Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: The Circle Maker

I want to preface this review by telling you: for Lent, I've given up my computer during the girls' awake hours. They nap a couple hours most days and go to bed around 8 pm; still, I've struggled more than I'd like to admit. I'm praying for the fortitude to continue on this path after Easter because I know: this way is better for us.

So I've been reading more books than blogs, and I've just finished The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. Rachel gave me this book--my third by Batterson--and it's excellent.

As with In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase, Batterson overlaps some stories. I would've organized the book slightly differently. (Chapter 15 "Life Goal List" could've easily been folded into the first of Batterson's three circles: "Dream Big," and I think that section of the book would've been stronger for it.) I'll admit, too: Batterson challenges my faith less than Peggy Joyce Ruth of Psalm 91.

Still? Batterson is brilliant, and his thinking--while profound at points--goes down smoothly thanks to his conversational style of writing.

Batterson's other two circles are "Pray Hard" and "Think Long." In terms of praying hard, Batterson encourages boldness and persistence in prayer, tenacity of faith, and the praying of scripture. He writes: "Praying hard is hard because you can't just pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you" (112), and the work to which he refers requires discomfort and inconvenience.

So far as thinking long goes, Batterson assures: our prayers matter forever--not just for today. Additionally, he writes with insight of the biblical Daniel: his prayer routine and posture, his fasting, his integrity.

I know I'll return to this book many times and hope you'll make a point of reading it. Batterson writes: "Don't let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can. Draw the circle. Don't let who you are not keep you from being who you are. You are a circle maker." And I agree with him; I think I'm a circle maker, and I think you're a circle maker, too.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rachel Huff Guest Post: Daddy's Girl

I have this crazy friend who insists upon loving on me when I'm at my most unlovable, and she's one of very few people from whom I have no secrets. She's also one of very few people I will answer when the phone rings on bad days because--if I don't--she'll come looking for me. 

I just opened an e-mail in which this friend wrote: "This is so silly but I wanted to write you a blog - I know I can't write so that is why I say this is so silly. Anyway I gave it a shot and here it is." I opened the attachment and bawled my eyes out, and I knew right away: I would be posting it for you to enjoy, too. 

No matter who you are, you can trust Rachel Huff and what she has to say. 


One thing that Brandee and I share in common is we are both Daddy’s girls.  We have shared so many stories about our dads. Some brought tears and some brought laughter but it is a special bond that we both have because when it comes to our dads we both totally understand each other.

For months now I have been trying to help Brandee get through one of the toughest times in her life but what I realized this weekend was she did not need a best friend as much as she just needed her dad.

He traveled from Tennessee to be here for Clementine’s birthday and to visit with Brandee which was not something that he does very often. It was special and I got to see that first hand.

He had not even been here 12 hours when I got a message from Brandee. Well it was more like a song. A song about meatballs. To most that might sound crazy but to me it was the best sound in the world. For the first time in months I had a glimpse of my Brandee. Oh how I had missed her.

Then I got to see Brandee at Clementine’s birthday and that is when I realized it might not just be a glimpse. She looked amazing and everything about her was different.  Only Clementine was not feeling the same.

She did not quite wake up from her nap in the best mood to say the least. Now Clementine is ALWAYS happy to see Zach and me but not on that day. I tried all my tricks and again I found myself failing terribly. I tried not to take it to heart because I noticed she was doing it to everyone but yet I thought I was different. And then right in the midst of her biggest breakdown of the day Papaw suddenly appeared.

I wish I could remember what he said but I was so taken by the look on Clementine’s face as she looked up to him that I got lost in the moment. The tears quickly went away and Papaw had accomplished what none of us was able to do.  Our little princess and all were smiling!

It was later that night that I was awakened by God with that image in my mind and I realized that we all have a Father who loves us. No matter what your relationship is like with your dad or where your dad is you have a Father who loves you and longs to be close to you. He wants to wipe away the tears and adorn you with a crown of beauty. It doesn’t matter how broken or messed up we are He still wants for us to be His little princess.

Actually you can wear your crown any way you would like.

Or maybe you are not even sure what to do with a crown.