon Him.
 
Praying to God should be the first thing we do in any situation, good or bad. We shouldn't use prayer as a last resort. That is why God gave us the gift of praying. He wants to talk to us and hear from us.
 
"Our reaction to being wronged
is to offer resentment and rejection.
God's response to being wronged is
to offer resolution and restoration."
 
The quote above is a powerful one for me. I have often held grudges and grew bitterness in my heart toward a situation or person. But, the Bible tells us to let it go. Having these bitter feelings is ungodly. When we choose to forgive, we choose to live for God. If we forgave with as much strength as we held grudges, our hearts would be so much more loving toward others.
 
I have personally had a ton a negative chatter in my brain. Chronic pain will do that to you. It makes me doubt myself, my faith, my body. But, those times that I have opened God's Word that internal chatter becomes a speck of sand (as Paul said). When I choose to praise Jesus through the pain, I choose to not let the pain become who I am. I am not "Chronic pain who has Kristy". I am "Kristy with chronic pain and a God who is bigger than that pain."
 
We can become exhausted trying to stay afloat during a storm. The chaos requires a lot more energy than maintaining rhythm. God is our rhythm. He sets the example in Jesus in which we are called to follow. God gives us everything we need to be successful in this life in the Bible. He will meet us where we are and beautiful things come from the mess we have made.
 
When we read the Bible regularly we become well acquainted with His promises. This gives us hope for the future. We know what to expect. Sometimes we get stuck thinking about our pasts. We think about how we could have done things differently or changed something. But, that just makes it impossible to live in the present. To live for God. No matter what happened in the past, we are not defined by it.
 
Finding joy in the midst of the trials of life can be hard. But, pure joy comes from God. My relationship with Him gives me joy, not anything I have. Joy is a heart issue. When we have Jesus in our hearts people will see that through the joy we have in our everyday lives. When we show that we have unshakeable joy, we represent Christ to others around us. That is what it's all about.
 
I loved this book for many reasons. One of them is that Rachel Wojo has been through all sorts of pain in her life. She can relate to many situations and knows the struggle. Her own relationship with Christ has been refined through these trials and she shares her heart in the pages of this book.
 
*I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

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