Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What Do You Do With a Problem?

Kobi Yamada has created a masterful book with incredible wisdom for anyone facing a problem. And I do mean anyone--at any age.  

The story opens with, "I don't know how it happened, but one day I had a problem. I didn't want it. I didn't ask for it. I really didn't like having a problem, but it was there."  The story goes on to show what this young man does in response to his problem.

His strategies included asking why it was there, wishing it would go away, ignoring it and worrying about it.  Worrying then turned into visualizing all the ways this problem might destroy and hurt him. Then he tried hiding from it but the only thing that changed was that the problem became bigger.

Just when it seems as if he will be conquered by this problem, he faced it head on and found the problem contained an opportunity.  Gives me chills to see this brave young man muster all the strength he has to look that problem squarely in the face. 

What if we could see within every struggle an opportunity?  A doorway into greater strength, greater resolve, creativity and knowledge.  The little boy found that the secret of every problem is finding the potential it contains for his own growth.  One can look at the book as purely humanistic--seeing power in one's own strength. But I think it can also have some beautiful Biblical application as well.

Within every tragedy, sorrow, or suffering moment, there is within it the opportunity to be refined by the Creator's fire: "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. "1 Peter 1:6-7.

This book would be a fabulous tool for any counselor. I can see the innocence of this book helping adults to see the basic nature and solutions within a problem they think will overwhelm them. For children, I can see this helping them articulate some of the anxiety a problem creates in their life.  The illustrations that show the growing cloud of despair when the problem is avoided and then the contrast with the problem being faced and the glorious results that ensue can offer hope to young and old alike.  Such a tender and sensitive way to open up discussions on the hurt, grief, or suffering that a child may face in their life.  

This book reminds me that within the greatest problem of all time (our eternal separation from a loving creator due to our sin), God himself provided an opportunity for our reconciliation.  If he can save us from the ultimate problem of our eternal destiny, how can we doubt his ability to use smaller problems for his ultimate good?  

Grab a copy of What Do You Do With a Problem? and start looking for the divine opportunities in the problems you face today.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Name I Call Myself by Beth Moran

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Faith is living a modern day Cinderella story as she prepares to marry Prince Charming. She was orphaned at a young age, raised by an older brother who struggled with addiction, and abused by his ne'er do well friend.  But all that heartache seems to finally be behind her. Just as she's in the throes of planning her high class wedding, those past struggles come back to haunt her. Unfortunately, she hasn't told her fiance anything about her humble beginnings so she's having to face these new challenges alone or muster the courage to be honest.

Faith has created a life that she's proud of but her working class background doesn't impress her fiance's family. Faith's future mother-in-law pretty much bosses everyone around (including Faith) and poor Perry just wants to avoid conflict. Faith really only wants to have a say in two things: the location of her wedding and the dress she wears. She doesn't realize she's declared war by insisting on those things.

Faith is faced between the choice of blindly following along the path marked out for her or jumping off and forging her own path. Readers will laugh and cry over Faith's struggles and will cheer at her personal victories. Will Faith's "happily ever after" be with or without Perry?  Grab your copy of The Name I Call Myself to find out!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Name I Call Myself from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.