When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James: 5 Stars
A few years ago I went through a spiritually very difficult time. It was a time of tremendous disappointment and grief; some very personal dreams and hopes had been dashed and there was absolutely nothing whatsoever I could do to change what was to be. I spent several weeks with a sick, nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Waves of depression swept over me and I spent several days weeping, sometimes uncontrollably.
My poor husband, the one who is dearest and closest to me, knew and understood my pain. He suffered alongside me and daily did all that he could to encourage and comfort me. But this pain would not go away and I cried out to the Lord to heal my broken spirit.
God, in His mercy, answered my prayer very specifically in two ways. The first was through a series of sermons my pastor was preaching from the book of Acts. One Sunday in particular through his insights into the storm and shipwrecks in the Apostle Paul’s life, the clouds began to clear and I was able to see and think biblically and clearly once again, reminded that the pleasant words of Scripture are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).
And then the Lord placed in my hand this wonderful book by Carolyn Custis James entitled When Life and Beliefs Collide. The title spoke of the very experience I had come through and Carolyn’s admonition to face our personal afflictions by learning more about the character of God resonated with me. I began to apply the truth she so powerfully shared on each page, that the study of theology is what enables women to see the hand of a merciful God even in the storms of life.
Examining the story of Mary and Martha, Carolyn challenges women to move outside of their comfort zones and to pursue the study of God on a deeper, more intimate level. Sharing from her own disappointments and failures, she demonstrates that God has no Plan B, only a Plan A that He is working out in our lives for His own good pleasure and that we cannot grasp this truth unless we recognize the sovereign nature of the God we serve. She contends that we will only know these things to be true when we plunge ourselves into the study of who this sovereign God truly is and begin to personalize what we learn.
Here are a few of Carolyn’s thoughts: “The power of our theology comes alive when we take the truth personally. Holding God at arm’s length—no matter how much theology we think we know—will never make us great theologians. We have to learn to write our own names into the plot. God will always be the subject of our theological sentences but our sentences are incomplete until we make ourselves the direct objects of his attributes…..Simply knowing a lot of theological ideas, no matter how orthodox and sound they are, will never turn us into great theologians. Theology isn’t really theology for us until we live it. Not until we learn to make explicit connections between what we know about God and the race we are running will we taste the transforming power of our theology. Fixing our eyes on Jesus means reminding ourselves of all that He is to us now. He brings meaning to our routines and energizes us to tackle the difficult tasks at hand. Fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us hope to offer disheartened husbands and hurting friends, and the wisdom we need to raise children who will fix their eyes on Him, too.”
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this inspirational book and purpose today to be a homeschooling mom who is not only a student of theology but a homeschooling mom who lives her theology, too!