Friday, May 24, 2013

‘Her Restless Heart: A Woman’s Longing for Love and Acceptance’ by Barbara Cameron – Book Review

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Being a seminary student, I thought I’d draw closer to the Lord. But head knowledge does not necessarily translate to heart knowledge. So I still look for Bible studies to share with friends as my schedule permits. The latest one that has crossed my path is ‘Her Restless Heart: A Woman’s Longing for Love and Acceptance’ by Barbara Cameron. I was particularly intrigued by this one because it has an Amish theme – and I have been an admirer of the Amish since I was a young girl.

Here is the synopsis of this book:
          Discover the Bible’s answer to the longing of  
          every woman’s heart…
Her Restless Heart, the second study in the Faith and Fiction series, offers a refreshing new approach to Bible study. Much in the way that Jesus used parables to teach important truths, this study uses the compelling story of a young Amish woman caught between two worlds as a vehicle for studying the Bible’s answer to the universe longing of every woman’s heart: to be unconditionally loved and accepted.
Through excerpts from the novel (included inside this book) and video interviews with the author (viewed in the group session), you will become acquainted with Mary Katherine and her search for unconditional love and acceptance (reading the novel is not required). As you relate to the struggles of Mary Katherine and the other characters in the story, you will explore the depths of your own heart and search to learn what God’s Word has to say about finding satisfaction for the heart’s persistent yearning. You will discover that though we tend to look to people and things to fulfill this longing, we can never know true love and acceptance – or complete freedom – until we are able to rest in God’s all-encompassing love and trust His plan for our lives. This six-week study invites you to allow God to satisfy your restlessness, offering you His love, acceptance, and peace.

Here is the biography of the author:

Barbara Cameron is the author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies (HBO-Cinemax), and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. When a relative took her to visit the Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she felt led to write about the spiritual values and simple joys she witnessed there. She lives in Edgewater, Florida. 

Here is Barbara talking about her Bible study:

In the Introduction, Barbara explains the purpose of her study:

This study invites us on a journey in which we will explore the depths of our hearts and allow God to satisfy our restlessness, offering us His love, acceptance, and peace. Together we will walk through our doubts and fears and find healing for our hearts – as well as our relationships. We will discover what it means to live a life of freedom by living in God’s love, and we will celebrate the God who is devoted to transforming us and blessing us beyond anything we ever dared to dream or imagine.
What makes this study unique is that it uses Christian fiction as a backdrop to explore biblical themes. Through the characters in Her Restless Heart and their stories, we will learn how resting in God’s great love for us frees is to experience His joy and peace. The hope is that this refreshing approach of combining Bible study with narrative storytelling not only will enrich and enhance your study of God’s Word, but also will help you to better understand and apply what you’re learning in your own life as you relate to the characters and their experiences. (p. 5)

This is a six week Bible study, with each week focusing on a different aspect of a woman’s heart:

          Week 1: The Hungry Heart
          Week 2: The Wounded Heart
          Week 3: The Insecure Heart
          Week 4: The Reluctant Heart
          Week 5: The Romantic Heart
          Week 6: The Satisfied Heart

In addition, Barbara has prepared videos – which are posted on YouTube – for each week, which complement each week’s study.

I will take a look at Week 3: The Insecure Heart. There are excerpts from the book during each week’s study. In addition, there are individual studies for five days out of the week. Each day includes an appropriate Bible verse, a ‘Reflect and Respond’ section, pertinent questions, a prayer entitled ‘Talk to God,’ plus ‘As You Go,’ which suggests a passage of Scripture to read and reflect upon. Barbara explains what this particular week will focus on:

Though we sing hymns about God’s powerful and complete love for us, and we quote Scriptures about His unending grace, if we are honest, we must admit that often our insecurities and fears overwhelm us and keep us from understanding and claiming just how much we are loved by God. So we try harder, and harder still, until we are defeated, exhausted, and hopeless. It seems that we can never do enough or be enough. The good news? God is enough.
This week we will look into our hearts (and our schedules) to see where we are misplacing our identities and our hopes in things that cannot satisfy, and we will learn how God fulfills the greatest desires of our hearts. (p. 74)

The book ends on a charming note – it features Amish recipes, including Jacob’s Macaroni and Cheese, Amish Coffee Cake, and Amish Zucchini Bread, as well as Florida Recipes – Shrimp and Grits (my husband and I both love both!), Fruity Florida Coleslaw, and Key Lime Pie. I definitely plan on trying some – or all – of them!

I have not worked through the study, because I am busy taking summer classes. But I plan on working through this study with a friend after my classes end at the end of June. I am grateful to Ms. Cameron for putting together such a wonderful study!

You can order this book by clicking here!  

This book is published by Abingdon Press and is provided by them for review purposes.

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