Book Review: Handle with Care by Lore Ferguson Wilbert

handle with careAs someone who works at a church, we often have people come in who need help of some kind. Last week a young woman came who needed groceries. I gave her a form to complete and went to get them. I offered to carry them out for her and we chatted a bit on the way to her car. After I placed the sack in her car, she reached out and touched me on the arm and thanked me. Walking back to the church, I immediately thought of this book.  

In Handle with Care: How Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry, the author, Lore Ferguson Wilbert, examines how Jesus touched others throughout His ministry. She writes: Jesus touches the feeble and the women, the bleeding and the unclean, and the heads of adulterous women. He heals on the Sabbath using His hands. He touches the diseased and the children. He allows Himself to be touched too, by unclean people, women, snot-nosed kids, tax collectors and sinners. 

The author then explores how touch can be redeemed in the church, in our marriage, and in the people we meet each day. This book caused me to think of how I need to intentionally touch my mom and grandmother, both widows, whether it be with a hug or kiss on the cheek. Wilbert’s words in regard to touch in marriage challenged me to show love to my husband by just holding his hand or rubbing his back at night. Simple gestures of love that we have lost through the years. My eyes are now open for the hurting, the abused, and the down and out, that may not know the sincere touch of someone who cares for them. 

If Jesus is our ministry example, and He is, then appropriate touch done in love and compassion will be a part of our ministry to others. Wilbert reminds us: Though the world cannot touch Jesus, it can touch us. And Christ is in us. In a profound way, when the world comes into contact with us, it comes in contact with Him. In other words, we are the way the Thomases of this world gain their sight.

Next time, I want to be the one who reaches out to give that touch or hug and not the other way around. I want them to see Christ in me.

Lore Ferguson Wilbert has encouraged me for many years at her blog Sayable. She writes thoughtfully, truthfully and always points her readers to Christ. I received an advance reader’s copy from B&H Publishers. Learn more about Handle with Care and a wonderful gift package if you pre-order at handlewithcarebook.com.

The Joy of Poetry by Megan Willome {Book Review}

joy of poetryIn my younger years I was, and I suppose still am to some, the strange person reading poetry and jotting down a poem or haiku on a scrap of paper. Some writers craft beautiful sentences into a book that captivates their readers; but a poet condenses heart-chosen words into lines that form a poem and also enthralls their readers. Neither is more skilled or needed than the other. They both have their important place in the literary world.

This year a direction of my life was changed from reading “The Joy of Poetry” by Megan Willome. An old passion for reading and writing poetry was reignited as Megan shared her love for poetry and its healing balm as she watched her mother battle cancer. She writes:

“Poetry is my prescription for adversity. It can touch hidden places in ways prose can’t. When I am heartbroken and read a poem that seems to have been written from someone else’s dark place, I can sit among the broken eggshells and know I’m not alone. I don’t need to know how the eggshells got broken.”

This book is also for those who don’t understand poetry but want to learn more about it. Megan explains good poetry versus bad poetry. She shares many examples of poetry that inspired her or reminded her of her mother.

If you write poetry but have found yourself with writer’s block, then this book may be the catalyst to get your creativity flowing again as it was for me. Megan ends her book with suggestions on how to keep a poetry journal, how to be a poetry buddy with someone else and how to do a poetry dare with a community.

“The Joy of Poetry” is one of books in the Masters in Fine Living Series published by T. S. Poetry Press. Megan is one of the writers featured at Tweetspeak Poetry. Tweetspeak is a community of poets and readers. They offer many resources for teachers to inspire their students to read and write poetry. I highly recommend Megan’s book and the Tweetspeak website to those who love poetry or want to learn more about it.

Deeper Waters and Other Summer Reading

IMG_1330My companions this summer were more in the form of creased corners and highlighted words than the physical presence of friends. I think that is okay for a season. Many times the words of others can ignite my creativity, cause me to ponder humanity more deeply and spur me on in my pursuance of Christ.

Deeper Waters by Denise J. Hughes was definitely a spur-me-on book. The author divided Ezra 7:10 into four parts:

-Determining in Your Heart

-To Study God’s Word

-To Obey God’s Voice

-To Teach God’s Precepts

She then encourages the reader in each of those areas but in a unique way. Interwoven with encouragement to be immersed in God’s word is also her personal struggle with the Lord as she grew up watching her older brother deal with his paralysis from a car accident. She writes:

In the morning an eerie hush stifles the air. No one speaks. No one looks at each other. We shuffle to our cereal bowls, feeling the weight of this final blow. No surgery, no prayer meeting, and no super-evangelist can restore this brokenness. Faith is crucified and buried. Hope dies. And a permanent wheelchair ramp is built to our front door.

Yet it is through this tragedy that she does find hope in God and His word. This is what I loved from Denise! She is all about His word! Part memoir and part exhortation, I highly recommend this book to new believers, those who have found themselves in a desert and anyone in between. Denise is also the author of the Word Writers Bible study series which incorporates writing out the scripture passage and studying it.

Other books I read this summer:

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I picked this book up at a Little Free Library in Pinedale, Wyoming. How fitting since it is a book with Yellowstone National Park as its backdrop. It is the fictional story of an unexpected bond between a recovering alcoholic and two young boys that come under his care for a short time. It was the first fiction book I had read in a while and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to reading another one of her books some time again soon.

Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller

The author encourages the reader to embrace a true Sabbath rest by being intentional in preparing for it and tuning out worldly distractions for this special day. I enjoyed reading the book, but I think we each have to find what is right for us on the Lord’s day. While she promotes quiet reflection, my husband and I find rest in watching an old Western on TV. Though I didn’t agree with everything she wrote, the book was a good reminder to me of what the Sabbath is to be.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

This was the first book I had ever read by this author. I loved reading about her daily life but most of all I enjoyed the writing aspect of her life which she also shares in this first book of The Crosswicks Journal series.

I will share my favorite read of the summer in a separate post. So how about you? What was your favorite read this summer and why?