I had the complete pleasure of reading “Univinted” by Lysa TerKeurst this fall. Not only is this book a great one to inspire growth and change personally, but also to help inform your other relationships. I would argue that given time and community this book can be for everyone. It produced more self awareness and also to my complete delight I also saw an increase in an awareness of others grow with each passing chapter and week.
I find myself leaning in to you my reader and wanting to share a secret with you… although I did just let the cat out of the bag before I was ready.
The secret here is that a book is almost always better in community, and this book is no exception. Whether the book you are reading is a fictional novel and the delight is found in sharing the engaging story or the characters who have become your friends with a real life friend or it’s a self-help spiritual growth type book like this one and the community actually helps you understand and process – a book is just so much better when you have someone to share it with. I had the opportunity to go through this book with a group of women whom I dearly love and trust. My community mom’s group selected this from a trio of books as their choice for our fall season. Seeing them select a book with such a daring title “Uninvited” and an even more challenging tag line of “Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely” made our leadership team know that for sure this was a needed topic and the clear winner for our study. We truly believed it could be a springboard for a beautiful season of growth and transparency among our women. Which is exactly what it has proven to be.
The cover is tattered, the pages filled with notes, and the moments between sips of coffee and kid-free bites of breakfast were brimming with tears and prayers. Truly this book is a gift. An open door to talk about hard things, experiences of rejection and loneliness, and also the exciting new opportunities that God is laying before us.
With each passing chapter I found myself in pages of the book more and more. I don’t mean I found mySELF. I mean there were bits of me, bits of my world, laced into the story and through the wisdom of TerKeurst and the extensive amounts of Scripture laced into the book (and the study), so much of God’s heart explored and explained, that I just couldn’t help but grow. I would never have guessed that I might have been dealing with these topics in my own life, but here I am. And boy was God’s timing perfect on this one. I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review, but since I am the group facilitator I did pick up the “Study guide” online as an addition and I am so glad I did. The video and study really took this book to a whole additional level. I had the challenge of pouring over the text and the study guide each week, writing 6-8 questions for our ladies group and then helping to facilitate the discussion; and I’ll be honest the study guide and dvd session has been what has made this so much more of an adventure in growth and change. I will also add that there is way more content then we covered each week. I truly had to prioritize, process, and pair down the information, and I’d be more then happy to share those questions with anyone who wants to do this study with a group of ladies.
So here’s the short of it…
– the topic is hard
– the content is complex
– the book is dense (especially when you add the study)
But it’s worth it. The study explains TerKeurst’s process and provides more context to the Scriptural background she covers in the book. She focuses the book into six sessions (3 chapters of reading a week) and includes “statements to hold onto” for each of the sessions. Our group wrote these on our table centerpieces – chalkboard globes – and really tried to hang on tight to them to help guide our discussion and our takeaways each week.
The sessions were:
Empty or Full?
The Yoke of God is Freedom
Remembering God’s Presence
Lessons from the Olive
TerKeurst also visits key Biblical places during her video sessions and it is so special to see her explore places where Jesus walked and where the stories she uses to take us deeper into Scripture are acutally set. I have adored Abigail and Hannah – two women I really hadn’t studied before. Thank you to TerKeurst for taking us further into their stories.
Not only have I been personally challenged, but I’m seeing women in all walks of life find their own takeaways. I am also finding ways I can be a better friend and come along side others as they experience these challenging emotions as well. It is such a great joy to have a book take me deeper into God’s Word and into prayer. I have been encouraged to take on new things, leave behind others, and to truly tune my heart to Him daily, to live in His love and light. What a blessing this book has been to me.
I have made some life changes in response to this book and like all good change does I’m still experiencing and exploring the ripple effect of those changes. As I further process, experience, and grow I look forward to sharing more with you all. In the meantime, snag this book (and the study) and gather some ladies over a hot cup of yumminess because a book is always better in community.
I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.