Joanna Weaver's latest book is an honest look at moving faith beyond your head to your heart. For those who need to periodically reexamine their faith and their role in accepting religion, this book is a must read, especially for women. Lazarus Awakening is a look at how to open your heart to God's voice and to his actions. It is not a ten quick steps guide to living through God or anything quite so simplistic. In a world that seeks so much scientific proof to back up theory, it is a compelling essay on how to move beyond that to a place where a Christian can see the actions of God and trust that he is there even when those desperate times appear and he seems absent. In many ways this is a book about trust.
Weaver speaks of her childhood and her intuitive knowledge that God was there guiding her and accepting her as something that was almost a nursery rhyme in its familiarity. And yet, she notes that while she knew this to be true and she felt safe in God's love, she also experienced this as a somewhat threatening and heavy-handed type of love. As she writes: "I saw my heavenly Father as a stern teacher with a yardstick in His hand, pacing up and down the classroom of my life as He looked for any and all infractions...Most of the time I lived in fear of the yardstick."
Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place In The Heart of God is the third book in a series by Weaver that started with Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and then followed with Having a Mary Spirit. The poetic title Lazarus Awakening is a reference to the Biblical character Lazarus, brother to Mary and Martha, who falls ill and dies. Mary and Martha bury him and Jesus comes back to show them his power and ressurect Lazarus from the dead. The stones in front of Lazarus' grave are also metaphors for blockages in our lives impeding belief and faith. The three stones, according to Weaver are: unworthiness, unforgiveness and unbelief.
And in many ways Lazarus is a metaphor here - a smart one - for the absence of something and the experience of faith. Lazarus is mostly known in the Bible for his absence, his death and then his reawakening. The parallel of course is that God's love is like that, and so is faith. Weaver sees the reader as Lazarus and the intention within this book then must be to reawaken the audience.
There are interesting little snippets of scripture and also some quizzes to help readers access more self knowledge throughout the process of reading this book. There are also some cultural references the author draws on to make a point and a nice study guide is in the book for Bible study groups and Christian women's groups who may choose this book to explore further. All in all this is an easy read and relevant. I liked the metaphor and also found the writing style accessible. I think this author is quite appealing because she draws on the universal childhood experience of religion being taught to you as something that is done to a child and for a child, but not necessarily internalized by the child. Lazarus Awakening is a guide that helps explain the process of growing from that passive child into an active adult relationship with God.
Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver, published by Waterbrook Press, US $19.99 and Canadian $22.99 Christian Living, Women, Non Fiction, Self Help, 221 pages
Thriftymommas rating is $$$1/2 out of $$$$$. An easy read. This would make a great choice for a Christian women's book club.
I received a copy of this book for free to facilitate this review. This in no way impacts my opinion.
I enjoyed this book so much I would like to share a copy with my readers.
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I will draw for this one on April 25th.