April Analysis – Sacred Sunday: Books that Changed My Life

Reading is one of those activities that I know I should make more time for… and it just never tends to happen. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people that always fit it in because it’s a non-negotiable… but alas that is not my life… and I suppose my default non-negotiable of working out, cooking healthy meals, and being present with my hubby are all pretty good.

That being said… I have had two books in my lifetime that have truly been life-changing. These books’ impact on my life influence me DAILY and I know they help me to have victory in my walk with Christ and in my marriage. And since our relationship with God is to be the most important thing our lives… and marriage (should you be married) should be the second most important thing… I would say that these books are QUITE worth reviewing and passing along to you all. I am so thankful for the truths that were revealed to me through reading these books and how God has allowed me to understand and apply this wisdom in my daily life.

I hope these two books can also impact you!

“A Time to Dance” by Karen Kingsbury

In sharing the impact of this book on my life, it will require me to share some personal family information. I want everyone reading this to know that in no way am I attempting to dishonor anyone in my family, place blame, or cause strife. I simply want to testify to the work God has done in my heart through my family’s/my trials. I have complete love for everyone in my family and am thankful for how God is still at work in all of us.

Caveat complete.

My parents divorced in 2007. I had already graduated college and was living outside of the home when this happened. But, even though the divorce was finalized in 2007, there was intense relational strife for many years before that… at least for 5 years preceding. During that time, I allowed myself to grow in hatred for one of my parents. This was a great sin of mine that the LORD greatly convicted me of in my sophomore year of college. It was a very difficult process to even get ready to forgive and start to love this parent. But, I knew that I needed to live in obedience to God. This book played a HUGE role in my ability to fall into that obedience.

Let me say that I am NOT a romance novel person. I don’t do chick flicks and wish that token love stories were not randomly inserted into action movies. (If you are into these things, no judgement! Just not my “thing.”)”A Time to Dance” is an exception to this. It is a novel about a married couple that is going through a very rough time in their marriage. Both the husband and wife are Christians and do not want to walk down the road of divorce, but are starting to feel as though there is no other route for them to take. However, during their family meeting to tell everyone they were going to get divorced, their eldest daughter starts off by sharing that she is engaged. The husband and wife feel as though they cannot sour the mood, given the merry announcement, and decide to push off their divorce until after the wedding. The novel then goes into their marriage experience until then.

What is really unique about this book is that each chapter changes back and forth between the wife’s and the husband’s perspectives. You get to see how each of them is experiencing the marriage and how each side is getting equally hurt. At the beginning, you are lead to believe one person is the cause for the divorce, but you see over time, that the distancing between the couple was cultivated over MANY years and over MANY issues.

This changed my entire mindset. I was awakened to the fact that regardless of what I had seen and experienced, there were two sides to my parents’ marriage. And whether or not the perspectives of either were right or wrong, someone’s experience is their reality. If someone is hurt, they are hurt whether I (or anyone) thinks it is legitimate to be hurt. I realized that the parent I had hated toward was also experiencing hurt and had reasons behind actions made and words said. I certainly did not agree with the behavior of this parent, but that did not matter. God does not agree with my behavior either… but He forgives me anyway. I needed to acknowledge this pain and forgive as I had been forgiven.

I was finally freed to forgive and to love. It was still hard and it took me a while for my heart to completely heal and change, but I am SO glad that I chose to walk in obedience to the Lord in this. This choice carried much strife in ways I never thought it would, but in the end, I can stand before my God and know that I am right before Him. He has blessed me in countless ways for this act of restoration.

Thank you, Karen Kingsbury. The Lord used you to completely change my life.

 “Every Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn

This book may take you by surprise… because I am quite certain that you can tell by the title that this book was not necessarily intended for women. You are quite correct in your assumption! But this book opened my eyes to understand men in a way I never would have otherwise. As a young woman, I simply could not understand the lustful tendency of males and thought them to be disgusting and simply out of control. This book allowed me to see how differently men’s minds work and that God actually had beautiful intentions for their visually stimulated brains… when practicing self-control and exclusivity for their wives.

By picking up this book, I read a man’s honest and true desire to control his urges. Urges that come naturally… urges that just do not happen in my brain… so I could not even begin to understand how difficult it would be to control the thoughts that can so easily be triggered. I learned that, yes, men are 100% responsible for not allowing themselves to fantasize about women, but I also learned that even those with the best, god-honoring intentions will always have a bent toward falling to the sin of lust.

Once I learned that men’s brains are wired to be visually stimulated, and that in marriage that is a beautiful thing, I could view men differently. They weren’t pigs because they are visually stimulated; they cannot help that. BUT… they can help what they allow their eyes and minds to linger on. I also learned that men have a natural 3 day cycle when it comes to sex. Every 3 days, a man is biologically recharged for sexual encounters. This means that after 3 days, resisting temptations becomes harder. This sheds a lot of light on how women can help their husband with their temptations… this does NOT mean if sex does not happen every 3 days that a woman is responsible for her husband’s lusting (should he fall), but it is a helpful tool to understand how to make things more manageable… especially if there is a business trip around the corner! [Man… this post is really not parent friendly… sorry!!!!]

Beyond these huge lessons, I learned that I have a very key role as a woman and a wife. If men have to work SO hard to stay faithful, why would I want to make their job any more difficult? And if I would not want my husband to be tempted by another woman, why would I present myself in a way that would be a stumbling block to other women’s husbands? I am not responsible for men’s actions, but if I can help them, why shouldn’t I? The way I dress matters. I can show respect to men by dressing modestly (not frumpy or unfashionably though!).

After reading this book, I decided that it would be a requirement for the man I marry to have read this book! When I was quite certain that I had found “the one,” this book was part of his Christmas gift… with a special not on the inside cover. He was 100% on board… and things are going quite well for us.. 😉

Yes, I understand that many of you reading this right now will likely object and have problems with what I am saying. BUT, these lessons have only enriched my life and so I feel called to share these blessing with anyone willing to hear me out.

All in all…

The links to the books are in the title headings, so please feel free to check them out. My hope is that these books could enrich your lives as much as it did mine. If you have questions about what I learned or your similar situations, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to know what books have made a huge impact on your lives too!

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