Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Book Review - A Confident Heart
The Book: A Confident Heart by Renee Swope
Revell, $13.99 (2011)
I read A Confident Heart not long after I read Emily P. Freeman's Grace for the Good Girl. The two books are somewhat complimentary, though I suspect most readers will relate more easily to one or the other. Freeman writes of the masks we hide behind as we strive to look like we have it all together. Swope, on the other hand, writes what could almost be called Grace for the Slightly Ragged Around the Edges Girl. Her writing searches Scripture and pours out hope and encouragement to the woman who feels unworthy, not good enough and perhaps just a bit too screwed up to be loved by God.
Is it the deepest examination of theology I've ever read? No, but it's not meant to be. This book is meant to encourage women and to remind them of God's promises for their lives. And Swope does a wonderful job of that. She also has a wonderful chart at the back of the book listing Bible verses containing promises and exhortations from God on some of the tough issues that may cause us to doubt.
This book would be a great source of help and encouragement during those times when one feels too imperfect for God to use. Swope uses examples from Scripture such as the story of Gideon or of Martha or of the woman caught in adultery to show us that God uses people who somtimes doubt or worry over earthly things or sin and fall short of His commands. And she also digs deeply into her life experiences, bravely sharing stories of her own weak moments and failures, and the ways in which God has used her nevertheless.
Even though my life has been different than the author's, her stories are very relatable. I'm not a morning person, so I could relate to that sense of guilt over not being able to think deeply early in the morning. And I have felt the sting of being thought not good enough in human eyes and wondering if God would see that in me, too.
Filled with Scripture to change one's perspective and to encourage readers to seek God first rather than to try leaning on our own feeble strength, A Confident Heart is good encouragement. I also found the prayers at the end of each chapter very helpful and uplifting. I'll admit that when I got this book for Christmas, I was afraid it was going to be too heavy on the self-esteem psychobabble for my taste, but it's not that at all. Instead I got a sweet dose of godly encouragement right at a time when I was feeling a little rundown. And I am thankful to the author for that!