I Have Issues by Jelly Valimont Book Review

I’ve been searching. For weeks. For months. I was searching and looking. I was on every blog, Pinterest, Stumble Upon, Google, Facebook groups- you name it, I was searching. I am engaged to a pastor. Being engaged to a pastor means that one day, in the very near future, I am going to be….a pastor’s wife! I had a brief moment of panic. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!? How am I supposed to do everything? What does everything entail!? How can I be the best wife, pastor’s wife, ministry partner, (future) mother, teacher, and all of the other things we’re expected to be?

Let’s get real here, I am the farthest thing from perfect there is. I grew up in the church, but I am not a pastor’s kid, missionary kid, or any of the like. My mom was head of hospitality, my dad was a trustee, and we did music and vacation Bible school. I went to school to be a high school English teacher. I’ve been blessed with wonderful pastor’s wives in my life over the years, but becoming one myself was never really a “thing.” But, I have quickly learned in my 23 short years of life that God laughs at our plans.

This book fell into my lap. It was exactly what I had been searching for, delivered in the mail. Definitely a moment of God saying “Ya know what? You are earnestly looking, searching, and seeking for something to help you grow, and I know just the thing, I Have Issues by Jelly Valimont!”Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 4.53.47 PM.pngUpon opening the package, I was already in love. There are super cute shoes on the front, and anyone who knows me also knows that I have just a bit of a shoe problem. Jelly Valimont is a pastor’s wife who also searched for “Being a Pastor’s Wife for Dummies” and came up short. It’s not quite a how-to manual, but she did the next best thing! Using her own experiences, the Word of the Lord, and just general common sense (seriously, it’s amazing how much of ministry is just common sense), she crafted a nicely packaged help guide for the “partners in ministry.”

This book reads like a conversation with a friend over a good strong cup of coffee. Each section is named after shoes, or some aspect of the shoe. From there she relays a short story or anecdote that goes along with the shoe theme and topic of the chapter. Her humor, vulnerability, and honesty, take you through the many areas and processes of being in ministry.

I hate writing in books. I think it has something to do with being told not to write in my Bible as a child that’s carried over to regular books. I’m now fine with underlining, taking notes, and even Bible journaling, but I still hesitate to write in regular books. When I first sat down to read this book, I grabbed my pen. I knew that I would want to highlight some “good stuff.” Below, you will find a few of my personal favorite quotes and nuggets of wisdom.

“…be pleasing to God- not the church, the church board, or the women’s ministry leaders.” (9)

“One of the problems with not taking time to recoup is that it produces a very high sense of frustration when you cannot accomplish tasks because fatigue will not allow you to.” (15)

“Doing the work of the ministry or living the Christian life by completely relying on yesterday’s revelation alone, will eventually cause you to burn out and be counter-productive.” (56)

“Successful marriages are developed using the same components as successful ministries: much prayer, planning, and action.” (88)

“Our busy-ness is not a sign of our righteousness or Godliness.” (125)

“The best way to help people is to love them and build relationships first.” (157)\

“Life is not about how high you can climb or how fast you can run, but it is about how well you can bounce.” (172)

“When a tragedy comes, it is not the time to go ‘Bible dipping’ for the right things to say.” (184)

I Have Issues is about more than issues in marriage, in the church, in motherhood, or even life. It is about being a partner, a helpmeet, a woman of Christ, a leader, and a lover, within our families, our churches, and the body of Christ. If you are preparing to step into ministry, have recently entered, or have been in it for decades, this book is for you. Every pastor’s wife could get something out of this book, whether it is advice as a newbie, or a refreshing reminder of how to take care of yourself and take control of your life back. 41s1LYw5l2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThank you Jelly for seeing a need, listening to God’s prompting, and filling the hole so many of us have been searching for!

I Have Issues is available on Amazon.

Follow me on Instagram @brunetteswithbrains to keep up with the latest posts, books and news!

PS Be on the look out for my author interview with Jelly in the coming weeks!

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The Power of a Praying Wife- Part I

I am not a wife. At least, not yet. However, like most future brides, I’m sure there is some fear. NO I AM NOT RUNNING AWAY! Am I sure that Ethan is my better half? Absolutely. Do I think there is anyone else in the world who could put up with me forever? Nope. Is there any one else I would rather drive crazy with my crazy? Not a chance. He compliments who I am as a person with his own stellar qualities. So why am I afraid?

Because being a wife is scary! Being a “modern Christian” wife is doubly scary. Not only are we supposed to be Proverbs 31 women, but we’re supposed to have careers too. If you read Proverbs 31, that woman’s life and job WAS being a house mom/wife. Talk about some pressure. How are we going to delegate chores? Cooking? Cleaning? How are we going to balance church, careers and a family!? Am I going to be able to do enough? Will I be able to balance everything? Will I be enough?

I don’t remember where I saw this but about 2 years ago I read this statement “Pray to be the wife your future husband is praying for,” and it changed my heart. We are taught that God will send us the perfect man, we just have to pray for it. As girls and women, it is important to remember that moms and boys are praying for future wives like you’re praying for a husband. I encourage you to get into the Word and look at who YOU need to be. Be the woman a man would want to marry. Get your heart, attitude and actions in alignment. Little did I know 2 years ago that God was really preparing me and changing me to be the woman I needed to be for the most incredible, kind, encouraging and perfect man I could ever imagine!

I wrote that about two weeks before Ethan pulled off the best surprise ever by asking me to be his wife. I’ve graduated college and Ethan is finishing up his masters. We’re both working, but kind of in limbo. I’m subbing; and as a theology major, his job options are kind of limited. We are trying to make decisions balanced between the fact that we are getting married, but we aren’t actually married yet. We have NO idea where the Lord is leading us or what we are doing. We just know that we are supposed to be together and are taking it one day and one step at a time, together.

My answer to all of this? Buckle down, start taking my own advice, and the advice of millions of people before me- start praying! I had been looking for a new devotional and settled on The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. She has written a number of books, and this one is part of her “Power of Praying” series.

Again, I’m not a wife. I’m a “I’m almost a wife so that counts for something RIGHT!?” I’m 3 days in. I started a day early since February is short, and I will have to either read 2 in one day, or go a day into March for the length of this study. This is what I’ve learned so far:

  1. That advice that I came across two years ago, is SO important. It is important to pray that the Lord work in your life to prepare you to be a good partner, and continue to pray it! Just because you find a man does not mean that you should stop! You will continue to grow, change, and face new challenges together and as an individual. Praying that God continues to work in you and make you the best team-mate is imperative. With His help, you CAN balance, do, and be, everything you need to be for your best friend, and for yourself.
  2. Not knowing what or how to pray just means you need to think outside of the box. I have been praying for direction, for jobs, for encouragement…the typical things. And they are fine! Those ideas are all chapters in the devotional. But other things like: faith, self image, his walk, his reputation, his purpose- these are all things that we as wives, and almost wives, can pray for as well. If you still aren’t quite sure HOW to pray for these things, Stormie provides sample guided prayers at the end of each chapter. She also includes what she calls “Power Tools,” which are Bible verses that go along with each focus. They might be my favorite part! *Prayers and Power Tools are available in newer copies that include new content, or separately in a book on their own.*
  3. Praying for your husband is one of the most important things that you can do in your relationship. If there is a problem, changing a man will not happen without His help. If things are going well, you should still pray for guidance, wisdom, and continued blessings. Don’t forget to thank God when things are good. The power of prayer can literally move mountains. In the first chapter, she refers to prayer as the ‘ultimate love language.’ “We want to be on the same path together. We want to be deeply compatible, lifelong companions, and have the love that lasts a lifetime. Prayer, as the ultimate love language, can make that happen” (27).

Geez. Only 3 days in, and I’ve already taken in so much. I will never be a perfect wife. Try as I might, we will have a pile or two of laundry. Dishes may get left in the sink now and again. I won’t always remember to clean the hair monster out of the tub. But I know that just by praying, and making the conscious effort, that God will change me, mould me, and bless me so that I can be the best partner, team-mate, peanut butter to his jelly, and wife that I can be. I can not wait to see what mountains are moved at the end of these 31 days.

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For more of Stormie’s books and about her, check out https://stormieomartian.com/ You can also Like her on Facebook and follow her on instagram @stormieomartian.

To keep up with my own progress through the devotional, and find out what else is happening on the blog, follow me on instagram @brunetteswithbrains.

 

Crazy Love Francis Chan

1 Corinthians 13 “1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Love is a crazy thing, in its human form. God is love; perfect, pure, unwavering, undoubtedly, honest and faithful. I read this book with my small group at church this summer. The youth leaders told us this was a pretty in depth crazy book, and I didn’t think much of it. There have been plenty of books in my life that fit this category but I underestimated, and was so wrong. This book not only makes me realize how small I am, and how wrong the world truly is, but how much I truly rely on God. One of the most profound statements for me, while reading this book was this “What are you doing to test your faith in God.” This question then made me evaluate my definition of faith. This is what I came up with. “Faith is the reliance on God. It is the belief and total assurance not only of His existence, but of His ability to take care of me. Faith is knowing that even when I feel alone, He is there, when I feel hopeless He is my hope. Faith is more than just believing, it is living daily knowing that He is my firm foundation.”

Other points that “The Chan Man” brought up were such as “The Lukewarm Christian.” The christian that goes through the motions, goes to church, does basically what they’re supposed to, but they’re not all there. They have the horizontal earthly thing down, but they have no true relationship with God. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, replace the word Love with your name. “Anna is patient, Anna is kinda….etc” When you put it into human terms, you can see how insufficient we really are with love, but God’s love is perfect and fits the bill. He is everything we are and everything we aren’t. What I like about Chan is that he doesn’t make things look flowery if they’re not. He starts the book making it very clear that although God is merciful and loving, he is also just, and should be feared. Let’s face it, he wiped out a whole people because of their wickedness. He is not one to be taken lightly; but in the same token, Chan points out all of the beauty not only that God has created, but the beauty that we hold and the beauty of his Love. This book made me sit back and take a hard look at my life, how I’ve been acting, where I’m headed, and how I want to change it. More than once I found myself on my knees in worship, in awe, in love, in shame, in joy, in peace and in reflection.

If you want a book to turn your world upside down, if you want a book that will give you a new perspective on life, read this book. If you are not ready to take a good look at yourself, if you aren’t ready to look at the world around you and see what truly needs changed, don’t read this book. I would not recommend reading this book in one sitting. I have always had issues with reading bits of books, but reading a chapter or two at a time is life changing enough that reading it all would be a tidal wave. I recommend reading this book with either a small group or partner, reading it individually would be ok, but not nearly as fun or thought inducing. So, I ask this- how Crazy in Love with God are you?

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