Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Review: Messy Beautiful Friendship

I have had the privilege of being a part of the launch teams for Christine Hoover's 2 previous books, The Church Planting Wife and From Good to Grace. So when she announced that she was looking to build a launch team for her newest book, I applied and was excited to learn I would get to be a part of sharing about her book again!

Christine is just such a great writer, and I love reading what the Lord places on her heart to share. Her humility and obedience to put words to the things she is learning has been an encouragement to me in a number of ways. Her thoughts on friendship in her new book were no exception. Messy Beautiful Friendship is beautifully written, and I was both challenged and encouraged by her words on biblical friendship.

In Messy Beautiful Friendship, Christine writes about the joys and complexities of friendship. We all long for deep and lasting friendships, but it can often be a challenging to find/make them. Or if we find them, we inevitably face conflict, and we can end up carrying deep hurts. Friendships can definitely be messy, but when we allow Scripture to be our guide in navigating them, we get to experience the beauty and joy of one of God's most precious gifts to us.

It's an easy read, broken down into 5 different sections, where she addresses how:
  • Our expectations {often unrealistic} of friendship can hold us back from developing good friendships
  • Our fears, insecurities, and entitlements can threaten our friendships 
  • To identify and deepen healthy friendships
  • To be a good friend
  • To receive friendship

There are also group discussion questions in the back, which are really helpful for not only group discussion, but individual reflection.

As with all of her writing, I appreciate her vulnerability in describing her own journey through varying friendships- the good, the bad, and the ugly. She consistently points the reader to the Lord, encouraging us to find our deepest friendship with Jesus in order to have healthy friendships with others. 

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"When we engage in relationships with our eyes wide open to Christ as our Friend and to the realities of how sin and human weakness mar friendship, we're able to experience fuller and healthier friendships. We're bound together by our common Friend and our commitment to him, not by the gifts he gives or the experiences we hope for."
"In our envy of other women and who they are and what they have, we have chosen not to celebrate them or allow them to get close. In our childishness we've been inconsiderate in thinking that friendship is for us and about us and should be what we want."
"Godly friendship doesn't usually develop through convenience; it develops through devotion. Convenience doesn't anchor us when we get annoyed with someone or the circle we're in includes someone we don't have a natural affinity toward. Devotion does. Convenience doesn't mesh with the burdens and time constraints of daily life. Devotion does."
"Biblical friendship is grounded in vulnerability, because vulnerability is necessary to fulfill the 'one anothers' found in Scripture."
"Other people don't have the capacity God does, so we shouldn't expect God-like capacity from them."
"Friends are for fun. But they are also for our sanctification."
"A faithful friend doesn't avoid the hard things; in fact, she loves so much that she's willing to experience wounding herself- the self-inflicted pain of knowing you've said a difficult thing that will temporarily wound. A faithless friend can't do that. A faithless friend loves herself and her own comfort more than she loves others. A faithless friend allows us to hurt ourselves and others rather than do the difficult work of stopping us in our tracks." 
 "There is nothing in the world like spending time with another person who, when we leave them, makes us feel we cannot help but turn to worship God."

Messy Beautiful Friendship is written to women, though the principles hold true for men as well. The only thing I would have liked her to address {if only in a small section} is how these principles can be applied to friendships outside the body of Christ. The reader can easily infer it, and the book was specifically addressing friendships within the body of Christ. I just personally would have liked to read her thoughts on it :)

That aside...for the Christian woman who is a friend, has a friend, and/or wants to go deeper with a friend...this book is for you! It releases today, so be sure to grab a copy!

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