Book Review: Together – growing appetites for God

April 19, 2012 · 5 comments

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by Kristen Narara

I was deeply encouraged as I read Carrie Ward’s Together: growing appetites for God.

Here are a few of my reflections…

“For years I was convinced that a good student of the Bible reads fast and in mass quantities. So when I tried to read the number of chapters I thought I “should” read, it took me forever. My attempts at Bible study were almost always short-lived, and they all ended the same—with me feeling like a failure.” (p.96)

In her brand new book Carrie Ward shares a refreshingly honest account of her struggle with discipline and consistent Bible study and how the Lord gave her a new hunger for him amidst the chaos of motherhood.

And how this resonates with me!

Like Carrie, I have never read the whole Bible. I have never successfully completed an annual reading plan. I have never had consistently had daily “quiet time”.

And like Carrie, despite being taught the benefits of practicing spiritual disciplines, I have struggled to joyfully and obediently carry this out in my daily life. I desire to desire this fellowship with my God – but how do I move beyond this?

How refreshing to find that I am not alone! How encouraging to see that there is hope!

As mother of four small children in her mid-thirties, Carrie was tempted to think that she would never beat this battle with discipline:

“The Bible seemed so big and difficult to understand, at times even boring. My self- discipline wasn’t strong enough. My attention span wasn’t long enough. My sense of Christian duty was not robust enough to maintain the reading long-term. Each attempt to read the Bible was clouded by guilt, frustration, and the seemingly inevitable failure. All around me, Christians seemed to have mastered this discipline. Why couldn’t I? I was beginning to think it was too late for me.” (p. 13)

But it was during this extremely busy, yet extremely mundane period of her life that Carrie began to long to hear from God through his Word and desire to know Him better. In her book, she recounts her journey of reading through the Bible from start to finish for the first time.

But here’s the clincher. Over a five-year period, Carrie read one chapter of the Bible a day with four tiny children!

Not only does Carrie revel in the way the Lord has transformed her heart through this process, but she recounts the joys of exploring the Scriptures with her children and seeing how God has begun to shape their hearts and draw them to himself through his Word.

“I want my children to form the habit of reading the Bible. If they haven’t spent time in God’s Word, I want it to seem as if there’s something not right about the day. But even more important, I want them to treasure God’s Word. I want them to be able to say with the psalmist, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). I want them to have those moments when they lose track of time as they delight in God’s Word—and lose track of time as they marvel and delight in God himself. I want them to read the Word of God and in a loud voice shout “Yay!” and I want them to confidently proclaim that the reason for that “yay”—in all of Scripture—is Jesus.” (p. 50)

As a mother of a very cheeky 16-month old, I can completely relate to Carrie’s desire to shake my bad habits and start modeling a life of obedience before my family. I desire my son to know his Creator and Saviour and I am often overwhelmed by the weighty responsibility of a parent to guide him in the ways of the Lord. I want to move beyond my failure and insufficiency, rest in Christ’s sufficiency for me and start practicing discipline in His strength.

Carrie’s simple and practical approach to hearing from God and leading her children as she seeks His goodness every day encourages me that I can have this too!

“I’m that undisciplined person. I’m that slow reader who’s not particularly dynamic or animated. And while I think my children are extraordinary, in reality they are probably not any more extraordinary than you think your children are. (Notice I said “probably.”) And my husband, while he’s my pillar, would openly tell you all his frailties. Our only “in” with God is Jesus Christ, just like yours. (pg. 92)

Together is a great example of how God’s word is not just for Bible scholars, pastors and “uber-Christians”, but for the weak, vulnerable, broken and child-like – even for children. Carrie Ward provides encouragement for failures like me to rest in Christ, draw near to my Father and be filled by his Word daily, even now in my own crazy, hectic mundane.

I highly commend this book to you!

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ABOUT THE WRITER
Kristen was born in Papua New Guinea and grew up in Australia (incidentally, with Samantha). Now Kristen lives in Dubai with her husband, Nigel (aka Captain Nigel), who is an airline pilot, and their gorgeous baby boy Kingston (aka Sprout). Kristen is well known for her outstanding baking skills and hospitality, and can turn any stranger into her friend for life.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aimee Byrd April 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Love your last paragraph, Carrie. Thanks for the book review.

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2 Carrie Ward April 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Thank you, Kristen. And may the Lord bless you on this journey. He is good!

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3 Jessalyn @DesiringVirtue.com April 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thanks for the recommendation, I hadn’t even heard about the book, but and excited to read it and be encouraged.

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4 Lacey Wilcox April 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm

I hand’t heard about this one either! Excited to read it!

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5 Samantha Muthiah April 22, 2012 at 8:48 am

Just finished reading this one. It was so encouraging – well worth reading!

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