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Kindred Spirits, Kindred Books...



Early on in my Christian walk, the Lord brought a dear friend and sister-in-the-Lord into my life, Raquel.   She and her family moved from New Mexico to the East Coast for her husband's year long job assignment.

We met Raquel and her husband through a Bible study at our church.  Raquel and I had an instant connection since both our daughters were the same age.  We started getting together outside of Bible study for playdates.   It very quickly became evident that we were blessed with one of those rare, extremely special, kindred relationships where you feel like you've known each other your whole lives.  Raquel and I laughed - A LOT!  We shared so much.  It was a relationship built on mutual trust, sharing with each other our hearts for God, for our husbands, and for our children.  We shared our victories and struggles, our hopes and fears...

I had opened up to Raquel about my struggle with anxiety.  She recommended two books to me, written by Hannah Whitall Smith, that she found to be of great encouragement - The Secret to a Happy Christian's Life and The God of All Comfort.

You know the kind of books that you are blessed to read, where pretty much every page is dog-eared? Well, that was indeed the case with The Secret to a Happy Christian's Life and The God of All Comfort.  The Lord used Hannah Whitall Smith's Godly wisdom to help me put into perspective what it means to trust God - the ultimate cure for anxiety...

What I liked most about Hannah's writings is the very matter of fact way she shares her insights.  Sometimes her words may come across harsh, but through that manner of writing, the reality of the truths she shares are more readily understood...


“It is a law of the spiritual life that every act of trust makes the next act less difficult. Trusting becomes like breathing, the natural unconciousness of the redeemed soul.” 
― Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life

“Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness, if only we had 
perfect confidence in the Power we were obeying.” 
― Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret Of A Happy Life

“A happy heart can walk in triumphant indifference through a sea of external trouble; while internal anguish cannot find happiness in the most favorable surroundings.” 
― Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret Of A Happy Life

“we can and must love the will of God in the trial, for His will is always sweet,
 whether it be in joy or in sorrow.” 
― Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret Of A Happy Life

“Why, I asked myself, should the children of God lead such utterly uncomfortable religious lives when He has led us to believe that His yoke would be easy and His burden light? Why are we tormented with so many spiritual doubts, and such heavy spiritual anxieties? Why do we find it so hard to be sure that God really loves us, and why is it that we never seem able to believe long at a time in His kindness and His care? How is it that we can let ourselves suspect Him of forgetting us and forsaking us in times of need? We can trust our earthly friends, and can be comfortable 
in their companionship, and why is it then that we cannot trust our heavenly Friend,
 and that we seem unable to be comfortable in His service?” 
― Hannah Whitall Smith, The God Of All Comfort

“Nothing else is needed to quiet all your fears, but just this, that GOD IS.” 
― Hannah Whitall Smith

“Comfort & peace never come from anything we know about ourselves, but only &
 always from what we know about Him.” 
― Hannah Whitall Smith

One of the biggest blessings in life is God's provision of kindred friendships.  I can't tell you how many times He has used a sweet sister-in-the-Lord to minister His words of comfort, encouragement and reassurance to me.  Raquel, of course, was no different...

As expected, my friend Raquel moved back to New Mexico after a year long stay.  Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I had ever done...

Our family was blessed to visit Raquel and her family in New Mexico not once but twice!  My very first trip to the Southwest.  We went during the balloon fiesta week.  It was absolutely wonderful!! New Mexico is a stunningly beautiful state!

Like true kindred friendships, Raquel and I are always able to pick up after long periods of time with no contact as if not one day has passed...

My relationship with Raquel really helped to enhance my own walk of faith through sweet conversations, encouraging words and her recommendation of those two life-changing books.

Many years later, the Lord surprised me with the sweetest of blessings...  When my daughter and son-in-law moved back to the East coast from California, they actually rented the upstairs apartment of the same home that Raquel and her family had lived in.  The home and yard where my daughter played with Raquel's daughter so long ago...  My daughter, now a grown woman, living in that very same house...  It was surreal.  So much had changed, yet the echoes of sweet fellowship brought blessing to my life once again...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My friend Cindy, who was instrumental in leading me to the Lord and knew of my struggles with anxiety, also recommended a book to offer encouragement, Hannah Hurnard's, Hinds' Feet on High Places.

The book is an allegory following a character named "Much-Afraid" on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts, at last, to the High Places.

I was very much drawn to the book just by the character's name! I knew I must read it!

My anxious heart resonated so much with "Much-Afraid" as excerpted below...

"Shepherd," she said despairingly, "I can't understand this. The guides You gave me say that we must go down there into that desert, turning right away from the High Places altogether. You don't mean that, do you? You can't contradict yourself. Tell them we are not to go there, and show us another way. Make a way for us, Shepherd, as you promised."
He looked at her and answered very gently, 
"That is the path, Much-Afraid, and you are to go down there."
"Oh no," she cried, "You can't mean it. You said if I would trust you, You would bring me to the High Places, and that path leads right away from them. It contradicts all that you promised."
"No," said the Shepherd, "it is not contradiction, only postponement for the best to become possible."

"Whenever you are willing to obey me, Much-Afraid, and to follow the path of my choice, you will always be able to hear and recognize my voice, and when you hear it you must always obey. Remember also that it is always safe to obey my voice, even if it seems to call you to paths which look impossible or even crazy."

"My Lord is of very tender compassion to them that are afraid." [...]

"Much Afraid", said the Shepherd again, "tell me, what is the matter? Why were you so fearful?"
"It is the way you have chosen for me to go, " she whispered. "It looks so dreadful, Shepherd, so impossible. I turn giddy and faint whenever I look at it. The roes and the hinds can go there, but they re not limping, crippled or cowardly like me." 

"But Much-Afraid, what did I promise you in the Valley of Humiliation?", asked the Shepherd with a smile. Much-Afraid looked startled and the blood rushed into her cheeks and ebbed again, leaving them as white as before. "O Shepherd, you said you would make me feet like hinds' feet and set me upon mine in the High Places."

"Well," he answered cheerily, "the only way to develop hinds' feet is to go by the paths which the hinds' use---like this one." Much-Afraid trembled and looked at him shamefacedly. "I don't think I want hinds' feet if it means I have to go on a path like that, " she said slowly and painfully. Instead of looking either disappointed or disapproving, the Shepherd actually laughed again.
"Oh, yes you do," he said cheerfully. "I know you much better than you know yourself, Much-Afraid. You want it very much, indeed and I promise you these hinds' feet. Indeed, I have brought you on purpose to the back side of the desert, where the mountains are particularly steep and where there are no paths, but the tracks of the deer and of the mountain goats for you to follow and the promise may be fulfilled. What did I say to you the last time we met?" 

"You said, 'Now thou shalt see what I will do,'" she answered reproachfully and added, "But I never dreamed you would do anything like this! Lead me to an impassable precipice up which nothing can go but deer and goats, when I am no more like a deer or a goat than is a jellyfish. It's too---it's too---" She fumbled for words, then burst out laughing. "Why, it's too preposterously absurd! It's crazy! Whatever will you do next?" 

The Shepherd laughed too. "I love doing preposterous things," he replied. "Why, I don't know anything more exhilarating and delightful than turning weakness into strength and fear into faith and that which has been marred into perfection.


Sweet sister bloggers, I may not know you personally, but I consider everyone who visits my blog a dear friend.   Like my sisters-in-Christ who blessed me by graciously sharing their recommendations of The Secret to a Happy Christian's Life, The God of ALL Comfort and Hinds Feet on High Places, I hope you will be blessed to receive the same recommendations from me.

May your anxious hearts be strengthened to wholly trust in the Lord.

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday,Dance with Jesus, Reflect His Love and Glory Friend Sharpens Friend Link-UpWords of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsLiteracy Musings Mondays

Comments

  1. Oh, dear friend! I am literally in tears! Only the dear Lord knew how much I needed to read this tonight. And, you will NOT believe this. As you know, we have been downsizing and going through so much of our stuff, and as we went through our books JUST YESTERDAY, I came across one of these very books!!!!! Can you believe this? I have never even read it, but somewhere along the line, we acquired the book, "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life"!!! I picked it up and looked at it, then decided to keep it, and I put it in a "keep" box. After just reading this wonderful, precious post aloud to Zachary, I sent him in to search for that book! We are going to read it as a family, Lord willing, now that you have so highly recommended it. Also, I used to own the other book about Hind's Feet, but I don't know what happened to this book. I don't think we own it anymore, but oh, my, it sounds just wonderful. Please pray for me, as I am battling a very hard physical battle right now, among the other trials we are experiencing. Surely God is trying our faith and allowing severe tests to come, and these books will be such an encouragement. I consider you a very dear friend, too, dear Karen. SO thankful God allowed our paths to cross. Thank you SO much for sharing this wonderful post, you will never know how much it blessed me in my trials.

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    1. Dear Cheryl, When I read your comment, I smiled to myself, amazed once again of the Lord's prompting in my writing. When I sat down to write "a post" on Saturday night, I had NOOO idea what I was going to write about. I literally sat in front of the computer screen for a half hour praying that the Lord would show me what to write. I was almost to the point of thinking a blog post wasn't going to happen this week. And then he brought a scene to my mind that reminded me of Hinds Feet on High Places. I set out to google quotes from the book, and the next thing I knew I was writing about my friend Raquel and then the words were quickly flowing, all Glory to God! And now I see that He used His words in this post to speak comfort to your heart. Oh how I praise Him for that! I am always so touched to hear about the closeness you have with your son. You have been blessed with such a sweet, sweet family.

      Cheryl, I have been lifting you up in prayer for both your physical and spiritual trials. May the God of all comfort comfort you.

      Your words have blessed me so much. I too am so glad that the Lord ordered our paths to "meet" in this place.

      God bless you.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story of friendship and good books--there's something special about a good friend who recommends just the right book because she KNOWS you. May God continue to bless us as we work to bless each other with our friendship and our knowledge!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. :-)

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  3. Beautiful friends, beautiful books. That kind of friendship is so sweet and special. I have read a couple of those book although it was years ago. I really enjoyed Hinds Feet on High Places. I'm visiting from Woman to Woman.

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    1. Gayl, Thank you for sharing.

      So glad you visited! :-)

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  4. “Comfort & peace never come from anything we know about ourselves, but only & always from what we know about Him.”

    What a beautiful quote! This is so true. Thanks for sharing your story here and for all the book recommendations. I've been wanting to read 'Hinds Feet on High Places.' Sounds encouraging.

    Found you at the 'Faith and Fellowship' link-up. : )

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    1. Cathy, You are welcome! :-)

      You indeed will be blessed when you read Hinds Feet on High Places.

      Thank you for stopping by. :-)

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  5. I will add these books to my list for sure! "Calm my Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow was a game changer for me... Thanks for sharing, Karen.

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    1. Sharita, Thank you so much for sharing about the book that was a game changer for you.

      So glad you visited! :-)

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  6. I read aloud Hind's Feet in High Places with my girls and we loved it! So many words and conversations jumped out at me from that lovely book. Thank you for the referrals on anxiety. Someone I love dearly suffers from anxiousness and I hope these help.
    Blessings!

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    1. Carrie, Thank you for sharing how the book blessed you.

      I know for me, those books really helped me put my anxiety in perspective. I hope your loved one will find calmness for their anxious hearts as they read those books.

      Thank you so much for visiting.

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  7. Kindred friendships really are the best! Great list of books. We are neighbors over at Literary Musing Mondays today.

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    1. Tara. Thank you so much for visiting and sharing here today. :-)

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