Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The book: ANYTHING by Jennie Allen

 So book review is coming....but oh so much more than a review!  First things first- a cute kid picture.....because we all know this is what we all LOVE to see ;)  Below is my homeschool room/catch all room (you are only laughing because you know it's true!).  We decided to paint it because after all we are on the 5 year painting routine where within the next 5 years our home will actually be repainted on the inside....and then we will probably have to start over ;).  Oh well.....these faces are much more important than our walls people!!!!! 
 So here is the beginning of our disaster.  If you don't remember what it looked like before...ummmm.....you can scroll down and see the end result- pretty much the same except a few things and a much nicer brighter room!!!!!  See if you can spot all the other areas of my home that took on a lot of the junk stuff that was in the homeschool room?
 I was contacted and sent a book called Anything the prayer that unlocked my God and my Soul by Jennie Allen.  She has also written Bible Studies Stuck and Chase.  I knew with a title like that I was going to be hearing really clearly from the Lord some things HE has in mind for me and our family.  How could you not?  So the first decision......do I even say yes to reading it? 
 After thinking about it for a few minutes.....I said - ummm YES!  WOW!!!!  I am going to attempt to put into words what this book is about, but really you have to read it for yourself- AND I WILL GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO DO JUST THAT...stay tuned!!!
 In the book Jennie explains how she had said even before getting married that she didn't want to live a typical life.  Her husband took that as a good thing and after years of being married, 3 kids, her husband being a pastor, and a newly built home.......they decided that ANYTHING prayer needed to happen. 
 You see she felt......comfortable.   What is wrong with comfortable you ask?  Well she doesn't put it this way, but it is what the Lord spoke to me as I was reading this book.....when we are comfortable we create idols.  GASP!  Ummm.....YES I SAID THE WORD IDOLS!!!  As in we sit around thinking that we have it good and we don't want to mess it up.  Why in the world should we?  I mean God does say that he will prosper His people right?  Shouldn't we live in that?
 Oh boy.......here is some toe stepping..........NO!  No we shouldn't!!  Look it is NOT wrong to have enough to eat, to have clothes, to have a vehicle, to have a home.  BUT (there is always a but right?) what if I were to tell you that anytime we have those things to excess or above and beyond we claim it as OURS and NOT GOD'S.  YES WE DO!  Now right there....you may decide to never read my blog again.....
 I hope you do.  You see I am going to explain some of my own IDOLS!  YES I HAVE THEM!!!  People I am normal....well you know in a hypothetical sort of way.  So is Jennie!  She makes it clear that she is sipping Starbucks in her nice home as she writes.  NO ONE even those who are missionaries and live with next to nothing is perfect.

ONE DAY THOUGH.....when the Lord comes again- we WILL BE!!  Oh I just can't wait!!! 
 OK back to the book sorry....adhd sometimes kicks in.  What if we each prayed......ANYTHING God.....ALL I HAVE IS TRULY YOURS!  

She is talking about it this way- do you have a home?  Is it yours?  Is God calling you to give that up...to move for HIM, to sell it and give that money away and rent something cheaper or move to a cheaper home?

Do you have a spare room, or room enough in your child's room for another bed or a bunk bed?  (this was one of her Anythings the Lord cashed in on....and they were blessed with a little boy from Rwanda)

Do you have enough money to give away?  Better yet because we all pretend like we don't have enough money, but really IN REALITY we do (and yes I am real in the fact that there are some a small portion of people who don't).  Do you have more than enough food?  Can you give away things in your possession?

Do you have a car- two cars?  Do you really need them?

How about being willing to give your time away?  Yes, we all say we don't have time, but really again like the money thing....most of us do have some time.  Would you be willing to volunteer to do children's ministry at your church, write a Bible Study for HIM (again something Jennie was scared outside her mind to do and yet she did a fantastic job at capturing the very essence of what the Lord has been putting on my own heart!), can you volunteer to make a meal for someone who can't get out and go and sit and eat it with them, how about visiting the nursing home where too many lay forgotten on beds in small rooms with nothing? 
 How about???  And that is the question......HOW ABOUT YOU- WHAT IS YOUR ANYTHING?
 Here are some other things about her book that just make it real to me...not just a movement to say - do something.

Pg 121. "This defies our pragmatism.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I grew up in a conservative Bible church.  Holy Spirit seemed to mean something out of control and lacking truth.  The Holy Spirit is truth- how can we miss him throughout the pages of truth, the Bible?  Until we believe in the reality of a spiritual war where spiritual beings exist and spiritual plan is being accomplished, we won't need an invisible Spirit's help.  This is ridiculous....unless it is all real.

I had made following Christ all about a bunch of rules and principles.  But the relationship I'd heard about all that time growing up, this was it.  God in me.  Leaning into him for self-control when my nine-year-old talks back, for guidance on where to use God's gifts in me, for words when I am fleshing out this book he led me to write, and for patience as the consequences of obeying flooded our lives.

Without the Spirit of God to lead our anythings, we will only be do-gooders with our own agendas.  And they will fizzle.  It will be a phase, some dramatic spiritual experiment we look back on fondly, wishing it had been real life.  But sometimes the real thing takes time.  We prayed anything, but it was over the course of months and years that our anythings have been revealed.  I imagine this will continue for the rest of our lives; if we remain willing, more anythings are in store.

The Spirit now is in us, those bound to Christ, and we wait on him to act.  We wait on him to tell us what's next.  This is not easy, but it is pretty simple."
 Man that is a lot to take in!!  YES there is spiritual warfare and yes it all makes sense when we actually turn to God and say- anything.  That anything over and over and over will take us places where our only source of strength is to say to God - YOU WIN!  I will give it all for you because YOU are the ONLY thing worth having. 
 pg 165 "I hate pat answers.....and the thought that Jesus was the answer to all the problems inside me always felt like one.  I never would have said that out loud.  I did actually believe he was powerful enough to heal what was broken in me, but I did not know how to take that truth and shove it deep inside of me where it snapped in and felt different.

'Jennie, I think most of us live thinking there is a medium.  A place where we can live regular lives and serve God too.'  Jessica spoke to me honestly in my living room as we stayed up late talking about surrender, talking about why it is so hard for all of us to give in and how few people we know who truly live surrendered lives. "

So very true.....how do we take our lives and TRULY SURRENDER.  This is a daily process of dying over and over.  This is a process for me, for you, and for everyone who catches a glimpse of a God who is soo HUGE that they just have to do it.  They have to say- ok God anything!  I want it in my heart, in my soul, in my every breath! 
pg 168 "As we were about to pay our bill and finish dinner, Bekah leaned forward and said, 'I have been a Christian for almost thirty years and yet I would say that over the past couple years, I've just now started to grasp how much he really does love me.  I've been so programmed to perform as a 'follower of Christ,' and all God ever wanted was for me to surrender, to set aside the agenda and to follow.  How easy, yet how challenging, when the world and even the church told or shoed me the 'agenda' of what a Christian should be like, act like, look like.  It's so refreshing to live now."

pg 168 "Abandoment only makes sense if there is a God worthy of abandoning everything for.  The greatest gift in surrender is that in letting go of everything you think will fix you and make you feel better, you find a person.....not a pat anser or a verse or a cause.  After you head clears from the struggle of wrestling yourself to the ground, you see a person.

He was there before when you were preoccupied, but now you see him.

Jesus said, 'These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full' (John 15:11)."

So often we are soo afraid to let go.  We are afraid for different reasons of different things.  In the book Jennie was scared out of her mind of adoption.  This is where God led them and yet it just seemed too much, too big, and just not what was comfortable.

Obviously, ummm....that is not the same for me ;).  BUT I/WE all have things that feel the same way for us!!  I will be sharing more on that later.

In closing there is something in the book that also made me stop and think.  She talks about breaking the idea in our hearts and heads that just because something is harder than what we thought.  Just because we experience loss or hardships.....does NOT mean that it isn't what God called us to do.

I have heard people say.....I would love to do that if I had the money.  Ummm.....I hate to break it to you, but if God calls you to do it- you need to do it!  God may provide, or He may ask you to reach deeper, sacrifice and do more fundraising, wait, or get others involved even when it makes you uncomfortable!  AMEN!  Sometimes I wonder how many people are not fulfilling God's plans for them because they are scared God may not provide.  HE WILL but it doesn't always look the same or pretty with a bow on top.

I pray that these excerpts will touch your heart and help you to start searching for your Anythings!

So.....who wants to read this book???  AWESOME!  Then accept the challenge.......
Leave a comment here (make sure I can get to an email from the comment- or watch for my announcement of the winner and I will ask you then).
Can't comment?  I know sometimes it happens- so send me an email
or a private facebook message.

Or....want a second or third chance to get an entry?  Show me some link love and link me up to your blog or share my facebook link (which will be on my facebook too....so just click share).  Oh don't forget to come back and leave a comment saying you did those things or I won't remember because I will forget I don't want to miss putting your name in the hat twice or three times :).

Or....for an extra challenge give me some of your ANYTHINGS you are grappling with or have given over to God already or thinking about...any of the above!!

I will "the old fashioned way" because I am technically challenged I love to do things the hard way- put names in a hat- and have my kiddos draw it next week.


  1. sounds like a great book!
    love the painting!

  2. Awesome post Dawn!!! I love the painting...it looks happy. I just finished my oldest's room...lime green. =)

  3. Your blog really blesses my socks off! Love the color you picked for your school room! Blessings, Denise

  4. I would love to win this book! I'm also a little nervous to read it though!

    Amy P.

  5. That sounds like a perfect book to read as I job-hunt and pray about what the Lord would have me do next. Thanks for sharing and for challenging us to be willing to pray "Anything, Lord!"

  6. I'm currently reading "Absolute Surrender" by Andrew Murray. The book you read sounds like it would be a great continuation.

  7. So glad I found your blog! I'm Jay Lippy's daughter. I'm going to link you up on my blog. What a difficult book, and a difficult topic to swallow. In a world where "prosperity gospel" is being taught it is so difficult to get down to the brass tacks of what Jesus TRULY taught! There is nothing in the bible that implies he meant "sell all your possessions and follow me" as a euphemism. I'm struggling with that one big time. Thank you for talking about it. Blessing to you and your family :)

  8. Oh! I would love this book! We are currently starting the process of adoption (you can see our announcement on my blog!) --And, that in itself is giving up a lot.... I like to have a PLAN B FOR PLAN B...and clearly, I'm having to give that up in this regard. We're also in the process of cleaning out my "craft (hazard) zone" and since we don't have another place to put those things...they have to find a new place to live (well, they won't really live...but you know what I mean!) So much change! But, WE will be the ones blessed for it (by a child).

    --Ashley from www.bosssanders.com

  9. We are also just starting another adoption. I shared your post here: http://grtlyblesd.blogspot.com/2012/07/metamorphosis.html

  10. So here is my/our ANYTHING.... we are in the process of our 4th adoption (baby due anytime now). Bio mom has no real family to speak of ~ she aged out of foster care. She doesn't want the same life for her child that she had, living on welfare, projects and foster care. God has been speaking to us and we are trying to wrap our minds around the idea that maybe God would have us add both mom and baby to our family! NOT YOUR TRADITIONAL ADOPTION :o) I grew up in foster care and was adopted at age 28, so I totally get the need for family and a place to call home at any age. Excited to see where HE leads!!! Blessings, Denise

  11. Would LOVE to read this book-- we have adopted 4 children and God really called us to step out each time and take on that "anything" He was laying in our laps. Sounds like a wonderful and motivational read.

  12. How did I miss this post? Hope it's not too late because this book is popping everywhere. I guess I need to read it then since the Holy Spirit is nudging me...Thanks, Dawn. Love your Michael-is-who-God-made post above!

  13. Wow, I'm so excited to read this book and reach a new place of surrender.

  14. I am new to your blog - thanks for what you do! I heard about this book awhile back and thought I should get it. And then didn't. Here it pops up again...I am ready to know what my Anything is. Scared to death, and ready at the same time.

  15. Hi,
    We are just about to finalize our adoption of a boy who was originally from Eastern Europe, but his first adoption failed. We have also adopted a Russian little girl with special needs because her adoption failed. We have three biological kids. We will be having two 16 year olds live with us for the school year. All our beds are full, but there is a little girl named Haven on Reece's Rainbow....
    We are trying to teach our children the truth, "I will not sacrifice to God that which costs me nothing," so our family is sponsoring Haven until she gets adopted--but the kids have to do jobs to determine how much we send.

    So, what is my ANYTHING?