Reviewing {Everything}...Official Blog Tour!

“I know that God never gives us more than we can handle, but I am telling Him that I am *there*. I am at the outer limit.” 

I spoke those words on February 2, 2004. God has spent the intervening 8 years teaching me how very wrong my theology was. I now cringe when I see that same philosophy being shared by others. "God never gives us more than we can handle."  I want to yell..."Oh, yes, He does!!"  

As I've shared before, I can't even remember exactly what I was referring to at the time I said those words.  What I do know is that two days later, I was in the back of an ambulance in a snowstorm in the middle of the night headed to a hospital 2.5 hours away from home, in premature labor. That was the beginning of a long string of things I could definitely not handle...6 weeks in NICU for our tiny preemie...an extended separation of our family with Billy in Fort Smith with the kids and me in Little Rock to be with Ammah Grace in the hospital...a sharp health decline for my dad leading to his death in December of 2004...discovery in 2006 that one of our children had been the victim of a horrible crime at the hands of someone we trusted...diagnosis earlier this year of a frightening medical condition in one of our children.  

God has taught me in the last 8 years that He often gives us more than we can handle...because He wants us to realize how weak and powerless and helpless we truly are, so that we can then begin to get a tiny understanding of how big and powerful and faithful He is.  He wants us to learn that we cannot handle anything on our own, so that we will learn to truly trust Him. 

One of my favorite parts of Mary DeMuth's new book, Everything, is the section on practicing resilience, which is a discussion of one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11. In this section, Mary also discusses this false belief that "God won't put you through more than you can bear."  She explains that many people use 1 Cor. 10:13 as support for that statement, but points out that that verse is talking about temptations, not life circumstances. 

1 Cor. 10:13 promises that God will always "provide a way to say no when you want to say yes to sin", according to Mary, but it in no way promises that God will cease putting us through circumstances that are more than we can bear. In fact, as she points out, Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 1:8-10 that God did bring him more than he could bear, "to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead."  

I have been so privileged to be part of the launch team for this book. Mary has long been one of my favorite authors, and God has used her writing over the years in tremendous ways in my life.  Everything, subtitled "What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus", has been no exception.  

Mary writes about authentic, deep spiritual growth, not from the perspective of having "arrived", but from the perspective of "a fellow struggler, as one who doesn't often feel Jesusy or strong or faith-filled."  She shares her personal experiences on the journey to becoming an "Everything Christian"...one who joyfully relinquishes her everything to Jesus and in so doing, realizes the crazy growth that leads to maturity, to becoming more like Him daily.  

Everything is not just a book of personal experience, however.  It is based solidly on Scripture.  Mary carefully tears down much of the "sound-bite Christianity" of the day, and takes the reader back to Scripture for the hard...but infinitely worth it...truths of God's plan for our spiritual growth and maturity.  She leads us away from the "steps" of "All You Do Is" (AYDI) religion to the necessity of laying down our lives...dying to our own desires and embracing Jesus's Lordship, which is not the end of a progression, but our everyday call.

As I read this book, there was much that resonated with me and confirmed work God has already been doing in my life.  There were also those areas in which my heart pounded a bit and I felt a twinge of a desire to fight what God was saying through Mary's words.  I was challenged, convicted, and mostly excited about God's plan for us to live as "Everything Christians."  This is one of those books I'll be coming back to again and again.  I already need to re-read her sections on "Holy Inebriation", Living in Community, Surprise Disciplines, and Relinquishing Money.

This is also one of those rare books I encourage everyone to read.  For those living the "Everything life", it offers encouragement.  For those struggling, it offers support.  For the apathetic, it offers  challenge and motivation.  For the lost, it presents clearly and powerfully the Gospel of Jesus.

Everything is available for purchase at Amazon, CBD, Barnes and Noble, or check your favorite bookstore. 

Thanks for visiting Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  If this is your first time here, please take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.  Or subscribe by email via the box in the sidebar.  I'd also love to hear from you in the comments or via the email option on my profile page. 

I'm in the process of {slowly} journaling through Everything here on the blog.  If you'd like to keep up with those posts, you can follow the blog through one of the methods above.  Be sure to check out previous posts on Everything as well:

 Last, but very certainly not least, please be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour here.  I have been so blessed to be part of an amazing group of bloggers on the Everything Launch Team!  You will not want to miss what they have to share about this book! 

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