Welcome to the online home of Audra Jennings, a book publicist and crafter. Here I share about both. I hope you'll find books you'll want to read and crafts you will want to order. I live a rather boring, single life. At times I would like to think I am humorous. In the past, blogging about current seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette were a big part of the blog. I'm giving that up though. I just can't handle it anymore.
The beautiful sacredness in the life you are already living
When life seems ordinary and
unexciting, it is easy to slip into the mindset of being stuck and in need of a
change. In Sacred Mundane: How to Find
Freedom, Purpose, and Joy (Kregel Publications), Kari Patterson shows the
reader the key to change is already in her hand once she realizes what is
holding her back. “In 2 Kings, we read, ‘Naaman was a mighty man of valor, but
he was a leper.’ He had so much going for him, but his leprosy threatened to
steal it all,” explains Patterson. “I ask readers to consider their own lives
and prayerfully simmer down their own life into a sentence. So often we’re
vaguely aware of the areas we want to change, but we don’t take the time to
narrow down and identify the one thing hindering us most. Identifying the one
thing helps us see more clearly how God wants to use our mundane to make us
more like Him.”
Patterson points readers to the truth:
In each unremarkable life lies an opportunity to see, know, love and be
transformed by God, who meets everyone right where they are. Instead of
stepping away from real life to find God, Patterson equips women with a
six-step practice to move forward and meet Him in the humdrum moments of
Look: see the world through the word
Listen: discern His voice in daily life
Engage: enter in
Embrace: love the One
Trust: live the blank
Thank: find fulfillment
What is the first of six steps to move forward and meet God in the humdrum
moments of everyday existence?
The first step is to look. Most importantly
of all, we must learn to use the Scriptures as a lens through which we see
every situation. Until we see as God sees, nothing will make sense. We will go
through life stumbling and fumbling until we learn to see all things through
the truth of God’s Word. In my opinion, this is the biggest deficiency in the
American church. We don’t know God’s Word. We’re shallow. We go through the
motions of religiosity and church attendance, but we don’t truly know the Word
of God and let it soak into our souls and permeate every part of our being. God’s
Word isn’t the end all — He is — but it is through the Scriptures we learn to
see as He sees.
Can you share your simple approach to scripture and reading the Bible?
the Word to see everything else. As we study the Scriptures every day, we don’t
evaluate them, standing over them as a judge; we receive them. That is, we
don’t overly concern ourselves with some big, new revelation no one has seen
before. We don’t have to know Greek or Hebrew or do the latest Bible study. We
simply need to sit like a child at His feet, opening up God’s Word and
determining we will do whatever we read, no matter what. Our aptitude for the
Word matters less than our attitude toward the Word.
How do we listen to and discern God’s voice in our daily life?
First by getting into the Scripture so we
know what He sounds like. I know the sound of my husband’s tires on the gravel
outside our house. How do I know? It’s a different tires-on-gravel sound than
any other car, and I’ve heard it so many times that I’ve learned to discern it throughout
time. There are a lot of voices out there: the world, the enemy, my own
thoughts and emotions. The only way to discern what God’s voice sounds like is
to practice listening and see if it lines up with the Word of God. The more time
we spend in the Word, sit quietly and listen in prayer, obey what we hear, and take
steps of faith to do anything He asks of us, the more we increase our ability
to hear from Him.
Step three in the process is engaging. How exactly do you engage with God in
the monotony of life?
At any given moment throughout my day, I have
the choice whether I will engage and enter in or draw back, escape, and check
out. We can do this in many ways: by ignoring a difficult situation, avoiding
conflict, not dealing with a child who needs discipline, getting on my phone
and mindlessly scrolling through social media, sitting and vegging in front of
my TV shows, eating, shopping, or staying so busy I don’t have to deal with
hard things. But when we stop, slow down, and engage, we step into the hard,
mundane, and ordinary moment. We learn to commune with God in the midst of it,
asking Him how He wants us to respond to any given situation. We have an
opportunity to see Him in the midst of the ordinary, but not if we’re checked
out on our phones.
did God put into your life to teach you about loving people? What did you learn
from opening the door and letting her in?
God placed a young woman on our doorstep who
was homeless, addicted to drugs, and struggling with severe mental illness and
PTSD from abuse. I let her in, and she lived with us for a time. I learned
loving people is messy, and we don’t always do it perfect. However, that isn’t
the point. I also discovered addiction and homelessness are complex issues. Most
importantly, I learned the only answer is the gospel and about the love and
accountability of gospel community through the Church. People can never become
projects, and loving others always includes a cost. Jesus paid the greatest
cost ever out of love for us, and He calls us to love others in that same
generous, selfless, costly way.
Why is it hard for us to trust God and His plans for us?
It’s hard to trust God’s plan for us because
we can’t see the end! We are control freaks, especially in this culture where
we have (or think we have) so much perceived control. For example, most of us
aren’t farmers with huge variations in crops from year to year. Instead, we get
a regular paycheck, often a fixed salary, and have five-year plans, big buffers
on our savings accounts. We have climate control in our homes and cars and have
gates and locks on our doors. We like to make our own plans so we feel in
control. Trusting God is hard because He usually doesn’t give us much advanced
notice. In fact, He often makes it look as if everything is disastrous before
He swoops in and fulfills His promises. He does this so our faith, more
precious than gold, will be tested and found pure. He knows the greatest joy,
peace, and transformation happens when we learn to quit trying to be God and
let Him be all.
is the final step of discovering God in the mundane?
The sixth step is to thank, and that’s most
certainly the culmination of the Godward, worshipful life. We all know we’re
supposed to be thankful, and perhaps we’ve written gift lists and tried to
count our blessings. Still we struggle with this nagging feeling of
disappointment and frustration. Often we think if we’re truly spiritual or if
we’re good Christians, then we won’t feel disappointment. We sing, “You’re
never gonna let me down,” but if we’re honest, we often feel disappointed and let
down by God. What do we do with that disappointment? In this chapter we discuss
two cycles, the disappointment cycle and the fulfillment cycle, and look at the
difference between expectancy and expectation. We look at the lives of seven
godly men and women in the Scriptures who all experienced profound
disappointment as part of God’s glorious plan for their lives. Here we learn
the secret to seeing God’s fulfillment, learn to cast aside our flimsy handmade
expectations, and learn to squint the eyes of our souls to see God in the
Then we finish our time together in the book
by emphasizing the importance of letting our lives be poured out in worship to
God for the sake of others. Transformation is really all about bearing fruit,
and fruit was meant to be picked. The purpose of fruit is not to preen. Trees
don’t take selfies of their fruit. The purpose of fruit is to nourish others by
the beauty and nutrients. When our lives are transformed, the world is blessed.
Sadly, we often divorce these two aspects of the Christian life — sanctification
and mission. I’d insist they are one and the same. As we are sanctified, we are
more effective in carrying out the mission of God, and as we carry out the
mission of God, we are sanctified, made more like Christ. This book isn’t about
naval-gazing, self-focus, or being all we were meant to be simply for the
purpose of looking better. The point is freedom, purpose, and joy, for the
glory of God and the good of the world. The point is to display the goodness
and glory of God to a world in desperate need of His hope. That’s the point.
Tell us more about the nine-session small-group Bible study included in the
Bible study can be used by individuals or as a group study. It is great for a
summer book club, meeting informally in someone’s living room, or a church’s
women’s weekly Bible study (large or small). All that’s needed is included in
the book, so it’s ideal for a low-cost, easy-to-facilitate, nine-week study.