“GOD’s Word is an anchor in life’s storms.” – Julie Rayburn
We are all in a storm we never saw coming. Unprecedented. Worldwide. Life has come to a halt. Even if COVID-19 has not entered the doors of your own home, many are truly suffering, dying.
The response in every corner of our world has been swift. Immediate. Frightening at best. Incredibly limiting. We are battling the greatest uncertainty most of us have ever experienced. There is uneasiness all around us. Panic. Concern. Shortage of resources. And a total absence of answers. To. So. Many. Questions.
Where do we turn?
In her beautiful new devotional book, Peace in the Storms of Life, Julie Rayburn directs us to our sure and steadfast anchor – GOD and His Word! She opens with this verse:
“GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be removed into the heart of the sea.” Psalm 46:1-2
Each of her 125 entries begins with a scripture verse (short enough to ponder all day and/or memorize) and ends with a timely reflection question and/or suggestion for prayer. Sandwiched between, Julie shares personal stories that are real and relatable (even to my teenagers!), day-to-day moments in time where she has discovered a grounded place in GOD’s truth.
True to the book’s subtitle, “Devotional Encouragement for Women,” Julie’s words are reassuring and uplifting. Entries like “Trusting the Pain,” “Nothing is Wasted,” or “There is Peace” meet us right where we are in the swirl of these quarantined days. Headings like “GOD’s World or Our World,” “Open My Eyes, LORD,” or “the Blame Game” cause me to stop my immediate response long enough to dive deeper into thought, prayer, and wrestling GOD’s truth. And readings entitled “Face the Giants,” “Joy,” and “After the Storm” give me courage to step boldly forward with HOPE.
Readers can choose to read one entry each day, in succession, or flip through to find a heading that seems particularly appropriate for a given day. Each entry covers only a two-page spread and takes no more than a few minutes to read!
Julie’s thoughts serve as a perfect close to my own time of Bible reading, journaling, and prayer at the breakfast table. But, when life returns to “normal”, LORD willing, this little book would be ideal to carry with me in the car to provide food for thought in the middle of my errands, or to have on my night stand to offer a final word of encouragement, perspective, or prayer before drifting off to sleep.
I especially appreciate the way Julie has given me a fresh look at even familiar passages, like Psalm 23:
“You can suddenly find yourself in a painful valley. As pain pierces your soul and fear grips your heart, remember this: the same GOD who watched over David watches over you! He knows the valley you are in and the pain you are experiencing. GOD is walking right beside you! Allow your Good Shepherd to comfort you. He will fight your battles and draw you close for comfort. His presence can dissipate fear and worry. Trust Him and receive His sufficient grace!” (page 81)
Read and be encouraged, friends! Peace in the Storms of Life: Devotional Encouragement for Women, by Julie Rayburn, is published by Barbour Books, an imprint of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
ps… For those who appreciate pretty aesthetics, this little book is right up your alley! I confess I am a little biased since its cover (and internal pages) are highlighted by two of my favorite colors, purple and green, and one of my favorite flowers, lush vines of wisteria. Even its placeholder ribbon is a soft shade of lavender!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
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