You guys, I have to tell you about the book that has left me renewed and refreshed and has spoken straight down into my wounded soul. If you've ever been in leadership, you know that it is not always a fun place to be. And for those of us who have served in ministry leadership…well, we pretty much all come with baggage. The church is a hospital for broken, hurting people, and broken people break people. Hurt people hurt people.
This page contains affiliate links – they don’t cost you a penny, but they sure help to pay off those student loans! For more information, please see my disclosure page. Also, I received a copy of Renewed in exchange for an honest review.
Are YOU Ready to be Renewed?
As leaders – of ministries, families, or even our Sunday school class – we are in the trenches of spiritual warfare. Wounds are inflicted as often by words as by physical attack. We get bumped into by team members who are inexperienced or immature and don't realize their mistakes cause hurt; we get betrayed by poor communication as often as poor leadership, and because there are a lot of broken people in churches, pastors and their families and other church leaders can take a lot of abuse. Add to that the feeling of being financially stretched thin and constantly under pressure for some sort of results, and you've got a tough situation. Any of us leaders have been there at one time or another. Maybe you're still there. Or maybe, like me, you're serving in a great church now but brought some baggage of betrayal with you.
Our leaders and pastors can often be lonely, and it can be hard to build friendships because there are always things you can't share. And that lonely place where you've got no support, you're tired from carrying around all this baggage, and maybe even feeling abused and battered emotionally…that place leaves you vulnerable to the enemy's attacks. Nearly every church I have been at has at some point experienced a major moral failure or major financial failure (or both) on the part of a staff member. And I'm no exception. In order to take care of our churches, we have to work with Jesus to take care of us. It's why I just made an appointment with a mentor to be my coach, part of why I see a great Christian therapist, and it's also why I picked up this book.
Actually, I didn't pick it up. I downloaded it to my Kindle. and then I picked up my Kindle, which I'm surprised isn't somehow melded to me after all the hours I spend reading on that thing. I keep thinking I should name it, since it reads my books to me, too. Any ideas? But I digress.
Renewed is a 40 day devotional for “women in ministry, ministry wives, and lay leaders who have been wounded by their congregations.” I'm not a guy, but I think this book could be a huge encouragement for guys too. I'm not a fan of devotionals on their own, because if I choose between them, I would want to choose a Bible study. But this little book is a great supplement to your daily study. I'm actually planning to use it as a reference later, and here's why: each day walks you through one of those feelings, reactions, or positions we have as broken people in ministry, on a path from acknowledging the hurt to forgiveness to looking up and loving again. “God, I don't think I can forgive her.” “Lord, I feel betrayed.” “Lord, I feel like I've failed you.” Each day walks through a reflection, a verse, and prayer.
3 Things I Loved About Renewed
#1 Bite-sized Chunks of Encouragement, but not Trite.
Each day's chapter is short and easy to digest. It was very manageable to do this alongside my daily Bible study. But there is nothing trite or simple about these reflections. There are biblical answers, yes, but written with the same open complexity of God's Word, recognizing that the right thing to do is not always easy, and often takes time.
#2 Faces down the Real Stuff.
The author uses real experiences – her own and others' – to compose each chapter. There is no beating around the bush or hiding the way that ministry leaders are so often battered and bruised. This book is by one such leader, for leaders, and using the real life experiences of still other leaders, and it brings us into conversation with God about the very real things that go on “behind the scenes” of church life.
#3 Gives us permission to Feel the Feels (as my friend Erin would say)
Have you ever felt guilty for feeling frustrated at a situation, or angry or lonely? You have the actual emotion of the thing you're going through, and then you've got guilt piling up on top of it because you're supposed to set the example. You're supposed to be joyful always (“Your name is Joy! Why aren't you happy all the time?”). You're supposed to trust God…and maybe feeling this way means you don't?
Get ready for the magic guilt eraser.
God took away shame, but we like to hold onto guilt, especially about our “performance” as Christians and leaders. And don't get me wrong. It's not wrong to want to set a good example, and we should be joyful and trust God! But guilt is not what God wants from us.
I felt like so many chapters from this book spoke directly out of my heart, stealing the words I didn't know I had or putting words to feelings I hadn't figured out how to say – or had no one to say it to! It gave me permission to feel those feelings, acknowledge them, lament and grieve, and then place those feelings in proper relationship to God and in conversation with Him. There may or may not be a friend at church that can handle your heavy load (and I think church leaders need to find a few friends outside of their own congregations so they can have the freedom to talk things through). But I can guarantee you that your anger and your tears are not too much for God.
As I mentioned before, I'm going to be keeping this book on hand for when I have those moments. Renewed gave me the vocabulary to talk to God about the painful parts of doing ministry. And I would highly recommend this book to anyone in ministry (or recovering from it!).
Renewed is on Tour with Celebrate Lit!
About the Book
Book Title: Renewed
Author: Leigh Powers
Release date: November 2017
Ministry is a privilege, but it can also be a painful experience. Unrealistic expectations, church conflict, forced resignations, and our own struggles with burnout, loneliness, and insecurity can make church feel more like a place of wounding than a place of healing. How can wounded leaders find the courage to reject bitterness and keep loving the church?
Renewed is a forty-day devotional for women in ministry, ministry wives, and lay leaders who have been wounded by their congregations. You are not alone. God sees your pain. He knows your hurts. And he is waiting to bind up your broken heart. This forty-day journey into the healing love of Jesus will help you find the courage to stop hiding and start loving the church again.
Click here to purchase your copy!
Leigh Powers is passionate about helping women find hope and healing in God’s Word. A pastor’s wife and mother of three with fifteen years of full-time ministry experience, she is a freelance writer, Bible study and devotional author, and a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She blogs regularly at www.leighpowers.com. You can usually find her with either a book or knitting needles in her hand—and sometimes both.
Guest Post from Leigh
I love ministry life. Several years ago, a young woman from Southeast Asia came to my English as a Second Language class for a year. Her English wasn’t very good, and I had to tug to get a word out of her. She came every week, but I wondered how much she was getting from the Bible stories we did during each class. At the end of the semester, I asked our class to share what they wanted to tell their friends and family when they went home. She looked up at me with big brown eyes. “I want to tell people about Jesus.”
Those are the ministry moments that thrill us.
It is a privilege to help people find freedom in Christ, teach God’s word, worship with the congregation, and walk alongside people in their moments of joy or sorrow. On those days I can’t imagine choosing another life. Then there are days that make me want to hang it all up and go work at Wal-Mart. Days when anonymous letters get slipped under the office door. Days when you’re the brunt of gossip, when loneliness is like an ache in your bones, or when you start sending out resumes for new positions because you aren’t sure how much longer you’ll have the one you’ve got.
Ministry can be tough.
Over the years I’ve met many women who have experienced the painful side of ministry. Church conflicts, forced resignations, depression, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, and our own struggles with faith can take a toll. That painful side of ministry can make us start looking for an escape hatch.
I wrote Renewed in the middle of a difficult ministry season. It was a hard season, but it was also a season where Jesus showed up for me in an almost tangible way. At the same time, I was also hearing stories from other ministry wives and women in ministry that sounded all too familiar. I started putting words on the page, hoping that somehow God would use them to bring healing to other women in the same way he had brought healing to me. That outpouring of hurt, healing, and hope eventually became Renewed.
Some of you reading this are nodding along right now because you’ve been there too. You love the church, but you’ve seen how ugly it can be when we get it wrong. You’ve got wounds of your own, and sometimes you wonder if you can ever risk your heart again. If that’s you, I want you to know that there is hope. God has not abandoned you. God sees your hurt, he knows your pain, and he is waiting to bind up your broken spirit. He’s waiting. Turn to him, and may you find your spirit renewed.
Bibliophile Reviews, October 6
amandainpa, October 7
A Baker’s Perspective, October 7
The Becca Files, October 8
Mary Hake, October 8
Living Life Free In Christ, October 9
Genesis 5020, October 10
A Reader’s Brain, October 11
More Of Him, October 12
proud to be an autism mom, October 12
Godly Book Reviews, October 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14
Carpe Diem, October 14
Kelly Harrel, October 15
Texas Book-aholic, October 16
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 17
Bigreadersite, October 17
Janices book reviews, October 18
Real World Bible Study, October 19
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 19
To celebrate her tour, Leigh is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ee/renewed-celebration-tour-giveaway