**UPDATE** Congrats to Brooksie who won and bless her heart has moved three times in three years!!  Thanks to you all for fabulous book selections.  I’ll be adding them all to my list on GoodReads very soon!

Here are your random numbers:

79

Timestamp: 2012-01-16 14:15:09 UTC

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Last year I read a book that as I was reading it I thought to myself that I should read this book every year because it’s such a great reminder of God working through change in our lives.  It seems that I somehow hit a stage in life where every year seems to bring change.  New kids.  New homes.  New schools.  New grades.  New friends having miscarriages.  New marriages.  (not me, but friends!)  New problems in marriage.  (not me of course … yeah right, I wish)  New … new … new … change … change … change.

 

In Shauna’s book, BITTERSWEET, she takes changes that went on in her life and brought the good out of them.  Even when changes seem so hard and difficult it’s when we stop and see the good in them that we can truly begin to benefit from the change.  To stop and see God in them will change the way you view your difficult seasons.

Oh my does that bring up a lump in anyone’s throat, or is it just me?  I can be so guilty of sitting in my difficult season and begging God to take it away, instead of begging God to move me, change me and make me stronger through the difficult seasons.

 

This book hit me smack in the face last year when I read it.  I’m let you read two paragraphs from the very first chapter and you can see how good this book is.

I believe that God is making all things new.  I believe that Christ overcame death and that pattern is apparent all through life and history: life from death, water from a stone, redemption from failure, connection from alienation.  I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything’s easy.  I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.

 

But for a long season, I forgot all those things.  I didn’t stop believing in God.  It wasn’t a crisis of faith.  I prayed and served and pursued a life of faith the way I had before that season and the way I still do now.  But I realized all at once, sitting in a church on a cold dark night, that the story I was telling was the wrong one – or at the very least, an incomplete one.  I had been telling the story about how hard it was.  That’s not the whole story.  The rest of the story is that I failed to live with hope and courage and lived instead a long season of whining, self-indulgence, and fear.  This is my confession.

 

Oh my gosh I remember when I read that for the first time that my eyes swelled up with tears and I thought this too is my confession.  I have lived life in fear and not confidence.  I have lived a self-indulgent and selfish life when I should have been bursting with the seams with hope and courage.

 

I loved this book so much that I want to give one to you!  I emailed Shauna and fortunately for me she didn’t store my email under the stalker file that I’m sure she has.  I raved to her about her book and I guess she took it as sincere appreciation and not a crazy woman stalking her life!  She offered me one to give to you.  Isn’t she nice?!  I’m fairly certain that in real life we would be friends,  as well as Sandra Bullock, Julie Roberts, Jennifer Garner and Elizabeth Hasselbeck .. we could all have lunch together.  BFF’s for life.

 

So to win this book you MUST leave me a comment telling me the book that I just have to read in 2012 and do not say The Hunger Games … I know already and will be starting them soon!

That’ll get you one entry for sure.  Next are things that you can do if you want, but are not required to win.  For each one that you chose to do, be sure and leave a separate comment for each thing, so that you will have more chances to win!

  1. Since this book is about change, tell me the hardest change in your life over the past five years & what did you learn from it!

2.  Visit Shauna on facebook, or her blog, or twitter and wish her a happy day!

3.  Head on over to DREAMING BIG DREAMS on facebook and “like” it and while you are there tell me HI too!  I love new friends.

4.  Share this contest with your friends!  I know you want to win, and don’t want to share, but come on … share the love.  Either share via fb or twitter and let me know how you did in your comment!  You could use this:  Here’s a book giveaway that I want to win:  BITTERSWEET from @sniequist that @jamie_ivey is giving away!  Or make up your own line for twitter & facebook!

 

FIVE chances that you have to win.  FIVE ways to win a new book, and not just a random, ordinary book, but a book that I can guarantee will make you stop in mid sentence and reflect and sometimes even cry.  It’s just that good and that soul stirring.  Good luck!

 

Contest ends January 15th at midnight (CST) – GOOD LUCK!!!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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